Kit Harris, ASCD Research

ED Pulse Poll Results: Which Digital PD Tool Is Most Useful?

ASCD continually seeks to provide solutions to the challenges that face educators of all levels. A recent ASCD SmartBrief ED Pulse poll asked readers which technology tools and approaches are most useful for their professional development.

A study in Tennessee, reported in an Education Week article, is attempting to determine which tech-related PD methods have the greatest effect on student achievement. This year-long study is assessing two methodologies: video-taping of teachers and engaging with an online community. The ASCD SmartBrief ED Pulse poll question extended this list to see what readers feel is most useful.

One approach rose above the others as an effective PD tool: using a Web-based resource for access to videos and related materials that can help teachers learn about teaching topics (40 percent). The next method was the one that the preliminary results from Tennessee study point to as "transformational"—teachers videotaping themselves in class and then working with coaches by telephone or e-mail to boost skills (34 percent). The third most frequently mentioned approach was the alternative one in the Tennessee study: teachers tapping into an online community that features discussion boards and resources for improvement (14 percent).

Following these choices, there were three technology tools that were seen as most useful by less than 10 percent of the sample:

  • Online courses with multimedia and digital content (7 percent)
  • Virtual book clubs (3 percent)
  • Using social media for user-generated learning (2 percent)

This survey question was included in ASCD SmartBrief, a free daily e-mail news service that provides summaries and links to major education stories and issues, which has more than 200,000 subscribers. Using ED Pulse, the weekly online poll, data was collected from 365 readers, starting on February 20, 2014. Online surveys do not provide a random sample, as participants are self-selected, meaning that a margin of sampling error cannot be calculated or quoted. In addition, the population and sample are limited to those with access to computers and an online network. However, online surveys have been shown to produce results that have proven to be reliable predictors of outcomes, including election results. If you have a question on education that you would like to see addressed in a future ED Pulse poll, feel free to submit it in the comment section below, along with any other comments.

Kit Harris is the marketing research lead at ASCD. The quantitative and qualitative research work done is in support of strategic initiatives in marketing, membership, product/program/service development, and conferences/meetings. Harris started her career in Chicago at a marketing research firm, then moved to D.C. to serve as the research director at advertising agency Earle Palmer Brown & Associates. Prior to coming to ASCD, she ran her own research firm.

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