Creating online professional development that works #ISTE13

Link to Dianna Benner and Miguil Guhlin's website for creating a roadmap to e-learning. 

Problem based learning activity: How do you provide training to new teachers both online and face-to-face? What LMS to use? Social media? Needs to be easy to design content and accessible to all!

Crowd-sourced ideas to answer or define this problem:
What is the overall objective? Create content outline to determine scope.

Dianna explains that online staff development is implemented the same as all other implementation plans, planning a complete plan that includes all stakeholders when creating the plan. One of the biggest factors is focusing in on your audience. Schools can and sometimes do get hung up on what platform to choose to go with during this part of the plan, as there are many. It seems that a majority of districts are still using and prefer Moodle as their LMS of choice, but exploring other ideas outside of what the EdTech world would traditionally consider a Learning Management System, such as using Google Sites, Twitter or a blog as the main web tool to communicate professional development content. Obviously this conversation ends up larger, but should not be the entire focus of the professional development plan, as the content and learning are the larger portions of the implementation.

One thing that sticks out to me is that it is important for stakeholders to create a defined list of the needs and goals that the online learning will fulfill. Everyone comes in to a plan with their own preconditioned thoughts about what the best deliver tool is for learning, instead of working on common learning outcomes and greater good ideas.

Many teachers or building leaders wanted to create online professional development for their own buildings and staff. Miguel and Dianna followed these seven steps (from the pixelated photo below) to get staff started building online learning activities for their staff:

Steps for Deployment (from presentation website https://sites.google.com/site/elearningmaps/deployment )

  1. Develop a strategy 
  2. Identify content and users 
  3. Build processes, tools and standards 
  4. Create pilot course
  5. Develop marketing plan 
  6. Launch the course
  7. Assess and improve 
It is helpful to point out to staff that online professional development is not created to model learning activities for staff, but it does allow staff to learn and utilize instructional resources and collaborate more with each other. Online PD is not trying to force everyone into all-the-time online learning, more or less simply a method for teachers to connect when they would otherwise not be able to.
All staff completed a basic online-learning course called Digital Citizenship that focused on what kinds of content and activities are appropriate and well-used with students that are always connected today. Revisiting course evaluations, along with authentically evaluating existing courses on a regular basis, are essential.

Example professional development courses were presented on a variety of platforms.

A big question came up, "How do you measure if teachers are actually learning the ideas you are trying to teach?" Such as differentiation. Migul referenced a rubric to Classroom learning activities, located here.