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Professional development is an integral part of teaching and use of technology has been proposed as a plan for overall improvement of performances of students. Use of technology plays a propelling role to make sure that professional development is regarded as an integral element in using technology to better teach and effect learning.
All stakeholders are required to support integration of technology in teaching process so that students are well prepared after completing the curriculum. The following are factors critical for professional development. First, find out how professional development is affected by instructional and technological objectives?
Second, what outcomes will teachers exhibit following professional development and third, who designs, manages and implements it? On the other hand, assessing teaching of K-12 grades is critical for curriculum development. Instructional leaders have been working together with teachers, proposing curriculum-based courses, designing lessons and evenly allocating academic resources.
There are usually many varied opportunities in school for teachers for professional development in school district every year.
Education is becoming a very basic need in the current informed society and it results in new ideologies that help develop people and improve living standards. As a consequence, the process of learning itself is experiencing a very fast development adopting new teaching strategies altogether (Thorne, 2003, p. 41). The changes impact on the society which is in turning requiring the students to be autonomous.
The fast development of the modern technology could not pass by the area of education, one of the most important social institutions of today. This phenomenon of wide and comprehensive introduction of the computerized technology in the process of education is daily increasing (Thorne, 2003, p. 41). Global issues must be considered in order to properly balance technology, culture, and education.
Dynamic Culture: The cultural norms are usually very dynamic and this is usually because, the society make up is constantly changing in terms of newer technology, multiracial integration and education among others. Everyone is very much different from the other at individual level. In the US for instance, it’s estimated that, there is always an influx of about 10% of people every year (Thorne, 2003, p. 41).
Since people must interact, there is always an ongoing creation of new equilibrium or balances as they try to adjust and accommodate each other despite the difference in culture. It’s very important therefore to understand that being so different does not imply that others are wrong (Blair et al, 1995, p. 78).
Ethnicity: There are four dimensions of concern that are addressed with regard to the ethnicity and racial identity constructivism. First is the degree to which race influences the process of constructing identity, second, the degree to which race and ethnicity influences the relationships the students create with the education system and other aspects of the dominant community.
Third, is the means through which various social statuses integrate to create identity and finally the degree to which race and ethnicity identity can be regarded as focused, identifiable and bounded (Blair et al, 1995, p. 78).
The identity problems especially concerning race and ethnicity have been found to have great implications on the education aspirations and the upward mobility opportunities for students. It is evident from studies that those students who retain their racial and ethnical identities are usually tend to highly achieve better social-economic success than those who assimilate to other cultures.
Gerald Horne said that people were threatened according to the country were they came from and where they went (Cole, 2000, p. 102). In 20th century the black people who arrived to Britain would not have the same treatments as a white, the sophisticated hotels would say to them that they do not accept ‘negroes’.
On other hand, the black race was very welcome in Asia (specifically Japan) and they had very good conditions, however, the white race was clearly not welcome and they did not have any privileges or decent treatment. With this attitude, Tokyo was trying to gain the trust of the black race to obtain their help in case of a war with Washington and London.
The Gender Aspect in Education: The second concept to be discussed is gender and sexual identity. In recent years we have seen a significant development about the recognition of diversity and gender difference. A number of political, social and economic features affecting education policy since the Second World War increased the interest in gender balance and education (Cole, 2000, p. 102).
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The concept of identity formation is hence a continuous process that creates sexual orientation as a distinctive identity construct. In last century there were no much substantive studies on the female life experience, this is because the studies were based in male behavior.
The female experience has been ignored and the male behavior is the standard of all human behavior and for this reason, employers and sex officers have often relied in these studies to discriminate against women.
With education comes better income, good job, decent housing, the social and economical opportunities will increase and, better than that, educated people can have the ability to choose, however men and women did not have the same level of access to Education in all times (Cole, 2000, p. 104).
In second half of twentieth century, feminist campaigns about education, the fight about equal rights, the 1914 Education Act are just few examples of important antecedents in history of Education.
The men and women had different roles in education system and normally women did not have access to it, this is because in the early 20th century education was mostly for men and schools should prepare male pupils for male occupational and vocational destinations.
