PD in a Pandemic // Lessons learned from a year of training teachers remotely

Over the previous yr, Training Expertise (EdTech) skilled growth (PD) wants soared. With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, utilizing EdTech instruments grew to become a necessity for educators–whether they had been prepared or not.

Our SMART coaching group has facilitated greater than 750 days of PD for Ok-12 faculties throughout North America. The overwhelming majority of this PD has been distant when it in any other case would have been face-to-face, and identical to lecturers all around the world, we needed to regulate our observe seemingly in a single day. We needed to shortly determine how we had been going to show lecturers remotely methods to train remotely with our expertise. Observe that? It’s difficult, so we got here up with two overarching, guiding rules: relevance and adaptability.



As SMART PD Specialists, we customise every coaching based mostly on members’ wants. With the shift to full-time distant coaching, we needed to take into account lecturers’ distinctive conditions for each PD session. Have been they of their school rooms whereas college students had been distant? Did they’ve some face-to-face college students and a few distant on the identical time? Have been some lecturers becoming a member of the session from the college constructing whereas others joined from house? The chances appeared infinite! Nonetheless, simply because we had been distant didn’t imply we reverted to a ‘sit and get’ PD type.

As soon as we discovered what state of affairs our members had been coping with, we tried to imitate that state of affairs in our classes. We designed PD that actively put lecturers of their college students’ ‘digital footwear’, used the identical EdTech that lecturers had been anticipated to make use of, offered content-specific curriculum examples, and gave lecturers an opportunity to actively construct classes or attempt issues out throughout the session.

Our observe of utilizing a ‘scholar expertise’ to place lecturers in college students’ digital footwear together with the how-to ‘instructor expertise’ acquired rave opinions. You don’t must take our phrase for it; in keeping with one instructor, “This was wonderful! Very effectively introduced and I preferred the hands-on side. Thanks for displaying us each the scholar and instructor facet.”



Through the previous yr, lecturers’ work conditions had been in fixed flux: from distant instructing to face-to-face, from face-to-face to hybrid, from all college students within the classroom to all college students at house, and so forth. 

Due to these fixed modifications, we discovered that being versatile is essential. So, what does being a versatile PD Specialist appear to be? 

  • Whereas members are becoming a member of your session, ask the place they’re and what their present instructing state of affairs appears like. Are they within the classroom or at house? Do college students come to high school or be part of classes remotely? Do all college students have gadgets? This data will aid you modify your session as wanted.
  • Have a number of content material examples prepared to point out (and even construct on-the-fly). Lecturers will admire you coming ready to deal with their particular content material considerations.


The EdTech that makes it occur

Coaching lecturers on EdTech remotely clearly requires the usage of EdTech. We fortunately had entry to a spread of choices, and based mostly on our experiences over the previous yr, we adopted a number of greatest practices we are able to cross alongside: 

  1. Use an agenda! Each. Single. Time. Even when your session is simply 30 minutes lengthy, an agenda is massively useful. It retains the PD on matter, gives a centralized place to place useful resource hyperlinks, and retains everybody organized. Lecturers don’t wish to attend a workshop throughout which a flurry of hyperlinks is distributed within the chat, and an agenda avoids the hyperlink storm fully by serving as a ‘house base’.
  2. A moderator is a should, particularly with classes which have greater than 20 members. You don’t wish to come off as a lonely podcaster. In spite of everything, you need the session to be as interactive as potential, proper? A moderator might help you make that occur by answering questions within the chat, typing out instructions as you’re giving them, and including extra tutorial concepts to the dialog. 
  3. In case you are facilitating a PD session on a SMART Board interactive show, use the accessible Zoom app. With the Zoom app, you’ll be able to clearly present all the pieces you’re doing on the SMART board (inking on an internet site, working a SMART Studying Suite On-line lesson, making a lesson with the Whiteboard app, or the rest!). The choice is, after all, pointing your laptop computer or cellphone digicam on the board–it shouldn’t be anyplace close to as clear (belief us–we’ve tried that, too). 

    No matter you do as a PD supplier, understand that lecturers’ conditions could differ. Create PD that’s related to their wants and be versatile with last-minute modifications. You’ll win them over each time. 


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