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Professional Development Goes Digital

One critical component to retaining teachers and keeping them up-to-date on best practices is good professional development for teachers. Unfortunately, this is sometimes cost prohibitive, so districts resort to giving teachers the same outdated professional development year after year, which damages morale and can create resistance to change. However, new developments in online teaching resources and telecommuting technology can deliver quality, affordable professional development. There are several formats administrators can use to keep teachers at the forefront of education.

Video Conferencing Brings People Together

When administrators use video conferencing for professional development, they can reach many schools in a district at the same time without the expense of travel. Tools like Google Hangouts and Skype can also connect teachers not only to each other but also to the coaches, speakers and other professionals responsible for their professional development. Some schools even record professional development for teachers to view on their own time. This maximizes learning while minimizing time, which all teachers appreciate.

Live Sessions With Speakers Are a Low-Cost Alternative

Many districts use online teaching resources like free or low-cost webinars and on-site live-streamed workshops that teachers can access remotely — even from home, or during the summer. The key to positive professional development for teachers is to ensure that it meets teachers’ needs while being easy to access. This requires administrators to make sure every teacher knows how to access a live session. In many cases, these live sessions can connect teachers to senior colleagues and mentors who may further enhance their development.

Online Courses Help Teachers Engage

There are several online courses that can motivate teachers to improve their classrooms. This kind of development offers individualized learning, which enables teachers to learn how and when they prefer, encouraging immediate integration of updated methodologies. Learning at their own pace helps teachers reflect on what they need in order to improve learning outcomes.

Whichever method of online professional development teachers choose, they can be sure it meets a wide range of development needs. These benefits help put any district, school or teacher at the forefront of educational growth.

Learn about the UT Arlington online M.Ed. in Educational Leadership & Policy Studies program.


Sources:

http://www.edutopia.org/blog/virtual-pd-technology-and-trends-monica-burns

http://www.edweek.org/tsb/articles/2009/03/16/02onlinepd.h02.html


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