Online Learning to Support Educator Professional Development Barbara Treacy i3 Grantees Meeting October 15, 2012
Questions What are the advantages/challenges of online PD? What have we learned about making online PD effective? What are some examples? How do we build effective online PD, learning communities and coaching models? How do we keep it dynamic and engaging? How do we prepare teachers to facilitate and design online PD? What technologies should we use?
Online Learning Opportunities Flexibility: Anytime, anyplace learning Access: To experts and resources that may not be available locally Reflection and deeper learning: Educators participate and interact with colleagues on their own schedules Personalization: Custom paths for a variety of goals Cost-effectiveness: Eliminates travel/related costs Extended learning over time: Opportunities for educators to try things out in classrooms with feedback Scalability and sustainability: Capacity-building approaches work Data and Assessment: Increased access to learner data
“The illiterate of the 21stcentury will not be thosewho cannot read andwrite, but those whocannot learn, unlearn,and relearn.” -Alvin Toffler
What’s Different about Online Learning? Content: Different structure of content Technology: Increasing choice of tools; some will disappear quickly and technical issues can occur regularly Accessibility: Online learning increases access but access and accessibility issues must be addressed Social dynamic: Different interaction methods & pacing; new strategies needed to address cohort & individual needs Discussion: Specific facilitation strategies needed; importance of written communication and “online voice” Assessment: New tools available but new strategies needed Facilitation and design: Labor intensive activities!
More on Accessibility Needs Video and audio: requires captioning, transcripts, ability to pace to be fully accessible Multi-media requirements not activated in schools Image descriptions needed for webpages/documents PDF’s not accessible to many screen readers; must create word or other accessible versions of documents CMS’s are generally designed to address accessibility but won’t insure uploaded content is accessibleFor more info and to test accessibility of a webpage: http://webaim.org
Example Program: E-Learning for Educators Goal: build state online teacher PD programs focused on content, pedagogy, student learning 10 state consortium: AL, DE, KY, MD, MO, MS, NC, NH, PA, WV Funded in 2005 by USED Capacity building approach: EDC online facilitator & course developer training for all states Few face-to-face meetings; annual Leadership Academy State leadership teams led local program Large-scale experimental research showed significant impact on teachers and students
Impact: Ability to Scale 10 state programs aligned to unique state goals 500+ workshop facilitators trained 2000+ workshops delivered 25,000+ participants completed workshops 450+ course developers trained 91% teachers rated workshops excellent/very good 98% teachers agreed/strongly agreed courses aligned with their school’s PD goals 96% facilitators rated training excellent /very good
State Example: DE Science Course “Delaware Watersheds” Created and facilitated byDE educators trained todesign and deliver online PD Developed to provideconvenient, high quality PDfor 7th grade teachersassigned to teach DelawareWatersheds, an integrated Earth Science course taughtacross the state
Research Study Goal: examine the effect of online PD on teacher knowledge, practices, and student learning Conducted by: Boston College Included: 4 large-scale randomized experiments using 3 workshops designed by EDC for teachers in: – English/Language Arts (4th and 8th Grades) – Math (5th and 7th Grades) Participation: 369 Teachers; 21,000 Students Results: Significant impact on teachers and students across subjects/grades
Online PD Lessons and Challenges Facilitators need training, incentives & time Content development is labor intensive & requires training Importance of team approach Multi-media is costly; little research on benefits (i.e. video) Marketing strategy needed to generate teacher enrollment Content must be dynamic; requires updating Credit or incentives for participants boosts participation Course management system is needed; requires investment Need for registration systems as program grows Important to integrate with other initiatives/programs Sustainability requires attention to cost structures/fees
Key Lesson: Importance of Learning Community Models “Learning is social, and we will all get better at ourprojects and at learning from each other by social learningtogether.” -John Seely Brown, USC and Deloitte Center for the EdgeHow do we keep online learning dynamic and engaging?
Ten Tips for Effective Online Facilitation1. Make everyone feel welcome & heard;create a comfortable environment2. Establish clear goals & expectations at the outset3. Provide behind-the-scenes support via email4. Foster communication between participants5. Model participation & discussion techniques for participants6. Keep the discussion alive; prevent stagnancy7. Keep the discussion on-topic8. Guide participants through the curriculum9. Make sure the audience & the content are in sync10. Bring closure to each topic before moving onhttp://courses.edtechleaders.org/documents/opd/ETLO_Ten_Tips.htm
Building Online Learning Communities: Learning by Doing
Technology Considerations Focus on the learning goals! More choices than ever now; multiple ways to meet goals Hardware is cheaper, more ubiquitous, more mobile Explosion of Web 2.0/apps: easy to use but hard to use well Increased access to broadband – but still need to design for all access levels Multi-media development is costly, and so are the updates Facilitator training: more important than “tool” training “A focus on expanding access to new technologies carries us only so far if we do not also foster the skills and cultural knowledge necessary to deploy those tools toward our own ends.” -Henry Jenkins, USC
Choosing Technology Tools Course Management Systems Integrate content, discussion, assessment, data collection, users, social media Support courses, coaching and more Social Media Supports formal/informal learning; courses and coaching Varied uses/user roles: creation, lurking, sharing, collaboration, communication Synchronous/asynchronous options Examples: blogs, wikis, micro-blogging, social networking, virtual meetings, content sharing, Google Apps, etc.
Recap: Key Lessons Online learning is different; requires careful attention to goals, planning, training, design, technology tools and implementation Online PD can improve educator practice and student learning Online learning community models foster reflection and inquiry based approaches with careful facilitation Learning goals must lead; technology supports Technology and online learning can enable scale Online learning is not a simple solution: can be effective but requires time and resources
The power of connected learning“If we want our studentsto succeed in a globalenvironment, then we,as educators, must beengaged in 21st centurycontent, context, tools, thinking skills and assessment.Thanks to online learning I am a 21st centurylife-long learner!” -JoAnn Nuzum, WV online facilitator and developer
Thank you! Barbara TreacyEdTech Leaders Online http://edtechleaders.orgEducation Development Center http://edc.org