Before teachers can integrate technology in their classrooms effectively, they need training on how to incorporate new pedagogical approaches and strategies using technology1. Multiple teacher surveys and studies both before and after the COVID-19 pandemic have reported that many teachers in the U.S. do not have enough experience, resources, or training to use technology in the most impactful ways. Teachers who serve low-income schools have fewer resources resulting in a greater need for training in how to use technology2.
According to the 2017 National Education Technology Plan, many teacher education programs do not provide the preparation future teachers need to use technology to support teaching, learning, and classroom management. The in-service PD opportunities offered in many districts often are traditional one-time workshops that do not provide sufficient time to help teachers effectively use technology in their specific context3.
Creating an environment where teachers are supporting one another in learning and implementing new teaching strategies, tools, and frameworks throughout the year will both increase collaboration among teachers and help to spread best practices. This environment can be created and maintained through the use of instructional technology coaches, teams of teacher leaders, or other systems of support.
Research in the area of adult learning has identified four key principles for high-quality teacher learning activities4:
These four principles are needed for effective PD opportunities around technology integration and use5.
Having a framework for teacher practice, such as the Technology Integration Matrix from the University of South Florida’s Florida Center for Technology Integration and frameworks for designing student educational experiences like Digital Promise’s Powerful Learning principles will help to support and guide the ongoing professional learning practice engaging coaches and teachers.
Strategies for success:
In Verizon Innovative Learning Schools, the Teacher Leader Corps (TLC) is a team of teacher leaders who embrace new teaching and learning methodologies, regardless of their level of prior experience with technology. They are not necessarily the most tech savvy, but they are willing to try new things and to open their classrooms to other teachers so they can learn together. Schools often select teachers who are informal leaders across grades and subjects to join the TLC. This helps to extend their reach and ensures that teachers who are reluctant to embrace technology in the classroom can identify with peers on the TLC.
Darling-Hammond, L., Zielezinski, M. B., & Goldman, S. (2014). Using technology to support at-risk students’ learning. Washington, DC: Alliance for Excellent Education.
Vega, V., & Robb, M. B. (2019). The Common Sense census: Inside the 21st-century classroom. San Francisco, CA: Common Sense Media. PwC (2018). Technology in US schools: Are we preparing our kids for the jobs of tomorrow?
Desimone, L. M., & Garet, M. S. (2015). Best practices in teacher’s professional development in the United States. Gates Foundation. (2014). Teachers Know Best: Teachers’ Views on Professional Development. ERIC Clearinghouse.
Trotter, Y. D. (2006). Adult Learning Theories: Impacting Professional Development Programs. Delta Kappa Gamma Bulletin, 72(2).
Darling-Hammond, L., Hyler, M. E., & Gardner, M. (2017). Effective teacher professional development. Learning Policy Institute.
Bakhshaei, M., Hardy, A., Ravitz, J. & Seylar, J. (2020, April 6-10). Instructional coaching holds promise as a method to improve instruction with technology [Paper presentation]. Society for Information Technology & Teacher Education 31st Annual Conference, New Orleans, LA.
Kraft, M. A., Blazar, D., & Hogan, D. (2018). The effect of teacher coaching on instruction and achievement: A meta-analysis of the causal evidence. Review of Educational Research.
Young, V., Schmidt, R., Wang, H., Cassidy, L., & Laguarda, K. (2017). A Comprehensive Model of Teacher Induction: Implementation and Impact on Teachers and Students. Menlo Park, CA: SRI International.
Bakhshaei, M., Hardy, A., Ravitz, J. & Seylar, J. (2020, June 19-23). Fostering job-embedded teacher learning: Essential features for effective instructional coaching. International Conference of the Learning Sciences, Nashville, CA.
Bakhshaei, M., Hardy, A., Ravitz, J., & Seylar, J. (2019). Scaling up classroom coaching for impactful technology use: Results from Year 2 of the Dynamic Learning Project. Digital Promise.