Over the past several years, a number of educators and school districts have experimented with different models of online professional development (OPD)Web-based courses designed to supplement or take the place of face-to-face workshops. However, little is known to date about the impact of OPD offerings on students, classrooms, and schools.
In a new article published by ISTE (International Society for Technology in Education), a team of EDC staff members document the experiences of EdTech Leaders Online (ETLO), which has collaborated with more than 50 school-based teams over the past two-and-a-half years. ETLO, managed by EDC’s Center for Online Professional Education (COPE), is an online professional development program that helps state departments of education, school districts, regional service providers and other educational organizations train professionals to develop online programs to train educators.
"Through this work, we have learned valuable lessons about how online learning can build capacity for technology integration and help school districts meet the challenge of providing effective professional development for teachers and administrators," the authors explain. "We have also learned that vibrant, interactive communities of educators can be built online and have significant effects on classroom teacher practice."
The ISTE article, "Successful Online Professional Development," provides examples of the kinds of programs EdTech Leaders Online created for diverse groups of educators. These initial teams of learners have since moved on to run local online professional development programs. The article then details the key elements of successful online professional development programs. It also provides compelling evidence of the benefits of using an online course for helping educators incorporate the advantages of technology into their work.
Originally published on September 1, 2002