Blog Importance of Professional Development for Teachers to Boost Knowledge of Learning Platforms By Bel Clohesy Enhancing the Student Learning Journey Participating in professional development training for educators is strongly linked to the enhancement of pedagogical practice. Ongoing professional development is actively encouraged, and indeed mandated, by many teachers’ associations. Within the realm of education, there exists an abundance of professional development opportunities ranging from informal moments of learning, to formalised workshops, presentations and conferences; and even accredited technical and university courses. Ongoing Professional Development To truly succeed with the implementation and development of a contemporary Learning Management System (LMS), portal solution, and any other educational technologies (EdTech), it is essential to find the time, energy and commitment to expand one’s own knowledge, understanding and skills. By embarking on a continuous approach to growing professional knowledge, it is possible to seek out worthwhile learning opportunities. Schoolbox is a huge advocate for ongoing professional development, and we offer an array of professional development activities in order to expand the understanding of our all-in-one learning management system, school portal, and community engagement platform; as well as integration of many other digital technologies to enrich pedagogical practice. In this blog, we will explore 5 opportunities for ongoing professional development so that your school may continue to achieve success with your LMS and School Portal Solution. Engage in Forums Network forums are an informal method in which to seek out information, stay in touch with fellow end-users, hear about developments and enhancements, and to pose questions to vendor representatives regarding products, resources, and practices. Community forums commonly provide a library of user guides, release notes, news posts, information about further professional development opportunities, and access to specialist subject groups. Schoolbox Help Dashboard Schoolbox offers teachers and support staff from customer schools the opportunity to join their virtual hub via Schoolbox Help. The Schoolbox forum houses a vast array of information, access to resources and how to guides, as well as role-based networking groups. Interest Groups on Schoolbox Help Take advantage of consultancy sessions offered by LMS and School Portal providers Often school software vendors provide consultancy sessions as an add-on to purchase or licencing agreements. These consultancy sessions include assisting with strategic planning, goal setting, development, and implementation of LMS and school portals. With these services, general or targeted professional development can be offered to staff to ensure optimal success of the system, particularly when establishing the platform across the school for the first time. Schoolbox offers a range of professional consultancy services including: Schoolbox Implementation Support In-Depth Consulting Project Management Services Ongoing Education Use staff meetings to evolve knowledge of the digital learning platform Staff meetings and briefings offer timely opportunities for LMS and school portal champions to share their knowledge. They also represent the perfect moment for staff to ask questions and seek support from each other in an informal manner. The frequency of staff meetings and its ready-made audience, present a great opportunity to share snippets of information about forthcoming software updates, upcoming professional development opportunities, and other relevant news. To formalise the evolution of knowledge sharing among staff, consider adding presentations or workshops as part of the staff preparation week timetable, prior to the beginning of a new academic year. Teachers who have returned from leave are likely to be fresh, and ready to seek out challenges and absorb new learning, in order to enhance their professional practice. Schoolbox also offers a number of professional development workshops, which are updated regularly on Schoolbox Help. Schoolbox Help: information provided according to Persona Encourage joining of professional institutes and associations Presenting both formal and informal learning opportunities, collegial collaboration and networking provides innumerable professional benefits, particularly when it comes to best practice with learning platforms. Joining professional bodies such as teachers’ associations, specialist groups, and email-lists with other like-minded professionals, enables teachers to explore and learn from those outside their own school environment. Being part of a broader network is how teachers mix with others, grow their own professional learning network, learn about best practice and further develop their own contemporary pedagogical practice. Many countries host their own teaching associations, and specialist subject groups. A great place to seek out professional development opportunities, particularly in regard to digital technologies and ePedagogy, is via eLearning networks. In Australia, state-based education departments offer innumerable groups to join, and activities to engage with, and many offer their own online learning for teacher continuous professional development. Use the LMS to deliver professional learning Using the LMS itself as a method of professional development, not only provides evidence of participation, but also becomes valuable for data collection. An inventive way in which to use the school’s instance of its LMS is to build an inhouse eLearning course for all staff to work through. Part of the course can be general in nature, so that both teachers and professional staff become accustomed to how the LMS operates. Further teacher training can be achieved with units dedicated to the teaching and learning cycle. Text, video, links and images can all be used to provide information about the system and how best to utilise it to benefit students. Activities and assessments can also be included, so that the completion of online learning activities, in the style of a student, provides real experience for staff. Schoolbox offers its own teacher course for staff of member schools to participate in, and provides opportunities to get to know the platform well. stockfour Professional development for LMS and School Portal Success A plethora of professional development opportunities are available to teachers, particularly in the areas of LMS, school portals and other EdTech. To stay relevant, and ultimately improve pedagogical practice, it is important to keep learning. Fortunately, there are a number of informal and formal channels to suit the many and varied learning styles of teachers. Instilling a love of lifelong learning is what we, as educators, aspire for our students. It is important we value our own learning too. Bel Clohesy has been a teacher for over 17 years, with expertise in teaching students from Kindergarten to Year 8. With a strong foundation in digital technology, Bel’s priority is ensuring an enhanced teaching and learning experience for K–12 schools. Chat to a Schoolbox Education Consultant today and unlock a number of ongoing professional development opportunities for your staff.