Skip to main content

Currently Skimming:

Advantages of Online Professional Development
Pages 10-15

The Chapter Skim interface presents what we've algorithmically identified as the most significant single chunk of text within every page in the chapter.
Select key terms on the right to highlight them within pages of the chapter.

From page 10...
... member and planning committee cochair Lyn Le Countryman of the Malcolm Price Laboratory School in Iowa, "and we know that teachers' practice is the most important factor impacting student achievement." Rose concurred, saying "Experience is the encapsulation of practice. I believe that those data, collected by a whole bunch of folks, suggest that teacher practice is probably the most important thing that we can improve to improve kids' lives." Other potential benefits of online professional development were discussed by workshop participants: • flexibility and versatility, • potential to build community among teachers and across groups, • new possibilities for accountability, and • improvement of teacher retention by enabling teachers to become more directly involved in their own learning and professional growth.
From page 11...
... According to TAC member Deborah Smith, a second grade teacher at the Woodcreek Magnet School for Math, Science and Engineering in Lansing, Michigan, "Sometimes schools are deserts for teachers, if there is really not anybody there you feel you can talk to about your passions in teaching and about kids in the way that you would like to talk about kids." Online technologies in general and some kinds of online professional teacher development programs in particular can help build the community that is so often missing from the daily lives of teachers. Teachers can interact with each other online in real time or asynchronously, offering them time to reflect on an ongoing exchange.
From page 12...
... In addition, it can tap into expertise no matter where it is located, so that teachers with a specialty or an expertise can serve as resources for teachers elsewhere. With online professional development, said Planning committee member Tad Johnston of the Maine Department of Education, "you can leverage, consolidate, and share promising practices in your district, so that pockets of excellence don't have to remain pockets." According to O'Donnell, teachers "can get what they need from people around the country, around the world, that they might not be able to access within their own district." Many teachers enjoy the opportunity to become leaders for other teachers (additional discussion about teachers serving as leaders can be found below)
From page 13...
... It's good face to face, and it works extremely well online." According to David Zarowin of the Harvard Graduate School of Education, another benefit is that, "in sharp contrast to the typical workshop, where you sit for three hours and you get a whole bunch of really good ideas, but you are left to your own devices as to how to integrate this into your practice, [courses taken online] are courses where you learn something, you get a little bit, you try it out in the classroom, you reflect on it, and then you develop your practice." ACCOUNTABILITY Perhaps, counterintuitively, OTPD offers more opportunity and scope for assessment and accountability of participants than does face-to-face professional development.
From page 14...
... "It's something that we don't want to lose sight of as we move down the road." RETENTION The turnover of K-12 teachers in many parts of the country is a severe challenge both to educational stability and to developing quality programs for professional development. Though virtually no data have been collected on the topic, some workshop participants suggested that online technologies may offer a way to attract new teachers into the profession and retain current teachers -- especially in areas of science and mathematics, in which teacher shortages are most severe.
From page 15...
... "The benefit of an online program would be that teachers can tailor a program of professional development according to where they are and what they need." Even teachers nearing the end of their careers can benefit greatly, said California TAC member Sandie Gilliam, who serves on the California Mathematics Council.1 More experienced teachers need help with new approaches to pedagogy and with content that is more suited to today's students, and even experienced teachers can be novices in some areas. Keeping these teachers engaged and working makes it possible to take advantage of their years of experience.

This material may be derived from roughly machine-read images, and so is provided only to facilitate research.
More information on Chapter Skim is available.