Giving Compass' Take:

• Revampled professional learning development is helping educators while they navigate the best practices for distance learning. 

• How can school districts keep supporting teachers during this time? 

• Read about educator coaching during COVID-19. 

For years, incorporating technology into blended learning environments has been a luxury for the districts that can afford it and an aspiration for those that don’t have the resources for device rollouts.

But with coronavirus-related closures going through April and extending through the end of the school year for some states, 1:1 devices have suddenly become the preferred avenue for instruction.

This means districts are now focusing heavily on tech-centered professional development as teachers remotely learn how to teach online — something the U.S. Department of Education recently allowed the repurposing and rollover of the previous year’s state funding for.

“There’s definitely a very sharp learning curve for everyone involved at this point,” said Susan Bearden, chief innovation officer for the Consortium of School Networking and a former school technology director.

But some are better prepared for closures than others.

Los Angeles Unified School District, which had in place a comprehensive instructional technology program, is ramping up and repurposing for online its ed tech professional development program. The process began with a top-down effort in the first week of closures. The district’s division of instruction, local district offices and administrators took part in a three-day PD series on pedagogy, content and how educators can work with existing collaborative digital tools.

Now, Sophia Mendoza, the executive director for the district’s instructional technology initiative, and her team are parsing through more than 130 PD sessions for teachers. The team will repurpose and tailor what used to be mostly face-to-face sessions into virtual synchronous and asynchronous learning.

Read the full article about professional development during COVID-19 by Naaz Modan at Education Dive.