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Online Professional Development in Secondary Education[সম্পাদনা কৰক]

Introduction[সম্পাদনা কৰক]

Online professional development refers to both the formal and informal means of assisting educators through the use of technology not only with acquiring new skills, but also with developing classroom practice, pedagogy, and exploring new understandings of content and resources. Online professional development can also be referred to as online or technological activities that increase professional growth. These activities may include personal development, continuing education, peer-collaboration, creating professional learning communities, and mentoring.


Importance of Online Professional Development in Secondary Education[সম্পাদনা কৰক]

The need for professional development that can fit with teachers’ busy schedules, that draws on resources often not available locally, and that can create a developing path towards providing on-going support, has encouraged the creation of online professional development programs.1 These programs allow interaction and participation without placing boundaries on location or time, and they provide a powerful venue for on-going support and professional learning for educators, especially in schools that are underserved or have limited resources.2 More importantly, many of these online professional development programs are aware of other potential benefits of online learning communities, such as the opportunities for reflection offered by asynchronous interactions or the ways some people silent in face-to-face settings find their voice in mediated interaction.3


Currently, there are many initiatives in online professional development serving a large numbers of educators. Several objectives for educational improvement underlie these online professional development programs, such as introducing new curricula, altering teachers’ beliefs and instructional and assessment practices, changing school organization and culture, and enhancing relationships between the school and community. Generally, these programs are available to teachers at their convenience and can provide just-in-time assistance. Further, online professional development programs are potentially more scalable than professional development that depends purely on local resources and face-to-face interactions.4


Key Elements of Online Professional Development[সম্পাদনা কৰক]

  • The number of participants aligns with the format of learning.
  • The number of teachers involved plays a significant role in selecting online professional development. For example, if the goal is to communicate to a large number of teachers spread out over Texas, in separate regions and districts, and provide them access to information (i.e., teacher resources), then videoconferencing, email, online courses, or Webinars may be the most reasonable form of online professional development.
  • Effectiveness is dependent on the quality of the available technology.
  • For teachers to benefit from online learning, the available tools must be of high quality to ensure that the investment of both time and money is beneficial for all of those involved.
  • Learning to use interactive tools is vital.
  • If teachers are expected to access interactive Web environments, such as blogs, simulations, virtual environments, or wikis, they need opportunities to learn how to effectively and efficiently use the tools to promote and support learning. Constant technical support is key because it allows teachers to have access to help when they need it most (i.e., when they encounter difficulties).
  • Skilled moderators are essential for learning.
  • The skill of the moderator can make or break the professional learning experience. For instance, simply watching and discussing videos is not an authentic professional learning experience. Moderators must be able to offer their expertise and support to provide a more deeper and reflective learning experience with the available online resources.
  • The content connects with teachers’ practice.
  • Learning must be focused on increasing content knowledge and pedagogical content knowledge, deepening understanding of student thinking and learning, and increasing teachers’ use of various pedagogical strategies.
  • There must be time for reflection.
  • The structure and format of online professional learning needs to include several opportunities for learners to reflect on their own and others’ ideas and teaching practices, including activities such as discussions or entries posted on online blogs or forums.5


Effectiveness of Online Professional Development in Secondary Education[সম্পাদনা কৰক]

Online professional development is becoming a popular form of professional development in secondary education. Online professional development is most effective when the program includes the same basic principles of effective face-to-face professional development.6 Materials should be presented to teachers in a real-world application context.7 Teachers are more willing to participate in professional development which appears beneficial to instructional methods and to the students.


Effective professional development should: 7 8

  • Be consistent and ongoing including methods such as modeling, coaching, collaborative discussions, and sharing of materials and experiences
  • Build upon existing content knowledge
  • Help teachers develop a greater sense of students’ needs in the classroom
  • Teach teachers to expand lesson plans to focus on classroom procedures, curriculum development, student activities, and student assessment
  • Offer incentives for teachers who successfully complete the program


Teachers must receive ongoing professional development (whether face-to-face or online). To be most effective, online professional development should be incorporated into existing face-to-face professional development programs.8 This strategy allows teachers to connect the programs and discuss new information in person.


