Running head: PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT NEEDS 1

Technology Professional Development Needs for Napoleon Junior High School

Laura A. Miller

Bowling Green State University

Author Note

Laura A. Miller, Eighth Grade Science Teacher, Napoleon Junior/Senior High School.

Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Laura A. Miller, Napoleon

Junior/Senior High School, 701 Briarheath Drive, Napoleon, OH 43545

Email: amiller@napoleonareaschools.org
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Abstract

This paper analyzes results from the School Technology Needs Assessment survey administered

to Napoleon Junior High School teaching staff. Suggestions to meet the staff’s needs for

professional development offerings and implementation follow the analysis.
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Technology Professional Development Needs for Napoleon Junior High School

Teachers are life-long learners, and this trait leads to open minds in regards to new

teaching practices and technology implementation. Every teacher’s goal is to see their students

succeed. With technology at their fingertips, students no longer respond to traditional lectures

and paper and pencil assignments. While students walk into the classroom as experts in the latest

in technology, most teachers feel lost or unaware of the capabilities it has to positively transform

his or her classroom. Continuous and quality professional development is essential for teachers

so that they can meet the diverse needs of his or her students.

STNA Professional Development Needs Data Analysis

The School Technology Needs Assessment (STNA) was developed in collaboration with

the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction’s Educational Technology division to help

collect and analyze data related to technology integration (Serve, 2013). For the purpose of this

assignment an adopted version of the original STNA instrument was used.

The adapted STNA Professional Development Needs Survey was emailed to all fourteen

junior high teachers at Napoleon Junior High School. The survey in its entirety can be found at

https://goo.gl/forms/mTsjQlfREP8lFbLT2. The purpose of distributing this web-based survey

instrument is to determine professional development needs of teachers at Napoleon Junior High

School.

A total of eight (57%) teachers responded to the survey. Due to the small sample size,

the results to many of the questions were similar and indicated that the teachers tended to slightly

agree or slightly disagree with the statements or questions on the survey when analyzed

holistically. For this reason, specific percentages will not be used in the analysis. However,
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there were a few questions that indicated discrepancies and could be addressed by quality

professional development in technology.

The survey results indicated that 50% of the teachers use technology and embed it into

their everyday lessons. Teachers are using technology for project-based and cooperative learning

and has fostered student independence. The respondents also had faith in the administration’s

use of technology and its plans for the future. Teachers are frequently using technology, such as

e-mail, to communicate with parents. Adequate technology is available to the teaching staff,

such as laptops, projectors, mobile carts, and iPads. Teachers also indicated that the technology

department is adequately staffed and available should they need technical support. An important

finding shows that the respondents integrate technology to support their curriculum because they

recognize the need for technological skills in the 21st century is a key to student success.

Data gathered from the survey indicated that the teachers who completed the survey felt

that supplemental sources of funding to support technology are not actively pursued. Also, the

respondents indicated that the technology plan that was developed was due in part to effective

collaboration amongst stakeholders, such as teachers, community members, administrators and

specialists. Three out of the eight teachers indicated that they strongly disagreed with the

statement that teachers who are innovators with technology receive nonmaterial incentives. The

final common theme among the results was that teachers were not positive that technology has

increased student engagement or achieve greater academic success.

Overall, the use of technology is welcomed as a learning tool by teachers, administrators,

and students. The data shows that most teachers would like to further their education in ways to

use technology to increase student learning. Also, the data supports that teachers are

implementing technology but are not seeing the expected student growth.
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Suggestions for Professional Development Offerings

Based on the results of the professional development needs survey, suggestions for

Napoleon Junior High School include grant writing courses, presentation of applications,

software, and websites that engage and educate students, and frequent staff meetings to improve

communication between administration and staff. Teachers indicated that supplemental sources

of funding are not actively pursued to support technology. By offering professional development

sessions that educate teachers how to write grants to request for technology funding, they can

take matters into their own hands. For example, if a teacher believes that a subscription to a

website for their students would be beneficial, but he or she has been denied funding, a grant

could be written to request the money to purchase the subscription. Teachers also can write

proposals to garner support from businesses using grant writing skills.

An important element of any professional development session is to improve student

learning. Napoleon Junior High teachers surveyed believe that even though they use technology

in their lessons, they have not necessarily seen an increase in student learning. Professional

development that model ways to use applications, software and websites should be offered. It is

one thing for a teacher to seek and use technology that they have found on their own, but it is

another to see the proper way to use it. Veteran teachers who are reluctant to use technology, or

are not using it properly, would greatly benefit by witnessing how to use it to increase student

learning. Highly effective professional development will allow teachers to develop plans that

can be immediately used (Davis, 2015). If the technology skills or products are not applicable to

teacher needs, there is no incentive for he or she to implement what was presented.

While staff meetings are not considered professional development by definition,

Napoleon Junior High staff should have monthly meetings to address technology concerns.
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Teachers indicated through the survey that a year-long school technology plan is not in place.

Results also suggested that technology plans are not developed through collaboration among

stakeholders, nor is any plan monitored or updated. Napoleon administration needs to clearly

define the school’s technology long and short term goals so teachers have a guideline as to what

they should be working towards. Without a plan, miscommunication and confusion is bound to

happen. Monthly meetings to assess how technology is being used and taking suggestions from

its staff would improve communication between administration and staff.

