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Data, Technology Crucial Components for Meaningful PD Programs

Data and Technology Crucial Components for Meaningful PD Programs

According to director of Staff Development and Teacher Evaluation Kenneth Wilson for Smartblog on Education, data and technology are crucial to consider when building meaningful professional development programs for teachers.

Several surveys have indicated that many teachers find their district's professional development requirements as meaningless; many teachers are being forced to outside sources to strengthen themselves professionally. As proof, an MIT-Harvard study revealed that most users of MOOCs- open online courses- are teachers.

Wilson has several recommendations for districts and schools on how to revamp PD programs and how to use data to change things up.

He recommends using survey, registration, and recertification data to design to most useful, and meaningful PD programs possible.

He says that districts should frequently distribute surveys to teachers to get feedback from staff and figure out how they collectively feel about current PD offerings.

" Each year we send out a Staff Development Needs survey that asks questions like: What’s the most ideal time of year for PD; what are the most important topics or concepts; and how would you like to see PD delivered? We also send out an Exit Survey that an attendee may be required to take after completing a PD session," he said.

According to Wilson, survey data revealed that teachers in his district prefer taking PD classes over the summer, so the district now has a "robust summer program."

Another important form of data Wilson says must be collected and studied for PD success is registration data.

We can see information like which offerings filled up quickly, which have a wait list or which were not of high interest, all within our management system. Registration data allows us to gauge interest in each course or session offered, allowing us to make strategic adjustments to our offerings more efficiently. It’s important to us that our educators have access to sessions that they see as valuable.

Finally, Wilson says that re-certification data is the third important component to creating successful PD programs in a given district.

Educators need to be provided opportunities to meet their PD requirements, and tracking re-certification data helps do so.

Our system automatically tracks individual teacher PD credits and allows us to see if an educator has earned the 120 points required for renewal. Additionally, it provides the necessary documentation from which to enter renewal points on the State Department System. My team can log in to see a list of every PD course a teacher has completed on their profile.

Read Wilson's full post here and comment below.

Article by Nicole Gorman, Education World Contributor

06/29/2015

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