Having a learning management system is almost a given in many schools today. From Kindergarten to high school, and also at university level, educators of all subjects use a school LMS to manage all aspects of student learning.
They create courses, give access to all sorts of learning materials online, use gamification features, design learning paths, encourage online collaboration, monitor student progress, do grading, and so on. There are many ways in which an LMS with a comprehensive feature set can assist teachers in delivering their best instruction. Many.
And the best part of this? A school LMS can be used to teach students, no matter their age! Bear with me on this idea.
PD for teachers is more than necessary
Everyone seems to have been captured by a whirlwind of discussions about including technology in the classroom, whether we’re talking about the already mentioned LMS, educational apps, online collaboration and productivity tools, and of course, access to more tech devices and BYOD programs. The use of technology in the classroom is almost equal to providing students with the best ways of reaching success.
However, with all the focus being on students, people have overlooked one detail: in order for technology to be effectively introduced in the classroom — and contribute to the positive academic outcomes everyone expects — it needs to go through the teachers’ hands first.
Teachers face tremendous pressure from school management, students, parents, local communities and society to adopt technology in their instruction, yet many of them lack critical digital media literacy. Or, if they know how to handle educational technology, many don’t understand its value and how it can be best used to boost student performance.
We can’t really blame these teachers for not being able to keep up with the rapid pace of technological developments in education. People from various other industries face similar challenges. What teachers need is help and support.
What teachers need is professional development targeted on ed-tech.
The good news is that many districts have started to turn their attention to providing PD for teachers in the ever more tech-infused learning environments we have today. As Bill Gates famously preached, “Satisfactory” is no longer enough. School leaders are looking into ways of creating successful professional development for educators and develop strategies and policies.
And there’s one simple solution that’s simply waiting to be noticed: to use the already available school LMS to teach teachers.
3 Reasons to use the school LMS to deliver PD for teachers
Remember what I said about the best part of having a school LMS? It’s that it can be used to teach students, no matter their age. And what are teachers enrolled in a professional development program focused on ed-tech if not students themselves?
Here are a few advantages of putting the school LMS to good use in a training program for educators.
It’s already there
If professional training courses are delivered through the same LMS that is used for teaching students, there’s no need for extra resources and more money to buy new software. An easy solution is to create a new learning portal dedicated to teachers and training, so as to avoid any confusion or overlapped instruction.
Both administrators and teachers should already be familiar with how the system works, so the time to adapt to it and learn what each click and button does should be minimum. This way, teachers enrolled in a training program can focus on what they need to learn from the very beginning, not on figuring out how a new system works.
It’s like a breath of fresh air
Sometimes you only get to know another person when you spend a day in their shoes, goes the saying. Using the same LMS, but from a different perspective — that of a student — makes teachers experience all aspects of such a learning platform. Afterwards, they’ll surely be able to empathize more with the students and provide them with the best teaching experience.
What LMS features are best for teaching teachers?
Well, the same that teach students. A cloud-based LMS usually comes with a variety of features that can be used to create the most engaging online courses. Just because teachers are a different age than their students and have to complete different courses, it doesn’t mean that they don’t need a learning path, could not enjoy gamification or diversity in terms of learning materials.
FREE Resource: Using NEO for Professional Development for teachers
Graham is the CEO and Founder of CYPHER LEARNING and NEO. He is a serial entrepreneur, e-learning enthusiast, published author and educator.