Almost every teacher knows how it feels to slog through mandatory professional development. All too often, irrelevant workshops are an inevitable fact of life in the one-size-fits-all world of teacher training.
As a former fourth-grade teacher, Julia Stiglitz has suffered through dull courses. And while she can’t cure the boredom of teachers who must endure subpar PD, she hopes to transform the voluntary side of PD through so-called massive open online courses (MOOCs).
“Sitting through PD that is not related to something you need to work on can be very frustrating,” says Stiglitz, director of business development and strategic partnerships for Coursera. “One of the best aspects of online PD is the ability for teachers to get information that is relevant to them–and from really strong organizations that know their content and how to deliver it.”
Some of those “really strong” universities include Johns Hopkins (MD) and Vanderbilt (TN), and the list is growing. With the help of these institutions, Coursera began offering its own approach to PD in May, so the curriculum is still very much in development. A course operations specialist with the company works directly with the university ed school partners to develop content.
via These MOOCs Will Make You Reconsider Everything About PD — THE Journal.
Teachers who are well-trained and prepared to use technology in class typically produce better results in the classrooms than those who are not.
Personal digital devices like tablets and laptops work better in the classroom when used along with an interactive whiteboard, finds a recent study by Filigree Consulting — and that purposeful planning and preparation went a long way toward improving academic outcomes using education technology.
Researchers looked at the practices of over 300 educators from around the world and found that when each student was equipped with a personal-use device, equipping teachers with an interactive whiteboard resulted in a more efficient academic environment since it allowed for rapid switching between whole-class assignments, individual work and small-group instruction.
Additionally, the researchers found that teachers who were effectively trained, used high-quality digital content, and had a well-developed best practices guide extracted more value out of instructional technology than their less-prepared peers.
Full Text: Preparation, Training Key to Exploiting Education Technology | Education News.
One of the most emergent and rapidly mutating forms of online and computer-based learning is “immersive environments.” As its name suggests, an immersive environment allows learners to be totally “immersed” in a self-contained artificial or simulated environment while experiencing it as real. Immersive environments can offer learners rich and complex content-based learning while also helping learners hone their technical, creative, and problem-solving skills. Because immersive environments are so rich and visual, users tend to be highly engaged.
For the most part, immersive environments are still used more for student learning than for teacher learning. Though this is changing, immersive environments for teacher pre- and in-service education are most conspicuous by their absence. Immersive environments can offer many of the same learning opportunities for teachers—development of content knowledge, behavioral skills, creativity, higher-order thinking and persistence (all critical characteristics of good teachers)—as they do for students. Though not without their limitations, which will be discussed here, the use of immersive learning for teacher professional learning, at the very least, warrants more investigation or “test driving” than is currently the case.
Full Text: elearn Magazine: Immersive Learning for Teacher Professional Development.