The National Writing Project provides a wealth of information and experience and connections and this policy briefing/report just got published on the NWP site. It is a research briefing from a company hired by NWP to look at data from technology work at sites within the NWP. (A disclosure: our Western Massachusetts Writing Project site was one of the sites included in this study of a project known as the Technology Initiative).
You can read the full report — entitled “Keeping the Promise of the 21st Century: Bringing Classroom Teaching into the Digital Age” — here but I thought I would share out some of the findings, in my own words:
- Teachers learn best from other teachers who are using technology, not from some canned professional development;
- It takes time for teachers to think about and integrate technology, so one-shot professional development is less effective than long-term supportive work;
- Technology is best used and most effective when students are engaged in real classroom projects with authentic learning standards;
- Teachers who effectively use technology are engaging and motivating their students;
- Access to technology is a real issue – either to the equipment or through “firewalls” set up by school districts;
- Students in poorer school districts often have the least access to technology and technology-inspired curriculum, although they may need it the most;
- State and federal standardized mandates offer little incentive for teachers to engage in use of technology.
The report also adds some “policy implications” for its findings:
- Teachers have to be the leaders and demand more professional development and access to technology for their students. It can’t rest with administrators;
- K-12 teachers should connect more with Universities and other institutions for access to technology and expertise;
- Teachers need hands-on experiences using technology themselves and then time to consider the implications of the classroom;
- Provide students in underserved communities with access to technology and related curriculum opportunities;
And more …
This report is worth the read and it once again makes me proud to be part of the NWP, as it moves to think about writing in new ways that engage our young learners and makes writing relevant in their lives.
Or, as the report notes:
NWP is distinctive among professional development providers. It is a network of teachers who build leadership and knowledge of teaching and learning from systematic study of their own classroom practices and the practices of colleagues, as well as from research. These leading teachers—called teacher-consultants—share their professional knowledge and practices with other teachers through local NWP professional development programs. . . .
Peace (in-between the numbers),