Professional development is how educators learn, grow, and get inspired throughout their careers. Many districts required ongoing professional development for teachers and staff to ensure continuous growth and to stay in touch with the advances of technology in today’s world of K-12 education. In a recent conversation with Miguel Guhlin, Director of Professional Development at TCEA, he described how TCEA  has created virtual professional development courses for educators during this challenging time of remote learning.

Through his work at TCEA, Miguel provides professional development resources to one of the largest groups of educators in the state of Texas. He shared observations of how COVID-19 has created a lot of commotion around professional development and educating teachers on the benefits of technology. 

Miguel explained that prior to remote learning, most of TCEA’s professional development offerings were done in person at annual events and smaller sessions, so teachers never really had a sense of urgency when it came to learning and using technology. Now, members of TCEA are taking numerous professional development courses online and learning how to develop and use new skills with technology in their virtual classrooms. 

How TCEA Created Virtual Professional Development Courses

After being thrown into emergency remote learning this past Spring, teachers should focus on reflecting on their experience and identify points of weaknesses to grow and strengths to maintain.

Miguel’s advice is to take what you have learned from this unique experience to be that much more prepared for the Fall 2020-21 semester.

To enhance the virtual professional development experience for members of TCEA, Miguel explained that his team created various types of professional development courses for teachers to complete at their own pace while adjusting to emergency remote learning and in preparation for the next school year. 

These virtual professional development courses include topics such as addressing remote learning communication, relationships, safety, and security, as well as courses on specific technology tools and skills. This enabled teachers to work through virtual professional development courses at their own pace and really consume and indulge in the content.

TCEA also created Learning Management System site content for teachers to master their LMS and better understand how to manage learning remotely with these tools. 

3 Ways to Create Virtual Professional Development Courses

1. Leverage Video

The use of video is not only a great skill for teachers to utilize for remote and in-person instruction, but using videos for professional development courses is also a great way to demonstrate how effective videos can be for content consumption. Videos are engaging and extremely beneficial for visual learners. This can closely replicate the face-to-face environment, making instruction more personal and closing a gap that exists with remote learning. 

2. Organize by Categories

Keep the courses concise. Pick different topics to focus on for specific courses so that teachers can pick and choose a topic that best fits their needs at that given time. You can categorize these topics into groups like learning styles, LMS tools, how to create lesson plans, technology integration, and the list goes on.

3. Prioritize Application

Make your courses applicable. Be time-efficient, relevant, and effective by providing the most necessary resources and skills to educators so that their professional development grows effortlessly. Prioritize listening to members of your school or association to understand what courses are helping most and lean into those strengths. 

Over 7,000 educators have already completed TCEA’s courses since May of this year. A large reason for this is that teachers don’t want to feel as vulnerable, frustrated, and angry as they felt back in March, so they are proactively seeking out professional development. Minimize stress for teachers by providing self-paced, virtual professional learning courses to benefit teachers and students in the upcoming school year – regardless of where learning will take place. 

Listen to the full conversation with Miguel Guhlin on out Tackling Tech Podcast!

On this episode of Tackling Tech Podcast, powered by Dyknow, Brett McGrath talks with Miguel Guhlin, Director of Professional Development at TCEA in Texas. Miguel explains some of the many challenges facing Texas school districts this year. Miguel sees this emergency shift to remote learning as an opportunity for educators to find their voices and embrace technology. In this challenging time, everyone needs to stick together, adapt, and move forward together.

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