Top tips for effective and engaging teacher CPD

The context for teacher CPD has changed hugely in the last two years. Here’s what we’ve learned from running successful in-person, online and hybrid professional development development for teachers 

 

In the past two years our experience of running CPD sessions for teachers has gone from this…

…in person sessions in our centre in South London

To this…

…weekly community of practice sessions, conferences and forums during lockdowns and remote learning

And this…

…creating on demand micro learning courses on our BlendEd site.

To this….

…live concurrent sessions with some teachers in the room and some joining virtually – the hybrid model of CPD. 

Of these, hybrid is definitely the most tricky. One crucial element is to get the sound right – you can lose the visuals and still cope but if the sound goes it’s really hard for people to engage.  We have also learned that breakout sessions work so much better for the ‘remote’ participants if they take part via Facetime or equivalent, rather than up on a big screen, to retain the feel of intimacy of working in a smaller group.

But whether you are creating professional learning for teachers to do live, in person, online, in groups or independently we know that there are some key characteristics of good teacher professional development.

In general, what makes for good CPD?

  • Teachers particularly benefit from subject-specific training opportunities
  • Teachers need reflection time and opportunities to revisit learning
  • Classroom-based expert coaching relationships – it has become easier to bring in experts remotely
  • SLT buy in is more crucial than ever
  • It should be more than just a one-off – research suggests that some of the best CPD involves follow-up and revisiting learning
  • Teachers need access to professional-learning communities
  • Teachers benefit from exposure to models of effective practice

What’s changed?

All of the above still holds true but, of course, some of the context has changed. Teachers are now more used to finding the learning they need – for example, lots more teachers are using Futurelearn to inform themselves about online learning, or picking up micro learning from BlendEd. Time, space and place has changed – it’s now possible to run whole school online CPD with teachers all in their separate classrooms. The CPD also gets recorded (and watched at double speed!). As we know, geographical boundaries have been broken down so teachers can attend CPD happening anywhere in the world.

What works?

Here are just a couple of examples of tools that we’ve used very successfully in online and hybrid CPD – Jamboard and Padlet.

Jamboard – building communities and dialogue

This shows how you can use a simple tool like Jamboard to collate so much important and rich information. In January 2021, looking at blended models of schooling, we asked teachers in an online CPD session to share their their concerns via post-its on the Jamboard. The ticks are where other participating teachers then agreed – and it became very clear what were the top topics. They then added their own thoughts, starting to create a professional community of practice and dialogue. You can do this in person (with a lot of post its on a wall!) but it’s much easier to do it remotely using a tool like Jamboard.

 

Padlet – scaling it up

We used Padlet for our CPD project Learning Bridges with Unicef in Jordan where 10,000 students and a million students had access to learning material shared with the teachers via padlet.

Every activity pack had its own QR code linking to a Padlet where the student’s learning experience is scaffolded with audio content and extra resources. Audio files were embedded to provide accessibility for children with visual impairments or who have difficulty reading.

Used by schools and supervisors, the Padlets had an average of 100,000 views a month and were used at district and governorate level.  Many teachers have been inspired to create their own to enable their classes to share work and receive direct feedback.

Five ideas for effective online training

  1. Record your CPD sessions – one of the benefits of online is the ability to rewatch
  2. Decide when live is important – in an uncertain period any face-to-face is precious.
  3. Make it interactive and record teachers’ ideas, reflections, actions eg use Jamboard or Miro
  4. Make it tailored – content that’s needed, not one size fits all, at the time which suits
  5. Don’t make assumptions about tech skills/familiarity. People have had very different experiences of the last two years. As a general rule we’ve all got a lot better at using digital technology but don’t take that for granted, some teachers may have missed out (think about the teacher who might have been on maternity leave, for example!)

Five top tips for engaging online training

  1. Keep it short and sweet  –  Zoom (or Teams) fatigue is real. Keep it under two hours, have a break in the middle
  2. Have a narrative – think of it as telling a story with a beginning, middle and end
  3. Model the training –  kill two birds with one stone where you can. If you’re teaching teachers about technology then use it in the training – demonstrate how great the tools are
  4. Introductions matter. People don’t have the chance to have the usual informal chat with others. Facilitate these introductions so everyone knows who is in the room. Have some fun – ask children what questions they would ask at the start if they were teaching teachers (“if you could be an animal, what animal would you be?” is a popular one, we find!)
  5. Mix it up – intersperse whole group activities with chances to reflect. Follow a period of presentation with a hands-on activity. Keep delivery varied and interesting. It’s ok to be quiet for a bit and let people get on with it, as you would in person

Watch the talk

Book now

Summer primary school computing conference

14/06/22,
09:15
- 15:30

This event will build upon the Autumn computing conference by inviting subject leaders to reflect on their year in the role, sharing their successes and challenges. It will also introduce new ideas, tools and approaches through talks and practical activities led by members of the CLC team, with opportunities for attendees to share their own expertise and experience. Over the course of the conference activities will touch on the three main areas of the computing curriculum: computer science, digital literacy and information technology. We will also feature advice and examples illustrating the use of technology to support blended learning.

