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Professional Development Plan (PDP) for Online Faculty

2577 words (10 pages) Essay in Education

18/05/20 Education Reference this

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Abstract

Academic faculty benefit from professional development training as it provides opportunities to periodically self-assess one’s current professional skills to ensure alignment with personal and institutional goals. The process of engaging in digital age professional development training also creates an escape from day-to-day instructional tasks and duties and facilitates fresh ideas useful in classroom instruction. This training plan offers an approach to professional development training for faculty at Adiatu University faculty and emphasizes the importance of instructional technologies.

Introduction

Supporting faculty includes providing them relevant professional development training. Faculty should not be expected to learn on their own time or attend unpaid training seminars; they should have access to professional development that allows them to explore the functions of the LMS and education technologies so that they will learn to effectively use them in instruction. A 2015 Samsung survey found that 90% of teachers believed that technology infused lessons are important for student success, yet 60% responded that they were unprepared to use technology in the classroom setting.  According to Bates (2015), “Moving to blended, hybrid and online learning requires a much higher standard of training for faculty and instructors. It is not just a question of learning how to use a learning management system or an iPad. The use of technology needs to be combined with an understanding of how students learn” (p. 420).

This Professional Development Plan (PDP) addresses the professional development needs of online faculty. Purchasing various education technologies, upgrading infrastructure, and modifying the curriculum are important, but instructional technology is only as strong as the competency of the instructor integrating it. University leaders should ensure that faculty is committed to learning innovative technologies that expand learning opportunities for online students. According to ISTE, “Educators need ongoing training to keep up to date with rapid changes in educational technology”, and “Educators also need to carve out time in their busy schedules to assimilate their new knowledge, practice new skills, learn from each other and work together” (iste.org). In the PDP, faculty will participate in a professional development workshop on how to effectively integrate technology their instruction. The following beliefs have been used to set goals for this plan: 

  • Proper use of technology can improve the efficiency and effectiveness of an academic institution.
  • Faculty should routinely integrate technology into their instruction.
  • Technology can improve students’ ability and capacity to access, create and communicate information and ideas.
  • To successfully use technology, University leaders should ensure that faculty has access to the following:  technical support, access to adequate hardware, and access to appropriate software.

Based on the technology beliefs listed above, the University should foster an environment where faculty has optimal access to relevant digital-age training. 

Technology Integration Workshop Overview

The workshop will pilot with a five-day online workshop focused on specific technology integration strategies; modifications to include additional strategies will be made when appropriate. The workshop focuses on how faculty should and can shift their pedagogical knowledge to enhance student achievement, and how to make technology integration common instructional practice. A learning management system (LMS), namely Canvas, will be used to deliver the professional development training. There will be discussion sections that allow for asynchronous collaboration and communication between the professional development trainer and faculty.

To get a clearer view of the type of training support needed for effective technology integration, faculty will be required to complete a questionnaire prior to registering for the workshop. The questions are designed to assess their current use and perceptions of instructional technologies, and their current needs and future aspirations.

How frequently do you use technology for the following:

Daily

Weekly

Monthly

Yearly

Communication with parents (e.g., newsletters, e-mail, class Web page)

Teacher-student communications (e.g., response to written work, posting schedules and activities)

Record keeping (e.g., grades, attendance)

Preparation for instruction (e.g., lesson and unit planning, downloading materials such as pictures)

Student inquiry (e.g., student research using search engines and databases)

Curriculum development (e.g. Cool Math, Starfall)

What percent of your technology professional training during this school year involved the following:

0%

25%

50%

75%

100%

You sat and listened to lectures

Instructors responded directly to your needs and requests

You worked with other participants during the training to achieve common goals

You experimented with technology during the professional development

Training Strategy

According to Knowles et al. (1984), adult learners are independent and self-directed, have more life experiences to draw from and incorporate into their learning, gravitate to learning subjects that are relevant to their careers and personal lives, acquire knowledge for immediate use, are motivated by internal incentives such as improved self-esteem, feelings of accomplishment, etc., and are better at setting learning goals and managing their own learning. Creating a learning environment that supports the characteristics of adult learners requires trust, so the workshop will start with an icebreaker so that participants will learn more about one another and feel more relaxed with each other. On Day 1 of the workshop, faculty will be asked the following seven questions and share their responses in the discussion section:

  1. What is your name?
  2. What content-area do you teach?
  3. What do you hope to get out of the course?
  4. What is the most amazing thing that could happen if course expectations are met?
  5. What’s the ideal dream job for you?
  6. Are you a morning or night person?
  7. If someone made a movie of your life would it be a drama, a comedy, a romantic-comedy, action film, or science fiction?

The workshop will be conducted for five consecutive days, and training on days two through four involve self-paced activities. Additionally, to encourage active participation from each faculty member and extract a variety of relevant experiences, the course will consist of both group and individual activities. Information gained from group work will be used to complete individual tasks. Faculty will be instructed to journal their reflection throughout the workshop and note how they intend to use training lessons in their online classroom.

Project based learning (PBL) will play a huge role in the workshop. The goal is for faculty to create authentic products that can immediately be deployed in the classroom.  Further, Tiwari et al. (2017) determined that project-based learning is motivational for students learning methodology skills because it is engaging and gives them ownership over their own learning. In their study of 99 students and faculty, they found “90.91% students agreed that there should be continuation of PBL in subsequent batches. 73.74% felt satisfied and motivated with PBL, whereas 76.77% felt that they would be able to use research methodology in the near future.”

