By Dr. Ramiro Zuniga
One of the more common concerns related to technology integration in K12 is the lack of quality professional development for teachers and administrators. School district administrators tasked with providing professional development hear these complaints related to traditional professional development:
- Trainer is not engaging enough.
- On-site professional development requires teachers to leave their classrooms.
- Traditional professional development is offered during the school day, weekends, or holidays.
- Trainer has limited knowledge.
- Training materials are outdated.
One of the newer strategies gaining traction with school districts wanting to address these concerns is a professional development video solution. In short, this solution provides a collection of videos coupled with a system used to manage and monitor the system. Advantages of using such a solution include:
- Research-based topics are included.
- Videos are often created by educators.
- Videos can be engaging.
- Videos are short in duration and targeted by topic.
- System can be made accessible 24/7.
- Management system allows for keyword searches.
- Usage reports can be easily generated.
- Additional videos are regularly produced.
If you are considering utilizing professional development videos, keep these 10 tips in mind:
- Develop a plan for how the professional development video system will be utilized.
- Ensure that the system provides mechanisms for checking comprehension.
- Take time to screen every video for content.
- Identify a collection of recommended videos as a starting point.
- Never assume that every video provided by a service provider will meet with your approval.
- Distinguish and communicate which videos are required to be watched versus optional.
- Identify videos that can be prescribed for teachers that need improvement in specific areas.
- Monitor the usage of the system, especially for prescribed videos.
- If possible, supplement your purchased videos with videos created in house.
- Utilize other forms of professional development.
As with any implementation, expect to hear some of the following complaints:
- Lack of time outside of the work day
- Uncomfortable with system
- Too many videos in the collection
One of the more important considerations to keep in mind when considering a professional development video system is that such a system is part of a greater plan. As with any solution, a plan has to be developed, implemented, and communicated across the district. Although vendors can assist in the development and implementation of the system, they cannot ensure success. School district administrators must ensure that they work in conjunction in order to make such a system effective.