Teacher Continuous Professional Development (TCPD)

Aim To Improve Learning Edtech Hub

What is TCPD? Ongoing, in-service teacher professional development and structured pedagogy, and with particular interest in ways technology can support TCPD.

The challenge facing the education sector: Teacher quality is the most important determinant of learning outcomes at school level. Teachers are often either unqualified, or unsupported by good quality professional development. Technology has the potential to address issues of scale, equity and quality in TCPD.

And so we ask: How can technology be used to enhance teacher effectiveness through in-service TCPD and structured pedagogy? 

Our goal

Improve learning for 100 million children through teacher professional development

School-based “Community of Learning” approaches to teacher professional development have been shown to work at small scale and create improvements in pedagogy, teacher subject knowledge, and teaching efficacy. Scaling-up this best practice could improve learning outcomes for 100 million children in low- and middle-income countries.

Latest evidence

Working Papers

In November 2020, Pakistan’s Ministry of Federal Education and Professional Training (MoFEPT) requested EdTech Hub’s support to develop a monitoring and evaluation (M&E) framework for a blended learning pilot being deployed in the federal jurisdiction. This support was to comprise three components:

1. Co-develop an M&E framework and guide
2. Capacity development in M&E framework implementation
3. Help MoFEPT to develop specifications to procure a firm to support research.

This document addresses the first component — the M&E framework. The second component was also addressed during the framework’s development when EdTech Hub used a co-creation approach to build the capacity of key stakeholders to design and implement M&E frameworks. The third component has been completed but sits outside the scope of this document.

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This study explores the potential impact of interactive audio content for students and teachers delivered via Interactive Voice Response (IVR) in Ghana following the reopening of schools.

The content for the lessons was drawn from the Rising On Air (ROA) audio library, a 20-week programme developed by Rising Academies to support student learning over the radio during Covid-19 pandemic-related school closures. Rising Academies’ 30 low-cost private primary schools, known as Omega schools, were included in a randomised controlled trial. Half of the schools were randomised to receive the student intervention and the other half to receive the teacher intervention. Of the total sample of 1,359 students, 719 students in Grades 4, 5 and 6 received daily audio lessons that focused on foundational numeracy skills. Of the total sample of 333 teachers, 160 teachers received weekly professional development sessions focused on the instruction of foundational reading.

In the student intervention, no significant effect was found on students’ math skills and although the majority of students reported liking the intervention and wanting it to continue, engagement was a significant challenge.

Results from the teacher intervention indicated an improvement in teachers’ understanding of phonemic awareness, phonics, and morphology. Teachers’ beliefs about their ability to improve student learning in the areas of reading and engagement also increased, but the potential impact on student outcomes was not measured.

Differences between the student and teacher interventions suggest some important considerations for future interventions delivered via IVR and highlight some of the challenges as well as potential opportunities for more effective low-tech solutions.

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Reports

Pre-service education and in-service teacher professional development (collectively defined as TPD) can play a pivotal role in raising teaching quality and, therefore, learning outcomes for children and young people in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). However, TPD opportunities in LMICs are often limited, unevidenced, and unsustained, with mixed outcomes. Educational technologies offer potential to enhance formal and informal models of TPD. We present the first systematic mapping review of the literature pertaining to TPD and technology use in LMICs.

The aim was to characterise appropriate and effective uses of technology. Three core research questions examined leverage of educational technologies in three ways:

■ technology use in TPD (RQ1);
■ teacher learning about / with technology that supports teaching,
planning, and assessment practices (RQ2);
■ teacher learning about / with technology that supports student
learning (RQ3).

Our review yielded 265 studies spanning diverse geographies, learning environments, and TPD audiences. These studies were thematically coded to identify — among other characteristics — key design features of the TPD models, the tech devices and resources used, the intended outcomes, and contextual factors shaping the effectiveness, scalability, or sustainability of these approaches. The purpose of this technical report is to summarise key patterns among the studies reviewed and to identify key evidence gaps in order to push forward the agenda on improving teaching quality in LMICs.

Our results suggest that the volume of publications increased dramatically over the review period (2008–2020), indicating that the field is rapidly developing. Nevertheless, the review highlights various methodological and design-related evidence gaps, summarised in the conclusion of this report. They include the limited number of studies that focus on the needs of marginalised teachers and learners, and the lack of longitudinal studies that assess the sustainability of TPD outcomes. There is also a lacuna of research evaluating the impact of TPD on teaching practices and student learning outcomes. More research is needed to foster equitable and quality education systems for the most vulnerable countries and communities. The comprehensive, open database — including fine-grained thematic Technology, TPD, and LMICs 3 EdTech Hub coding and quality assessment — offers a unique resource for the field. It can be used to support targeted inquiries by other researchers and stakeholders, and further work towards filling the evidence gaps identified.

