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Professional Development Planner

In the end, teacher professional development, like all learning, is done in small steps. No single lecture, movie, or paper can lead to meaningful change. Like your students, you need to construct your learning over a period of time for it to have any chance of lasting.

The Professional Development Planner table below has assembled a collection of movies and articles that can be the subject of your own long-term investigations and teaching experiments. It offers a research-supported path to becoming a better teacher. Click on the thumbnail pictures to go to the relevant DITC pages, or the Acrobat icon to read and print out the related document.

Title/Paper Movies Description

Exploring Formative Assessment

 "Inside The Black Box" (14 pages)

Powerful Research

Some of the best educational research says that formative assessment improves students' learning. As a teacher, you need to find out on your own how to make these strategies work to you. Listen to Paul Black talk about his pamphlet, Inside The Black Box, and then plan your own experiments with this key to effective pedagogy.

Learning About the Design Process

Generic Design Process Model

DITC only scratches the surface of the kind of training that leads do internalizing the many strategies related to the design process. A good introduction to the design culture with its own language and ways of acting takes years and outside the range of DITC, but you can get a flavor for this parallel to inquiry by reviewing the Learn About Design section, especially the first three topics in its the purple navigation bar.

Developing Kids' Awareness of Designer Roles and Strategies

Hotspots Revealed

Teaching Experiment

Assessing what strategies your youthful designers use requires background knowledge about design strategies and practices. The "Hotspot Revealed" movie can be used with your own students to provide them with the info they need to be able to evaluate kids their own age doing tasks they have already completed.

In "Teaching Experiment" you can see science teacher Toni Laman getting students to develop their own way of describing design strategies. She then leads her students through reflects of their own work in groups and strategies they used. Building such "metacognitive awareness" was a major goal she had for her students.

Encouraging Creativity in Kids

Encouraging Creativity

Strategies that you use with groups of students can either foster or squelch creativity. David Perkins of Harvard's Graduate School of Education discusses how creativity is not for the elite few, but is made up of thinking strategies that are available to most everyone. Richard Kimbell and Woodie Flowers both talk about ways they have found to support students "thinking outside the box."

What Is a Good Design Challenge?


Good Design Challenge

If you talk to teachers who use design tasks over a period of years, you can always engage in a lively debate about what makes for a good design challenge. Tech ed and science teachers have very different answers to this question and related questions. How open-ended should the original challenge be? Do design challenges that converge on a single "optimal" solution violate the spirit of exploring a design challenge? Key features of good design tasks are discussed.

What's Hard About a Topic?

 "The Many Faces of Constuctivism" (6 pages)

What's Hard About A Topic

The Learning Sciences show that instruction that ignores students' preconceptions often ends up not changing them. Harvard's David Perkins discussed a key topic that helps focus your attention on the key difficulties that students may encounter as you plan a lesson. Asking the question, "What's hard for students about this topic?" can place this issue in the forefront of your lesson planning for the benefit of all.

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