Inspiration - Professional Development during the Pandemic of 2020
My inspiration stems from the need to give my students the best education that I can provide them. Professional development serves to provide a method to keep teachers up to date on the latest teaching strategies so that students benefit from their expertise. During the COVID-19 pandemic of 2020, teachers were forced to learn and teach using a new distance model without warning or preparation. Shelter-in-place orders required students and teachers to stay home and connect online to continue educating students. Teachers had to learn and teach in a completely new way, and professional development was needed en masse as fast as possible. While the district in this study provided students and teachers with Zoom connectivity to create a virtual classroom, most teachers had little or no learning experience in a virtual space. My study is critical to supporting students' learning while determining the best vehicle to administer professional development to support teacher learning. Teachers needed to know the best plan to benefit student achievement.
Many app-based programs offered an introductory discount during the initial shut-down. Application service providers inundated teachers with app offers and professional development opportunities. Teachers spent many hours reviewing student data to determine the efficacy of each app. These educators lost valuable planning and personal time sifting through an avalanche of enticing offers. Students and families were overwhelmed with learning to navigate the virtual classroom while accommodating each teacher’s expectations.
I have viewed our new distance model as an opportunity rather than as an obstacle. This Distance Learning time has allowed me space and time to dive deeper into technology tools that I had only begun to explore. For example, I had set up my first Zoom session to use for our virtual field trips only weeks before the shutdown. Many of the things that I thought could be done have become a reality that hopefully will continue into the future. Zoom has made it possible to hold all manner of meetings virtually. As we all get used to this new medium, we will begin creating new ways to interact. Also, as Zoom adapts to the needs of its users, it will expand on possible uses. Such as interactivity of the chat, polls, and feedback from participants.
This new way of interacting via zoom could provide more transparency and accountability. In this way, my passion for leveling the playing field, closing the achievement gap, and promoting equity could become a reality. I am always looking for ways to deliver content in a child-friendly way that inspires and engages. Close consideration of the sociocultural, instructional, technological, and educational context of the situation in which the learner will experience learning seems fundamental to designing successful learning experiences. If they are not carefully addressed, a gap appears that may result in a poor transfer of learned knowledge to a new setting.
The question "How do teachers internalize what they have learned during professional development and how does that knowledge impact student learning? is especially relevant during the COVID19 pandemic of 2020-2021. This study examined three models of professional development: