Opportunities for teachers to play leadership roles are strong in online professional development. For example, as Barbara Treacy explained, the EdTech Leaders Online program offered by the Education Development Center is “a teacher leadership model. It’s a capacity-building model where we work with any educational organization to help them figure out how to use online learning to meet their goals.” An organization’s leadership selects staff to be trained to become online professional development instructors, thereby creating a long-term relationship and capacity building in a school district.
For example, in Mississippi, a cohort of 24 online facilitators were trained by EdTech Leaders Online and now are offering online summer courses to teachers who hold emergency certification; 90 percent of these teachers complete the course that also matches their content areas and assigned grade levels.
In the Los Angeles Unified School District, there is a growing opportunity for teachers to receive online professional development. According to Martha Valencia, many of the district’s teachers prefer to take the required professional development online; surveys of teachers indicate that this mode is popular because it allows them greater flexibility in their schedules to complete the program and also to avoid long commutes to professional development sites.
Teachers who want leadership opportunities have doors open to them through training to become online trainers, online course developers, and part of an online program development both in their own school districts and in some of the many online programs now available nationally. This could become a new step in a teacher career pathway.