NWP Tech Initiative Meeting (November 17, 2007)

Notes from Troy

This session was led by the Inverness Research Associates team on behalf of the NWP Technology Initiative.

Check out the blog post and podcast about this session, too.

  • What have we learned about tech initiative (TI) work
    • TI work was vital and couldn't have been done otherwise
    • All sites focused on developing teacher knowledge and leadership with new content for inservice
    • Work has presented challenges that are more complex than what we ordinarily face (writing with tech, teaching writing with tech, doing PD). Greater level of excitement and urgency
    • Work is essentially uncharted territory where shared knowledge base is sparse -- this remains a challenge of the work
    • Regrounding the nature of the design of the basic service function of a NWP site
      • First challenge -- develop the content of inservice - practical for teaching and learning, had to be sharable
      • Second challenge -- develop foundation capacity needed to build this practical knowledge of teaching -- a site vision, teacher leader capacity, site capacity through distributed leadership
      • Third challenge -- design programs that support teachers professional development in school contexts -- adequate experience and resources, feasible teaching practices
  • Technology PD as a more complex problem
    • conflicting expectations with curriculum (high expectations with tech) yet assessment through NCLB
    • Site leadership had to have a vision for guiding design because there was no knowledge base
    • Developing inservice for schools was a challenge because the leadership needed to be developed, then programs, then connect to schools, then making sure the schools have infrastructure and capacity
    • Infusion of TI funds accelerated the development of site capacity to provide tech programming
  • Questions about lessons learned and promising practices related to your work at your sites
    • Knowledge of the use of technology to teach writing
      • There are some practices that are becoming promulgated, what are the connections
    • Knowledge of effective PD designs have been stretched
      • What are examples and lessons learned so far about effective designs
    • Development of TC leadership
      • What are the lessons learned from the TI work about the most promising practices for developing TC leadership -- what kind of knowledge and support do they need
    • Interacting with schools and district contexts
      • Teacher capacity to change
      • Infrastructure
      • "Desire to change" in schools
      • How have site's services to schools changed in the past few years
      • Where to pitch the work
  • Propositions from the June Conference on teaching writing in the 21st Century (NOTE: There will be a paper that is written as well as a policy brief)
    • Powers of technology exist alongside challenges
    • Tech changes faster than education
    • Tech and writing are connected and here to stay
    • Knowledge of the discipline is essential to using tech in the discipline
    • Tech amplifies aspects of teaching writing (voice, audience, etc)
    • Tech challenges assumptions about assessing writing
    • New language associated with tech and writing are emerging
    • Young teachers may come with a lot of technology knowledge, but they may not know how to apply it to the teaching of writing
  • Ideas that emerged from the tables:
    • Research Ideas
      • Compare sites that have a good relationship with university tech people, and those that don't
      • How many of the TCs that we might call active, early adopters are not carrying full teaching loads in K-12 teaching situations (the learning curve on tech requires hand holding from someone who knows more tech than you do -- people are doing "PD" in buildings by hand holding)
      • Having a mentor teacher who can walk people through things for awhile to avoid isolation and glitches
      • Tech leaders can get overused based on challenges at a site
    • Building capacity principles
      • We "other" the technology usually; we need to draw on the traditional practices of any writing project who can build a pool of TCs
      • Design an invitational for tech teachers who are on the edge of working with newer literacies and seeing what they are doing in their classrooms
      • PD for a week, camp for a week OR vice versa, where kids come for a week first
  • Summary of our group's discussion
    • Within the context of new state requirements for teachers and students to use technology in the service of literacy learning, how can writing project sites affect change in school policy and infrastructures that continue to block internet sites, applications, and opportunities to compose in digital environments?
  • Closing discussion and final ideas/recommendations from sites
      • Each month, we need an NWP "go see" link for a use of technology
      • Who is who in the TI and what are they doing; where are they available for downloading
      • Tech release time fellowships through NWP
      • An E-Book from NWP that merges how to teach writing with technology
      • Shared network with a tech exchange
      • In San Antonio, go to a tech room with wifi
      • NWP Leadership needs to respond to the ways that teachers can and do network with one another through new internet networks

NOTE: The items below come directly from handouts provided by Inverness Research Associates.

Develop Site Capacity: Dimensions to Explore

  • Knowledge of writing and technology
  • Professional development design and programming
  • Development of teacher consultant leadership
  • Interacting with school and district contexts

Propositions about the Teaching and Learning of Literacy in the 21st Century

  • The powers of technology exist alongside challenges and vulnerabilities.
  • The world of technological innovation moves at a different pace than the educational system.
  • Technology is integral to the discipline of writing today and is here to stay.
  • Knowledge of the discipline (writing) is essential for wise use of technology to teach in the discipline.
  • Technology amplifies aspects of teaching and learning writing (e.g., audience, voice, equity and access, publication, collaboration).
  • Technology challenges assumptions and approaches to assessment of writing.
  • New language associated with the use of technology to teach writing is emerging.