Guide to Indiana Professional Development for Teachers

Professional development for teachers is an essential piece of an educator’s work throughout their career. It can help provide necessary resources, education, and training that will help educators grow and serve their students better. In some cases, professional development can be vital in great times of change. For example, the pandemic greatly increased the need for schools and educators to shift to digital technology and transition classrooms to online learning platforms. 

That transition means teachers and administrators need updated skills and tools to provide adequate education for their students. A 2020 census indicates that nearly 93% of school-aged children used some type of distance learning during the pandemic. In 2022, school systems nationwide now consider remote learning a viable option.

Professional development is imperative to an educator’s development. Let’s take a look at what you need to consider to be successful. 

Professional Development in Education

Professional development in education has shifted over time based on the needs of students and the technology of the times. The best professional development for teachers in 2022 offers educators ready access, bite-sized, and highly focused training. 

Ready access is focused on providing flexible online learning opportunities for educators. Bite-sized learning breaks down eLearning content into digestible chunks. This type of learning takes less time to consume and provides engaging professional development activities for teachers

Providing bite-sized content delivers job-specific knowledge that educators can apply immediately. Plus, short lessons increase learner retention, making it efficient to deliver refresher training. Ultimately, bite-sized digital workshops increase engagement and enable self-paced learning.

Resources and Support Systems for Indiana Educators

Educators also benefit from having the flexibility to access longer-form content, workshops, and boot camps to expand their knowledge and skills. Teachers might be pursuing professional development opportunities or fulfilling continuing education requirements. The best professional development for teachers in 2022 focuses on specific areas in education and offers a range of topics. 

For example, the Central Indiana Educational Service Center (CIESC) offers professional development opportunities through Keep Indiana Learning (KInL). We were created to be for Indiana educators by Indiana educators and offer a wealth of resources:

Similarly, the Indiana Department of Education’s Resource Network provides highly-focused professional development workshops regarding accessibility for students with disabilities.

Additionally, the Indiana Department of Education (IDOE) offers professional development webinars including:

  • Fostering Equity in Indiana STEM Programming
  • Coding Across the Grades
  • Computer Science Standards in the K-8 Classroom
  • Computer Science for School Counselors

The IDOE also provides support services and ready-access resources for educators, such as the Computer Science Curriculum and Resource Guide. Educators can also find links to outside resources on the DOE website.

Why is Professional Development Important for Teachers

It’s no secret how important professional development is for teachers. After all, continuing education is necessary for almost all occupations. Professional development topics for 2022 include knowledge expansion, setting up for future success, and becoming a better teacher for your students.

Educational technology is constantly changing, and teachers must keep up with trends, learn new software and hardware, and understand best practices. It’s important to keep up with technology that helps support the learning process as new strategies and technologies can help increase student learning and engagement. 

Professional development of teachers goes beyond learning new technologies. Continuing education is essential for teachers who want to advance their careers in higher education or as administrators. Specialized training in specific subject teaching areas, such as math, history, or science, can help teachers present concepts more effectively. 

Regardless of the type of professional development, additional education can go a long way in helping educators grow and evolve. It’s important to find the right resources and training that will ultimately help you become the best educators you can be. 

Benefits of Professional Development for Educators

By engaging in regular professional development, teachers can expand their knowledge in different subjects and become better educators. There are so many different benefits to professional development:

  • Learning new strategies for classroom management and engagement
  • Becoming more effective in planning, organization, and presentations
  • Engaging with new resources to learn new perspectives
  • Investing in yourself so you can become a better educator

Another benefit of professional development is the opportunity to be the student rather than the teacher. Learning keeps educators motivated and nurtures leadership skills in education. Maybe you want to improve your instruction methods or gain additional resources for your professional tool belt. Maybe you want to develop more technical skills. By learning these new skills, educators can make informed modifications to curriculum or teaching techniques. If you’re an experienced teacher, acquiring leadership skills could mean career advancement.

Free Online Professional Development for Teachers

There are many benefits of online professional development, such as the availability of flexible OnDemand options and free or cost-effective resources. You can also revisit lessons, which is good for retention of information. 

In fact, some of the best online professional development for teachers include free virtual events (such as those from KInL!) that enable educators to connect with others. One example is the Indiana Special Education Community Support Network (CSN) events that deliver support, provide professional learning, and build community among SpEd educators in Indiana.

Another example is Counselor Connect’s, Culturally Responsive Social-Emotional Learning (SEL), a four-part series that meets over four months. Educators gain an increased awareness of the inherent bias of traditional SEL and identify modifications to be more inclusive. Additionally, they learn to understand past or present bias in their current SEL practice.

