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Obstacles to Opportunities “Challenging Assumptions About Technology Professional Development”

Sylvia Martinez
Los Angeles, CA, USA
Blog: http://blog.genyes.com/

Sylvia Martinez is president of Generation YES, working to empower students in K-12 schools through digital technology. Sylvia has designed educational games, curriculum, and online experiences for teachers and students. Sylvia speaks and writes on subjects such as the use of technology, simulations and games to enhance educational opportunities and enable youth voice.

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Presentation Title
“Challenging Assumptions About Technology Professional Development”

Forty years after the invention of the personal computer, schools still find themselves begging teachers to introduce technology into classrooms. Conventional wisdom attributes the lack of effective technology use in classrooms to a shortage of, or poorly run professional development. At the same time, student-centered learning environments require teachers to develop more expertise not only in technology but also in pedagogy. Rather than continue to do more of the same, we should question assumptions and explore new models of teacher learning that address these issues.

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  1. Jim Walker

    Sylvia, thanks for putting into words what I have been feeling for several years. Besides being a sped teacher, I have been giving workshops in classroom management and technology tools. I was always frustrated because I know that even the best series of workshops were not going to change real classroom behavior. I always wanted to spend a couple of weeks in a classroom working side-by-side with teachers so we could learn from each other. I am hoping to create a position that will let me do just that, and your presentation may help.

  2. Lucy Miller-Ganfield


    Outstanding presentation and research support. As you know, I share your sentiments for student leadership in technology and I hope that someday we can work together to expand our common goals. I love the statement made, “the more power you give them, the more powerful they become.” I applaud the success and efforts that you and Dennis have made to support student-centered practices.

    Lucy Miller-Ganfield
    President, Students Working To Advance Technology, Inc. http://www.swatweb.net

  3. Sharon Parsons

    Students as teacher mentors, what a fabulous idea! It is so true that it’s not working to provide professional development in technology outside of the classroom. I love the idea of bringing it within the classroom. The boundaries in today’s world are quickly becoming invisible, however the walls are still barriers within schools. Our students are connected, it is time for us to be, and who better to connect to than our students? I would love to see some of this in action and try it out in my school.

  4. John Patten

    Nice presentation Sylvia! And thanks for the resources. I too have been thinking about ways to do pd different as it relates to technology… …almost to the point where we eliminate professional development for technology and teachers, and focus on “professional development” for students on how to be good teachers. 🙂 Seriously though, with the abundance of communication tools, and strategies now available to tell stories, we need to seriously look at how we use the most available teaching resource better, our students.

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