Professional development app helps schools personalize training

PD 360 is currently used by more than 600,000 educators, and some schools, like South Garland High School in Garland, Texas, note that teacher retention increased after the introduction of the professional development software. Teachers can access the video components during collaborative sessions or at home.

“A lot of teachers use it in areas that they want to grow in personally or they just want to know more about, so it’s been a pretty good tool for us,” said Esselmann.

The flexibility of use has proved a boon for Esselmann’s district.

“Given the limited time we have for professional development as a group, whether it’s at the school level or across content areas, it provides a really good way for us to individualize professional development at the level of the individual teacher as well as at the school level in terms of goals,”
Esselmann said.

She said originally, school leaders expressed concern over whether the new technology would catch on, but during the first year, more than 45,000 segments were viewed.

“I’d say almost 85-95 percent of teachers in any building have accessed the system, so we’re quite pleased with the use,” Esselmann said.

The mobile software also lets teachers and administrators upload their own videos.

“It actually has that flexibility, so we’re not only able to access the full library of PD 360, but we can also access our own custom video bank,” Esselmann said.

Observation 360 currently works on the Apple iPad, iPhone, or iPod Touch.

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