Tag Archives forchallenging traditional pd

The Teacher Professional Development Controversy: Is It Just a Joke? Or More Effective Than Ever?

“I’m about as professionally developed as I need to be.”

Those are the actual sentiments about teacher professional development from Eddie B., a teacher turned comedian. He has a huge YouTube following of loyal teacher fans. Why?  Because he gets to the heart of their pain through laughter.

It’s no secret that the workload for teachers has become increasingly difficult with demands that seem unrealistic to fulfill. This has led to teacher shortages across the entire country. But now, with the hybrid of remote / face-to-face learning, ramped-up safety precautions due to COVID-19, and a greater diversity in students’ needs to add to the mix…teacher professional development is more critical than ever.

And teachers are seeking better professional development programs as another school year is underway with COVID-19 safety practices in place. Let’s look at the goals of teacher PD.

Goals of Professional Development

According to research completed by the U.S. Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences, student achievement can improve by as much as 21 percentile points if “teachers receive substantial professional development.”

We’ll revisit “substantial” in a moment. But first, let’s look at some of the goals administrators.

They may seek teacher professional development that

  • Trains teachers new technology
  • Prepares teachers for leadership positions
  • Creates awareness of different learning styles
  • Gains a deeper understanding of subject material or standards to be taught
  • Supports brand new teachers
  • Reviews school procedures or learn new ones
  • Learns time management and organizational skills

There is no doubt the value professional development provides teachers. So why has it caused teachers to cringe in the past?

PD Goals vs. Teacher Reality

According to an article from Education Week, What Do Teachers Really Want From Professional Development? Respect, by Sarah Schwartz, teachers’ needs haven’t been put first.

Here are some of their complaints:

  • Courses cover skills mastered years ago.
  • Courses are irrelevant to the subject they teach.
  • They are not given the freedom to choose what courses they need.

PD like this, teachers say, doesn’t respect their experience, expertise, or time.

Let’s face it. Teachers want to be in their classrooms teaching. BUT…they also want to improve their teaching skills—especially now as they are having to adjust to their new world post Covid.

What Teachers Really Want from Professional Development

Last year teachers felt there was a lack of guidance.  There was a mad dash to figure out how to move everything to remote learning and teaching suffered as a result. This caused confusion among students, teachers and parents.  And teachers want to be better prepared this year.

According to the Wall Street Journal article, Help Us Get Better at Remote Instruction, NYC Public School Teachers Ask by By Leslie Brody and Katie Honan, teachers want direction on how to better implement online learning in these areas:

  • Choosing the most important content for an online format
  • Assessing students’ understanding over a screen
  • Providing meaningful feedback when there is less direct interaction
  • Pacing and developing tasks for learning offline

So, when that precious time is consumed with training that isn’t even applicable to them… Do you wonder why they might see it as a joke?

Even if professional development has been a priority for district leaders, their efforts are worthless if teachers see it as a waste of time. So, how do we change this? Put teachers in the driver’s seat of their professional learning path.

Professional Development Best Practices

How do we keep our teachers informed and up to date on the latest skills, tools, and ways of teaching?

As the pandemic swept across our nation at the end of the 2019-2020 school year, teachers had to make immediate changes to the way they traditionally taught.

There was a mad dash to take their technical skills to a new level, find out what programs offered solutions, and keep students engaged all without traditional face-to-face instruction.

According to Education Week, this is what teachers need now:

Source: Education Week Reportinghttps://lh6.googleusercontent.com/AU0adF2xQ14VViRcG0M5u3W4YUMHmHRcSLwfkn-AhsfFB33FIUCw706Ur3MQID0F6nPtzOSMdA-mkLDKOO0VUSRootB-DXa_P6-rpyRMYI8Y3RDS5bycwVlPd8wHpweB4R9LyJxh

Teachers need “substantial” programs where they are getting specialized instruction that they need in specific areas. A “substantial” program would mean they are learning new ways of teaching, how to pivot in the wake of Covid-19, and filling learning gaps where they know they are lacking.

How District Leaders Can Meet the Professional Learning Needs of Their Teachers

For many years, administrators have expected teachers to provide differentiated instruction to their students. This means they are required to accommodate learners. They have to adjust their curriculum to make sense for the students by meeting them where they are.  Shouldn’t the same be expected of the administrators when it comes to teacher professional development?

Not all teachers need the same professional development. By providing teachers the opportunity to pick and choose the courses they want and need, professional development becomes much more effective. If district leaders and administrators respect their teachers and want the very best for them, teacher driven professional learning is a win win.