Does your school need a sustained programme in the use of digital technology to underpin your whole school aims and plans?

Our support package covers the following:

Professional learning

Teacher professional development which puts digital at the heart of teaching and learning

Pupil workshops

Engaging, practical workshops for your class, in your school, at our Clapham centre online

Creative technology projects

Engaging, immersive educational experiences with corporate and cultural partners

Consultancy & advice

Get tailored support from our expert team of teachers and technologists

Technology loans

Kit for every classroom

Book a call
with James

Upcoming CPD

Summer primary school computing conference
Summer primary school computing conference

This event will build upon the Autumn computing conference by inviting subject leaders to reflect on their year in the role, sharing their successes and challenges. It will also introduce new ideas, tools and approaches through talks and practical activities led by members of the CLC team, with opportunities for attendees to share their own expertise and experience. Over the course of the conference activities will touch on the three main areas of the computing curriculum: computer science, digital literacy and information technology. We will also feature advice and examples illustrating the use of technology to support blended learning.

14/06/22,
09:15
- 15:30
EYFS, KS1, KS2
Computing subject leaders, Teachers...
Creative Arts, Digital and children – CLC meets More Than Robots online
Creative Arts, Digital and children - CLC meets More Than Robots online

Combining forces for the first time, the Connected Learning Centre and More Than Robots have created a session for teachers, youth organisations, researchers and policymakers interested in the digital provision of creative arts for primary aged pupils.

Presentations

The Play Observatory - Prof. John Potter

“In their own words”: Westminster Abbey & CLC digital projects - Sian Shaw

Building (and maintaining) a city-wide primary arts curriculum to raise attainment - Kate Fellows

More to be added soon

This interactive and inclusive meet up will include inspiring examples of how technology can be used to support learning in music, visual art and drama in person and online at home drawing on our experiences as Tate Exchange associates and our partnership work with a range of cultural institutions.

This informal event is an opportunity to discuss real examples of what does/doesn’t work, meet colleagues from other sectors working on similar challenges and share useful research, news or updates

The morning will include case study presentations (details below) followed by a Q&A. There will also be an opportunity for a rapid sharing round for launches, project updates or requests for help and a short break to avoid zoom brain drain.

24/06/22,
09:30
- 11:30
KS1, KS2
Subject leaders, Teachers...

Upcoming Special projects

The News Project
25/11/21,
09:30
- 14:25
KS2

Special project in collaboration with First News Education

For a third year, building on two successful previous projects, we are once again partnering with the children’s newspaper First News, fellow member of the national Making Sense of Media and News Literacy networks. This special project with a literacy, PSHE and citizenship, as well as computing focus, highlights our specialist interest in this important aspect of digital and critical literacy.

The News Project will enable participating classes from year 5 to immerse themselves in news and current affairs using First News and the Bett award-winning First News iHUB, which will be provided free of charge during the school-based part of the project over a six week period. Under the guidance of their teacher, pupils will be supported in their development as a community of fully informed news readers. Classes will test their new critical skills and knowledge in the culminating virtual celebration event which will include a news competition and team-based critical literacy and editorial activities. After the event, schools will be able to use the resources from the day in their school.

The project will launch with an introductory CPD session for teachers to set the context, demonstrate resources and to plan for the school-based activities. 

Initial CPD session - Thursday 21st October 4pm-5.00pm. 

Project work undertaken in school - October and November.

Special event - Thursday 25th November 9.30am-2.45pm.

The Garden Museum
21/02/22,
-
KS1

The CLC is once again partnering with the Garden Museum to offer a partnership project for KS1 pupils (primarily suited to Yr2). Located next to Lambeth Palace on the bank of the Thames, the museum has an inspiring collection that provides the ideal stimulus for young learners to explore the world around them.

Pupils will use technology alongside the museum’s collection to explore the wonderful world of seeds.

  • How are they planted?
  • How do they spread?
  • What is inside them?

 The Garden Museum has a large collection of seeds and tools that pupils will engage with.

These half-day sessions will take place at the Garden Museum.

There is a limited number of dates available, so please book early to avoid disappointment.

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