Distributed PD – Getting Teachers the Support They Need When They Need It

So you’re implementing one (or more!) school change initiatives…

But what do you do when you hardly have any “everyone in the same room” professional development time available, and you don’t have enough tech integrators or learning coaches to go around, and you have a growing list of challenges and things you’re noticing your teachers don’t know how to do (because you haven’t taught them yet)…?

Under such circumstances, how do you support your educators?

The notion of needing some system of distributed professional development came while working in a district committed to not only implementing proficiency-based, customized learning for students, but also to reaping the benefits of learning through ubiquitous technology. Both required huge training and support efforts for our teachers and school leaders. Since these represented strategies and approaches that most of our educators had never experienced themselves as students, we felt a strong moral obligation to “support the heck out of them!” (or at least try to…)

We did realize that we weren’t alone in our efforts – other districts were working on the same initiatives we were, and had the same training and support needs. Maybe we could distribute the effort. Maybe there were ways we could support each other if we each took a piece of the load.

This led to the Distributed PD Project, working to, first, support teachers leveraging iPads for teaching and learning, and later, support teachers working to implement proficiency-based learning. The project includes establishing a professional learning curriculum, modules to deliver that curriculum, recruiting and certifying certifiers for those modules, and Digital Badges/micro-credentialing to acknowledge and document learning.

The work tried to reflect what we were growing to understand about proficiency-based professional development.

Learn more below.


Why a Distributed PD Project?

  • Because face-to-face trainings aren’t enough.
  • Because we can’t get enough time for all the face-to-face trainings we need.
  • Because we don’t just want teachers to attend trainings, but to go back to their classrooms and (successfully) implement new practices.
  • Because we are working on so many aspects of important initiatives at the same time.
  • Because we don’t have enough curriculum directors, tech integrators, and learning coaches to do it all.
  • Because we don’t want educators to have to wait long when they are ready for the next piece of training.
  • Because we want to model the (proficiency-based) learning we want for students in our professional learning with adults.
  • Because the professional development and support we need is too important to leave to chance.

Distributed PD

About Mike Muir

I'm an educator interested in collaborating with other educators on engaging all learners, proficiency-based learning, technology's role in learning, and leadership for school change.
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