The girls from working class had their education in house and it was dominated by training in domestic economy (cookery, laundry and childcare) (Cole, 2000, p. 105).The middle class girls, in other hand, were educated at home or in some private boarding schools but their education was not more than a training for marriage.
Social mobility, class conflict and access to higher education were topics discussed mainly in terms of male and white, although this situation was changed with introduction of the Women’s Liberation movement in USA and in the UK.
The women with economic power had an active fight in 1960s and they were able to participate actively in public life and in economy (Cole, 2000, p. 105). Education for women is empowering and assured them of a better future as they were more likely to be independent.
Women had numerous obstacles to access education by the society and they still do not have a complete access to that, probably this is the main reason for a recent research shows that girls have less confidence, comparing to boys in their ability to succeed in intellectual task (Blair et al, 1995, p. 78).
Girls have a strong tendency to attribute their success to luck which imply some insecurity about their ability to succeed in future, however they perform as good as boys. In other hand, boys are more like to see their failure as a result of insufficient effort and they use ability to explain their success.
In spite of all these barriers, a recent study (2008 in USA) showed that there is a big achievement gap between boys and girls. In math Subject, researchers found that there is no longer differences but, in other hand, in reading girls greatly outperformed boys in all school levels (10%).
The sex-role stereotypes are sometimes reinforced by teachers in many subtle ways and if teachers wish children to be free to develop as individuals, they should be aware of their attitudes and do more than just ‘not insist’ in traditional sex role stereotypes (label) (Blair et al, 1995, p. 78).
The girls should be encouraged to do their choices based in their interests and values and not in failure or fear.
With this behavior would be possible in future to achieve equality for professionals (Mean and women); schools could be led, managed and planned by both sexes and this will be extremely good for curriculum, leadership and organization of educational institutions and, finally, the children will have the opportunity to see both men and women assuming this full range of positions and responsibilities and take it as an example.
One of the objectives of teaching subject like science is to make sure that there is differentiation of instruction. It’s always been clear that teachers of the K-12 understood the district objectives of developing differentiation of instruction (Hew & Brush, 2007, p. 224). Nonetheless, there could be varied definitions of the term regarding different subject like the description in physics is different from that described in Physics.
For example, in chemistry, there have been talks on the previous model of three categories in a single class and here, the individual learning packets were applied with student at different levels and student were not allowed to shift between them easily (Hew & Brush, 2007, p. 224).
Such kind of model has been used in subject like physics as well. Some school have gone ahead to separate chemistry 3 and leave chemistry 1 and 2 in one class. The teachers are keen to address the individual needs of each student and make proper accommodations including remedial class besides normal classes.
The process of coordinating a K-12 focused method of instruction is basically by professional development plan. It’s not clear to administration if the connections are recognized by the instructors as that set milestones and objectives for the year and begin on their individual professional development deal as an element of the usual teacher assessment arrangement (Hew & Brush, 2007, p. 224).
There are several important opportunities that are made available by the education programs for professional development, so the structure for implementing the objectives of differentiated instruction is available. The only thing that could lack is a systematic approach to include all teachers and make sure that they attain clear understanding of the way differentiation is to be done and how it functions in the classrooms daily.
Participation of Teachers
Curriculum development requires participation of teachers because they are the major stake holders in the education process. Several stakeholders are included in development and they include instructional leaders, classroom teachers, remedial instructors and administrators of schools (Etim, 2005, p.55). To a lesser extent, parent and student are at time included. There are several structures of ensuring that this is done.
There are discussion sessions that the management initiates and implementation process. Teachers participate in all these meetings (Eby, et al, 2006, p. 75). Teachers and instructional leaders write the curricula and design units or modify those already existing so that they cater for high and low performing students.
The teachers are also responsible for identifying curriculum sections that need to be revised and they initiate the revision. As they go on with revision, the whole process needs K-12 coordination (Hew & Brush, 2007, p. 227).
Analysis of Assessment Data
Assessing the progress and achievement of students is an important aspect in learning and helps to ensure that the students are evaluated to measure how best they got educated by An education that is informative a range of aspects.
This means that the students will be well equipped with important life skills (Eby, et al, 2006, p. 75). At the elementary and high school levels, one shot high-stakes testing is being criticized in light of the inadequate education policy results.
