Using eLearning tools to maximize summer PD

Denise Douglas-Faraci, EdD, shares useful advice to help teachers maximize summer Professional Development

professional-developmentSchool’s out for summer, and what better time for teachers to continue their education through professional development programs?

Between travel plans, family commitments, and taking a well-deserved break, it can be a nuisance for teachers to report in-person for professional development programs.

eLearning options, however, offer teachers the chance to virtually engage in active learning collaborations and without the confines of a classroom, online professional development gives teachers access to peer-learning, collaboration, creativity, critical thinking and digital citizenship opportunities (Aoun, 2011; Boulos & Wheeler, 2007; ISTE NETS for Students, 2007).

Not to mention, several studies have reported that e-Learning professional development provides additional options for teachers to update skills and knowledge that they can then apply to instructional practices (Santovec, 2004; Smith, Clark, & Blomeyer, 2005).

Maximizing summer professional development

Effective teacher professional development meets the following characteristics: collaborative, sustained, results-oriented, and standards-driven, embeds in teacher instructional practices, and promotes deep understanding of new topics to expand expertise. Additionally, teachers should seek out professional development programs that target curriculum to affect student achievement, and enhance teaching practices.

Summer eLearning professional development should align with professional standards, address individual learning styles, and promote collegial discussions and creations in a virtual environment. Of course the goal of these programs is implementation of e-Learning knowledge into instruction. A relationship should exist between the variety of e-Learning tools and various learning styles, creation of activities that align with professional standards, and the presence of collaboration and interaction.

(Next page: How to use summer PD eLearning tools)

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