Wouldn't it be nice? Here are the Divas' Recommendations

Top Ten List of Ways to Create Professional Development Utopia

10. Make sure every classroom, every school, every district, and every student has enough of the right stuff.  Pie in the sky?  Sure!  But it would certainly make life easier.

9. Provide on the spot technical support!  Have people on staff whose main job is to answer the beck and call of teachers running into glitches while trying to use technology in class.  That would reduce the fear and stress levels considerably!  That way, the problem gets solved quickly (by somebody who knows what they are doing) and the teacher is still able to focus on the job of teaching.

8. Have a faculty development lab where teachers can work without interruption on new projects.  (Time is needed, too, see #1).  This would give faculty opportunities to “play” with new technologies in a “safe” environment.  (Include some help, too!)

7. Have a library of software tools available at the school.  A professional development library would be a great addition.

6. Plan professional development sessions on cultural and sensitivity issues as well as technology.  It’s easy to get focused on the curriculum, and the standards, and the requirements.  Take a little time to focus on the people—the parents, the students, the teachers, the administrators, and the school board.  This will improve communication and understanding.

5. Plan regular in-services within individual buildings as well as district-wide to demonstrate successful use of technology in classrooms and to introduce teachers to what’s new.  Demonstrations of new software programs by somebody who already knew how to use them would be wonderful!  Teachers could see the potential.  Having help in learning and developing the instructional possibilities would be great as well.  (See # 2)

4. Pay teachers more.  This would also solve a lot of problems.  Instead of a 9-month contract, give teachers the option to work 10 or 11 month contracts to work with technology at times classes are not in session.

3. Smaller classes would allow for more one-on-one time for teachers and students utilizing technology.  Smaller classes will solve a lot of problems.  Consider team teaching and utilization of teacher aides as another alternative.

2. Provide an instructional technologist in each school to help teachers with the “busy work” involved in creating or modifying curriculum materials.  Teachers would have a source of ideas as well as a helping hand on the time-consuming stuff!

1. Provide planning time each week—at least one half day, preferably a whole day—for teachers to create materials to use with technology, modify existing curriculum, use new skills, and get fired up.