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A push for sustainable teacher learning.

TODAY'S YOUNG STUDENTS ARE getting a little help from some national technology leaders--in particular, a push for more ongoing and relevant professional development for their present and future teachers.

The State Educational Technology Directors Association (SETDA)--the main association for state technology directors and staff members, which provides professional development and leadership for the effective use of education technology--released its fourth of five reports in November as part of its Class of 2020: Action Plan for Education project.

The report, Empowering Teachers: A Professional and Collaborative Approach, lays out five key recommendations: making sustainable professional development available to all teachers, providing new teachers with integrated pedagogy, ensuring administrators have access to training and support, and conducting research investigating the efficacy of comprehensive professional development models.

Mary Ann Wolf, SETDA's executive director, says professional development approaches must shift from "one-time, stand-alone workshops" to ongoing learning for teachers and administrators.

"Our action plan highlights the strengths of some district programs and encourages all states and districts to incorporate proven examples into existing professional models to maximize potential for student achievement," says Christine Fox, SETDA's director of professional development and research. Examples of ongoing professional development could include the use of online portals, online learning communities and coaches. Fox says that a district might conduct in-person training, followed by an online discussion via a blog or wiki and then conduct a videoconference for teachers to followup. "This type of multilevel approach can make a real impact on instruction," Fox says.


Further, portals and online learning communities are offered anytime anywhere, which eliminates the issue of teacher leave time and substitute costs And blogs and wikis can be set up very inexpensively so teachers can work collaboratively without greatly impinging on school budgets, Fox says.

Many districts have content area resource teachers, who can model, coach and train others as a cost-effective way to allocate resources, she says.

The report includes more than 20 examples from states and districts using innovative educator development programs, including coaching and education portals. It points out key components of effective professional development, including sustainability, leadership to guide continuous instructional improvement, knowledge or deep understanding of a subject, collaboration within the learning communities, evaluation or using data to improve instruction and teacher effectiveness, and ongoing professional development programs.

For more information on this report and other SETDA reports in the series, go to
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Title Annotation:BRIEFINGS: News Update
Author:Pascopella, Angela
Publication:District Administration
Date:Dec 1, 2008
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