Innovating Professional Development

5-minute read

This past year, we have seen so many educators embrace innovation and technology; teachers had to quickly pivot to fully remote or partially remote learning models and so many have been finding creative ways to adapt to teach and engage their students.

Here at District Management Group, we have been thinking about innovations to better support educators in their all-important work. We have been inspired by how teachers have evolved their own lesson plans and have been seeking out ways to bring many of those same innovations to professional development.

We have identified some interesting innovations to professional development


  • Bite-sized, micro-lessons: Lesson segments broken into short, laser-focused segments can energize teachers with important, just-in-time learnings. Teachers do not always have multiple hours to set aside for professional development and would rather learn in short 10-20 min bursts. This also makes it easy for teachers to quickly flip back and review a previously learned lesson.

  • On-the-go learning: The use of mobile apps is exploding. Why not leverage mobile apps for professional development? Professional development on a mobile phone or tablet can allow teachers to learn and fortify themselves on the go.

  • Asynchronous learning: Fitting in professional development into teachers’ busy schedules is always a challenge. Asynchronous learning, supported with a community of virtual learners, can help teachers prioritize professional development in their schedule, while still receiving support and feedback. Plus, teachers can learn at their own pace, and speed up or slow down where needed to maximize their own learning.

  • Variety of modalities: Polls, reflections, videos, and a variety of modalities help make lessons more fun and different. Just as teachers are advised to vary the ways they present material to students, professional development should incorporate a variety of modalities to help teachers engage with the content more actively and better retain information.


DMEngage: An Innovative Professional Development Tool

With these in mind, DMGroup has recently launched DMEngage — an innovative professional development tool to support teachers in maximizing student engagement during periods of remote learning. DMGroup took teacher-tested strategies proven to raise student engagement, and found a way to provide bite-sized, microlessons via an app that teachers can access on-the-go on their mobile phones and tablets, as well as at their desktop. Teachers can access the lessons asynchronously when they can and want to.


A Time for Creativity

The pandemic is challenging the education sector to be creative, flexible, and innovative to accomplish the all-important work of educating our nation’s students. Even as schools and districts begin shifting back to in-person learning, we have seen how crucial it is to be adaptive and innovative. Students will return to their classroom with a more diverse set of needs than ever. Our hope is that DMEngage will not only support teachers during this challenging remote environment, but also bridge the gap as we transition back to in-person.

We have taken proven, tested strategies, and instead of delivering them in a research paper or a professional development session, we have put them onto an innovative learning platform. We hope you will give DMEngage a try. We would love to hear your feedback and find out what you think of this very different approach to professional development!