Tierney Professional Development
Written by Gina Keenan, a Tierney PD member since 2018. Gina was an English Language Teacher and Technology Integration Specialist before joining Tierney.
One of the things that makes Tierney unique in the educational technology space is our ability to provide professional development to accompany our wide range of products and services. The Tierney PD team is made up of former educators in a variety of content areas and grade levels. As a team, we participate in ongoing professional development and reflective practice to ensure we are providing the best possible experience for educators.
Oftentimes, professional development will be bundled with a product; for example, a 3-hour live online session to show educators how to use their interactive flat panels, or a full day of face-to-face professional development to learn how to implement virtual reality headsets in the classroom. While those PD opportunities are necessary and bring a lot of value, Tierney also provides ongoing professional development in a variety of customizable models.
Why Ongoing Professional Development is Important
The Learning Policy Institute defines effective professional development as “structured professional learning that results in changes in teacher practices and improvements in student learning outcomes” (Darling-Hammond et al.). There are many elements of effective professional learning, such as hands-on, collaborative and reflective, and most importantly, ongoing. Ongoing professional development keeps teachers up-to-date on new research regarding how children learn, emerging technology tools for the classroom, new curriculum resources, and challenges them to change their instruction based on their learning (Edutopia). As a former teacher, I remember sitting through one-shot, irrelevant PD and walking away with no understanding of how to incorporate the learning into my instruction effectively.
The ISTE (International Society for Technology in Education) Standards for teachers include a Learner category that states: “Educators continually improve their practice by learning from and with others and exploring proven and promising practices that leverage technology to improve student learning” (ISTE). This includes staying current with research that supports improved student learning outcomes. The COVID 19 pandemic challenged administrators all over the country to evaluate their professional development offerings and ensure that it was timely, applicable and leveraged technology to improve student learning. This was a major win for educators in the midst of very challenging circumstances.
Tierney's Ongoing PD Offerings
Tierney addresses the need for ongoing professional development in a variety of ways. We provide ongoing coaching on Google Workspace for Education (formerly G Suite + additional upgrade options), SMART Technologies and other tech tools and instructional strategies. Tierney facilitators also utilize a ‘train the trainer’ model and work with cohorts of educators to build capacity within schools and districts to ensure learning continues long after we leave the site. Tierney Pathways, which is simply a packaged set of PD days to be used over a year, is another way to ensure educators return to a tool or instructional strategy throughout the school year or even long term. For example, teachers may get an introduction to their Clevertouch Interactive Flat Panel at the beginning of the school year and then meet 2-3 times more during the year to reflect on their practice and learn additional tools. This bite-sized version of ongoing PD is much more effective than a one time "sit-and-get".
For educators that prefer to learn independently, we provide Tierney Helpline support. Educators and administrators can find video tutorials, resources, and lesson plans to support their continued learning. Through Helpline, educators can also create support tickets and request to meet with a member of our Professional Development team for 30-45 minutes to learn a new tool, ask questions, or collaborate on a lesson.
Darling-Hammond, Linda, et al. “Effective Teacher Professional Development.” Learning Policy Institute, Learning Policy Institute, 15 June 2017, https://learningpolicyinstitute.org/product/effective-teacher-professional-development-report. Accessed 10 May 2021.
Edutopia. “Why Is Teacher Development Important?: Because Students Deserve the Best.” Edutopia, Edutopia, 16 March 2008, https://www.edutopia.org/teacher-development-introduction. Accessed 10 May 2021.
ISTE. “ISTE Standards for Educators.” ISTE, 2021, https://www.iste.org/standards/for-educators. Accessed 10 May 2021.