With the rapid rate of change that new technologies have brought us, it is important to invest wisely and thoroughly in upskilling staff to support them to engage learners and raise achievement through the effective use of digital technologies for learning.
There are many means by which schools can access and design professional learning and development for all staff. Here we suggest ways to utilise in-house expertise to plan, implement, and evaluate professional learning and development initiatives.
This information is intended for senior and/or middle leaders with responsibility for teacher professional learning and development in the area of digital technologies for learning/e-learning.
Twenty‐first century teacher professional development needs to combine and integrate individual and organisational development: it needs to build individual learning, but it also needs to focus on individuals working together — to build their current “community of practice” as teachers, but also to move forward together in “learning communities”.
Professional learning and development should be responsive and respectful to individual needs whilst also meeting the vision for whole school development. There should be a strategic plan that allows for growth, development and, crucially, cohesion and alignment across the various initiatives schools may focus on at one time. Professional learning and development should be collaborative and take place within the culture of a whole-school learning community.
Develop and nurture in-school expertise to ensure that professional learning and development is sustainable as well as cost-effective. Ensure that where in-school expertise is used to provide professional learning and development, adequate time, support and resourcing is given to those involved. These staff should have their individual learning needs met as well, for example through coaching and mentoring. Using external support could be one way to meet the various professional learning needs of all staff. Centrally-funded professional learning and development is available through the Ministry of Education. See the relevant section in this guide for some more information.
You will need to plan professional learning and development with staff based on their needs, current strengths, and inquiries. To do this effectively, it is useful to check in with staff to ascertain their levels of confidence and competency, as well as strengths and needs around the use of digital technologies to help inform your strategic planning. There are various ways in which you might do this, such as a survey, or whole staff or small group discussions. The e-learning planning framework may be a useful tool for this purpose, as might a design thinking approach .
The following questions may be worth considering as you start to plan to provide professional learning and development around digital technologies for learning:
Based on research, the components that contribute to effective professional learning and development for teachers include:
It may also be useful to keep in mind Malcolm Knowles’ 6 principles of adult learners :
Whole staff professional learning and development can be counterproductive. Just as with students, teachers are learners and not all ready at the same time for the same information. As we know from the principles of Universal Design for Learning , staff rooms, like classrooms, are places of “predictable variability”. They will include the full range of competence and confidence around integrating digital technology, and this is entirely normal.
Additionally, designing professional learning and development initiatives is a golden opportunity to model modern learning practices. These are practices that are future-focused, agentic, personalised, accessible, and inclusive. As such, it is important that professional learning and development is not "one-size fits all".
Keeping this in mind, the professional learning and development you design with teachers may well include a range of approaches. These could include:
To support a focus on professional learning and development around using digital technologies for learning, it may be possible to apply for centrally-funded professional learning and development from the Ministry of Education. An external facilitator can act as a "critical friend" who supports the school to develop a holistic view of the professional learning development so that it is integrated and meaningful. Information for principals and school leaders about this is available from the Ministry’s Professional learning and development website .
Once your professional learning and development initiatives have started, it is important to focus on ways to sustain a positive learning culture. You could consider:
Effective professional learning involves ongoing cycles of evidence-informed inquiry. It begins with leaders and teachers collecting and analysing a range of evidence that will help them answer the question, ‘What is going on for students in relation to the outcomes that we value?’ The perspectives of students, parents and whānau will be included in this evidence along with that of professionals.
It is important to monitor and evaluate your professional learning and development initiatives in order to evolve them based on feedback and identified need, and to ensure that the initiatives are having the desired impact on raising staff capacity and student achievement. You will need to consider ways in which to reflect on, and assess, the outcomes of the professional learning and development. Therefore it is crucial to have clearly articulated goals and success criteria before starting any initiative. Using frameworks such as the e-Learning Planning Framework , Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge (TPACK) , or Puentedura’s SAMR model are useful to determine progress and identify possible next steps.
