- Critical thinking: Immersive technology in the classroom is no longer limited to student learning. At the University of Central Florida, professors Lisa Dieker, Charles E. Hughes and Michael Hynes created a mixed-reality classroom called TeachLivE, where educators can practice teaching live lessons in front of student avatars, according to District Administration. The virtual space allows them to work on specific skills such as classroom management. Avatars can be controlled to present teachers with various scenarios — such as kids misbehaving or a parent-teacher conference — that require them to make smart decisions. Teachers can also record their lessons with 360-degree cameras and view them using virtual reality headsets and headphones, allowing them to revisit their classes and think through how they taught a particular lesson.
- Communication: Schools can also promote effective communication with the help of videoconferencing technology. This is a great way to reach teachers in rural districts who tend to experience isolation because PD sessions are often held hours away. Today, educators are also using videoconferencing platforms such as Microsoft Teams and Cisco Webex to hold professional development sessions remotely. These platforms come with features that allow teachers to share their screen and easily follow along on presentations.
- Collaboration: Many district leaders have also turned to professional learning communities (PLCs) to maintain collaboration with teachers across the district. Microsoft Office 365 Education’s integrated programs, such as OneNote and Teams, enable them to build virtual hubs where educators can connect and share best practices and resources in real time without needing to meet in person.
- Creativity: Instructional coaches have found ways to gamify PD to build engagement and enthusiasm among teachers. For example, they’ve created “digital breakouts” on Google Forms, which is similar in concept to an escape room. With digital breakouts, teachers have to solve puzzles or find clues in their PD activity, making it more memorable. Participating in this creative approach also allows teachers to brainstorm new ways to use digital tools they may already have for student learning.
By implementing the Four C’s framework in professional development with technology, teachers will get the experience and training they need to do the same in their classrooms.