Perhaps one consequence of all the “value of the teacher” buzz lately is increased recognition that professional development is really important. Studies of ed tech have shown technology is essentially worthless without teacher training on how to use and integrate. Studies of interventions show that the biggest single variable associated with successful outcomes from curriculum programs is fidelity of implementation.
This increase in perception increases perceived value, too. Traditionally PD was a cost center not a profit center but that doesn’t have to be true anymore. Web delivery reduces cost of presenter time and travel, and districts are more willing to pay if they believe PD will improve student performance. I recall a recent conversation with a funding expert: When told that online PD was included free with a new web-based math program, he remarked: “They should charge for the PD and give away the program.” That wasn’t a disparagement of the product but a recognition of where the money is.
Of course your PD must deliver value to be worth the cost. It has to be carefully scripted, clear, pedagogically sound, chunked for easy retention and reference, etc. But it shouldn’t be an afterthought in the product development process, or in your marketing either.
Sophia Consulting LLC