I Don’t Get What’s Wrong with Asking for PD

Every year during ISTE, a version of this tweet makes the rounds. It gets a lot of favorites and retweets.

I totally understand the spirit of the tweet. A lot of teachers don’t use a tool (or much technology at all), and some techy folks view asking for PD as an excuse not to use a tool. And there are probably quite a few teachers who can’t make the time for PD, but claim they don’t use tech tools because they haven’t had the PD.

The problem I have with this thinking is that I don’t understand why asking for PD is problematic. Most teachers I have worked with in the last few years I’ve been a tech integrator are quite interested in learning how to use technology. They set aside time to meet with me, or they come to PD sessions for the express purpose of learning to use technology. It makes them feel better to have a guide teach them the basics before they dive in on their own. I don’t blame them. There are several things I prefer to have help with when I do them.

The other problem I see is that when I introduce a tech tool to students, I always take time to teach them how to use it. Sure, some of them prefer to dive in and figure it out, but often, I find students are not the tech savvy digital natives they’re believed to be. There are things they know how to do, and tools they know how to use well, but they don’t know how to do everything, and there is a lot they don’t know about working with some technology. So yes, I have had students ask me to show them how to use technology. In a sense, isn’t that asking for PD?

I would much rather teachers and students both felt comfortable asking me for help when they need it than that they felt there was something wrong with asking for help. Am I just not getting it or something?

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4 thoughts on “I Don’t Get What’s Wrong with Asking for PD

  1. I hear students whine "I can't DO this!" every term, and that's AFTER being given directions. Or another favorite: "It doesn't work." Interestingly, when I say "okay, show me what you did," I find out that it's not the computer that made the mistake! ;D

    • Yeah, I’ve heard that one a lot, too. It’s amazing how many of these kinds of things I can magically “fix” having been a tech integrator! My point in this post is that 1) we should never criticize folks for wanting help. Not everyone feels comfortable diving in the deep end, and 2) I am not sure it’s true that students are as willing to dive in the deep end as this message supposes.

  2. I actually prefer teachers asking for PD. When they ask, they are invested, and will actually use the tool.

    My frustration with teachers and PD, never has revolved around technology being used in the classroom. Teachers that want to use technology will find a way. My frustration as an IT Director, is this excuse being used for management tools like a Gradebook, Calendar, or Email.

    For example We became a Google Apps District 3 years ago. We spent the year before we went live with the tools available for teachers, and held weekly sessions, monthly sessions, and even a Boot Camp on the basics of using Google Apps. We continued this process the year we went live and also year 2. We even have tech integrators willing to go and work one on one with teachers. In year 3, I still have teachers that have never bothered to learn how to schedule a calendar appointment, or create a group to share assignments with students.

    When I talk to many of these teachers they say it is because of a lack of training.

    This is the kind of stuff that causes this MEME to proliferate.

    • I have seen that behavior, too, and it's frustrating, but it's also a different problem. If the offer is out there for PD and teachers are not taking the opportunity, but they are still claiming there is no opportunity, then the problem (in my mind) is that it is something they don't value, and they won't do it without a mandate. I believe we make time for things we think are important, and if we think using a tool is important, we make time to learn how to use it and to find the people who can help us learn it. I think you are right about the issues centering around the kind of tech we have to use the most, too. I could tell some stories about transitioning a school from Outlook to Gmail!

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