Teachers know where their weaknesses lie, what courses would fill those gaps, and are fully capable of doing it on their own schedule. The teachers are accountable for their learning and as a result… In the driver’s seat. A concept that’s long overdue.  And…that is no joke.

If you would like more information on how to promote teacher driven professional learning all-in-one learning platform, please feel free to reach out to us at info@mobilemind.io

MobileMind HQ beta has launched!

MobileMind HQ beta has launched! Even more exciting, all of our new features are now available to our districts and schools at no extra cost!  You have 60 days to opt in and take advantage of this incredible offer.  We have free webinars scheduled (beginning Oct 8), Click here for more info on the webinars and individual sessions, or go ahead and schedule a free virtual individualized coaching session with our success team.

MobileMind HQ extends our current product offering to allow districts to leverage the power of MobileMind for internal creation, communication, and reporting. As a group of former teachers and administrators, we understand the number of trainings, compliance modules, and PD initiatives that are required throughout a given year. Our goal with MobileMind HQ is to provide a single home to manage and report on these wide-ranging activities while leveraging MobileMind’s innovative and intuitive technology for improved results. As part of MobileMind HQ you’ll be able to:

Create

  • Courses - Create your own courses with challenges for your educators /staff based on the needs of your school/district. We’ve compiled a list of ideas to get you started.
  • Badges - Create your very own badges to award for completion of a set of MobileMind courses, your own courses, or a combination. 
  • Learning Paths - Create your own learning paths to curate a list of MobileMind courses, your own courses, or a combination.  Arrange them in any structure you wish for your educators and staff (Example: New Teacher Learning Path consisting of school policy courses you create, as well as some MobileMind Google training they will need to be successful.)

Review

  •  Review/Grade - Each course you create comes with a challenge that leverages multiple choice, text, URL, and image submissions. Anything beyond multiple choice (which are auto-graded) will appear on the organization's reviewer page for you and your team to evaluate.

Report

  • Enhanced reporting - In addition to enhancing our existing reports, we are introducing a Learning Path report and a Compliance report.  With this MobileMind hq compliance report, you will easily be able to see who has and has not completed learning paths, badges, or even individual courses.  (Example: If all new teachers must complete a New Teacher Learning Path, you will see at a glance who still needs to complete the training). Step by Step Instructions

Manage

  • Manage your teachers - Additionally, all district / school leaders will now have the ability to manage their own users and groups.  Step by Step Instructions 

As is normal for a beta product, we can’t guarantee a totally smooth ride. If you come across any issues, we’d love to hear about them. Please report any issues directly to the support team.

Orange Students head back to school with potential 3 phases including MobileMind

The following is taken from Orange Town News. Read the full report here.

Orange Town News, in Connecticut, are reporting that students are to return to the classroom from 31st August in a potential 3 phase approach having spent nearly a year out of school due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Under what the district refers to as ‘key mitigation strategies,’ there will be mandatory face coverings, cleaning/hygiene protocols, cohorting, social distancing, a thorough cleaning of the HVAC system and families encouraged to drive students to school.

Vince Scarpetti, Superintendent, said; ‘The summer always passes by pretty fast, but by no surprise, this summer went by in a flash and a blink of an eye...Administrators, teachers and parents were very busy getting ready for the beginning of the school year.’

He said parents had a big decision to make, whether to send their kids back to school and that one of the biggest concerns from parents was around what remote learning will look like in the first phase.  “Another question that’s come up is ‘am I able to change my mind?’  Absolutely, yes,” Scarpetti says.  “This is a personal decision that families need to make based on what’s right for them.  We support all of you throughout this process.  The decision to change will take place on Monday of the following week.”

“I hope that we don’t enter Phase 2, which is hybrid, or Phase 3, which is total remote.  Why do I hope that?  Because that means the metrics have changed.  But in case we do, we need to be prepared,” he says.

Evelyn Russo, curriculum director for the district says the plan, whether in school or not, focuses on social-emotional lessons with consideration of the well-being of all children.  “We have to teach students about the new protocols and procedures.  We will teach students how to work remotely if we do need to make that shift.  We know that student achievement is based on staff development,” she says.

Staff has spent the summer learning new tools and resources that they’ll need to use in today’s changed world.  “We are going to rely on MobileMind, which has learning paths and micro-courses that teach in minute-long videos and then a task which a teacher engages in and submits for feedback,” Russo explains. “They’re really internalizing the learning by actually doing it and then getting feedback. It will allow teachers to increase their knowledge at whatever level they are.  We needed teachers to become familiar with all of our distance learning tools and digital resources.”

