Ongoing professional learning
Technology-related professional learning plans and opportunities with dedicated time to practice and share ideas
What is it?
Educators need ongoing training to keep up to date with rapid changes in educational technology. Yet when planning for a systemwide transition, leaders often budget for infrastructure and equipment but overlook the need for professional learning.
To support a systemwide initiative, all educators and staff need professional learning plans that:
- Meet each individual’s needs with relevant training
- Are implemented regularly
- Are continually updated to reflect current trends and technologies
Educators also need to carve out time in their busy schedules to assimilate their new knowledge, practice new skills, learn from each other and work together. Each professional learning plan should include policies that allow participants time for planning, creating and reflecting on what they’ve learned about the teaching process.
Why is it important?
All the technology in the world won’t make a difference if educators don’t know how to leverage it for deeper learning. Buying hardware is only the first step. It’s what educators do with these tools that will determine a technology initiative’s success or failure.
Ongoing professional learning imbues educators with the confidence they need to use technology successfully. When educators have adequate time to build their networks and collaborate with each other, their ability to effectively apply digital tools in the classroom grows exponentially.
What does it look like?
With so many training options available, professional learning plans can look different for every educator. Online courses, virtual classroom coaching and asynchronous collaborative teams allow professional learning to be relevant, job embedded and just in time.
School or district leaders can support professional learning by:
- Offering regular access to diverse professional learning opportunities
- Providing opportunities based on educators’ needs and realities
- Developing incentive structures to encourage participation
- Focusing on both learning to use technology and using technology to learn
- Helping educators implement new knowledge and skills