Thursday, September 20, 2007

Survey Says...

Lecherous Richard Dawson visions aside, I sent out my Fall Professional Development Survey to the staff of the middle and high school today. Here are the questions and the results:

What area of student improvement would you like to focus on this year?

Research Skills 25%
Personal Productivity and Organization 54%
Literacy and Storytelling 15%
Analytical Skills and Problem Solving 44%
Creativity and Expression 23%
Other, please specify 6%

Do you have a preference for the format of the classes?
Classes offered as single two-, to three-hour sessions 38%
Classes offered as several one-hour sessions. 29%
No preference. 35%

Which technologies or applications would you like to become more familiar with?
Wikis 46%
Blogs 38%
OnCourse 21%
Schoolwires 21%
Microsoft Office 17%
Unitedstreaming 48%
Podcasting or Screencasting 42%
Digital Storytelling 23%
Photography and Video 35%
Adobe Suite (Photoshop, InDesign, Illustrator) 29%

Looking at these results, the list of classes I had planned takes new shape. While still in the early stages of development, I had planned on a major focus on subject specific courses with emphasis on collaboration. In planning the survey, I wanted to shift the focus away from tech-heavy topics, which is why I placed emphasis on student improvement, which I truly feel doubles as teacher improvement. For example, helping students create and nurture their own PLE's will no doubt push teachers to do the same, so a class that explains them must first show the teachers how to create a PLE.

I would love to hear how anyone else assesses the needs of your district in terms of professional development: survey? suggestion? mandate from administration?

On another note, the most uplifting part of this survey has got to be the interest we have generated in collaborative and connective tools like wikis and blogs. If you walked through our halls now, these words, which not too long ago were completely foreign, can be heard in conversation between colleagues.

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