Technology malfunctions are often a reason school districts avoid online professional development. School districts must train a team of online professional development technicians to provide teachers with all the hardware and software needed, as well as to provide technical support.8 An online professional development is likely to have higher success when teachers are provided with the necessary support.


Online professional development programs include: webcasts, self-paced instruction, college lecture models, tutorial models, and learning community models.6 All models incorporate a variety of online learning techniques. School district leaders should determine which type of online learning model would be most beneficial to their staff depending on their individual needs.


Benefits/Advantages of Online Professional Development in Secondary Education[সম্পাদনা কৰক]

Online professional development programs are attracting more attention and recognition than traditional programs because of the advantages they can offer to teachers. A number of studies addressed the benefits of online professional development programs.6 8 9 Most observable advantages of online professional development for teachers are as follows:


  • Anytime, any place learning: Online professional development provides convenient access for teachers who do not have access to traditional leaning opportunities because of geographic remoteness or time constraints.
  • Cost effective: Since educators can participate in online professional development activities from anyplace where there is a computer and internet access, travel and meeting space costs for learning are eliminated.
  • Collaborative learning opportunities with other educators: Online professional development provides a context in which teachers can interact and collaborate with their colleagues. They can collaborate with their colleagues by sharing thoughts, seeking advice, and sharing experiences of successes and problems.
  • Use of rich resources and new technologies: Through online, teachers have access to high quality resources and technologies beyond what the local school or district is able to offer.
  • Experience with the use of technology as a learner: Online professional development provides opportunities for educators to experience the power of technology as learners, enabling educators to consider how they might use technology with their own students. This experience will enable them to feel comfortable when introducing new technology into their own classrooms.
  • Multiple modes for learning: Online professional development uses a variety of current resources and technologies to promote multiple modes for learning. For example, participants can be engaged in synchronous (online chat) or asynchronous (online forums) interactions, gather available resources on the web, share audio and video materials, and use interactive software.
  • Direct impact on classroom practice: The ongoing and extended nature of online professional development activities enables teachers to include technology-embedded lessons in their classrooms and share the results in reflective discussions.
  • More opportunities for follow-up: Online professional development makes follow-up processes easier by providing ways for teachers to stay connected with their colleagues after the end of online professional development workshops or programs. 8 9


Drawbacks/Disadvantages/Challenges of Online Professional Development in Secondary Education[সম্পাদনা কৰক]

From a different perspective, the advantages of online professional development may also be considered as weaknesses.


  • Fewer opportunities to strengthen actual social ties: Since geographically remote teachers do not have to gather to meet their peers to form a true community, there are fewer opportunities for teachers to strengthen actual social ties to the culture of teaching.
  • Limited opportunities for demonstration: A key element in teacher education is modeling. However, there is little or limited opportunities for teachers to model classroom teaching in an online environment. Teachers also have limited opportunity to receive feedback from their instructor when they replicate the model in the actual classrooms.
  • ‘Anywhere, anytime’ does not work for some teachers: Online professional development may help teachers with time-management problems. However, if a teacher has a full day, it is impractical to add online professional development to the already crowded schedule. The desirability of ‘anywhere, anytime’ might not work in the reality when an individual still needs somewhere and sometime to participate in online professional development.9


Examples of Online Professional Development in Secondary Education[সম্পাদনা কৰক]

National Council of Teachers in Mathematics (NCTM)[সম্পাদনা কৰক]

NCTM offers numerous online resources such as e-workshops, e-seminars, online courses, forums, and interactive simulations. Each year, NCTM offers interactive high school mathematics institutes which are dedicated to online professional development. The idea is to offer reasoning and sense-making for teachers to walk away with practical strategies to prepare their students for success in mathematics. This innovate institute offers a unique number of benefits to mathematics teachers:



National Science Teachers Association (NSTA)[সম্পাদনা কৰক]

NSTA's major form of online professional development is the NSTA Learning Center (http://learningcenter.nsta.org/?lid=tnavhp ) which serves as a key online destination for science educators to identify, obtain, and certify professional development using quality NSTA e-learning resources and opportunities such as SciPacks and Science Objects, web seminars, podcasts, online courses, as well as thousands of NSTA e-books, book chapters and journal articles. These products can be combined so that teachers can receive hundreds of hours of personalized online professional development.


