Figuring out what to present on is always fun for conferences and events. In educational technology, it’s easy to pick the tech tool of the week and do a session on that. Right now, you can pick any assortment of formative assessment tools and AI platforms that are jumping into the space. But surveys like the one featured below always leave me wondering, “Are we wasting our time? What do teachers really want to know?” Fortunately, digital tools fall into the areas of interest for educators.

Photo by Stephen Harlan on Unsplash

Blending Tech into Teaching and Learning

Over time, many teachers become better at educating as they learn more about high-effect instructional strategies, how to better manage their classrooms, and build relationships with students and colleagues. Not surprisingly, all of this is reflected in the survey below.

The question is, “How can we build better PD that springs from the campus and district community?” When I worked in a small, urban district (mostly shut down now due to being land-locked, and parents putting their students in charter schools or leaving the district altogether), one of the assistant principals liked to say,

“Everything we need to know is right here. Everybody we need to learn from is here. Why do we need to go outside of the District and pay fancy consultants?”

It was an argument. I may have made it myself. These days, many school districts have built capacity, selectively bringing in presenters that enhance their work. For them, it IS about amplifying the voices of their in-house staff.

The Survey

EdWeek’s Market Brief has some interesting things to say about professional development for educators, highlighting findings from an Education Week report on The State of Teaching. It warns about four key areas identified in the Teacher Morale Index:

Area #1: Irrelevant PD

How can those who facilitate and deliver professional development make their workshops more relevant to classroom teachers, 48% of which complain it is not? Also, that they (19%) simply got too much professional development?

Area #2: More Digital Tools

Teachers (13%) say they “need training on using technology or digital tools” in an effective manner. Other needs identified by teachers include more professional development on:

  • Motivating and engaging students
  • Classroom management, discipline, and/or student behavior

In aggregate, the following areas add up to 31%:

  • Classroom-based coaching and feedback on teaching techniques and strategies
  • PD on infusing SEL into their work
  • Help responding to curriculum shift in their district
  • Help deepening their understanding of the content they teach

Area #3: Desire More Autonomy

Teachers want more autonomy and control over what they teach in the classroom.

Area #4: Improve Morale

Teachers are bummed out about school and their jobs. This accounts for 55% of teachers in urban schools who fight to stay motivated on the job.