ASCD provides professional development resources that connect teachers to research experts and to courses for building instructional skills. The association offers four PD tools for teachers; webinars, ‘PD Online’, ‘Educore’ and ‘Principal Compass.’ These come in the form of online courses, videos, and webinars. Content includes examples from real teachers in the classroom, lectures by experts, and Powerpoint presentations. ‘PD Online’, is a series of online courses that span subjects from how to teach to the Common Core standards to management and school culture. ‘EduCore,’ provides specific math and literacy Common Core-aligned materials including webinars, expert-led lectures and sample lesson plans. ASCD also offers free webinar lectures given by experts. .
For principals, ASCD offers the ‘Principal Compass’ program, developed with Pearson to provide administrators with short courses in leadership and management.
- PD Purpose: Learn
- Primary Users: Teachers, Administrators
- Cost: Webinars and ‘EduCore’ are free; online courses are $99 per person with bulk discounts; a one-year site license (for six leaders) to ‘Principal Compass’ runs $4990. Districts with multiple sites may apply for discounts.
- Skills This Product Targets: Pedagogy skills and content knowledge
- On-Brand Use: Teachers can take courses, gain content knowledge and achieve course credit.
- Platforms: Web-based, any browser
- Deal breakers: Time consuming and costly. Some require a school or district to purchase the PD.
- Types of Schools Using It: Ranges from small schools to state departments
ASCD brings over 50 years of experience in professional development. Its name is trusted; its brand is strong. The online professional development courses also provide either PD and college credit for completion.
breadth of offerings from ASCD give teachers and administrators the opportunity
to combine resources and courses to create their own, individualized PD
How does it work?
Teachers and administrators can search for and access all PD from the ASCD website. Online courses and ‘Principal Compass’ can be purchased through the online catalog; webinars can be watched for free; the free ‘EduCore’ website can also be found on the PD page of the ASCD website.
The ASCD website regularly offers free monthly webinars. Educators sign up on the website to receive notifications of webinar topics and times. There are dozens of archived webinars; new series debut a few times a year. Each webinar covers a specific topic such as updating your curriculum, flipping your classroom, or motivating students to learn. Webinars are led by experts in the field.
Users can watch or participate in these hour-long webinars without a special sign-on or account. The webinars are generally supplemented with a short description of the video and a handout of the slides.
‘Educore’ is the ASCD website created to provide teachers with Common Core-aligned materials and information. The site covers literacy and math, and includes resources such as short videos of teachers or researchers discussing the Common Core, PDFs of Common Core aligned lesson plans, which can be downloaded and edited, and expert-led webinars.
These experts are generally classroom teachers who have implemented Common Core-aligned curriculum, researchers who study the Common Core, or other stakeholders tied to the Common Core. ‘Educore’ lets teachers create an account, which allows them to track the videos they watch, add materials to a “my resources” page, and create journal entries after reading through a PDF or watching a video.
Teachers can access this information for free at http://educore.ascd.org/. This site was funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
an online catalog of more than 100 classes, the ASCD online PD offers
interactive, in-depth, and self-paced courses. The courses are made up of
modules that include readings, slide presentations, videos, and quizzes. The
modules can be completed at any time--either in one session or over time. There
are no required assignments but the courses do test for learning at various
Courses for ‘PD Online’ are available in 16 categories:
- The Art and Science of Teaching (3)
- Assessment (6)
- Classroom Management (9)
- Common Core (18)
- Curriculum Development (4)
- Differentiated Instruction (6)
- Diversity (3)
- English Language Learners (6)
- Leadership/Community Building (11)
- Learning Theories (9)
- Literacy Strategies (15)
- Special Populations (5)
- STEM Education (9)
- Technology (2)
- UbD Framework (3)
- First Editions (31)
has five to seven modules, all of which are self-paced and self-guided. They
have been created by the ASCD instructional design team in collaboration with
expert consultants and reflect on the latest research. The courses all have a
similar instructional design model, content directly related to the subject and
a consistent look and feel.
A pre-course and post-course assessment is available for teachers and administrators for PD credit. University partners also offer college credit for some of the courses.
