New Jersey Public School District Hopes to Support Autonomous Professional Development

New Jersey Public School District Hopes to Support Autonomous Professional Development

This district is looking for a solution that supports autonomous professional development, which includes access to external digital content such as online courses, videos, webinars, and modules.

State: New Jersey Number of Students: 1,003
School Type: Public School District Free and Reduced Lunch: 56.6%
Grade Level: PK-8 English Language Learners: 0.6%

School Context

This district has recently begun to implement technology across their student's academic programs. However, they are most interested in giving teachers first-hand experience with personalized learning before they implement it in their own classrooms.

State of Technology

Teachers do not have much choice in the type of professional development they undergo. The district wants to give teachers the ability to set goals and choose their own professional development activities. To support this, they would like to use the district's 5 professional development days as more of an EdCamp model. In the mornings, they would like to offer them in-person sessions where they will spend time collaborating with their peers, but give them choice to register for the session of their choice. In the afternoon, they would like the teacher to be able to set goals and access modules, webinars and courses (created externally from thedistrict) in order to make progress on their goals. All content a teacher uses should connect clearly to the district’s professional development plan and the goals set by their schools. However, they also want that content to be a choice, so they want teachers to have a variety of content at their fingertips. The biggest thing they need technology to do would be to support with externally created content such as videos, digital resources, webinars, modules and online courses. Having a bank of these resources is their top priority. They also would like to provide the compliance professional development that the state requires through this bank of resources. Additionally, it would be nice if the tool helped facilitate registration for in-person activities. It would also be great if the tool helped the teacher set and share their goals, learning path and portfolio of professional development.

Currently, the district has five professional development days a year. They develop a master schedule for everyone to follow. They plan out sessions on specific areas of instruction, along with pedagogy. Through these trainings they try to use as many Google apps as possible, with the hopes that teachers will be trained to use them better. However, the lack of choice is not working. They need teachers to have choice and to have some autonomy when it comes to their learning. They think giving them access to digital resources will help give them the materials they need to do autonomous learning.

Tech Needs & Requirements

Teachers will independently determine their goals, while keeping in mind the goals of the district and the school. Teachers will be responsible for accessing content independently. They will also be responsible for registering for in person sessions.

The number one non-negotiable is having online content. The content does not have to be live courses, but there must be many options for teachers to choose from. The district provides use of Chromebooks. They district is looking for data that shows a link between the subject matter and district priorities. They want to see how these two things line up. Usage data is important along with the ability to track activities teachers are engaged in and have completed. The tool must be web-based.

*Content From 2015

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