Technology integration through staff development
How does staff development in education insure that all learners meet the intended learning outcomes? At the time of this study most staff development for teachers was designed to get as many learners as possible familiar with a particular skill or concept in a one-shot workshop. There was no system to meet the needs of learners who did not understand the concept the first time taught. This study was to find out how teachers would respond to a more sustained and continuous form of instruction, emphasizing their individual learning needs after a technology staff development workshop. Data were collected through interviews conducted before and after a staff development workshop that provided two teachers with individualized continuous technology training. Observation notes were used during this follow-up training to corroborate my interpretation of the interview data. Both teachers benefited from sessions that met their technology needs. The more a session was tailored to meet their technological needs, the more the teachers integrated technology into their respective curricula. Each session was designed to reinforce and build on skills learned during the previous training session. Because of this continuity the teachers were feeling more comfortable using a computer and they achieved a deeper understanding of the skills taught. Data collected through pre- and post-technology training and mentoring interviews produced three themes. They were the comfort level of the participants, the benefit of continuous training and the integration of technology into the curriculum with continuous training. Integration of technology happened as the participants felt comfortable enough to share their areas of weakness and as they became aware that there v was an instructor flexible enough to meet their needs. There were long gaps in between training sessions that had a negative impact on the progression of the participants. With mentoring, the teachers successfully integrated technology into their curricula through software evaluation. One of the teachers previewed and bought reading software to meet the needs of below level learners and above level learners. The other teacher started to take her students to the computer lab to supplement grade-level curricula with technology. She began by having the students do Internet research on two major topics in Life science. They also learned how to incorporate technology into their curricula through training in the use of software such as Microsoft Office and Internet research. Results of this study suggested that staff developers would be more successful if they created technology learning committees that would increase the comfort level of the participants by addressing their needs, and conducted supplemental technology mentoring sessions like one-to-one small break-out lessons or partner guidance sessions for technology integration.