Want to see how MobileMind can assist with your phased return to school? Simply click here to book a call with one of our team.

The NEW MobileMind!

MobileMind is thrilled to announce the official launch of our new and improved personalized professional learning hub!  From distance learning to Google certifications, we have schools covered with the simplest and most effective professional learning solution for leaders, teachers, and staff!  We’ve already received some amazing feedback from those who are already learning in the new version of our platform, and we are excited to show you some highlights! 

With new streamlined onboarding upon logging in for the first time, learners tell us a little about themselves so we can point them in the right direction. 

We suggest a learning path to get our educators started, but learners are always welcome to explore on their own.

Another fresh feature is the personalized dashboard page, tailored for each learner!  The widgets on this page may change daily based on a learner’s achievements, progress, and feedback.  In addition, the dashboard provides learners with announcements from us or their leaders and updates from Google.  Learners can even submit a support ticket right form their dashboard, and our educator support team is waiting to help them as they progress through their micro-courses!

Our new filtering features make it easier than ever for learners to find what they are looking for.  From the Learn tab, educators can now search by Learning Paths, such as Distance Learning, Google Certification Level 1, or Special Education.  

Learners now have an at-a-glance view of which micro-courses must be completed in order to earn desired badges, which demonstrate competency of a particular skill or set of skills.

In the In Progress tab, courses are now separated by courses learners have begun, which courses need review, and which courses have been submitted and are awaiting feedback.

The Achievements tab displays all micro-courses completed, all badges earned, and all completed Learning Paths.

Learners will still see the challenge window appear when they launch a challenge, which contains the video and challenge instructions.  This box still follows learners as they complete their challenge, so the video and instructions are always at their fingertips.

After submitting a challenge, learners will even see a few suggestions for relevant courses so they can hop right into another micro-course to continue their learning!

Finally, leaders still have visibility into learner progress as educators engage with the MobileMind micro-courses.

We would love to give you a live tour of our platform and answer any questions you may have about our personalized learning solution.  Want to learn more?  Click here to schedule a call!

What School Leaders need to know about Distance Learning

Distance Learning is becoming the new normal. As schools and districts learn to adapt, we would love to share a few things school leaders want to know about transitioning to a distance learning model.  Below we’ve shared some highlights regarding what we know about how to successfully implement a distance learning or blended model.  In addition, we’ve included some things you might wish to avoid as you roll out your virtual or blended learning initiatives.

Do
✔️ Communicate clear and strategic professional learning goals and expectations to teachers, leaders, and staff

Don’t
❌ Leave it to teachers, leaders, and staff to wonder what it is they should be doing - or the "why?" behind it 

✔️ Meet educators and staff where they are, and create reasonable timelines to demonstrate competency and growth 

❌ Overwhelm teachers by trying to "boil the ocean" - or by expecting instant proficiency for all learners

✔️ Encourage educators and staff to personalize their learning in our platform when possible

❌ Require all teachers/staff to complete the same exact courses or learning pathways from start to finish

✔️ Reassure teachers and staff that we will all work through this challenging time together, and that imperfection is acceptable

❌ Allow the stress of our current climate to set a tone grounded in urgency, anxiety, and perfectionism

✔️ Consider incentivizing your top learners to share with and support others through this journey

❌ Immediately penalize those who aren't quite "getting it" without first offering support

Distance learning isn’t a prescribed formula, but we hope our recommendations help you get started on the right foot as we prepare our educators for a unique and potentially unpredictable 2020-2021 school year.

Click here to find our Distance Learning Resources for Google.

Six Challenge Summary

Hope this blog post finds you well! 🙂  We are back for a brief wrap-up our blog series on addressing the six challenges schools face when it comes to rolling out a successful technology PD initiative.  

Our team has spent the last several years developing and iterating to create an innovative, modern professional learning solution that addresses the challenges preventing successful technology PD for educators.  Let’s quickly review the challenges we’ve discussed…

  • Buy-in from educators - Are your educators and staff motivated and invested in their professional growth when it comes to technology?
  • Personalization - Does the PD that’s available offer learning that meets the unique needs and goals of each individual?
  • Sustainability - Is your technology PD providing ongoing, job-embedded learning opportunities that can be leveraged at anytime, anywhere?
  • Time - Does your training value teachers’ time, use time wisely, and keep teachers in the classroom during instructional hours? 
  • Logistics + Resources - Do you have the bandwidth and resources to efficiently plan effective professional development that meets the needs of all stakeholders?
  • Cost of PD - Is the training you provide cost effective, or are you finding yourself spending gobs of money on sit-and-get, single-session or one-day trainings?

