A Scenario That Works: Adapting the Army's Soldier Skills Training Model to Teach K-12 Teachers Technology

A Scenario That Works: Adapting the Army's Soldier Skills Training Model to Teach K-12 Teachers Technology

Patricia K. Gibson (Texas State University, USA), Dennis A. Smith (Campbell University, USA) and Sarah G. Smith (Ireland Drive Middle School, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-5667-1.ch013

Abstract

Technology use in K-12 classrooms in this era of rapid high-tech change ranges from deep and meaningful technological immersion to an outright classroom ban on electronic devices. Attempting to mitigate this technological divide between students and teachers, school districts increasingly require professional development in applicable student technologies and teacher support resources. Unfortunately, the standards for continuing education requirements are broad, money is tight, and development efforts are often far less organized. As unfortunate, current issues and general information sharing dominate the professional learning communities (PLCs) or teacher learning communities (TLCs) originally designed to fulfill professional development requirements. These challenges render the occasional professional development initiative included in a PLC or TLC event, ineffective where the fragmented, uninteresting, and often poorly planned technology instruction very rarely seems to stick. Drawing on experience with military training and continuing education training, the authors propose a simple, inexpensive, and internally resourced means used by soldiers to train individual and collective military tasks, to assist elementary and secondary teachers to learn how emerging technology works, and more importantly, how to maximize its effective use in the classroom.
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Introduction

Constrained budgets increasingly limit the amount of money set aside for teachers’ continuing education, deeming it less and less a priority. Nevertheless, while requirements vary from state to state, teachers in the United States must complete some level of continuing education to maintain state certification (Hoffman & Harris, 2016). Unfortunately, current issues, general information-sharing, and routine coordination now dominate Professional Learning Communities (PLCs) or Teacher Learning Communities (TLCs) originally designed to fulfill professional development requirements rendering the occasional fragmented, uninteresting, and often poorly planned technology instruction very rarely seems to stick. Simply put, a K-12 teachers’ time outside of student instruction is limited and precious. Therefore, the best solutions for more effective teaching practices and especially those for familiarizing emerging technologies among teachers, must be simple, manageable, motivating, cost effective, resourced by internal means whenever possible, and void of everyday general information exchange. All school districts employ talented individuals whose knowledge they can exploit to further the use of technology across each school. What follows is a proven system used by the military adapted to help classroom teachers learn and more optimally utilize technology in their classrooms.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Continuing Education: Educational events or opportunities entered by individuals following the completion of formal education such as secondary or post-secondary schooling.

Continuing Education Units (CEU): Formal recognition of successful completion of continuing education but done as professional development to retain licensure or certification in a career field.

Professional Learning Communities (PLC): A voluntary group of individuals who gather to study and discuss some aspect of their profession with the goal of improving or expanding their knowledge in their profession.

Professional Development: Additional learning following the earning of credentials in a career field or profession.

Microsoft OneNote: A computer program for free-form information gathering and multi-user collaboration. It gathers users' notes (handwritten or typed), drawings, screen clippings, and audio commentaries. Notes can be shared with other OneNote users over the Internet or a network. OneNote is available as a part of Microsoft Office and Windows 10.

Classroom Technology: Any electronic devices designed to be used to augment teaching.

Teacher Learning Communities (TLC): A voluntary group of teachers who gather to study and discuss aspects of the teaching profession with the goal of improving their skills and knowledge in the educational field.

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