As I logged into my Google Reader account this morning, I thought Scott may have been sleep-posting while on a hunger-induced midnight run to the kitchen, but I read the rest of his post and wanted to briefly throw out some thoughts of my own.
I think the missing piece in my organization will continue to be professional development around student engagement and the effective uses of technology in instruction. Of course, as most of us in public education realize sooner rather than later, the money to buy the stuff is always in short supply. It may be reminiscent of the whole chicken/egg argument, but I think professional development has to come first – otherwise you’ve got a bunch of nice computers that end up becoming $1200 grade books and email checkers.
To be clear, my district has some other priorities right now as we attempt to get off of academic watch. Chief among those is implementing the SIOP model as well as a district-wide initiative to bring more rigor and relevance to the curriculum. Now, I don’t think SIOP, R&R, and technology integration are mutually exclusive (technology sure is relevant to our kids!), but I do know that buying and implementing programs is an expensive proposition leaving little or no money behind for extras right now. I think our district leadership has done a great job with few resources, so I am content to change little things and demonstrate that we are making use of the technology that we have now.
One thing I’ve noticed around here is that a group of teachers asking for stuff are much more effective when they present a clear, instructional need. To that end, we have our Internet study and some other small things going on in the building. Without adequate professional development, teachers may not even be aware that there is an instructional need to fill.