As many districts across Texas prepare to begin the school year in either a hybrid format or 100% remotely, many teachers and interns are looking for resources to help them navigate these uncharted waters.
The good news is that there are several professional development resources available that will help educators make the shift to blended or fully remote instruction. These courses, many of which are free or low-cost, provide the much needed support during a school year that is bound to be filled with uncertainty.
If you’re looking for a few ideas for teacher training as your district prepares to educate its students in a hybrid or remote format, these organizations offer professional development opportunities:
Leaning Forward, a professional learning association, has been designing new ways to support schools as they prepare to provide online instruction.
The organization’s site is loaded with webinars that include topics like, “Reopening Schools - What Does Hybrid Mean?” and “Preparing For Reopening: Building Resilience and Flexibility.”
All the live webinars are free with even the most basic membership, which is $69 per year. However, the organization is also making its COVID webinar series free to the public in an effort to support educators during the pandemic.
Global EdTech Academy
Global EdTech Academy offers several tools for teachers and interns to grow their skill sets through free one-time sessions. These live and recorded resources include topics like, “Kaleidoscope of Learning: K-12 Global Collaboration and Virtual Field Trips” and “Minecraft and Coding.” Sessions are free and are recorded for viewing on the organization’s YouTube Channel.
Global EdTech Academy also offers Master Classes that empower participants to be in charge of their own professional learning. These classes are taught by subject matter experts using Microsoft Tools.
These courses are sponsored by Microsoft and Computer-Using Educators, an ISTE affiliate in California.
WestEd offers several evidence-based resources that are designed to help teachers make a difference in the education of children and youth during these difficult times.
Offering professional learning webinars for free, Share My Lesson is founded by the American Federation of Teachers. Current webinar and professional development topics reflect remote or hybrid methods for learning this upcoming school year, as well as how to address equity and build inclusion.
Examples of topics include “Hybrid Learning: Seven Strategies for a Successful and Flexible Year Ahead” and “Rigor in the Remote Learning Classroom.” After viewing each webinar, you will receive a certificate of completion that can be then used to earn one credit hour of professional development pending approval by your district.
The Friday Institute offers online professional learning for educators. Offered through North Carolina State University, the program is offering courses currently that address many of the issues teachers are facing right now as they explore remote learning.
The courses, which are free, explore topics like, “Problem Solving in the Digital Age,” “Coaching Digital Learning” and “Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) for Educators.” Each course includes activities such as discussion forums, collaborative professional learning activities and work-on-your own curriculum resources.
Distance Learning with Common Sense Education
Through free weekly webinars, Common Sense Education brings educators together who teach across the country. These webinars, which are found on YouTube, cover a wide variety of topics, such as, “4 Steps to Stress-Free Virtual Learning,” “Supporting Students Receiving Special Education Services” and “Why Do Kids Need Art More Than Ever Before?”
Teachers or interns can watch these webinars live by signing up in advance for registration notifications, or can watch past webinars on the YouTube channel. Archived videos also include slides, documents and other resources.
A Lasting Partnership
Whichever program you choose to partner with to earn your teaching certificate, it’s important to keep in mind that they should also provide you with the support you need during this unique time period.
For certification programs that simply provide online teacher training, you probably won’t get this extra support. That’s why it is important to choose wisely and stay informed about the great resources and programs that can help you evolve as a teacher … especially in these most unexpected and challenging circumstances.
Micah is the Director of Curriculum & Technology. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in British Literature, from the University of North Texas and a Master of Arts in Teaching, from Louisiana College. In his previous career, Micah served for 14 years as a banker and bank manager. For the majority of this period, Micah managed the Downtown Fort Worth location of Frost Bank.
In 2005, Micah finally surrendered to his true calling to be an educator. After a brief, but fulfilling term teaching high school English at Flower Mound High School in Lewisville ISD, Micah went to work for the family business, training teachers.
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