Teachers want and need professional development opportunities, but with one-size-fits-all training falling short, individualized digital breakouts may solve this problem, Joe McAllister, a learning environment advisor at tech provider CDW-G, explains in an article for EdTech: Focus on K-12.
Digital breakouts are a type of gamification that includes puzzles, much like an escape room, requiring participants to answer questions to unlock levels and earn badges before moving on to the next question. The reward system motivates teachers to continue and makes learning more memorable, the programs can be customized with varying duration, and teachers have the flexibility to do breakouts when it best fits their schedule.
The use of digital breakouts and badging is affordable and does not take excessive amounts of time, with the breakouts accessible through apps, at home and in the classroom. Breakouts are also an effective way to incorporate professional development in the area of educational technology.
The teacher shortage is real and is only getting worse. Retention is critical. According to a Gallup poll, many teachers leave their career early due to the lack of opportunities for professional development and advancement.
In addition, as a technology becomes more of a factor in the classroom, teachers must understand it themselves. Providing inexpensive training opportunities, like digital breakouts, can help foster deeper understanding of technology that they can then pass on to their students.
Digital breakouts can also allow for professional development to be obtained in smaller increments and at different levels. From first-year teachers to the most experienced, the breakouts can be customized and fun for each level of a teacher’s career journey.
Utilizing technology, such as digital breakouts, can also be easily customized for smaller groups. For example, there could be a specific breakout geared toward reading specialists, and another breakout could be created for physical education teachers. This process allows all the teachers in the district to be exposed to the same information, but on their own time and with relevant individualized components for each role. It gives teachers the flexibility they need, while still providing educational consistency in the district.
Information on how to create digital breakouts can be found in many locations on the Internet, including Pinterest and YouTube.