I want to take this opportunity to ask you to reflect on our previous posts and the importance of solving these six challenges.  Are your current methods of professional development meeting your teachers’ needs, engaging them based on their individual goals and interests?  Do you have the resources, such as training personnel, to support all teachers and provide ample learning opportunities? What is holding you back from full technology adoption and seamless integration of Google and other tools?  Whichever challenges you might be facing as a leader or educator, we are here to help.  

Please reach out to us anytime (simply click here) to talk with our team about your unique challenges when it comes to implementing professional development… We’d love to hear from you!

Part 6: Cost

We are back once again to provide you tips on addressing the six challenges to a successful Google PD initiative.  Today we are discussing Challenge #6 - the often prohibitive costs of professional development. 

So, what’s the problem?  Well, the financial costs are often too much to offer sustainable face-to-face PD at scale, meaning that it’s difficult to provide ongoing, job-embedded training that includes and benefits everyone within an educational organization.  

Every district is different and is impacted by different costs, so like many things we’ve already discussed, this is not a one-size-fits-all issue. But, what we can do is invite you to think about both the known costs and “hidden” costs that may impact your particular scenario.  Our goal today is to highlight some of the more common cost elements of traditional PD and how we can overcome them when they prevent us from providing necessary professional development to every single teacher.

On the chart below, we share some cost scenarios that might apply to schools and districts when trying to plan PD for all teachers.  For instance, if you have to provide subs for your teachers when they are doing PD, you’re looking at an average cost of $100 per sub.  When leaders ask teachers engage in PD during off contract hours like summers, weekends, or after school, a conservatie cost for a stipend is around $25.00 per hour.  

If you are asking your teachers to get Google certified, then you or your teachers will have to spend $10 dollars for the Google Certified Educator Level 1 exam - and $25 for the Level 2 exam.

If you don’t have the resources to facilitate your own PD, and you need to hire a trainer on a one day contract, you are typically looking at $3,500 per day which may or may not include travel and expense costs.  You may even have to consider the costs of extraneous things such as gas, time, and food for the attendees at an event or training.

ALLOCATION OF SPEND

COSTS

subs

$100 Per Sub Avg

Off Contract Hour Stipends

$25 Per Hour Avg

Google Certification Vouchers

$10 - Cert 1 / $25 - Cert 2

One-Off Contract Trainers

$3,500-$4,000 Avg Daily Rate

Other Costs (Gas, Time, Food)

Vary by Schools & Districts

So, let’s say we have the need to internally train 100 teachers to prepare them for the Google Certified Educator Level 1 exam.  With 100 subs and the costs of certification vouchers you might spend around $11,000. With MobileMind subscriptions, your cost could be as low as half that for double the number of teachers to have *year-round access* to personalized Google professional development that is aligned to Google certifications.

scenario

traditional

mobilemind

100 Teachers trained by school resources internally for Google Cert Level 1

Subs & Vouchers

$11,000

As low as

½ the cost for double the number of teachers, for year round access

Next, we have a two-day Google Summer Summit where we’re going to train 100 teachers.  Factoring in a paid trainer, their travel and expense, facilities & food costs and potential stipends, you are looking at potentially spending above $15,000 for just two days of training.  The MobileMind cost in this case could be even lower than ½ the cost, but again providing Google PD to double the number of teachers with year-round access.

scenario

traditional

mobilemind

Two Day Google Summit for 100 teachers in the summer

Contractor, Facilities & Stipends

As much as $15,000 +

Lower than ½ the cost for double the number, for year round access 

We’re able to offer a more cost effective solution because we’ve developed a modern, innovative professional learning solution that is not beholden to the same legacy costs structures of traditional PD.  And with MobileMind, the vouchers required for taking Google certification exams are included at no additional cost, thus alleviating the financial burden that often exists with traditional face-to-face training. 

Allocation of spend

Costs

mobilemind

Subs

$100 Per Sub Avg

N/A

Off Contract Hour Stipends

$25 Per Hour Avg

N/A

Google Certification Vouchers

$10 - Cert 1 / $25 - Cert 2

N/A

One-Off Contract Trainers

$3,500-$4,000 Avg Daily Rate

N/A

Other Costs (Gas, Time, Food)

Varies by Schools & Districts

N/A

We hope you’ve enjoyed this post!  Stay tuned for our next post where we wrap up our “Six Challenges of PD” with a nice little bow in our final post of the series. 🙂

Part 5: Logistics + Resources

We are back once again to provide you tips on addressing the six challenges to a successful Google PD initiative. Today we are sharing what we’ve learned about challenge #5, logistics & limited resources.  

