Dear Otto: What About Teacher Tech Training?

tech questions

Do you have a tech question?

Dear Otto is an occasional column where I answer questions I get from readers about teaching tech. If you have a question, please complete the form below and I’ll answer it here. For your privacy, I use only first names.

Here’s a great question I got from Mary:

How does your district approach professional development opportunities especially when it comes to technology?  How do you sustain professional development? We have 2 days a year set aside for professional development focused on technology but then there’s no follow up or time given to apply the new concepts learned. We sit and get and then it’s gone. How can we make it more sustainable?  Is there a model that exists that we could follow? We tried tech Tuesdays but teachers are so stressed with the every day responsibilities they have few would give up their lunch time or after school time to attend. Any suggestions?  Thank you.

A: I’m embarrassed to say my district does no better. They force feed what teachers must know (i.e., online report card programs, the teacher websites) but nothing else. The message that is sent is that technology is the tech teacher’s job, not the classroom teacher. I keep banging away at this outdated approach. Each year, I make a bit of progress, but we’re a long way from the 21st century.

This is an interesting issue. Let’s see what results we get from a poll. I have several categories, so please pick all answers that apply to you:

To ask Otto a question, fill out the form below:

Jacqui Murray is the editor of a technology curriculum for K-fifth grade and author of two technology training books for middle school. She wrote Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy midshipman. She is webmaster for five blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice book reviewer, a columnist for, and a weekly contributor to Write Anything and Technology in Education. Currently, she’s editing a techno-thriller for her agent that should be out this summer. Contact Jacqui at her writing office, WordDreams, or her tech lab, Ask a Tech Teacher.

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Categories: Ask Otto, teacher resources, Tech ed | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments

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2 thoughts on “Dear Otto: What About Teacher Tech Training?

  1. I’m posting this comment from Janet. It’s fascinating:
    Our school doesn’t have many PD days dedicated to tech. We’ve gotten around it using a “1:1 Student-as-Teacher” model.

    My teaching partner or I do something new with technology (like make Google sites or introduce Prezis). The tech lessons are always in relation to a content learning objective – not teaching tech for the sake of tech. Then, our students go to another class and teach the next class.

    When our students “teach” other students, they are not allowed to touch the other’s computer. They must use language to describe the location of icons, they can point, or they can model processes with their own computers.

    It’s interesting to watch the students struggle to communicate in such an authentic way. And, more students get to experiment with some of the wonderful tech tools that are available.

  2. Pingback: What About Teacher Tech Training–Part II « Ask a Tech Teacher

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