Professional Development: The Last Frontier?

I just came across a blog post where the author put the One Laptop Per Child computer on the Deathwatch.The crux of the post is that XO laptops, with great intentions, have been given to many kids but disappointing empirical studies have yet to warrant the cost.

The lessons learned from smaller 1:1 initiatives hold true for macro initiatives.

  • Professional development for the technology must be ongoing
  • If the leaders do not get it, the innovation simply will not work. This includes Ministry, district, and local leaders. These leaders need professional development too!
  • Implementing a 1:1 initiative takes a systems approach. This involves, as Bolman & Deal note, a focus on the Structural, Human Resources, Political, and Symbolic frames.
  • At the end of the day, technology innovations live or die by how ready and able are adopters. This readiness and ability is honed through ongoing, task embedded professional development for all involved. 

    We can hope that the next iteration of OLPC and future macro 1:1 initiatives place a larger focus on professional development. Perhaps this is the understanding the importance of this need is the last frontier to address the digital divide. 

    Image credit: Flickr user Marco Garces

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