Project Pals

Most PD Courses Are Awful, So We Made a Better One for the Modern Teacher

So much time and money is invested in professional development (PD) that fails. That's why we made a new course that tackles some of PD's biggest problems.

Ready to take a professional development (PD) course that you'll actually use?

Ask any teacher and they'll probably tell you most traditional PD offerings just aren't cutting it anymore.

A study titled Teachers Know Best by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (B&MGF) revealed only 29% of teachers are highly satisfied with their current PD options. 

And although the PD industry receives $18 billion annually, much of that time, money, and effort invested by districts and teachers is often fruitless.

The result? A lack of progress and a general feeling that PD is "just another thing on my plate."

Let's break down some of the biggest problems with our current professional development, and how we crafted a course that meets the real needs of today's teachers.

3 Problems with Plain Old PD

Have you ever been bored stiff in a PD seminar and thought to yourself what a waste of resources? Well, there's some truth to that. Our PD isn't as effective as it could be, and disconnects with district officials and dated curriculum could be part of the reason why. 

1. It's Largely a Waste of Time and Money

Despite large districts spending an average of $18,000/teacher on PD each year, research reveals results are "mixed as best" according to The New Teacher Project (TNTP). 

In fact, the chance a teacher actually improves from PD is equivalent to a coin flip, says TNTP.

That means teachers are spending more than 89 hours each year (nearly 13 school days) on district-directed PD and self-guided courses that are neither effective nor worth the investment.

2. There's a Disconnect Between Districts and Teachers

It's an open secret there can sometimes be an "invisible divide" between teachers and administrators. While both groups want what's best for students, it's easy to disagree on how best to get there.

This contrast is crystal clear when comparing teacher and administrator surveys on PD: District leaders want to spend more time on the exact PD formats teachers find ineffective.

It also comes as no surprise that teachers prefer to have their PD delivered by someone who understands their experience and is still in the classroom, though most PD is typically district-directed. 

3. The Content Isn't Connected to Helping Students

A particularly scathing quote from the B&MGF study sums up many of PD's problems:

"Teachers say that too many current professional development offerings are not relevant, not effective, and most important of all, not connected to their core work of helping students learn."

If you can't see the value in your PD, there's very little chance you'll apply it in your classroom.

Here's Why Our Course Is Different

We tackled some of the biggest complaints from the B&MGF study to create a new PD course designed for the modern teacher with critical elements reported missing from most offerings:

"Large majorities of teachers do not believe that professional development is helping them prepare for the changing nature of their jobs, including using technology and digital learning tools, analyzing student data to differentiate instruction, and implementing the Common Core State Standards and other standards."

By focusing on technology and digital learning, embedding advanced analytics tools, and teaching how to adapt standards-based instruction, we've created a PD course that provides teachers with the tools they need to succeed in education's changing future.

In this 6-hour course offered through Responsive Learning, you'll enagage in hands-on learning about topics like:

  • What is Project-Based Learning (PBL)?
  • How to Use Project Pal's Basic and Advanced Tools
  • How to Map Curriculum into Project Pals

Created By a Teacher, for Teachers

This course was hand-crafted by our founder and CEO Miriam Bogler, an accomplished educator with a masters in EdTech and more than 20 years of experience. 

Throughout her educational career, Miriam taught computer science to public and private K-12 students, established a successful after-school technology program, and implemented school-wide technology plans—all culminating in her creation of the Project Pals platform. 

Curriculum-Based Instruction

In this course, you'll learn how to transform rigid curriculum into engaging projects and gain access to our Catalog of over 200 pre-made projects. 

See how Miriam expertly adapts content from the Texas Performance Standards Project (TPSP) curriculum into Project Pals. You'll also practice mapping projects into Project Pals so you can start upgrading your own text-heavy instructional materials into unique projects!

Teach Technology and Essential Skills

Prepare your students to enter the digital workforce by arming them with the tech skills and tools of the future. Collaborating on the Project Pals platform mimics a modern workplace, as students take on roles and work as a team to solve authentic problems.

Plus, the practice of project-based learning (PBL) itself promotes critical thinking, creativity, and communication among other essential 21st century skills. 

Advanced Analytics Tools for Teachers

Tracking student progress (and knowing exactly who contributed what) is easy with Analytics.

See top projects and performers at a glance in the dashboard upon login, view detailed project analytics right in the workspace, or zoom out to see big trends under statistics.

Use this information to grade projects accurately, hold students accountable, track contributions over time, compare classes, and more!

Prepare for the Future of Teaching with PD That Meets Your Needs

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