Innovative + online professional learning

May 18, 2023
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It’s a difficult time to be an educator. Whether as a classroom teacher or a professional learning provider, the current situation does not permit face-to-face instruction and many were thrust into the unexpected world of online teaching. But professional development doesn’t have to be the same. This summer is an opportunity to support your teachers without face-to-face professional development through scheduled and scaffolded professional learning. You have time to develop training and also establish which learning environment to use for training.

Let’s consider the requirements for Continuing Professional Education (CPE) credits to establish what you can do to provide online training to your teachers. First, CPE credits are required for teachers, principals, counselors and other certified staff to complete in order to maintain their certifications. The activities accepted for CPE credits include institutes, workshops, seminars, conferences, in-service training in the form of face-to-face learning, interactive distance learning, video conferencing, or online activities and conferences. Credits are awarded based on time spent in a professional learning event. For each hour of training provided, one hour of credit can be awarded.

Similar to how teachers adapted to providing instruction in less time, you can structure professional learning to involve activities for self-directed learning and application.

Structuring Online Professional Learning

Professional learning can be developed as independent work or group work if using activities like research, reflection, instructional design, building a presentation, viewing videos, reading journals, or participating in book-study discussions. Instead of building a training to last an entire day, consider breaking the day into six hours of professional learning engagement, spread across multiple days or weeks. Each hour can be designed as a separate and scaffolded lesson.

Canyon ISD delivers a great example of this (and I replicated in my own district) through their The Amazing Race event. Each week our team developed a 10-15 minute video introducing a new instructional strategy. The video included examples of what the strategy looked like in various grade levels and an introduction to a new instructional technology tool. Our first video demonstrated how to use Twitter and tag a post with the district hashtag.

To communicate the video and its purpose to all participants, we sent an email with resources for the instructional strategy, help using the instructional technology tool, and a task for the week matching what was shared for the topic. We also used Twitter and Google Classroom to help teachers engage with their colleagues about what they were learning. Each week’s learning, engaging, sharing, and tasks were designed to provide 1-hour of engagement in the topic to match the CPE credit requirements.

Another option for planning online PD opportunities is to use the tools that your teachers are currently using with students—see what learning options they provide and how you can award CPE credits. Google, Microsoft and Apple offer certifications for teachers through their websites. While they cannot provide CPE credits themselves, you could award CPE credit if they complete the certification. By reviewing the time requirements for these certifications, you can calculate how to award credit for the completion submission of the certification. Look at what other providers such as Seesaw, Kahoot, Nearpod, Zoom, etc. offer in terms of online learning and how you can tie CPE credits to their training.

How Eduphoria Can Help

If you are looking to provide opportunities for teachers to access training materials, Eduphoria offers archived training webinars. You could scaffold your own training path for teachers to view videos, demonstrate what they learned in an application, and use that information to award CPE credits.

You can also develop and scaffold training in Strive eCourses. Using the abundance of materials available online, you can build your own eCourse linked to the webinars or other certifications, which staff can access and receive credits upon completion. Using an eCourse allows you to list the requirements for course completion and track their credits.

The key to successful and innovative summer professional learning for CPE credits is to use everything available to you at the moment. Find out what your teachers need to be successful in face-to-face and online instruction, and use the learning resources available to scaffold your training.

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