The best way to spend your $$$ on ICT is……

Be prepared, this might be a little bit out there. Actually it’s not as it’s a notion that we all know.

Over a long period of time when it comes to ICT in the classroom the long held belief is that by spending a whole lot of money on a whole lot of resources will improve the teacher take up of using ICT. I get increasingly frustrated when I hear the comments from teachers that ‘…we’ll if I had more (insert the words computers/cameras/laptops/IWB’s et al) I could do so much more with my students.’

Well, I have in my opinion, the solution on where the money should be spent. An surprisingly it’s not a device or piece of software.

One of the best ways to spend your ICT budget is on…..drum roll please…… Staff PD!

Yes, I know it’s not a new concept, but it’s something we often neglect when it comes to ICT. We often spend our resources on getting the devices into our schools and classrooms, but when it comes to getting the best out of them I think it’s an area that is getting better, but is still not great.

One of the frustrations for some teachers is that they often feel that they are having all this new and different technology thrust upon them and are expected to just ‘make it work’ because they have it. In business, its said that for every $ spent on new technology approximately $5 is spent on the PD to learn how to use it.* In education I don’t think this would be the case.

We are seeing more and more money being spent in schools in relation to ICT which is fantastic and will make the learning experience more engaging and exciting for students and teachers alike, but unless we get the full potential out of the capabilities and possibilities of the technology then it is money potentially wasted. My experience in NZ this year where I saw amazing work being done with little ICT resources, but a focus on whole school/staff ICT PD, highlights that when teachers understand what can be done fantastic opportunities for learning and engagement are possible.

In literacy and numeracy we spend lots of money and time on programs and resources that have a large teacher PD component to it. We would actually spend more money on ICT resources in schools and less on the PD to go with it. I don’t get that. Anything we invest money on in our schools we should be also be investing on the best out of it.

So let’s get the devices in the classrooms and into the hands of the students, but as we do that, let’s get consistent, relevant and ongoing PD for our teachers as well.

* It is the end of the year and this exact figure is a recollection of something I read a while ago so it could be potentially inaccurate – but hopefully you get the drift of what I meant.

8 thoughts on “The best way to spend your $$$ on ICT is……

  1. Agree Glenn. If the PD budget is not supporting the ICT investment a low hassle way might be using the synergies between the professional learning already in place and the potentional of the ICT to bring fun, creativity and new applications for the learning.

  2. Thanks for your comment Phil. You are absolutely spot on about making the connections between ICT and what we already do re teaching and learning. This is where teachers can naturally see the natural connections between T&L and ICT and that it is not something ‘extra’ they need to do.

  3. I share your thoughts Glenn. I’d go one step further though to suggest that effective PD costs almost nothing. I think the biggest commitment needs to be from individual teachers who are prepared to invest time to delve into the world of online collaborative communities. The SSS cost here is almost nil – educators just need the inclination.

  4. Thanks for the comment Paul. I agree with you too that the PD cost is virtually nothing and the cost really is time, if they are self motivated to do so. There may need to be that interim step initially to spend a little bit (cost of a CRT for them to go to a workshop or conference) to get them started. Hopefully that would be the initial ‘kick start’ for them to get going and for them to maybe see the potential to get into an online collaborative community to further develop themselves.

  5. As a parent, I don’t want to see equipment (pcs, laptops, smartboards, etc.) sitting gathering cobwebs and dust. I want to see it used. Professional development, whether it’s having someone come and train teachers to use the equipment or teachers working together to figure it out, is most important. Heck, kids could teach teachers how to use ICT.

  6. Thanks Marie for your comment. As a parent myself I too think anything a school spend money on should have some PD investment added to it be it ICT or other. I like your point about getting the kids involved with the teacher PD. This is something we have been getting schools to look at and there are some who are beginning to trial it. Takes some pressure of schools finding time/money for PD and actually promotes a wonderful shared learning experience for both teacher and student. Saw it in NZ and the teachers loved it and the kids felt great about it too. Great potential to be harnessed.

  7. Suggestion for next blog…Top 10 professional online communities that staff should be “encouraged” to join…

  8. Hi Kate,

    Thanks for the suggestion. I have a couple ready to go for the start of 2010, but will post 1 around your idea shortly.

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