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How to Build a Professional Development Plan for Teachers Using Tech

July 8, 2021

Technology has revolutionized the way we think, learn, work, and play. Studies show that using technology in the classroom can change how teachers teach and improve student learning processes and outcomes. 

teacher waving on computer

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the importance of technology in education has never been more apparent. Now, to ensure that students receive the most effective education regardless of what's happening in the world, we’ll rely on education technology (EdTech) more heavily than ever. 

While your teachers may have adapted to new teaching methods throughout the pandemic, ongoing professional development is essential to keep them ahead of the curve.

Consider these tips for creating and implementing a successful long-term professional development plan for teachers.

Make It Official

Many schools choose technology for classrooms and implement it without a comprehensive training plan for teachers – and then are surprised when the technology goes unused.

To prevent this, write an official professional development plan regarding technology in the classroom. Yes, it will need frequent updating, but it's more likely to happen if it's written down. 

Do a ‘Needs Assessment’

No two teachers have the same knowledge regarding technology or applying it in their classroom. You need to know your teachers’ comfort level and attitude about technology and basic technology use. 

At the beginning of every school year and/or professional development session, ask questions like:

  • How do you currently use technology in your classroom?
  • How comfortable are you using technology in your classroom?
  • Which tools/topics would you like to learn?

The answers will show you where your teachers are now, where they want to be, and what they need to learn to get there. 

Pretend It’s a Classroom

We rarely approach professional development the same way we approach teaching students – 

teacher standing in front of class to give lecture

but adults also benefit from quality instruction.

Those running professional development should teach to different knowledge levels, check for understanding as they go, and create opportunities for all types of learners. Consider breaking into groups or letting teachers with more knowledge assist other teachers to keep the class from slowing down too much.

Make It Hands-On

Include sufficient time for teachers to practice with the technology and create lessons/activities for their students. This will make professional development more engaging and help teachers retain the skills longer.

Offer Further Learning Opportunities

You can’t provide constant training to help teachers keep up, but you can encourage ongoing education by offering learning opportunities outside of formal training, including peer coaching, modeling lessons, team teaching, study groups, shadowing, curriculum workshops, and offsite workshops/conferences. 

teacher and student looking at clipboard of a professional development plan

Create Accessible Resources

Face-to-face time is limited, even during in-person training, and you can only teach so much so fast. You can’t show teachers an application or program once and expect them to know how to use it.

Therefore, you need a database of resources. For example:

  • The trainer’s contact information
  • A list of online resources
  • A “tech fundamentals” sheet
  • Help sheets
  • Training videos

Update, Update, Update

Technology changes fast, so a good professional development plan must be adaptable. Your trainers will need to stay up to date on the technology needs of schools, teachers, and students. 

Final Thoughts 

Professional development is more than helping teachers become familiar with the basics of technology – you need an ongoing program to support, encourage, and inspire teachers to explore technology while giving them resources to make the most of it in the classroom.

 

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Topics: Professional Development, Teacher, Technology Tools

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