Once a faculty member has completed training in the workshops, he/she will be rewarded a digital badge that will be attached to their profile. A badge is considered effective in motivating adult learners because it ”helps students set goals and envision success” (iste.org). The online tool “Credly” will be used to create digital badges, which will be encoded with meta-data that communicate details of the professional development accomplishments to anyone wishing to verify it, or learn more about the context of the achievement it signifies.

References

  • Advantages of Online Professional Development. National Research Council. 2007. Enhancing Professional Development for Teachers: Potential Uses of Information Technology: Report of a Workshop. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. Retrieved from https://www.nap.edu/read/11995/chapter/3#11
  • Bates, A.W. (2015). Chapter 12: Supporting teachers and instructors in a digital age. In Teaching in a digital age (pp. 420-444). [eReadings]
  • Davis, S.  (2002).  The effect of one-on-one follow-up sessions after technology staff development classes on transfer of knowledge to the classroom.  Action Research Exchange, 1(2). Retrieved from http://chiron.valdosta.edu/are/vol1no2/PDF%20article%20manuscript/davis.pdf
  • Framework for 21st Century Learning. (2013). Partnership for 21st Century Skills. Retrieved from http://www.p21.org/overview/skills-framework 
  • Smith, M. (2019, June 18). Survey Finds Majority of Teachers Do Not Feel Prepared to Use Technology in Classrooms. Retrieved from https://news.samsung.com/us/survey-finds-majority-of-teachers-do-not-feel-prepared-to-use-technology-in-classrooms/
  • Strickland, D.S., Ganske, K., & Monroe, J.K. (2002). Supporting struggling readers and writers: Strategies for classroom intervention 3–6. Portland, ME: Stenhouse.
  • Tiwari, R., Arya, R. K., & Bansal, M. (2017). Motivating Students for Project-based Learning for Application of Research Methodology Skills. International journal of applied & basic medical research7(Suppl 1), S4-S7.
  • Tomlinson, C. A. (2001). How to differentiate instruction in mixed ability classrooms (2nd ed.). Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.

 

Appendix

5-Day Workshop Rubric

Modified. Original retrieved from: http://ldt.stanford.edu/~tacyt/projectrubric.html

Novice

Apprentice

Proficient

Expert

Content and Curricular Connections

The project has no connection to class content or curricular goals and does not support school or department goals for learning and technology.

The project has a tenuous connection to the course curriculum. The technology use addresses some but not all of the school and departmental goals.

The project’s technology use effectively supports content and curriculum. It also addresses school and department goals.

The project’s technology use effectively supports and links with curriculum. It affords new possibilities. The project’s uses of technology directly support school and departmental goals or technology use and for student learning.

Student Learning Goals

There are no clearly stated learning goals

Educational goals are present but may not be appropriate or measurable.

There are clear, age appropriate and measurable learning objectives. These goals accommodate different learning styles and abilities.

Educational objectives are clear, age appropriate, and measurable. These goals accommodate different learning styles and abilities. Students are able to set their own learning goals and achieve them within the context of the project.

Role of Technology

The project’s use of technology treats students as passive recipients of information, is not well defined, does not support student learning, or is a trivial or inappropriate use of the medium.

The project’s use of technology is focused but does not take full advantage of the medium. Students use technology but do not learn to manipulate the technology to express ideas or concepts.

The project’s use of technology is appropriate for the medium while helping students reach identified learning objectives. The choice of technology is age appropriate and supports different learning styles and abilities.

The project’s use of technology helps students achieve learning objectives and is both an appropriate and creative use of the medium. The choice and integration of

technology is age appropriate and supports different learning styles and abilities. Students are engaged and demonstrate a deeper conceptual understanding of

key concepts. Student learning, thinking and communication skills show improvement as a result of this use of technology.

Project Design

The project seems incomplete or poorly conceived. The project’s scope is too large or too small. The teacher has not considered student learning needs.

The project may be complete, but lacks depth. It does not offer strategies or adaptations for students with special needs or learning style preferences. The class time invested in the project may be too great given its education value.

The project is complete, goes into depth as appropriate and provides some adaptations for students with special needs or learning style preferences. The teacher has considered scaffolding learning for both beginning and advanced students and fades away when appropriate. Students explore concepts by designing and creating a product.

The project is complete, deep, well-scaffolded and adaptable. It offers extensions for more motivated or experienced learners and/or adaptations for students with special needs or learning style preferences. Students have opportunities to actively engage with the concepts and with technology by creating or designing a product themselves.

Role of the Teacher

The teacher models helpless terror in the face of new technologies and gives up with faced with a problem.

The teacher has planned a lesson with clear goals but has not anticipated how technology use will influence class dynamics, timing, learning and activities.

The teacher has designed and prepared an appropriate lesson and models good problem solving techniques by trying multiple solutions and incorporating others’ ideas. The teacher’s role is more of a facilitator than a directive leader.

The teacher is well prepared and has planned an engaging, effective and meaningful lesson. The teacher demonstrates effective problem solving, exploration, creativity, and multiple solutions and effectively facilitates student learning and experiences.

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