Compaq Offers Teachers a Boost in Achieving Professional Development Goals

New classroom computers greeted many teachers asthey returned to school this fall. This new phenomenon is notsurprising as school are projected to spend this year almost $12billion dollars on technology-related products, according to a T.H.E.(Technological Horizons in Education) report on education purchaseplans.

In addition to investing in computers, schoolsalso are increasing their focus on professional development coursesto help teachers learn best practices in using and integratingtechnology in the classroom. According to Dr. Geoff Fletcher,Executive Director of T.H.E. Institute, interest in professionaldevelopment is increasing among state and local agencies, sparkingadditional funding for ongoing teacher training. Recent research fromEducational Turnkey Systems, a market research firm that monitorsfederal and state funding, shows that approximately $300 million ofstate funds and $430 million of federal funds will be spent on staffdevelopment during the 1998-99 school year.

"During the past 15 years, the effort focussed onproviding technology hardware and software to students. Yet, theteachers and administrators who use and manage technology in schoolswere not adequately prepared. The result is that while technology hasproduced many positive results in the classroom, significant strideswon't be made until educators are brought into the process," Fletchersaid.

"In ,most life activities, whether driving a caror learning to play the piano, we receive instruction on what to do.We just haven't done this in education, we haven't helped teachersunderstand how to best use technology," Fletcher added.

Traditional computer training taught teachers howto use computer hardware and software. Today's professionaldevelopment programs in technology, however, are more comprehensive.While they include the basics, they now promote an understanding ofhow computers change and enhance. the process of teaching andlearning.

This has been a welcome development to K-12educators nationwide. While many of the very familiar with how to usea computer, the question for many educators remains &emdash; whatrole can computers play in enhancing the teaching process?

"Ultimately, the success of technology inclassrooms depends on the teacher. The more we can help teachersintegrate and maximize the use of technology into their lessons, themore effectively they can facilitate student learning," said CompaqComputer Corporation's director of education, GaryStaunch.

Industry research shows that educators havespecific requirements for professional development. On theirmust-have list, educators have called for ongoing learning instead ofone-shot seminars, flexible formats to address different styles oflearning and a variety of options to fit their busyschedules.

"A fundamental barrier for schools in implementingtechnology has been the traditional lack of professional developmentcoursework that meets teachers' requirements," Staunchsaid.

A new program, called advanCE, from CompaqComputer Corporation aims to change the face of professionaldevelopment. advanCE &emdash; or Advantage: Compaq Education &emdash;offers teachers and administrators a flexible set of professionaldevelopment courses that enable educators to best incorporatetechnology into lesson plans.

The five advanCE lessons address some of the toptechnology issues faced by teachers today. Developed in conjunctionwith T.H.E. Institute and professional development experts Dr.Fletcher and Dr. Michael Eason, Compaq advanCE courses can be appliedtoward Continuing Education Units (CEUs). Each advancCE coursefeatures a 10-lesson format covering a single topic and includes aninstruction guide, syllabus, appendixes and a finalproject.

Compaq education customers can receive points for earning free AdvanCE courses. One dollar spent on Compaq products and services equals one AdvanCE Point. Customers can order AdvanCE courses through point redemption by filling out a simple AdvanCE order form of by calling 1-800-550-3382.

AdvanCE Purchase Price AdvanCE Point Redemption:

CD-ROM

$195

20,000

Internet

$395

40,000

Face-to-Face

$4,000

750,000

Trainer's Kit

$995

100,000

T3 Kit

$2,995

300,000

What is most appealing about Compaq's professionaldevelopment courses is their flexibility. advanCE courses are offeredin five formats to meet individual requirements, goals, learningstyles and school budgets. Self-paced instruction via CD-ROM offersteachers the convenience of "taking class" wherever and whenever theycan. Traditional hands-on workshops provide face-to-face instructionfor up to 30 teachers at a time. For the best of both worlds,moderated courses delivered on the internet provide access toinstructors while also enabling teachers to take classes when itsmost convenient to them.

advanCE trainers are both teachers and mentors,responding to educators' questions and helping connect educators whohave overcome similar challenges. Compaq offers several trainers'kits that enable individuals and groups to become certified advanCEtrainers. As a result, districts can train several teachers in orderto provide ongoing professional development throughout their districtand facilitate a rollout model.

"Flexibility was an important criteria in thecreation of advanCE," Staunch said. "We designed these programs withthe teacher and administrator in mind &emdash; ensuring that thecourses reflect the right combination of subject matter andinstructional delivery formats to meet the requirements of eacheducator."

Compaq also ensures that advanCE students haveaccess to an on-going support system well after they have completed acourse. A special alumni Web site promotes continued education andidea sharing through an online chat forum in which teachers discusstechnology challenges; a bulletin board, where teachers postrequests; and a project file, providing background on successfulprojects.

Reflecting its commitment to help customers bestuse technology in the classroom, Compaq allows schools that purchaseCompaq products and services through a Compaq CEP or directly using1-800-88teach to collect advanCE Points that can be applied towardthe purchase of advanCE courses. For each dollar spent on Compaqproducts and services, schools receive one advanCE Point.

For more information about Compaq advanCE, schoolscan contact a Compaq Certified Education Partner of call Compaq at1-800-88TEACH or visit Compaq on the Web at www.compaq.com/education.

This article originally appeared in the 10/01/1998 issue of THE Journal.

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