Sharon Rendon, Director of Professional Learning, email@example.com
Can learning through a virtual platform be as effective as learning collaboratively in person? In this new era of online and virtual learning, what is the balance between learning that needs to be done in person in the same physical location and learning or collaboration that might be able to occur virtually? These are questions CPM professional learning department is wrestling with as we think about how to support teachers. The data gathered via KickUp has validated the effectiveness of our professional learning content that is currently delivered mostly in person over eight days. The attendance data has also highlighted the need for some adjustments to our professional learning model and structure. Generally the attendance rate drops off by 50% or more for the follow up days. While some educators are able to attend all workshops, others struggle with release time. Not only does the cost of substitute teachers affect attendance, but some districts do not have the needed number of substitute teachers to cover their teachers’ attendance. CPM wants to support all educators, including those that might not have access to necessary funds or substitutes. Also often teachers struggle to fit in the four summer days in the current model.
At CPM, we recognize the need to use tools strategically and technology is one of those tools. According to a study done in 2012, there are more handheld devices in the world than toothbrushes. Devices are ubiquitous! Additionally, the youngest generation of educators entering the profession today are accustomed to using technology as part of their normal routines. CPM is looking for ways to enhance the professional learning we currently offer by integrating technology. Our desire is for all educators to embrace the components of virtual learning that is currently enjoyed by some educators.
Nothing is stronger than an idea whose time has come. The idea that will be explored involves taking the current learning that CPM offers and determining the best blended approach. To help with the main challenge of attendance, CPM hopes to leverage the power of technology.. Currently, there are no other options other than attending those eight days in person. CPM is planning to modularize the workshop series content for blended learning. This work will include identifying which elements are best done in the workshop setting in person and which can be done online, synchronously and asynchronously.
Have you experienced online learning? Have you thought about the pros and cons of a blended approach? We would love to hear from you. Please take a few minutes and provide CPM Professional Learning department your thoughts and experiences with virtual learning.