BellSouth Identifies Best Practices for Professional Development

In a report on the progress of its EduPower3 grant program, which helps train teachers and administrators in the use of technology in schools, the BellSouth Foundation has identified a number of professional development “best practices.” Here are the foundation’s keys to successful training, grouped around three main concepts:

1. Content

• Authentic learning tasks for educators that produce both short- and long-term results.

• Learning goals are presented that match educators’ goals.

• Curriculum integration strategies that address multiple levels of technology access.

• High-quality materials in multiple formats, supported with clear and specific directions.

• Provision of additional resources, as appropriate.

2. Process

• A clear agenda that is followed, particularly with respect to time.

• Educators working individually as well as in small groups.

• Learning experiences involving multiple learning styles—auditory, visual, and hands-on.

• Technical support after the training is completed to support educators’ implementation efforts.

• Mentors and/or site-based trainers to ensure knowledge exchange.

• A succinct and effective evaluation tool.

• Recognition of educators’ accomplishments, relative to their starting levels.

• Just-in-time follow-through, preferably web-based.

• A strategy for measuring growth over time that is inherent in the accountability system.

3. Learning environment

• Training should be held in a convenient and comfortable location.

• Instructors should possess extensive classroom experience.

• The equipment used in training should be the same as equipment used in the educator’s setting.

• The trainer-to-teacher ratio should be 1:13 or below.

• The length of the training session should be realistic for its learning goals.

Copies of the full report can be obtained by contacting the BellSouth Foundation at (404) 249-2396.

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