How Professional Development Can Make Technology Friendly
Technology enables teachers to engage with professional development courses in a deeper, more personal way.
Technology has become a mainstay in our daily lives. Education is no different. Technological advances enable educators to disrupt learning in ways that were almost unheard of in the past. When online learning emerged, the pathway to learning changed. Pathways to knowledge were no longer confined to the walls of the classroom. Learning truly could happen anywhere, and at any time. Students now have the option to take courses in the face-to-face classroom or in an online environment. Teachers have seen the benefit of both, which has opened up a new model of learning. Teachers have created blended learning opportunities in their classrooms that combine the best of both face-to-face and online environments. These advances in EdTech come with a new set of challenges as well. There is now a greater need for professional development programs, specifically designed to help teachers master these new educational systems.
Technology enables valuable interactions
Blended learning provides both flexibility and teacher guidance by harnessing the power of both learning environments. Teachers are able to provide more personalized instruction for the individual student and empower students with more control over their learning in terms of place, and path of their learning. Technology has enabled this transformation in education and teachers are the experts in implementing how it happens. This power duo is a winning combination for students.
Professional development encourages buy-in
A shift in the instructional model cannot happen without teacher buy-in. Teachers need learning support to redesign their classroom experience with confidence. As a school or district moves toward new modes of instruction, it should consider creating personalized professional development for teachers. This might seem like a daunting task, however, it doesn’t have to be. And in fact, the very tools that their students will be using can also be used to help teachers along their own learning path.
A personalized learning path for teachers
Learning Management Systems (LMS) are often the backbone of the online classroom. If a school/district is planning to implement blended learning with an LMS, the opportunity to deliver personalized professional development through this same technology is available. Allowing the teacher to be the student using the same technology not only models “how to” learn in this environment, but gives teachers practice in the LMS. This can build a sense of confidence and create a more successful rollout of the new delivery model being introduced. As well, the various tools inside the LMS allow teachers to enjoy a more personal learning path, including interactive content, discussion groups, video and other forms of engagement.
It is important that teachers feel confident in implementing blended learning in their classrooms to ensure its success. Providing teachers with the best possible professional development is key to making that happen.