How tech can build teams

By Learning Forward
August 2020
Vol. 41, No. 4
“Technology is rapidly enhancing and extending opportunities for professional learning,” Learning Forward wrote in 2011 (p. 41). As educators grapple with a global pandemic nearly 10 years later, those words have never been truer or more relevant. Online professional learning can accommodate social distancing protocols as well as the ongoing benefits of accommodating teachers’ busy schedules, connecting educators to expert resources, providing job-embedded support, and increasing access by reducing barriers of location (Dede et al., 2009, Francis & Jacobsen, 2013). Although online professional learning is becoming more widespread due to technological accessibility improvements, it is often conducted in ways that are not consistent with essential elements of high-quality professional learning as described in the Standards for Professional Learning (Learning Forward, 2011). For example, many massive

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Cynthia H. Callard, Eugenie S. Foster, and Jennifer S. Kruger

Cynthia H. Callard ( is professor and executive director and Eugenie S. Foster ( and Jennifer S. Kruger ( are associate directors of mathematics education outreach at the Center for Professional Development & Educational Reform in the Warner School of Education at the University of Rochester in New York.


Dede, C., Ketelhut, D., Whitehouse, P., Breit, L., & McCloskey, E. (2009). A research agenda for online teacher professional development. Journal of Teacher Education, 60(1), 8-19.

Francis, K. & Jacobsen, M. (2013). Synchronous online collaborative professional development for elementary mathematics teachers. The International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning, 14(3), 319-343.

Hrastinski, S. (2008). Asynchronous and synchronous e-learning. Educause Quarterly, 31(4), 51-55.

Learning Forward. (2011). Standards for Professional Learning. Oxford, OH: Author.

Mayadas, F. (1997). Asynchronous learning networks: A Sloan Foundation perspective. Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks, 1(1), 1-16.

Mizell, H. (2010). Why professional development matters. Oxford, OH: Learning Forward.

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Learning Forward is the only professional association devoted exclusively to those who work in educator professional development. We help our members plan, implement, and measure high-quality professional learning so they can achieve success with their systems, schools, and students.

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