How many times have teachers sat through a professional development session guided by a Powerpoint presentation or lecture instructing them on how Powerpoint presentations and lectures are not the best way for people to learn?
We expect our students to learn differently from the way that adults learn, and while there are some differences (mostly in regard to motivation), the best practices associated with teaching students aren’t much different than those for how to best teach our teachers.
We need to approach supporting and training our teachers with the same sense of empathy and understanding that we use when supporting and teaching our students. Empowerment, engagement (including gamification), scaffolding, chunking, student choice, differentiation/accessibility, and hands-on learning or PBL are all concepts that work well for adults, too.
Granted, however, the daily life of adults is very different than the daily life of students, and oftentimes their busy schedules and frequent traveling may leave little room for training. It can understandably be quite challenging to cram certain scaffolded or PBL activities into a 1-hour training block, for example.
I am dedicated to continually finding new ways to bridge the gap between instructional best practices and the time and locations that teachers actually have access to. This is one of the many reasons I am attracted to integrating blended learning (and online learning) in training programs for teachers.
Online training programs allow teachers to learn on their own time/schedule and in any location they want (home, office, public transportation, etc.). One of my initiatives has been to build an EdTech training portal for teachers with free online training modules for which teachers could receive “digital badges” and/or certificates of completion (to show off their knowledge): www.miss.moe/training.
Teachers are committed to becoming lifelong learners, especially if they wish to stay abreast of new developments, advancements to technology, and updates to the best practices in their field. For this reason, as EdTech specialists and trainers, if we want to best support our students, professional development for teachers should be financially, physically, and instructionally accessible.