Another important consideration to monitor and evaluate your initiatives, is to ask both staff and students for their input and voice. Ideally, professional learning and development is co-designed with teachers, and student voice should play a key role in identifying learning priorities. Additionally, effective professional learning and development is not only linked to the school’s strategic goals, but also to its appraisal system, ideally through an inquiry process. Staff should reflect on their professional learning journey and keep a record of this towards gaining or maintaining their practicing teacher certificate.
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Dr Cheryl Doig, director of Think Beyond Limited, talks about the importance of having a shared language and understanding of what e-learning is before integrating it into the school vision.
Chris Allen and Mike Wilson Sacred Heart Girls' College share why they chose to use a teacher inquiry model as a focus for professional learning and why that approach has been so successful.
LwDT facilitator, Anna Harrison discusses the value of the teaching and inquiry model as a basis for PLD for e-learning.
Teachers discuss tailored professional learning to enhance literacy e-learning needs using a blended model.
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Teacher Kate Friedwald explains how whole school PD at Wairakei School, based on the Teaching as Inquiry model, is being applied to ICT.
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Woodend School Deputy Principal, Adrienne Simpson explains using the spiral of inquiry as a framework identify how to move forward with innovative learning practices and learning with digital technologies.
e-Learning co-ordinator, Allistair Williamson explains key steps for implementing BYOD at Pakuranga College.
Ben Britton, lead teacher ICT at Wellington High School, discusses how they use the SAMR model to evaluate plan for effective use of technologies in the classroom.
Dominic Killalea, Deputy Principal at Wellington High School, discusses the importance of making time for professional learning.
Pakuranga College principal, Michael Williams describes their intensive PLD programme.
Allister Williamson explains his role as e-Learning coordinator at Pakuranga College, which involves overseeing their professional learning programme.
Pakuranga College principal, Michael Williams explains their school systems and roles for building staff capacity to use digital technologies to support learning and teaching.
Pakuranga College DP, Billy Merchant explains taking staff with you on the e-learning journey is number one. Not all staff will move at the same pace and in the same way so they provide lots of different channels and different avenues for support.
Pakuranga College principal, Michael Williams explains their system for PLD. Using their rubrics teachers can identify their strengths and next steps. e-Mentors support teachers with their inquiries into using digital technologies effectively.
Principal, Michael Malins shares how they use their SMS to document teacher inquiries.
Wellington High School Principal, Dominic Killalea explains the pedagogy behind their BYOD approach which supports lifelong learning.
Hampden Street School principal, Don McLean describes their approach to professional development.
e-Learning lead teacher, John O'Regan explains their professional development focus on using e-learning tools to support learning.
Pegasus Bay School Principal, Roger Hornblow, talks about the ways that whole-staff PLD benefited them when taking the Te Reo Puāwai course.
Pegasus Bay School principal, Roger Hornblow explains how Huakina Mai and Te Reo Puāwai helped them build culturally responsive practice schoolwide.
Sonya van Schaijik, Newmarket School, explains how TeachMeet works and the benefits it provides for teachers to connect and share their practice.
Rotorua Central Kāhui Ako leader, Nancy Macfarlane explains how their community of learning developed their action plan and strategic framework.
Kāhui Ako leader, Nancy Macfarlane and Hinemoa Anaru, Ngā Pūmanawa e Waru Education Trust, explain how they have used evaluative thinking and developed theories of improvement to provide direction for their community of learning.
Principals, Tracey Simeon and Lee Whitelaw, talk about how they share teacher practice between the schools in their cluster and what their learning focuses on.
Ashhurst School Principal, Heath Chittenden, explains how they got teachers and parents prepared before rolling out flipped learning in their school. “Flipped learning is really important to be a school-wide focus because it actually is a pedagogical change to how you approach teaching.”
Ashhurst School Principal, Heath Chittenden, shares how important it is that all staff are trained to use the flipped learning model and the resource bank that is available to them.
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e-Learning: Professional Learning
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