Spotlight on Professional Learning Funding During and After COVID

By Stacey Pusey

The Transformation and Funding of PreK-12 Professional Learning in the COVID Era edWebinar recording link


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As educators and industry partners look ahead to the 2020-21 school year, they’re examining the impact of the pandemic and the potential transformation of all aspects of K-12 education. According to experts from the edWebinar, The Transformation and Funding of PreK-12 Professional Learning in the COVID Era,” sponsored by Simba Information, a business of Market, research shows that recent trends in professional learning are here to stay.

Highlights from the Simba PreK-12 Professional Learning Market 2020 Report

  • Vendors need to work with districts and not just schools, especially now that districts are developing their own professional learning.
  • States have also become more involved, setting goals and creating digital hubs for PL resources.
  • In addition, school boards are paying attention to how they disburse any COVID relief funds as they want to be careful about what programs they can support when the federal funding is gone.
  • Overall, educators are taking the lead, instead of administrators, in choosing PD. Teachers have moved to wanting “bite-sized” experiences that they can take at their own pace. Much like students, teachers are also looking for individualized learning that suits their needs.
  • While teachers are always looking for guidance on foundational math and literacy, they’re also now dealing with the impact of COVID on their students. So now, they’re looking for more programs that help them with SEL.
  • Finally, educators are not looking for programs on how to use technology but on how the tech can support effective teaching and learning.

Highlights from the edWeb 2021 Annual Professional Learning Survey

  • For the past four years, educators have consistently said webinars help them improve the most.
  • The most important elements of professional learning are current and relevant content, followed by flexibility to participate on their own time and then the pricing.
  • Teachers are using professional learning first and foremost to improve their students’ learning. Career advancement falls further down the list, and teachers don’t seem to be that excited about earning digital badges.

How Vendors Can Help

Joyce Whitby, President of Innovations4Education, said professional learning providers can do a few key things to stay relevant in this evolving market.

  • Make sure any PD is ongoing and not just a one-shot. Teachers need to continue to grow their skills.
  • Offer a collective experience where educators can engage with each other and share their challenges and triumphs.
  • Most important, make sure you are offering professional development and not just support. Support is learning how to use a specific product; development is helping teachers increase their skills that they can apply in multiple situations regardless of which product they are using.

This edWeb broadcast was sponsored by Simba Information, a business of Market

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About the Presenters

Kathy Mickey is Senior Analyst/Managing Editor of the Education Group at Simba Information, where she leads research on the PreK-12, higher education and workforce education markets. Kathy writes the biweekly business intelligence newsletter Educational Marketer, oversees the K-12-focused biweekly business intelligence newsletter Electronic Education Report, and works on a number of annual market forecast reports. She joined Simba in 2000.

Joyce Whitby is the president of Innovations4Education. She is a lifelong educator who spent over ten years teaching graduate-level courses in educational technology at Long Island University, where, in 1984, she developed the T.E.A.M. program (Telecommunications, Education, and Multimedia). Since then, Joyce has been in the business of educational technology with key roles in professional development, marketing, and sales leadership. Most notably she has developed strategic sales initiatives targeting complex and urban environments for several organizations including WICAT Systems, Jostens Learning, Scientific Learning, Apple Computer, Monarch Teaching Technologies (makers of VizZle, an app for students with autism), and the education group of West Corporation (SchoolMessenger solutions). She has been an active member of SIIA for over 15 years.

Lisa Schmucki is the founder and CEO of Lisa is an education, publishing, and media industry veteran with 40 years’ experience in product development, professional learning, marketing, and entrepreneurship. Lisa has served on the Board of the SIIA Education Technology Industry Network and is on the Advisory Council for the ERDI Alliance for Education Impact. She is a graduate of Princeton University and has a master’s degree from the Stern School of Business at NYU.

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edFocus | Education Industry Network is a free professional learning community on that will help you connect with colleagues in the education industry to share information and resources, raise questions, and get advice.

SIMBASimba Information is widely recognized as the leading authority for business intelligence in the educational and professional media industry, delivering an independent perspective on the people, events and alliances that shape the K-12 and higher education markets through newsletters and research reports.

Stacey Pusey is an education communications consultant and writer. She assists education organizations with content strategy and teaches writing at the college level. Stacey has worked in the preK-12 education world for 20 years, spending time on school management and working for education associations including the AAP PreK-12 Learning Group. Stacey is working with as a marketing communications advisor and writer.