There are proper processes of collecting and analyzing data on performance of students. Annual reports include data from standardized tests and the district coordinator takes responsibility of collecting data and incorporating it in the education database. Though is evident that systematic collection of data on performance of students is still at infancy stage, the process needs to be given a chance to grow (Becky et al, 2001, p. 5).
There is evidence that teachers usually discuss amongst themselves and that they share outcomes on the performance of student in various informal settings.
However there is doubt as to whether or not the planned school-based meeting offer time for the expert teachers to analyze the information and the real sample of students’ work that provide information for curricula development and instruction (Bitner & Bitner, 2005, p. 96).
The professional development for using technology has to comprise the vital constituents found to be very essential. These components include connecting students learning, embracing various learning experiences, hands-on technology experience and other factors (Roblyer, et al, 2000, p. 67).
Connecting Student Learning: the eventual objective of professional development is to enhance student learning. Many teachers (73%) agree that the most important reason for participation in professional development was to improve student achievement (Roblyer, et al, 2000, p. 67).
The improves student achievement is highly valued by teachers as a result of professional development more that other factors and they have used this is a measure of their development. For this cause, schools need to give teachers more opportunities to achieve fluency in technology use to boost teaching and assist student in developing reasoning and problem solving skills (Bitner & Bitner, 2005, p. 96).
Hands-On Technical experiences is important and research has shown that instructors who attained efficient technology use were more likely to be better instructors as they were better prepared to incorporate technology in their instruction. They were also more likely to apply digital content when teaching and had time to research and use more content in class (Roblyer, et al, 2000, p. 69).
Use of technology consistently has allowed teacher to gain more confidence and are comfortable when using technology to teach. When teacher get accustomed to the technology, they tend to encourage their student to use it too hence making learning more interactive and explorative hence more informative (Garet et al, 2001, p. 916).
Variety Learning Experiences: in order to assist teachers to integrate technology in means that uphold commanding instruction, there is need to be conversant with a range of professional development skills that are unique to the conventional training sessions that schools organize (Garet et al, 2001, p. 916).
Efficiency in using technology for professional development comes through various means like mentorship, special course, observation and modeling among other means (Sandholtz, 1997, p. 112). Whatever means used, successful professional development is critical to leaning as it accomplishes basic learning need like experience, support, feedback and follow-up.
Collegial Learning: vocational skill can be obtained from curricula that assist teachers to utilize professional development skills to discover better learning skills and assist students to develop student’s superior-order reasoning skills (Bitner & Bitner, 2005, p. 98). These efforts cannot be implemented in isolation; this is the reason why teams are encouraged to carry out collegial activities as demanded by professional fields.
Curriculum-specific use: if technology has to be used for passing new skills to student, then teachers have to get better at linking the skills and the curriculum for which they are in-charge. Practical demonstration of projects in specific curriculum sections should be another goal of professional development (Bitner & Bitner, 2005, p. 96).
This is their teachers show competencies in a specific curriculum and its helps them to demonstrate this in content (Sandholtz, 1997, p. 115). Professional developments have to exhibit school curriculum objective and acquired competencies. Specific content can assist teachers to assess, investigate, synthesize and organize thoughts into tasks that they can apply in class.
Technology Transformed Education
Structural changes that are being witnessed in higher learning are all attributed to advancement in technology (Chou & Liu, 2005, p. 65). E-leaning has created a flexible approach for students who would otherwise have missed the chance to learn due to obstacles and other limiting factors like job commitments, distance, and lack of time, inadequate monetary resources and family issues (Alharbi, 2002, p. 23).
Technology has in fact improved knowledge storage means, techniques of learning and has been a very major catalyst to fighting the barriers to education like inflexible structure. As a consequence many institution of higher learning are adopting e-leaning.
The traditional teaching techniques have changed comprehensively (Al-Kethery, 2006, p. 23). The transformations in education are due to ICT opportunities, mutual research, demand for functional skills and knowledge and seal to enter knowledge-based economies.
Effective learning environment offers sufficient resources and strategy to monitor and evaluate the students learn new concepts that will help them be productive members of the society. Therefore it is important that K-12 curricula are designed to meet the needs of each child regardless of ability, sex or ethnicity. Professional development and use of technology should be aimed at enhancing learning.
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