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Professional Development in the Digital Age

Professional Development in the Digital Age


In this lesson, students will evaluate how access to technology has enhanced professional learning opportunities for teachers.

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Video Transcription

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Hello there and welcome. Some of us remember what teaching without technology was like. We did our job and we did it well, however teaching in the digital age is a world away from blue memo graphs and overhead projectors. In this lesson, we will look at how access to the incredible technology has and continues to enhance professional learning opportunities for us, the teachers. Let's begin.

I was 22 years young and right out of college when I got my first teaching job. I was inexperienced but felt full of energy and wanted to shake things up and try new things in the classroom. But what? Where wold I get my ideas? From magazines of course. But I couldn't afford a lot of subscriptions. I clearly remember spending hours at a bookstore that happened to have a huge magazine section that carried titles like, Teaching K-8, Mailbox, and Instructor. I would literally sit on the floor with a pen and pad, flip through, and jot down ideas.

Getting information and the ability to acquire knowledge has gone from this to this. In the age of globalization this fact cannot be ignored. Especially when we consider learning in the 21st century for our students, but also for ourselves and our professional development. The many possibilities that are a result of the current technology is changing how professional development is being delivered. However, with those choices come many considerations. So it's important to understand the full scope of what is available to us in the digital age.

In case you haven't noticed, much like our society as a whole, the nature of teaching and learning has been changed by the digital age. Here are just a few of the examples. Today there are so many ways we are connected. And new ways are constantly being introduced. Teachers and learners are able to connect with each other and others outside using Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, texting, and email. Just to name a few.

The days of being the sage on the stage are over. As teachers we are no longer the primary possessors of knowledge. Our students have a great deal to contribute as well. Along the same lines, teachers can no longer assume that they know more about the subject matter than their students do. The line between learning inside the classroom and outside is as blurry as ever. Because of the wide range of platforms increasing accessibility.

Given that accessibility there has been a much higher demand for Elearning, particularly in higher education. And there are many different ways to do that. Options range from full online courses to hybrid and blended courses. Let's take a look at some of the options. There are more than you might think.

Face-to-face driver, in this model the teacher facilitates the learning and defines the curriculum. The teacher is responsible for the effective integration of technology in the classroom. Rotation, like the name suggests students are scheduled to move between an online course and time spent in a traditional brick and mortar course. Flex, describes an online course that provide students with most of their instruction. However, the learner also has access to a teacher in person at the school for tutoring and support as needed.

Online lab, in this model students participate in all of their classes online, but do so in a traditional school setting. Self-blend, offers students the opportunity to supplement their traditional school experience with some online courses of their choice. And online driver, finally the online driver model means that students work from the comfort of their own home. But typically have an in person check in with someone from the traditional school. As you review these keep in mind that these can be as successful for young learners as they can be for adult learners receiving professional development.

There are a few differences that come with Elearning that I would like to point. For one thing, Elearning can change the instructional approach it's no longer necessary for an entire group to have to be doing the same thing at the same time. That's synchronous instruction. Elearning makes asynchronous instruction a viable option. Elearning is not defined by seat time. This is a feature that many traditional educators struggle with.

A feature that many adult learners appreciate is that Elearning can fit everyone's schedule. Elearning is very conducive to a differentiated teaching approach thus helping to meet the needs of different learners. With so many options, one is bound to find an Elearning program that is right for them. Generally speaking Elearning continues to remain somewhat informal. However, the needle seems to be moving toward wider acceptance.

The advances in educational technology make truly becoming a lifelong learner a reality. In the past few years, as the world of technology in education have merged it has made it possible for any of the models mentioned earlier to be used in professional development. Whether partially or fully online, as adult learners looking to get better at our practice online learning is far more feasible.

Keep in mind that the PD needs to focus on using the online tools as well as teaching the content. In this knowledge age PD can look very different than it may have in the past. For example, teachers can create a virtual network and engage in a massive open online course. Or less formally with vehicles like Twitter chats or even through professional dialogue with teachers from anywhere in the world.

As an administrator, I am finding that online learning has become a wonderful resource for myself and the teachers that I work with. Instead of sitting on the floor leafing through magazines I am now taking online courses, viewing webinars, or connecting with other educators through social media. Also, oftentimes after observing a teacher and noticing an area that can be improved it's quite common for me to suggest an online resource or course for that individual to check out. It makes the learning personal and targeted toward a specific need.

Let's go ahead and summarize. In this lesson about learning in the digital age, we looked at many ways to take advantage of available technologies through Elearning and how to acquire knowledge. What we want, when we want, and how we want. We looked at the impact this has had on professional development and examined some of the major differences between these approaches and more traditional ones.

And now for today's food for thought. You are engaged in online learning right now. What are your thoughts about learning this way? And you can continue this learning by checking out the additional resources section associated with this video. This is where you'll find links targeted toward helping you discover more ways to apply this course material. Thanks so much for watching. We'll see you next time.

Notes on "Professional Development in the Digital Age"

(00:00-00:24) Intro

(00:25-00:57) Old School Research

(00:58-01:31) Learning In The Digital Age

(01:32-02:34) Teaching In The Digital Age

(02:35-03:58) E-Learning

(03:59-04:54) Differences

(04:55-05:36) Impact

(05:37-06:08) Online Learning And PD

(06:09-06:57) Summary/Food For Thought

Additional Resources

EdTech Works Podcast: Professional Development in the Digital Age

This resource offers suggestions for rethinking professional development in the digital age.

Creativity, Digitality, and Teacher Professional Development

The researcher behind TPACK explores how teaching and teacher learning have shifted in the digital age.