Technology as a tool for Professional Learning

The educator has committed to using technology to support his or her own learning.
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About this Micro-credential

Key Method

The educator reflects on how technology supports his or her own professional learning by creating a professional learning plan.

Method Components

Research shows that educators value choice in the direction of their professional learning and when that learning is the result of personal inquiry, it is most effective and lasting (Beavers 27). Self-Directed Learning (SDL) is a centuries-old concept that continues to be relevant today as educators seek out their own professional learning opportunities using technology (Beavers 6). With the help of technology, educators can now access additional content information, materials for classroom use, and current research on pedagogy or content to facilitate their own learning.

Technology affords educators the opportunity to design and launch their own professional learning plan. Educators can begin the process of developing a professional learning plan by analyzing student needs and determining a topic that may assist the educator in improving outcomes for students. The educator can also begin professional learning by focusing on a topic of interest, for example a new pedagogical practice or a specific tool to use in the classroom.

Components of a professional learning plan include:

  • Self assessment – The educator determines current knowledge and skills and an area or areas in which he or she would like to grow.
  • Goal – The educator develops a learning goal related to the areas of growth.
  • Strategy and resources to accomplish goal – The educator determines how to achieve the goal. This section of the plan will include specific activities and technological tools to aid in the accomplishment of the goal.
  • Timeline - Defined time when the educator will check in on his or her own progress toward the goal.

Depending on the professional learning goal, the educator may choose from a variety of online options that allow for varying levels of autonomy. The following serve as examples of how an educator might engage in professional learning using technology:

  • The educator is interested in learning more about how to manage a creative classroom, so he or she participates in a self-paced professional development workshop from Adobe Education Exchange.
  • The educator’s goal is to engage more students in learning using the Universal Design for Learning (UDL), so he or she searches for content online and is led to The educator is able to watch free webinars on UDL ( at his or her own pace.
  • The educator is interested in learning more about collaboration between students, so he or she chooses to watch videos from the Teaching Channel that demonstrate how teachers incorporate this concept into instruction.

(The sites listed above are examples. Refer to the article How Teachers Are Learning: Professional Development Remix in the research section for additional professional learning options.)

Research & Resources

Supporting Research

  • Beavers, A. (2009). Teachers as Learners: Implications of Adult Education for Professional Development. Journal of College Teaching and Learning 6(7), 25-30. 27. Web.
  • Purcell, K., Heaps, A., Buchanan, J., and Friedrich, L. “How Teachers are Using Technology at Home and in Their Classrooms.” Pew Research Center Internet Science Tech RSS. Pew Research Center, 27 Feb. 2013. Web. 20 Mar. 2016.
  • "Develop a Professional Learning Plan." Journal of Staff Development 34.6 (2013): 52-59. Web.
  • Visser, Ryan D., Lea Calvert Evering, and David E. Barrett. "#TwitterforTeachers: The Implications of Twitter as a Self-Directed Professional Development Tool for K–12 Teachers." Journal of Research on Technology in Education 46.4 (2014): 396-413.


These additional resources provide information on tech tools that assist teachers in directing their professional learning.

  • Raths, David. “The News Update.” 5 Technology Tools that Help Personalize PD. N.p., 4 Feb. 2015. Web. 20 Mar. 2016.

Submission Requirements

Submission Guidelines & Evaluation Criteria

To earn the micro-credential, you must receive a passing evaluation for each component in Parts 1 and 3 as well as a “Yes” for each component in Part 2.

Part 1. Overview questions

(300-word limit for each response)

  • Describe why you choose to use technology to achieve your professional learning goals.
  • How has the experience of being self-directed in your professional learning changed your outlook on professional learning? Discuss your likelihood of continuing self-directed professional learning.

Part 2. Evidence/artifacts

The educator will submit a professional learning plan that is focused on his or her individual learning goal. The professional learning plan should include the four components detailed in the key method (self-assessment, goal, etc.). The learning plan will include details of how technology will be used to direct the educator’s professional learning. The educator will also submit a 5-10 minute video reflection describing 2-3 ways technology has helped in the achievement of his or her professional learning goal.

Part 3. Reflection

(250 word limit)

Please reflect on your experience while drafting your professional learning plan and whether or not your plan had an impact on student learning, using the following questions as guidance:

  • How did the professional learning you completed align with your intended professional learning goal?
  • Discuss how you changed your professional practice as a result of your professional learning.
  • Describe any effect your professional learning and its application in your classroom had on students.

Except where otherwise noted, this work is licensed under:
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0)


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