Is it time for a new model of professional development for teachers in the 21st century?
Shelly Blake-Plock thinks so.
The co-executive director of the nonprofit Digital Harbor Foundation, Blake-Plock and cofounders Margaret Roth and Rose Burt have launched An Estuary, a for-profit, spin-out startup that’s “working to develop mobile technology and data around professional development in education,” he said.
Gone are the days when workshop-filled days branded as professional development adequately prepare teachers for innovation in elementary and high school education, Blake-Plock said. An Estuary is interested in making more relevant to teachers the technological gains in education — hardware, like tablets and smart phones, and new platforms, like online classes. For instance: how might a teacher use mobile apps to make lesson planning easier? Or how can school administrators use mobile tech to determine the effectiveness of the professional development programs they’re paying for now?
An Estuary will hold a 45-hour-long Summer Institute in July “based on the idea that inquiry-driven collaborative problem solving can work to expand the opportunity, essence, and spirit of learning,” according to its website.
Blake-Plock said that any startups that spin out of the Digital Harbor Foundation will “in some way give back” to the foundation, be that through monetary donations or other means.
Yet to be determined: how this fish on An Estuary’s homepage fits into all this, although it probably has something to do with what an estuary is.
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