Sonal Patel, coordinator of digital learning innovation for the San Bernardino County Superintendent of Schools in California, agrees, saying that meaningful and purposeful technology PD for teachers can enhance student outcomes.
“For one, technology can be used to remove barriers and create a more personalized experience for educators and students,” Patel says.
Yet, if educators are not trained sufficiently to do this, she says, then the purpose of technology is lost.
“We are at an opportune moment where we can truly home in on helping educators redefine learning experiences so that we can increase student engagement, help with learning recovery after this pandemic, and help students grow academically, socially and emotionally,” Patel says.
Buy-in from Teachers is Key to Digital Professional Development
In many cases, school IT leaders say professional development for teachers is more effective when it is led by fellow teachers.
DeSantis was a classroom teacher before assuming his role about two years ago. He says having that perspective is helpful.
It also helps to call on a school’s “high-flyers” — tech-savvy teachers who, as part of their responsibilities, help lead professional development for fellow educators.
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Buy-in from teachers for tech PD was a priority in the Alisal Union School District in California, according to Joshua Harris, director of educational technology. They engaged the teachers union to determine the best approach and prioritized PD by paying teachers to attend training.
“That was important to honor teachers’ time,” Harris says. “These are necessary skills. These are going to best equip our teachers to best equip our students.”