Staff Development 21st century style

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Happy Thanksgiving to those of you celebrating. My wife and I leave later today for Beijing to have Beijing Duck for our Thanksgiving dinner. Hopefully I’ll have some great pictures to share with you all when I return.

All this talk about staff development has my head spinning, and I couldn’t resist the temptation to pick up my thinking stick and give it a go.

In Leading to Standards 2.0 Doug Johnson writes about the overlap of the AASLs and the NETS when looking at technology/information standards for students. This Venn diagram that he created puts it in visual form.
Doug Johnson's Venn Diagram of NETS and AASL overlap

I think that is a brilliant idea, taking the AASLs and the NETS and creating one powerful document for student information standards in the 21st century.
David Warlick’s OK, No More Staff Development post started me thinking about doing the same for teachers. Dave lists the following things he believes schools should strive for:

They need to strive for a school environment where teachers:
• Have the time to reflect and retool (at least three hours a day),
• Have ready access to local and global ideas and resources that are logically and socially indexed,
• Have the skills to research, evaluate, collaborate, remix, and implement new tools and techniques (contemporary literacy),
• Are part of an ongoing professional conversation where the expressed purpose is to provoke change (adapt),
• Leave the school from time to time to have their heads turned by new experiences,
• Share what they and their students are doing with what they teach and learn — their information products and relics of learning become an explicit and irresistibly interwoven part of the school’s culture.

Again all of this focuses on information and information sharing. Here’s an idea, what if we change standards for both students and teachers to focus on information learning or information literacy or whatever term you want to give it? John Pederson does a beautiful remix on teaching vs learning focused on teachers.

Who do we teach? What do we teach? When do we teach? Where do we teach? How do we teach? Why do we teach?

What happens when we flip the question to learning?

Who do we learn with/from? What do we learn? When do we learn? Where do we learn? How do we learn? Why do we learn?

So taking this all in, I went back to the NETS from ISTE only this time I looked at the NETS for teachers. Did a find and replace of technology for information and came up with the following:

I.Teachers demonstrate a sound understanding of information operations and concepts. Teachers:
A. demonstrate introductory knowledge, skills, and understanding of concepts related to information (as described in the ISTE National Education Information Standards for Students)
B. demonstrate continual growth in information knowledge and skills to stay abreast of current and emerging technologies.
Teachers plan and design effective learning environments and experiences supported by information. Teachers:
design developmentally appropriate learning opportunities that apply information-enhanced instructional strategies to support the diverse needs of learners.
A. apply current research on teaching and learning with information when planning learning environments and experiences.
B. identify and locate information resources and evaluate them for accuracy and suitability.
C. plan for the management of information resources within the context of learning activities.
D. plan strategies to manage student learning in a information-enhanced environment.
Teachers implement curriculum plans, that include methods and strategies for applying information to maximize student learning. Teachers:
facilitate information-enhanced experiences that address content standards and student information standards.
A. use information to support learner-centered strategies that address the diverse needs of students.
B. apply information to develop students’ higher order skills and creativity.
C. manage student learning activities in a information-enhanced environment.
Teachers apply information to facilitate a variety of effective assessment and evaluation strategies. Teachers:
apply information in assessing student learning of subject matter using a variety of assessment techniques.
A. use information resources to collect and analyze data, interpret results, and communicate findings to improve instructional practice and maximize student learning.
B. apply multiple methods of evaluation to determine students’ appropriate use of information resources for learning, communication, and productivity.
Teachers use information to enhance their productivity and professional practice. Teachers:
use information resources to engage in ongoing professional development and lifelong learning.
A. continually evaluate and reflect on professional practice to make informed decisions regarding the use of information in support of student learning.
B. apply information to increase productivity.
C. use information to communicate and collaborate with peers, parents, and the larger community in order to nurture student learning.
Teachers understand the social,ethical,legal,and human issues surrounding the use of information in PK-12 schools and apply those principles in practice. Teachers:
model and teach legal and ethical practice related to information use.
A. apply information resources to enable and empower learners with diverse backgrounds, characteristics, and abilities.
B. identify and use information resources that affirm diversity
C. promote safe and healthy use of information resources.
D. facilitate equitable access to information resources for all students.

Out of this come some interesting standards for teachers. So what if you took these standards based off information and created a self-development infrastructure (thank you Dave for that term) around them? Could you not hold staff development on any subject at any grade level based off of these set standards? No matter what subject you teach it’s about information. With a set of standards like this and a staff vision like John has created around learning, how powerful of a staff development infrastructure would you create?

I started blogging in 2005 and found it such a powerful way to reflect and share my thinking about technology, this generation, and how we prepare students for their future not our past.


  1. I think we’ve done some great collaborative work understanding the big picture. I know I’ve learned to see things much clearer throught the proces of mixing our thoughts together.

    The reason I went all “teacher” on things was based on a thread a few months ago. If teachers don’t have these skills (can’t meet these standards), they can’t give that learning to their students. In the past, we have leaned heavily on two things… 1) teaching these information literacy skills is what happens in the library and 2) the students have technology skills. I’ve been guilty in the past of making these assumptions. The faster things move and change, the more urgent the call to “catch teachers up” to this new information enivronment.

    The most difficult part for me is the “buy-in”. How do these ideas translate into action? How do we move big “institutions” with all of their complications? This is where I believe we bump into the elephant in the corner of the room. We have a system in place that was designed for a completely different world than we live in today. I’m frustrated “bailing out” of the thinking on that note, but that’s the sticking point for me right now.

  2. Pingback: NSDC and conversations at The Thinking Stick

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