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Article 1 Review

"How Teachers Learn Technology Best"

by Jamie McKenzie

From Now On The educational Technology Journal, Vol. 10, No. 6, March 2001



The purpose of this article is to assist school officials with improving staff development and causing positive change in the classroom.  Most schools have traditionally provided uniform staff development that fails to meet the needs of its most of its teachers.  This article offers suggestions and programs that have worked for other schools around the country.  Data for this article was collected from many different books by various authors, surveys, and from actual plans and programs going on around the country.



Major points of the researcher:

  • On average, teachers receive very little staff development toward the implementation of technology in the classroom.
  • More effort should be spent on helping teachers to develop curriculum driven lessons that are delivered using technology.
  • Teachers need to be able to learn according to their needs and interests if they are going to apply computer technology in the classroom.
  • Teachers need to see how technology can benefit their classrooms before they will change their mindsets and apply their learning.
  • Prefabricated non-content or subject specific learning models using outside presenters and consultants do not generally produce favorable results in classrooms.


The recommendations of this study are that educators:

  • design staff development that meets the needs, style, and interests of adult learners;
  • provide peer support and team planning for technology rich units; and
  • visit other cutting edge classrooms and schools, observe what is being done effectively, and then apply what they have observed to their own classes and curriculum.


I fully concur with this article, having experienced some of the staff development suggestions in this article.  For teachers to become motivated to apply new learning and technologies, they must first experience a need or a desire to apply them.  Furthermore, they must acquire the skills needed for implementation.  Teachers must also have timely tech support so that they can rely on the technology that is available for their use. 


It is my belief that having teachers visit other classrooms and schools is an innovative and practical idea.  It can also be done in some schools with absolutely no cost to the district.  Some schools also have designated planning periods with multiple teachers of the same grade or subject planning at the same times.


I also advocate the idea of each teacher developing their own staff development plan.  For decades, districts have attempted to provide cookie cutter staff development training for a few days a year using some type of outside consultant or trainer.  I have attended many of these sessions and have observed that the end result is usually that no noticeable or long lasting change occurs in classrooms.  Teachers need training that can be customized to their individual needs, subjects, and lessons.  One company that has realized this and tried to provide classroom changing training is Intel.  They provide teachers with guidance and software to help them provide quality technology integration into the classroom.  The program is called "Intel Teach to the Future," and has begun some major changes in classrooms around my campus.