Office of Educational Technology (OET): A Deeper Dive: Part I – Professional Development

Technology can be a powerful tool for transforming learning and instruction. It can enhance and illustrate key ideas in today’s classrooms, while empowering educators through personalized, professional learning.  In this post we’re going to take a deeper dive into resources available through the Office of Educational Technology.

The Office of Educational Technology (OET) places emphasis on equity, collaborative leadership, and ensuring that all teachers and students of all backgrounds have access to quality technology tools and resources.  Following the 2016 revision of NETP (National Education Technology Plan), many of the high level goals are consistent with the 2010 plan,and most notably “leadership” was added and highlighted for “creating a culture and conditions for innovation and change.”

How do we create and articulate a shared vision while remaining mindful of budgetary restrictions?  To curtail restricted funds, the 2016 NETP purposely recommends educational leaders turn to openly licensed educational resources, many of which can be found on the OET’s site.  Two resources available for professional development are described below.

Coursera is an educational platform that partners with the top universities to provide more than 70 free online professional development courses for teachers.  Verified certificates for district-approved professional development courses are also available to all U.S. teachers.  These certifications, issued by leading universities and institutions like Vanderbilt, the Relay Graduate School of Education, and the American Museum of Natural History, can be used to attain continuing education credits.  To find out more about this partnership: click here

edX is a massively open online course (MOOC) provider. EdX is part of the ConnectED initiative and has partnered with many top universities such as MIT, Harvard, University of California-Berkley and others to provide professional development courses to teachers.  Through the ConnectED initiative and its partners, educators now have more free and readily available professional development opportunities than ever before.  In addition to courses for educators, many of the same resources offer Advanced Placement courses for students too.  With MOOCs, anyone can learn for free in a flexible online environment, getting the opportunity to collaborate with virtual colleagues, as well as learn from them.  MOOCs are a rich source of free professional development for educators, and could potentially bridge the gaps left by ineffective instruction, conflicting schedules, or inapplicable subject matter.

This program will also incorporate verified certificates free of charge to those who complete their courses.  For more information about these opportunities: click here

These are only two examples of the myriad of resources available through the OET website. Use this resource to MOOC-List to discover dozens of free courses on a broad array  of topics by searching “teacher professional development.”  click here for available courses.