ERIC Number: ED485276
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2004-Oct
Online Professional Development: Why SREB States Should Use It
Thomas, William R.
Southern Regional Education Board
Whether new to teaching or an experienced veteran, every teacher needs up-to-date training. How can states provide effective, replicable and scalable professional development to over a million teachers in more than 3,400 school districts in Southern Regional Education Board (SREB) states? For many years, states attempted to meet this need with face-to-face professional development. More recently, many states added satellite roadcasts and video conferencing to bring together an instructor in one location with students in one or more classrooms elsewhere. Only in the last several years have some states and local schools begun using the Web to provide the critical training that teachers need. There is a wealth of information available about what is required to provide quality professional development. There are many knowledgeable professionals who can demonstrate and explain how to be successful in the classroom. Why then do far too many teachers report that their professional development experience is often of poor quality and does not meet their needs? Perhaps the answer is as simple as: States keep doing the same thing and expecting different (improved) results. While online professional development is still relatively new for schools and states, there is growing evidence that it can meet many teachers' needs as well as or better than face-to-face instruction. Research on this topic, while limited due to the newness of the use of online professional development, indicates that participant success is at least equal to and often better than participation in traditional professional development. Key benefits include bringing together participants who would otherwise not be in touch with one another and providing opportunities for quality follow-up after the course is completed.
Southern Regional Education Board, 592 10th St. N.W., Atlanta, GA 30318-5776. Tel: 404-875-9211.
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education
Sponsor: The Bell South Foundation
Authoring Institution: Southern Regional Education Board, Atlanta, GA.