Suggestions for Implementation

The art of teaching, like technology, is constantly evolving as standards are raised and the

stakes are higher. Teachers are expected to infuse their lessons with 21st century technology in

order to increase student learning. A school district’s staff has multiple levels of experience.

There are veteran teachers who have been in the classroom decades, teachers who are just

finding their way as they approach year ten, and brand-new college graduates with little teaching

experience. The generation gap also creates a challenge in regards to everyday experiences with

technology. For some teachers, using calculators and dry erase boards were a breakthrough in

the way they taught. Younger generations have spent their youth in the digital age where

information is easily accessed with a touch of a button. With a diverse workforce like this, it is

important that professional development programs are of high-quality and relevant to each

teacher.

There have been many lists of characteristics of effective professional development.

Thomas Guskey (2003) analyzed thirteen different lists that ranged from 1995 to 2002. They

concluded that a single list of effective ways to implement quality professional development does

not exist. Guskey (2003) says that school leaders must consider “the unique contextual elements
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of each school and the community leaders in that environment, and contin[ue] to [direct] efforts

towards improve[ments] in student learning outcomes” (p.17). The administration must consider

the distinctive needs of its staff at Napoleon Junior High School. In this case, the highest priority

that needs addressed is that despite the integration of technology to the best of their abilities, an

increase in student learning has not prevailed.

Claesgens et al. (2013) conducted a study that examined whether or not the format of

professional development affected implementation. When analyzing data from format one, a

summer institute, and format two, academic year-long, they concluded that there was no

observable effect on student understanding based on the delivery format. Claesgens et al. (2013)

suggest that professional development format will impact student learning if the staff does not

implement what was learned in the session. An incentive for teachers to implement skills gained

from professional development would be to have them present to the staff how they have used

what they have learned at the final meeting of the school year. This holds teachers accountable

for implementing technology skills taught throughout the school year.

Thomas Guskey (2002) identifies five critical levels to evaluate the merit of professional

development offered; participants’ reactions, participants’ learning, organization support and

change, participants’ use of new knowledge and skills, and student learning outcomes.

Following any professional development session, Napoleon administration should use Guskey’s

levels as a guideline to evaluate its effectiveness. From there, administration can tailor its

offerings to the needs of staff. Proper evaluation will provide evidence about whether the offered

session contributed to student learning (Guskey, 2002).

The International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) also states continuous

evaluations and assessments provides a holistic picture of a professional development success
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and address areas of weakness and strengths (ISTE, n.d.). Evaluations should assess the extent

the technology has impacted student achievement, teachers thoughts of whether skill gaps were

addressed, and if the session met the expected goals (ISTE, n.d.). Continuous feedback from staff

will strengthen communication between administration and staff, which will address the specific

needs of Napoleon Junior High staff.

Since there is no set list to create a professional development program, Napoleon

administration should analyze the experience of its staff in regards to technology and experience.

An academic year long plan that provides monthly meetings where staff can ask questions and

discuss issues pertaining to the training is also suggested. Finally, at the end of every

professional development offering, every participant should evaluate the session based on a

rubric by Thomas Guskey’s guidelines of effectiveness.

Because Napoleon Junior High does not have a written strategic plan for technology use,

evaluations from staff also can help determine long and short term goals for the use of

technology. In addition to creating a formal strategic technology plan, another long-term goal is

the implementation of academic year-long professional development that holds staff accountable

for technology skills learned. A short-term goal for Napoleon Junior High School is to survey

the teachers asking for specific technology needs. Administration cannot offer quality

professional development without know the needs of its staff. Administration should also seek

the advisement of similar school districts professional development offerings. This could be a

starting point for developing a strategic plan and can be modified based on the needs of

Napoleon Area Schools.
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References

Claesgens, J. Rubino-Hare, L., Bloom, N., Fredrickson, K., Henerson-Dahms, C., Menasco, J. &

Sample, J. (2013). Professional development integrating technology: Does delivery

format matter? Science Educator, 22(1), 10-18. Retrieved from

http://www.nsela.org/images/stories/scienceeducator/Summer2013/lori_r%20articleSCIE

D22n1_issue.pdf

Davis, Vicki. (2015, April 15). Edutopia. 8 top tips for highly effective PD. Retrieved from

https://www.edutopia.org/blog/top-tips-highly-effective-pd-vicki-davis

Guskey, T. (2002) Does it make a difference? Evaluating professional development. Educational

Leadership, 59(6), 45-51. Retrieved from http://www.ascd.org/publications/educational-

leadership/mar02/vol59/num06/Does-It-Make-a-Difference%C2%A2-Evaluating-

Professional-Development.aspx

Guskey, T. (2003) Analyzing lists of the characteristics of effective professional development to

promote visionary leadership. NASSP Bulletin, 87(637), 4-20.

doi: 10.1177/019263650308763702

International Society for Technology in Education. (n.d.) Assessment and evaluations. Retrieved

from http://www.iste.org/standards/tools-resources/essential-conditions/assessment-and-

evaluation

Serve Center. (2013). School technology needs assessment. Retrieved from

http://www.serve.org/stna.aspx