So, why logistics (a word more commonly heard in UPS commercials)?  🙂  

Well, since logistics involves a coordination of an operation involving many people and facilities, it makes sense when talking about traditional PD delivery, right? We have heard from countless instructional leaders that the task of training teachers spread out over many school buildings can be daunting. The combination of multiple physical locations and the distance between them increases the difficulty of facilitating sustainable training.

On top of this, in many schools and districts, there is typically a small number of dedicated resources for training.  This varies by district, but we see that the number of instructional resources relative to the number of teachers is very rarely a ratio that enables the easy facilitation of PD for technology like Google.  Finally, there is very little visibility that instructional leaders can tap into regarding how well teachers are doing after traditional PD offered. Do they need more help? Are they superstars who need a greater challenge?  Either way, teachers (like students!) need different levels and training and varied content that meets their skills level and learning goals, and instructional leaders need accurate visibility into teacher progress.   

As we’ve seen before in previous videos, MobileMind is cloud based, accessible by a Chrome Extension.  Anytime, Anywhere access to learning removes the physical barriers of training. And, while the value of face to face learning has undisputed merits, one off trainings are problematic when trying to provide  teachers up to date PD on rapidly changing technology like Google.  

At MobileMind we offer virtual personalized PD, so we can establish multiple schools or groups who can learn anytime and anywhere… during planning when they find 10 minutes or in their PJs at home... whenever works best for each individual teacher!  

What’s more is that district or school leaders have a birds eye view of teacher progress in MobileMind and how many teachers at each school are engaging in PD.  They can even drill down into any group to see how active each teacher is at a particular school have been in MobileMind.

Not only does this provide visibility for accountability, but leaders also can gain insights into training needs, teacher interest, struggling teachers, or previously unidentified teacher leaders. We can build up those teacher rockstars and begin to accelerate adoption and build internal capacity much more rapidly.

MobileMind’s cloud based, location management gives us the ability to facilitate sustainable and effective PD at scale, regardless of logistical challenges, while expanding the reach of instructional resources and providing actionable insights to assist teacher progress. Stay tuned for next week’s final tip on overcoming prohibitive costs of PD.  Until then! 🙂

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!

Part 3: Sustainability

In this post, we want to briefly discuss our third PD challenge - sustainability of professional development.  

The pace of change in educational technology can make it seem nearly impossible for teachers and edtech leaders to stay current on updates and new features.  Consider the constant evolution of Google tools, for example. With frequent updates to key Google tools, such as Google Drive and Classroom, there are simply not enough traditional training days to keep educators abreast of this dynamic suite of tools.

Many districts provided Google Classroom training during preplanning, for instance, only to watch Classroom undergo some pretty significant updates a month or so later.  We’ve also seen schools receive Chromebooks or launch G Suite in August or September, hoping that they can start using the tools before their first dedicated PD day a month or two later.  When we rely only on face-to-face training, we are at the mercy of the district schedule, and it might be weeks or even months before teachers can receive initial training or refresh training on tools they’re expected to be using in the classroom

This helps explain the major shift to the concept of “always on”, continuous learning. Educators need to have access to PD that they can hop into at anytime and from anywhere.  In addition, they need to up-to-date training on the tools they’re expected to be using on a regular basis. This means offering job-embedded, on-demand PD to our extremely busy educators that is regularly updated.

When developing the MobileMind professional learning hub, we kept in mind the need to be able to update our content quickly based on the fact that technology is constantly evolving. So, it is our job is to stay current with Google and share updates with educators so you don’t have to.  Because we embrace a micro-learning methodology, we can shift very quickly when Google updates or changes a G Suite tool, meaning we can update a course quickly for our teachers. 

Lastly, because we have made MobileMind easily accessible and available anytime, we are accomplishing our goal of facilitating meaningful job-embedded learning that is accommodating to teachers.  Our data of MobileMind average daily access times over the last couple of months suggests that the highest volume of teacher access occurs during school hours. This means that our google PD is valuable enough and time conscious enough that teachers are choosing the right time and place to learn for them, individually.  This can often also mean that they don’t have to learn after school hours following a long day of teaching. (We have facilitated quite a bit of after-school PD, and we all know that it is less than ideal!)☺️

We know that educators have so much on their plates, so to have anytime, anywhere access to sustained training at the click of a button is definitely a win!  In our next post, we’ll discuss the challenge of time when it comes to educator training.

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