Part 4: Time
We are thrilled to be back with a brief (how appropriate!) post about our next PD challenge: Time! Or, perhaps more accurately, the lack of it… 🙂
There are a few challenging elements when it comes to the issue of time and facilitating effective PD.
First, we struggle to find time to offer effective teacher training during the school day, week, and even the school year. Not only does it consume quite a bit of time for the preparation itself, but you often have to remove teachers from classroom instruction and get subs - or have them dig into their own time for off-contract or after-hours PD.
Second, we must consider new information we now have regarding the impact of time in relation to actual learning. What do I mean by that? Studies have shown that our attention span has declined significantly and steadily since the year 2000, or since the internet and digital tools really started to become mainstream. Several resources report these days that our attention span is actually less than that of a goldfish. As educators ourselves, we’ve sat through hour-long and sometimes even day-long PD sessions that failed to meet our needs. It is truly easy to become very resentful when you feel that your time is not valued; we have felt this and have found through a great deal of research that we are not alone! It is imperative that we acknowledge how much teachers already have on their plates, and then act accordingly when designing educator training.
So, how has our team at MobileMind addressed the challenge of time?
At MobileMind we embrace micro-learning and personalization. We have created what we call “micro-courses”, which are comprised of very brief learning videos (never longer than 5 minutes!) supported by short, hands-on learning challenges. In addition, the ability for a teacher to personalize his or her learning experience makes the learning process more efficient than one-size-fits-all training's that might not make the best use of educators’ valuable time.
Teachers can begin learning at the click of a (Chrome extension) button. They can filter their personal micro-course library by their own learning goals. They can stop and then continue learning at any time to fit their busy schedules. Finally, they receive human feedback for each challenge submission, which further demonstrates how much we value each learner’s time and energy. Within seconds, a teacher can click to begin learning something new… no subs needed, no more dreaded after-school training's, no more time wasted.
Stay tuned for our next blog post when we discuss the issue of planning + logistics with limited resources!