Gamifying PD is better for teacher engagement, participation

Dive Brief:

  • “Gamifying” personal development builds teacher participation and engagement, instructional coach Stefanie Crawford writes for EdTech: Focus on K-12. Choice and competition are important elements that drive competition and allow teachers to select options of interest to them.
  • Just like a real game, there should be elements of chance and visual indicators of progress. Crawford, for example, records teachers participating in the game and then posts those clips on Twitter.
  • Gamifying PD also doesn’t have to be expensive: Google Drawings and MTG Cardsmith can be used to design and print out paper cards, which are used as props to encourage participation.

Dive Insight:

Just as learning games inspire students, gamified PD can make teachers’ lessons exciting, as well.

California’s Tulare Joint Union High School District gamified its PD during a 1:1 Chromebook deployment. The effort removed silos between coaches from various subject areas, who worked together to deliver a cohesive, game-like “microlearning” PD approach that inspired teachers to learn new skills. It also allowed online options for flexibility and prizes for top performers.

Choice is the key that inspires teachers to work within their own strengths and develop their skills in areas of interest to them. Teachers enthusiastically gravitate to fields in which they are interested, which could ultimately leave schools with a resident expert. Allowing teachers to pursue their personal passions also creates a greater sense of job satisfaction, which may help with long-term retention.

Teachers also benefit from a variety of platforms through which they can pursue their advancement. Some teachers might prefer online options, such as webinars based on their interests and needs, while others could prefer working in small teacher-directed groups where they can collaborate with peers who have similar growth interests in person.

Professional development should also include a personal component that is relevant and effective. Lincoln Public Schools in Nebraska offers K-12 teachers a customized path to learn and improve. The program was developed with teacher feedback, an emphasis on innovation and data. Data identifies teachers’ areas of weakness so administrators can work with them to set goals to make improvements.

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