We mentioned the recent Educator Confidence Report from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt a few days ago in the context of teachers spending their own money on tech PD.

One other nugget of information in that report was (a) how teachers learn about tech vs. (b) how they would like to learn about tech.

Top 3 Ways Educators Learn About Using Technology Effectively in the Classroom:

  1. Informal discussions with other teachers
  2. Formal school/district CPD provision
  3. Resources included with instructional resources (Note: for this we’ve read hardware / software tutorials from vendors)

Top 3 Ways Educators Want to Learn New Technology for Instruction:

  1. Example lesson plans
  2. Online tutorials
  3. Classroom coaching

Obviously, we’re pretty sold on the value of online tutorials as a time-efficient, cost-effective way for teachers to learn. So it might sound odd to say that the best approach probably mixes some of all of the above.

Thinking about technology as a monolithic “thing” that teachers need to learn is short-sighted. Teachers need to gain confidence with the technology itself. They need to understand how it supports teaching and learning. They need to know how to adapt technologies for use in their subject areas and grade levels.

Each of these needs should be supported in different ways. Some benefit from straightforward instruction. Others are best learned ‘on demand’ in a job embedded environment. Yet others need to be understood in the context of formal school / district priorities and policies.

Video can be used to address a lot of this – which is why we like it so much – but it should also support a blended approach to teacher professional learning.

A few questions to ask:

  • How might classroom coaches use video tutorials to create a flipped learning environment?
  • How might video be used to share best practice amongst colleagues?
  • How can formal offline CPD build on informal online learning opportunities?
  • How can vendors use workshops, educator communities and video to go beyond product-specific learning?