Educelerate – Innovation & Emerging Trends in Professional Development in K12 Educators

Last week I attended an Educelerate meeting at TIES. I’ve been so busy I haven’t been able to post my notes but I finally have a moment of quiet. According to their MeetUp page, Educalerate is about:

  • Online Education
  • e-Learning
  • K-12 Education
  • Education Entrepreneurs
  • Changing K-12 Education
  • Education technology start-ups

It looks as if they plan to meet regularly. They are working on a hack for education (TC Start-up Edu), which is being planned for late spring. It was a fun group of people who clearly have a passion for education and recognize that how we’ve been teaching for generations is probably not going to work for generations moving forward. The technology will force education to change – and these folks are embracing and leading that change. Last week there was a panel discussion innovation in professional development tools.

Here’s the lineup:

Moderator: John Moravec, PhD: John is scholar, innovation coach, writer and speaker on the future of work and education.  He is also the founder of Education Futures LLC and author of several books and articles including Knowmad Society (2013, Education Futures).

• Betty Schweizer: Betty is Executive Director of TIES—a leading technology provider owned by 48 Minnesota school districts covering 539 schools.  For over 40 years, TIES has offered cutting-edge software applications, hardware and software, Internet services and professional development services to Minnesota schools and educators.

• Ann Zweber Werner, PhD: Ann is the founder and CEO of Whitewater Learning LLC, E-Education for Educators, which provides professional development services online for educators, educational leaders, state agency education personnel and policy makers.  Ann is the former director of the licensure program for educational administrators at the University of Minnesota, principal, and teacher.

• Curt L. Tryggestad: Curt is the superintendent of Eden Prairie Schools and a recognized leader in Minnesota and the nation for his work in shaping the integration of technology in education.  Curt also serves on the Minnesota Online Learning Advisory Council, Minnesota Technology Task Force, Achieve Open Educational Resources (OER) Institute (established to help a group of states address issues on OER implementation, including the uses of measures of quality for evaluating OER to meet challenging College and Career Readiness/Common Core state standards), and has also served as chair of the governing board of Infinity Online Academy.

And notes from the session…

What will the educational jobs look like in 5-10 years?


CT: Distributed 1500 iPads very soon as they were released. We have distributed 7,000 devices in the last 18 months. We’ve done a lot of professional development. How we use brick and mortar will change. It will be a place to drop in. Teachers have to be nimble with technology. Kids needs guidance using technology to learn. Tough for administrators. We are becoming more like a CEO.


AZW: Online professional development for educators. FACS teacher, then principal. Had to know what education will be like in 5-10 years. Education didn’t change for a very long time. We used to worry more about behavior; now we try to accommodate students and different learning styles.


BS: What teachers are doing will be influenced by technology. Cloud computing is becoming bigger. Mobile is also becoming bigger. Open content and learning analytics are trends that are emerging. Analytics can help recognize trajectory paths and influence the trajectory. The Horizon Report provides a lot of good info. 3D printing is a bigger deal. Virtual and remote labs are also in the near future.


What does 3D printing have to do with education?


Ask Mahtomedi. They have good videos on what they are doing. Examples include designing a product.


How does Professional Development need to change to meet teachers’ needs?

BS: We are flipping the training. Use the technology in the training.

AZW: Online professional development is more than only going online. If you want to create personal meaning- you need to engage. In Minnesota in 1997, we moved from seat time to demonstrated competencies. Online training allows you to keep new people up with professional development; a good thing in an industry with such great turnover.

CT: We debate between everyone doing the same thing or do we customize. It’s easier to customize with online. And then the teachers can make it their own.

What are training opportunities for teachers?

AZW: I am passionate about what I do. I wish everyone could find passion in their jobs. When I worked in education, I was also volunteering. But suddenly as an entrepreneur I was shut out. But having a closed culture we are missing out on new ideas. We need to reshape core beliefs about teaching and how people learn. Each child has an opportunity to graduate but we need to move into more flexibility and badging. We have few certifications in Minnesota.

Time seems to be the biggest barrier for professional development. Do you see a way we can help teachers maintain family life, work and training?

CT: We have to be just-in-time in training. Give teachers the option to do work on their time. We’ve done that and see people do training after 10 pm, once families have gone to bed. We need to make what we have more authentic. We need to get over the “I need to get paid” attitude. It needs to become an expectation – not an add-on.

BS: Peer notes will help. Many teachers joined the profession to spend time with kids (summer) but that will change. Mentors and teacher coaching will help. Change and training needs to be systemic.

AZW: Time, funding and access are critical pieces and it speaks to the need for blended learning. Time, people, space and motion – need to take those in consideration when meeting just-in-time needs. Just as people Google what they need to know now – teachers could be using online learning modules.

What is the main point you want us to take home?

BS: As technology changes, teachers need to learn and keep up. Schools need to help.

CT: Teachers educate kids, but we can’t develop and experiment with kids without external partners.

AZW: Professional development needs robust training to reach full potential.

This entry was posted in Conferences, education, MN by Ann Treacy. Bookmark the permalink.

About Ann Treacy

I have a Master’s Degree in Library and Information Science. I have been interested or involved in providing access to information through the Internet since 1994, when I worked for Minnesota’s first Internet service provider. I am pleased to be a part of the Blandin on Broadband Team. I also work with MN Coalition on Government Information, Minnesota Rural Partners, and the American Society for Information Science and Technology.

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