National Council for History Education (NCHE)[সম্পাদনা কৰক]

The National Council for History Education provides teachers with an international online community for the sharing of online resources including lesson plans, engaging activities, and outside resources to enhance instruction. Members can access an online collection of the organization’s newsletter entitled History Matters! (http://www.nche.net/resources/online_publications.html ) and are given a free subscription to the journal Historically Speaking.


National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS)[সম্পাদনা কৰক]

The National Council for the Social Studies provides teachers with a variety of online resources ranging from links to online publications, lesson plans, curriculum and state/national standards, as well as an online teacher resource library. The library has a collection of lesson plans, classroom strategies, and articles from a collection of online journals (http://www.socialstudies.org/teacherslibrary ). NCSS also provides members with a unique networking committee. Teachers from around the United States can link together to share their teaching experiences and ideas through a variety of online sources such as blogs and forums.


American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL)[সম্পাদনা কৰক]

The American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages provides various online resources to the profession and to the general public regarding issues, policies, and best practices related to the teaching and learning of languages and cultures. The resources range from links to webinars (http://www.actfl.org/i4a/pages/index.cfm?pageID=5278), online teaching methods (http://www.actfl.org/i4a/pages/index.cfm?pageid=3398), and powerpoint slides for professional developments (http://www.actfl.org/i4a/pages/index.cfm?pageid=4807) .


National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE)[সম্পাদনা কৰক]

The National Council of Teachers of English provides teachers with a variety of resources including web consultants, web seminars (http://www.ncte.org/seminars ), web conferencing(http://www.ncte.org/virtualconf), and resource kits for reading and writing instruction (http://www.ncte.org/kits).



References[সম্পাদনা কৰক]

1. Darling-Hammond, L., Wei, R. C., Andree, A., Richardson, N., & Orphanos, S. (2009).Professional learning in the learning profession: A status report on teacher development in the United States and abroad. Stanford, CA: National Staff Development Council. Retrieved from: http://www.nsdc.org/news/NSDCstudy2009.pdf


2. Dede, C. (Ed.). (2006). Online Professional Development for Teachers: Emerging Models and Methods. Cambridge, Ma: Harvard Education Press.


3. Dede, C. (2004). Enabling Distributed-Learning Communities via Emerging Technologies. Proceedings of the 2004 Conference of the Society for Information Technology in Teacher Education (SITE), pp. 3-12. Charlottesville, VA: American Association for Computers in Education.


4. Schlager, M., & Fusco, J. (2004). Teacher professional development, technology, and communities of practice: Are we putting the cart before the horse? In S. Barab, R. Kling & J. Gray (Eds.), Designing Virtual Communities in the Service of Learning: Cambridge University Press.


5. Loucks-Horsley, S., Love, N., Stiles, K.E., Mundry, S., & Hewson, P.W. (2010) Designing professional development for teachers of science and mathematics (3rd ed.) Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.


6. Kleiman, G., Dash, T., Ethier, D., Johnson, K., Metrick, S., & Treacy, B. (2000). Designing and Implementing Online Professional Development Workshops. Education Development Center, Inc.


7. Kleiman, G. M. (n.d.). Meeting the Need for High Quality Teachers: e-Learning Solutions. Paper presented at the U.S. Department of Education Secretary's No Child Left Behind Leadership Summit: Increasing Options Through e-Learning. Retrieved September 7, 2007 from: http://www.ed.gov/about/offices/list/os/technology/plan/2004/site/documents/Kleiman-MeetingtheNeed.pdf


8. Treacy, B., Kleiman, G., & Peterson, K. (2002). Successful Online Professional Development. Learning & Leading with Technology , 42-47.


9. Brown, A., & Green, T. (January/February 2003). Showing up to class in pajamas (or less!): The fantasies and realities of on-line professional development courses for teachers. The Clearing House, 76(3), 148-152. Retrieved November 2, 2004, from http://www.sreb.org/programs/EdTech/toolkit/Pajamas.pdf