Professional Development Apps, Tools, and Resources That I Would Use If I Were Still in the Classroom

Back in 2001, when I started as a teacher, the technology boom was in its nascent stage. I remember toting a large bag filled with papers home most nights and going to sleep drowning under a vast sea of student homework that needed grading. My classroom was even worse, cluttered with books, manipulatives, globes, maps, and learning stations that left little room for anything else. However, as I write this in 2018, things have changed dramatically. Today’s teachers have edtech in their corners.

When it comes to professional development, teachers don’t have to attend boring lectures given by guest speakers who are out of touch with the classroom, and who have nothing of value to add to the participant. Nowadays you can engage in professional development anywhere, by using your smartphone, tablet, or laptop to log in to your choice of providers. You can find enriching professional development sessions on every topic from classroom management to pedagogy to mindfulness. If I were still in the classroom today, I’d use these professional development apps, tools, and resources:

EdWeb Webinars: Teachers never stop learning, but many of them lack the time and resources to attend a college course. With the webinars offered by EdWeb, educators can take advantage of free continuing education credits from the comfort and convenience of their own home. Even better, a large percentage of their topics pertain to edtech and building digital skills in the classroom.

Teach Boost – Teach Boost is a platform for teachers and administrators to assist with providing feedback and teacher evaluations. It is designed to foster effective educators and improve student outcomes. There are three segments in the Teach Boost program: Observations and Evaluations, Coaching and Mentorship, and Professional Development. Observations and Evaluations allow administrators to customize forms, rubrics, and observation cycles and streamline the overall evaluation process to fit the needs of the school. Coaching and Mentorship help develop sustainable coaching and mentoring programs through customized coaching engagements. It helps eliminate paperwork and simplifies scheduling. The Professional Development segment is a hub for schools to manage, document, and share professional development resources.

Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development: Do you need more help on a handful of topics, but you don’t have the time to read a book? The ASCD webinar archive can be a powerful resource with an ever-growing list of previous topics. It’s a convenient way for teachers to access material they need at the perfect time.

Teacher Vision: Teacher Vision® helps you become a more efficient teacher. It includes lesson outlines and worksheet templates that you can use in your classes. The content is both flexible and relevant to your needs as an educator. With this app, you can spend less time preparing for class and more time teaching.

Discovery Education – Discovery Education is a big player in EdTech. The company has established itself as the leading provider of digital curriculum resources, digital content, and professional development for K-12 classrooms. Around 5.6 million students across all 50 states and Canada are currently using Discovery Education. Discovery Education Streaming Plus, the comprehensive digital service supplementing instruction across all K-12 curricular areas, was recently the winner of the EdTech Digest’s Cool Tool Award in the Content Provider Solution category. Discovery Education Streaming Plus supplements instruction materials for all K–12 curricular areas. The supplemental materials include lesson plans, instructional strategies, and other content. Every possible source of content is available to students, including primary source documents, books, tapes, audio files, videos, podcasts, interviews, images and more.

EzTraxx – This software is designed to offer professional development, graduate study/tuition reimbursement and online training and teacher evaluation processes. This app saves time, slashes costs, and enables data-driven decision-making.

PebblePad– PebblePad is designed to act as an electronic portfolio (e-portfolio). It is a Personal Learning Space used in diverse learning contexts such as schools, colleges, universities, and professional bodies. It is useful for students, teachers, and testers for personal development planning; continuing professional development; and learning, teaching, and assessment. PebblePad was created with everything set to revolve around the student. It provides a framework to help users save records of learning, achievement, and goals. It also has a reflective structure underlining all its core elements.

BetterLesson: Are you hoping for more a class to push your career further along? BetterLesson offers live one-on-one coaching with their unique methodology that encourages teachers to make classroom changes. They help to make sure that all new strategies get implemented in the classroom and help evaluate the results.

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