If you’re comfortable and proficient in using educational technology in the classroom, you may be ready to move into a new role in which you’re leading others, either as a technology facilitator or instructional coach.

Working toward becoming a building/classroom leader or professional development facilitator/organizer/instructor provides a new professional challenge, allows you to contribute to the profession, and exponentially increases your impact by helping your colleagues stay informed and meet their professional goals.

Capella University provides six free professional development courses focused on leading others in an educational setting. Each course offers tools and knowledge specifically for teachers who are interested in staying in education but possibly taking a step out of the classroom and into a special assignment.

1. Professional Development in Action

As the use and number of instructional technologies continue to evolve and grow, there’s a need for teachers to develop into instructional leaders and coaches to help drive change and implement new initiatives. Teachers who know how to design and deliver effective professional development focused in the area of instructional technology will be catalysts to increased engagement and learning in today’s classrooms.

In the Professional Development in Action course, you’ll:

  • Analyze the role of professional development (PD).
  • Integrate professional development models to plan PD activities aligned to site and district initiatives.
  • Apply best practices in PD design.

2. Adult Learning Theory

Teaching adults is distinctly different than teaching young students, as adults tend to be more goal-oriented and self-directed. It’s important to understand how they learn, what their motivations are, and how to help them be proactive in the planning and evaluation of their instruction. Learning happens best when the topics are relevant and applicable to real-life situations.

The Adult Learning Theory course will help you integrate adult learning theory and current research-based best practices into professional development program planning.

3. Professional Learning Communities

Professional learning communities are informal communities of teachers that come together to share best practices, successes, and challenges as a way to learn from each other. These groups typically work together to improve their current skills and knowledge as classroom practitioners through collaborative study and professional dialogue.

In the Professional Learning Communities course, you’ll learn how to:

  • Start and evaluate professional learning communities.
  • Create and maintain a secure digital environment for professional learning.

4. Instructional Coaching

Instructional coaching is for teachers who want to learn how to mentor and support other educators. As schools and districts are incorporating more digital resources into their learning models, most faculty and staff are in need of instructional coaches who will work with them on how to successfully implement new instructional technologies to increase student achievement in various educational settings.

In the Instructional Coaching course, you’ll:

  • Evaluate coaching models and techniques that focus on solutions, not problems.
  • Learn to implement different coaching models and distinguish between the effects of various techniques.

5. Teacher Evaluation and Assessment

Teacher evaluation and assessment will help teachers learn how to observe and evaluate other educators. Since EdTech is a fairly recent and evolving method of teaching and learning, reviews and measurements of a teacher’s effectiveness are necessary to ensure growth and learning for students. Using data as evidence can accurately determine where practitioners’ have room to grow.

In the Teacher Evaluation and Assessment course, you’ll review comprehensive performance assessment and evaluation systems that provide targeted support, assistance, and professional growth opportunities based on teachers’ individual needs as well as the needs of their students, schools, and districts.

6. Implementing Site-Based Initiatives

New technologies are not always easy for teachers and staff to adopt. Teachers who have the ability to facilitate change and implement site-based initiatives are a valuable commodity within a school district and often become respected leaders within the education community. Being prepared when new leadership opportunities present themselves is important if you’re thinking about stepping into a new role someday.

In the Implementing Site-Based Initiatives course, you’ll:

  • Plan for effective implementation of EdTech programs.
  • Identify key members of the planning team and participants affected by the initiative.
  • Identify the types of professional development needed to successfully launch the initiative.


This post is the third and final in a series focusing on Capella’s free, self-paced professional development courses for teachers in EdTech.