Posted by: Dave Moursund
Tagged in: Staff Development
The previous IAE Blog entry discussed a ninth grade Computer Science course that is being required for all students in a Pennsylvania school district (9/29/2010). The course includes an emphasis on problem solving. However, we all know that problem solving is an important component of every academic course and that computers are an important aid to problem solving in every discipline.
As students gain this computer science knowledge and skills one would expect that they would want to use their new knowledge and skills, both while in the ninth grade and in subsequent grades. This means that all of their teachers will be faced by students wanting to use their newly acquired computer-oriented knowledge and skills.
This suggests two questions:
1. What do typical teachers in grades 9-12 know about the computer content and skills the ninth grade students will be acquiring?
2. What would we want these teachers to know and be able to do? For example, do we want them to have the computer knowledge and skills to provide appropriate feedback, help, and encouragement to their computer-using students? Do we want them to meet the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) standards for 12th graders? Do we want them to teach uses of computers for solving the types of problems that occur in the disciplines they teach? See ISTE National Educational Technology Standards (ISTE NETS) at http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&cd=1&ved=0CBcQqwMoADAA&url=http://www.iste.org/nets/&rct=j&q=iste standards 2010&ei=mjqlTNSpJoeisAObzK39Dg&usg=AFQjCNHN2BfHobVcZ6mNRK8Wz2crijKN9g&cad=rja.
The newspaper article does not tell us what staff development will be made available and/or whether such staff development will be required. (See http://iae-pedia.org/Staff_Development_via_Distance_Education.) However, it could be that a well-intentioned school district is making a serious error in their efforts to improve the computer-related education of their students unless they also put an equal emphasis on the staff development of their teachers. The essence of that error is captured in the quote:
Imagine a school with children that can read or write, but with teachers who cannot, and you have a metaphor of the Information Age in which we live. (Peter Cochrane; United Kingdom engineer, technologist, and entrepreneur.)
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Here are some examples of publications that might interest you.
David Moursund Books. About 25 books are available free. Most were specifically written for preservice and inservice teachers.
IAE-pedia. Many of the documents in the IAE-pedia are designed for preservice and inservice teacher education.