Tools to develop teaching knowledge and skills

How can you use EdTech tools to develop teaching knowledge and skills? To find out, read through the guidance at your own pace, or jump to a specific section:
Evidence-based guidance

These tips will help you effectively choose and use EdTech tools to develop teaching knowledge and skills.

#1

Make sure the resources encourage practices of effective teaching.

Traditional teacher training programmes that mainly focus on transmitting theoretical knowledge on effective teaching have had little impact on teacher efficacy.

When providing TPD material, it’s important to ensure that it is coupled with ways to actively practise and reflect on them. For example, teachers can watch videos of effective classroom practices and then apply this in the classrooms to improve their own teaching skills.

Similarly, teachers can use online TPD courses — such as MOOCs — but it is important that watching the MOOCs are situated within hybrid TPD programmes that offer teachers the opportunity to practise what they have learnt.

#2

Make sure the resources align with national TPD curricula where possible.

It’s important that TPD resources fit within the education system they’re being used in and support teacher progression and development. If no national curriculum exists, the resources should align with international standards.

#3

Make sure the resources provide subject-specific examples and pedagogies.

TPD is most effective when it focuses on practical, subject-specific pedagogy, not general, theoretical pedagogy.

#4

Make sure the resources are relevant to teachers’ language, culture, and context.

TPD is effective when it is contextualised to the needs of teachers. Invest in contextualising the TPD material so you can maximise its impact.

#5

Tailor the tools to different teacher levels.

Teachers come to TPD with different levels, experiences, and beliefs. It’s important to tailor your TPD approach to the needs and levels of your teachers. Here’s how you can tailor tools for learning about effective teaching to meet the needs of your teachers.

Novice teachers
  • Prioritise TPD resources that target novice teachers, for example, focusing on foundational teaching skills.
  • Create opportunities for novice teachers to use and discuss the TPD resources at the level that is appropriate to them. For example, novice teachers can attend teacher group meetings with more experienced teachers, or sessions with expert coaches, and discuss the material together.
  • Support teachers by offering them a structure and pathway for using the TPD resources, so they start with the more foundational resources, before moving on to more advanced skills.
Experienced teachers
  • Prioritise TPD resources that target experienced teachers and support them in extending their knowledge and teaching practices further.
  • Use TPD resources as a basis for discussion. Encourage teachers to share their experiences, successes, and challenges. Remember to build on what teachers already know, for example, by asking them about their experiences with specific skills and practices.
  • Empower teachers to select the material that is appropriate to their needs and skill levels, and to the gaps they wish to address.
#6

Make sure the resources can be used at scale within the existing digital infrastructure.

TPD resources should be made accessible in ways that take into account the digital infrastructure. For example, if teachers are in low-connectivity settings, it is important that they can use TPD resources offline or in print. As well as aligning with the digital infrastructure, using digitally-available Open Educational Resources (OER) can reduce the cost of teaching material within TPD programmes.

❔ Who can use these tools and how?
TeachersTPD coordinatorsSchool leadersPolicymakers
  • Use resources to develop their pedagogical knowledge  and teaching skills in order to improve their teaching practices
  •  Share and discuss resources with peers and coaches so they can support each other to solve specific challenges
  • Use resources within teacher learning circles and discuss them with peers
  • Use resources to plan, design, and deliver TPD sessions focusing on effective teaching practices
  • Share relevant resources with teachers to encourage them to reflect on effective practices
  • Use resources to develop their own skills in effective teaching, to deliver more effective TPD programmes
  • Share resources with teachers and support them to find a way to access the resources
  • Follow up with teachers to ensure they are accessing and using TPD resources to improve student learning
  • Make sure teachers have time in their schedules to access TPD resources
  • Make TPD resources available to teachers and TPD coordinators, for example, in an e-library or in print
🔎 Curated list of tools to develop teaching knowledge and skills
ToolDescriptionReview
Teach2030

Teach2030 is a platform with bitesize online courses for teachers. On this platform, teachers have access to low-data TPD resources.

NB: Some resources can be accessed for free, whereas others are paid.

☑ Encourage effective pedagogic practices
☑ Align with national TPD curricula
☑ Subject-specific examples and pedagogies
☑ Contextually-relevant
☑ Tailor to different teacher levels
☑ Suit limited digital infrastructures
iActiACT is a mobile- and tablet-based application with interactive teaching and learning material, developed from OER4Schools materials.☑ Encourage effective pedagogic practices
☑ Align with national TPD curricula
☑ Subject-specific examples and pedagogies
☑ Contextually-relevant
☑ Tailor to different teacher levels
☑ Suit limited digital infrastructures
OER4SchoolsOER4Schools is a resource of openly-licensed teaching and learning material for teachers focused on interactive pedagogy and the use of video to stimulate discussion between teachers.☑ Encourage effective pedagogic practices
☑ Align with national TPD curricula
☑ Subject-specific examples and pedagogies
☑ Contextually-relevant
☑ Tailor to different teacher levels
☑ Suit limited digital infrastructures
University of Cape Town (UCT) massive open online courses (MOOCs)UCT has a selection of MOOCs on teaching and learning, that focus on specific themes such as diversity and inclusion, particularly for learners with disabilities. These MOOCs can be used as parts of blended TPD programmes.

☑ Encourage effective pedagogic practices
☑ Align with national TPD curricula
☑ Subject-specific examples and pedagogies
☑ Contextually-relevant
☑ Tailor to different teacher levels
🚩 Suit limited digital infrastructures

Transforming Teacher Education and Learning (T-TEL)

T-TEL offers a selection of free, open-source teacher training material that can be adapted to suit local contexts. The books cover 12 themes related to tutor professional development, and each book has four versions: for professional development coordinators, tutors, facilitators, and student teachers.

While the books target pre-service teachers, the material is useful and accessible and can be used within in-service TPD.

☑ Encourage effective pedagogic practices
☑ Align with national TPD curricula
☑ Subject-specific examples and pedagogies
☑ Contextually-relevant
☑ Tailor to different teacher levels
☑ Suit limited digital infrastructures
📎 Case study: EdTech tools for learning about effective teaching
The Teacher Development Programme (TDP) in Nigeria

Teacher Development Programme

Nigeria
Phase 1:
Jigawa, Katsina, Zamfara
Phase 2: Kaduna, Kano, Niger

Duration
(2013–2019)

Partnership with the government of Nigeria

Overview
The Teacher Development Programme worked with federal and state governments in Nigeria to improve the quality of 62,000 teachers and achieve better learning outcomes for over 2.3 million students annually.
Approach

Teacher guides and lesson plans were digitised and made available online, through the TDP Resource Hub.

Phones and SD cards were provided to teachers so they could access videos and audio stories to supplement lessons.

Results
The endline findings stated that the TDP had a positive impact on school leadership and teacher practices in the classroom.The poorest 20% of pupils made significant improvements
(i.e., 560% increase in mathematics achievement).
Primary school completion rates increased from 68% to 79% for boys and from 59% to 73% for girls, over 3 years of the intervention.However, teachers’ subject knowledge did not improve in English and sciences (but it did improve in mathematics), and teacher absenteeism increased.
Further Information

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