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Teacher Professional Development for the Digital Age - CPDLab at EMINENT

CPDLab at EMINENT 2012

At the European Schoolnet EMINENT conference in Genoa in November 2012, the topic of ‘Teacher Professional Development in the Digital Age’ was addressed in a workshop style session with industry and Ministries of Education. The session was chaired by Jim Ayre, Senior Adviser to European Schoolnet, and led by Diana Bannister, University of Wolverhampton.

Presentations on related EC funded projects currently being coordinated by EUN, CPDLab and KeyConet  introduced the session. The 28 participants were then split into five groups to discuss topics ranging from individual to whole school Continuous Professional Development (CPD), to a discussion on the role of supporting technologies.

Key areas from the discussion included:

The challenge of sharing materials

  • the growing importance of Facebook groups and other social media groups in each country for sharing information between teachers e.g. “sharing” teaching materials websites;
  • national systems such as ‘Portfolio’ in Finland, where every teacher has his/her own portfolio where it is registered which educational background and courses he/she has taken – all registered teachers can be reached through this portfolio.
  • that, in general,  teachers don’t share things that they have done very easily even if they are very good.   Easier ways need to be found to do this and ways found to motivate teachers to “Dare to share!”
  • although “language issues” are significant in sharing and using content across different nationalities, it was felt that the importance of the quality of the trainers in the model of ‘train the trainers’ was critical to success. 

The challenge of moving from a face-to-face (F2F) training model

  • teachers still prefer F2F courses and those courses still seem to be a more successful model than online/blended learning courses. However, economics and the role of technology is facilitating changes: each country has set up a Moodle-type of training environment and communities; all also use webinars, which work fairly well, particularly to help with sharing between training sessions. The interest in Massively Open Online Courseware (MOOCs) is being watched to consider how this type of model could become more important in teachers´ in-service training.

The findings of the workshop, have been taken into the EC funded CPDLab project, to consider as part of their dissemination and exploitation of the three courses being developed within that project. Webinars to parties interested in becoming Associate Partners to the project will be held in spring 2013. To register your interest in being part of the Associate Partner webinar, please email, (CPDLab project manager).