Tuesday, July 16, 2013

The Future (Present) of Professional Learning

The article, “The Future of Professional Learning,” focuses on five emerging professional development (PD) technologies which are poised to spread globally for teacher learning around the world. 

Number five is television; worldwide, television watching is transitioning from a set time and place to a more social, individualized and mobile experience.  Teachers can benefit from socially interactive programming, or order PD programs and instructional videos.  This technology can allow for teachers to have remote access to mentors and progressive teaching techniques.  

Immersive environments-- number four on the list—are already used in many professions, like flight simulators for pilots, and allow users to “hone their technical, creative and problem-solving skills in a safe environment where they don’t have to worry about inevitable mistakes.”  In immersive environments, users can interact with avatars and get instant feedback that can be used to improve knowledge and skills.  I think this would be especially helpful in teacher training programs.

The third on the list is video technology; specifically video for co-teaching, and video for coaching.  Co-teaching uses two-way video to “connect teachers who were new to technology to a master teacher so the two could co-teach a technology-based lesson that the novice technology user found particularly difficult.”  Video for coaching uses an off-site coach who watches a feed of the classroom and gives tips to the teacher through a Bluetooth device that students cannot see.  These two techniques seem a bit iffy to me as they are based on the idea that an underprepared teacher is already in the classroom. 

Social media ranked second on the list and its value as PD tool is already widespread in the realm of the PLN.  It can also be used to collaborate and share ideas through highly personalized content and micro-networks.  I think that social media is in the future of all professional pursuits and is necessary in resume, career and network building.

The top technology on the list was mobile technology; the ability to access, distribute, edit and learn at one’s convenience has changed the world as we know it through low-cost or free apps and smart-phones.  Well, this one just gets a big, fat “Duh!” from me. 

It was hard to read this article and feel that the author wasn’t just stating the obvious; I think that most of these technologies have been undergoing rapid change and development for the better part of a decade, if not longer, and their impacts on professional development should be broader than what is highlighted in this article. Though I would never want to use the video coaching technique for my own professional development, I can see the value of most of these technologies for teachers around the world.  Because this article focuses on teacher development there are no literal implications for student NET-S standards; however, the idea that teachers who are comfortable and well-versed in technologies are better able to teach those technologies to their students does correspond to the standards.  

Read the Article Here: 

Burns, M. (2013). The future of professional learning. Learning & Leading Through Technology, 40(8), 14-18.


  1. It's obvious that these technologies are around and are becoming more user friendly than before. But you probably haven't seen many doubts and criticism from many teachers and schools. There are also factors (such as standards, high-stakes tests, time, etc.) that influence teachers' use of technology in their teaching and PD. As a matter of fact, the current status of technology use in education is not to the level technology proponents hope to see. Some critics argue that fully integration of technology in education is not possible, as the current education system is inherently incompatible with modern technology. I'm not sure about this, but things are much complex than they appear.


  2. Thanks for the post and great tips..even I also think that hard work is the most important aspect of getting success.
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