The modules include relevant videos, readings, mini-quizzes (“check for understandings”), and a final application activity. The final application activity asks teachers to take the concepts that were learned and bring them into the classrooms or offices. These application activities are distributed as pdfs and/or word documents and are up to the teacher to implement on their own. Courses are $99.00 apiece and are available through the online store. They can also be purchased in bulk by a school or district.
‘Principal Compass’ is one of ASCD’s newest PD resources. It was developed with leadership expert, Robert Marzano, and built around the leadership research of Lyle Kirtman. A one-year site license for six leaders at a school costs $4990.
This PD is specifically designed to support community interaction among school and district leaders. Principals are asked to complete cycles of self-assessment, which can include a principal uploading materials like photos and PDFs. After completing a self assessment, participants take a short PD course that can be linked to an existing leadership rubric, or one that the user uploads to the site.
resources include over 3,000 hours of video content, courses created in
collaboration with Pearson, and modules (typically no longer than an hour)
focused on Marzano’s research. Principals are then asked to implement the
learning into their everyday interactions, and to complete a fresh self-assessment.
How is it used?
ASCD aims to support a wide range of PD offerings to support diverse needs. The idea is to allow teachers and administrators to access the PD they need most, when they want, and where they want. The free materials are limited to webinars and resources like videos and PDFs. Fee-based courses can be extensive and take anywhere from a few hours to a few days to complete.
Schools have been using ASCD PD through a flipped professional development model, where part of the learning happens online at home. Administrators assign teachers an online course and bring in a facilitator to lead onsite discussion. For example, teachers can watch all the modules in a course and then have a follow up session to reinforce and build on the learning. Facilitators may also lead online discussions.
Who’s Using It?
ASCD is a very broad organization that has provided all types of PD for many years. Its materials are used by educators in all types of schools, from public to private and from elementary schools through universities. ASCD PD is also used by government organizations that assign and provide PD to schools and teachers.
Individual teachers frequently seek t PD and continuing education credit from ASCD. With $99.00 courses and free webinars, the materials are readily available. However, ‘Principal Compass’ is meant to be used by an entire school or district. These can be expensive tools and are generally paid for by a district for their staff.
Content, Content, Content….
The available content ranges from Common Core-aligned courses to classroom management to school culture, and more. The courses are created by the ASCD instructional design team, specifically hired for their subject-specific and curriculum design expertise in collaboration with experts in the field.
Courses for ‘Principal Compass’ are created in collaboration with Pearson. Webinars in these modules are led by thought leaders in their individual fields, which may include well-known teachers or researchers.
Training, Integrating, and Implementing
There is no training required to use the webinars and ‘Educore’.’ Principal Compass’ requires users to familiarize themselves with the leadership curriculum around which it’s structured. This can be done through the site.
‘PD Online’ and ‘Principal Compass’ can be integrated into other systems that are being used by schools, districts, or states. These tools can also be integrated with and accessed through a state or district portal.
The ASCD PD offerings can be accessed individually or assigned to a larger group. The online courses can serve as PD for an entire school or district, and can be implemented using a variety of methods including a blended learning or flipped classroom approach (see “How is it used” above).
‘Principal Compass’ is designed to be used by six leaders in a school or district. It is meant to change behaviors within a school, and part of the PD is to practice the learning in the physical world, then reflect on the outcomes.
Some of the ASCD products can cost several thousands of dollars and should be purchased at the school or district level.
All of the ASCD PD is web-based.
ASCD webinars are free, as well as all the resources on the ‘EduCore’ site. ‘PD Online’ offers an entire catalog of courses, each priced at $99.00. ‘Principal Compass’ is available for $4990 as a site license for six leaders for a one year subscription. All paid-for PD have bulk discounts available for districts and larger.
Professional development and continuing education credits are available through ‘PD Online.’ There are also universities that provide course credit for the ASCD online classes.
Comparables:Few other programs offer such a complete suite of free and for-credit professional development resources (including classes), across such a wide range of grade levels. For example, teachers and administration can find both paid and free online courses from sources such as Udemy and Courser
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