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Hennessy, S., D’Angelo, S., McIntyre, N., Koomar, S., Kreimeia, A., Cao, L., Brugha, M. & Zubairi, A. (2022). Technology use for teacher professional development in low- and middle-income countries: A systematic review. Computers and Education Open, 3

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Blogs

Madagascar faces high levels of learning poverty; 97 per cent of the country’s children at late primary age are not proficient in reading (World Bank, 2019, based on 2015 PASEC data). We know teachers are one of the most crucial influences on student learning; in 2019, just 15% of primary school Malagasy teachers were qualified. How can these teachers be supported effectively to improve student learning? And how can this support be provided at a distance, at scale, using technology in ways that can support populations with limited connectivity?  Despite reportedly high internet speeds, internet penetration is low, just 2.1% of Malagasy people can access the internet (Quartz article, Lijadu, 2019). 

Since EdTech Hub’s first foray into these issues through a Helpdesk brief on teacher professional development initiatives in low-connectivity settings, we have worked with the Ministry of Education, National Teacher Training Institute, and the World Bank under the first component of the Basic Education Support Project to unpack this set of challenges. 16,000 Grade 1 and 2 teachers will be directly involved in a teacher professional development (TPD) pilot under this project to improve student literacy and numeracy outcomes. 

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In 2021, the EdTech Hub team has analysed and mapped the EdTech research landscape in Sierra Leone. In doing so, we have met a number of individuals and organisations that are exploring if and how technology can support the country’s education sector. 

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EdTech Hub and the World Bank have been working closely with decision-makers around the world to identify ways to continue to support teachers while schools are shut. This involves ensuring that teachers are being given the opportunity to grow and develop their skills while they’re away from school.

In this blog Tom Kaye from EdTech Hub and Aishwarya Shivaji Patil from the World Bank reflect on some of the ways in which technology can be used to enhance and scale teacher professional development activities.

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The EdTech Hub is a global non-profit research partnership
Our goal is to empower the people making decisions about technology in education.
Helpdesk Responses

This brief is a discussion of considerations about the role of technology in (facilitating) in-service teacher professional development and coaching. In other words, how can technology be used:

● As a tool for teachers (or groups of teachers) to support their in-service professional development; and

● As a tool for coaches to support teachers’ in-service professional development.

This brief synthesises evidence, knowledge, and recommendations most relevant to the setting of low- and middle-income countries, with a focus on sub-Saharan Africa. However, it should be noted that this is necessarily an opinion piece. These issues are under-researched and there is very little — if any — conclusive evidence available. At the same time, this is an area of active concern and investment by the EdTech Hub, and there is thus an imperative to make sense of the available evidence, however limited. The contents of the brief reflect the opinions of the author, and not those of the EdTech Hub.

This working paper forms part of a set of three working papers that consider teacher professional development and coaching in low-income countries. This second paper offers a wider perspective with some overarching considerations. This is item 1.

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This brief is a discussion of considerations about the role of technology in (facilitating) in-service teacher professional development and coaching. In other words, how can technology be used:

● As a tool for teachers (or groups of teachers) to support their in-service professional development; and

● As a tool for coaches to support teachers’ in-service professional development.

This brief synthesises evidence, knowledge, and recommendations most relevant to the setting of low- and middle-income countries, with a focus on sub-Saharan Africa. However, it should be noted that this is necessarily an opinion piece. These issues are under-researched and there is very little — if any — conclusive evidence available. At the same time, this is an area of active concern and investment by the EdTech Hub, and there is thus an imperative to make sense of the available evidence, however limited. The contents of the brief reflect the opinions of the author, and not those of the EdTech Hub.

This working paper forms part of a set of three working papers that consider teacher professional development and coaching in low-income countries. This second paper offers a wider perspective with some overarching considerations. This is item 2.

Read Document

This brief is a discussion of considerations about the role of technology in (facilitating) in-service teacher professional development and coaching. In other words, how can technology be used:

● As a tool for teachers (or groups of teachers) to support their in-service professional development; and

● As a tool for coaches to support teachers’ in-service professional development.

This brief synthesises evidence, knowledge, and recommendations most relevant to the setting of low- and middle-income countries, with a focus on sub-Saharan Africa. However, it should be noted that this is necessarily an opinion piece. These issues are under-researched and there is very little — if any — conclusive evidence available. At the same time, this is an area of active concern and investment by the EdTech Hub, and there is thus an imperative to make sense of the available evidence, however limited. The contents of the brief reflect the opinions of the author, and not those of the EdTech Hub.

This working paper forms part of a set of three working papers that consider teacher professional development and coaching in low-income countries. This second paper offers a wider perspective with some overarching considerations. This is item 3.

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This paper analyses a range of literature reviews to identify characteristics of effective teacher education, including focusing on practical subject pedagogy; incorporating peer support and; creating a coherent policy environment.

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A virtual learning environment (VLE) is a virtual space designed to support teaching and learning and can resemble anything from a curated content repository to a synchronous video-enabled learning space. This technical note aims to inform the design and implementation of a VLE at a national level for basic education.

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This list curates resources — both tools and initiatives — that can be adapted to support teacher education in low-connectivity settings, a prevailing challenge in Madagascar. Each example identifies the challenges; necessary prerequisites; pros and cons and; costs and impact assessment data where possible.

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This document was produced in response to a request from the FCDO Rwanda team for a curated list of EdTech initiatives related to the following focus areas:

    1. Classroom software
    2. Teacher education
    3. School administration.

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