Best Online Professional Development for Teachers

Teach Indy also has a comprehensive list of some of Indiana’s best online professional development for teachers. For example, Global Online Academy’s Designing for Online Learning course helps teachers ensure a smooth transition to online learning. The course covers the fundamentals of designing high-quality online learning experiences, page design, and navigation.

Teachers can learn how to design learning experiences and assessments for online classrooms. They also explore the format’s possibilities and limitations and learn about human connections in online spaces. Other options include two levels of Google Certification focused on demonstrating mastery of leveraging Google tools in the classroom and advanced technology integration skills.

Free Webinars for Teachers

Teachers can take advantage of free webinars to learn new instructional methods, technology, classroom management, instruction, curriculum, school culture, and test preparation. Search the OnDemand library on KInL and you’ll find free webinars for teachers on topics such as:

  • Digital citizenship
  • Early Learning
  • Diversity
  • English language learners
  • Instructional leadership
  • Research-based strategies

Some of the most popular professional development for teachers are webinars in STEM and STEM-related topics. Educators can hear from Indiana business and industry partners on how to support the STEM skills needed for students. Another free webinar takes a deep dive into the Indiana STEM Needs Assessment tool and available resources.

Some webinars are one lesson long, and others span a week or more. One popular workshop is a three-week seminar on Exploring Grading Practices. This free professional development webinar examines grading concepts, current practices, and investigates alternatives.

Learning Support Strategies

High-quality professional development for teachers should offer options to explore all facets of education. Learning support strategies cover special needs, writing skills, and literacy. KInL offers on-demand workshops that examine conferencing components and the data teachers can gather during conferences.

The Conferring During the Literacy Block for Student Progression focuses on building student/teacher relationships. This one-day free webinar for teachers investigates components of the conferencing model during the literacy block. Educators learn about utilizing data to guide the conversation.

Another one-hour webinar, The Key to Success in Writing Workshop, focuses on how teachers can help students become successful writers. Educators explore building teacher/student relationships with focused, intentional conferencing. They learn and plan the components of a focused, interactive conferencing session.

The landscape of education is changing, and high-quality professional development for teachers reflects those changes. KInL helps educators in Indiana continuously refine their skills and prepare for sudden changes with series like Leading the Rebound. In this six-part series, participants engage in an in-depth examination of strategies in the Leading the Rebound book and workbook.

Professional Development for Teachers with Keep Indiana Learning

In 2020, CIESC launched Keep Indiana Learning to enhance academic achievement and operational efficiencies. CIESC envisioned a community where educators can connect with and learn from their peers. Today, KInL provides innovative professional development for Indiana educators, by Indiana educators. Our goal is to empower educators by removing barriers and promoting equitable and engaging learning experiences. 

On our site, educators will find support and relevant resources, including paid and free online professional development for teachers. We maintain an OnDemand learning library, podcasts, and a blog. KInL also provides a collaborative community for educators, leaders, and families. 

Our mission is to support and serve all Indiana educators in their efforts to transform teaching and learning across classrooms, schools, and districts.

Customized Professional Learning

Each district, school, and classroom in Indiana has unique needs. To that end, the Keep Indiana Learning team specializes in customized professional learning. We work with educators to determine the best mode of delivery, including:

  • In-person
  • Virtual
  • Synchronous
  • Asynchronous
  • Coaching

The learning team at KInL strives to create innovative professional development for teachers that exceed needs. We use our content expertise in research-based best practices to create a professional learning plan. You’ll find professional development in education, including:

  • Instructional practices
  • Special populations
  • Professional learning communities
  • Classroom management
  • Quality online learning and design

KInL partners with schools to offer customized professional math instruction, effective collaboration, literacy, and more. 

Why Is Professional Development Important for Teachers?

Why is professional development important for teachers? Teaching goes beyond subject area knowledge. Educators must understand how to engage students and find ways to interact across multiple subject areas. Teaching is constantly evolving, and as we’ve found in recent years, it’s essential to be agile. 

Educators can’t prepare students to use digital tools without having a deep understanding of the platforms and options. They must be able to tie the technology into learning as students learn the technology. Collaboration is also a crucial part of a teacher’s professional development.

Educators can help each other, learn from one another, share experiences and research, evaluate each other’s classroom techniques, and join forces to provide innovative education. When teachers share their practices, it pushes them to identify what works and what needs improvement. Ultimately, educators have an opportunity to transform the learning landscape.

It takes innovative instructional design and learner-centered strategies. Organizations like Keep Indiana Learning synthesize best practices from past, present, and emerging data and research to help Indiana educators grow, learn, and succeed.