K12 professional development tools

Schools pursue flexible & sustainable solutions, LMS, social-emotional education, QR codes, micro-credentials

Educators want more effective ways to implement new teaching methods into lesson plans. The professional development market is advancing, offering flexible and sustainable solutions rather than one-off workshops, lectures and in-service programs.

Many companies offer PD tools that show teachers how to embed lessons into learning management systems, so students have universal access to educational content. Products that guide teachers in integrating social-emotional learning into their classrooms have become more prevalent.

The way instructors learn is also changing. While PD videos remain relevant, the range of educational footage is broadening beyond DVD. Teachers now view clips online, sometimes via QR codes provided in e-textbooks.

Educators can earn micro-credentials or badges in individual courses focused on a specific skill, such as teaching digital citizenship.

Standards Assessment Inventory

Learning Forward

This 50-item, web-enabled survey assesses whether a district’s PD practices align with a set of standards developed by Learning Forward with the help of 40 professional associations and education organizations. States, regional service centers and school systems can use the tool to measure teachers’ perceptions of PD and to guide the planning, facilitation, implementation and evaluation of a program.



Panorama Education

Playbook, an online community where K12 educators share teaching strategies on all subjects, features new content on topics such as how to improve or bolster student engagement. Panorama has also partnered with social-emotional learning content provider Character Lab to offer WOOP, an app that encourages students to set goals and to identify ways for overcoming any obstacles that might prevent them from achieving those goals.



Gale, A Cengage Company

GVRL is a platform where teachers can collect and organize PD e-books from academic publishers such as ASCD, Corwin, ISTE, Solution Tree and NSTA. Articles on professional development are available in easy-to-read HTML, cover-to-cover book view and audio formats that educators can download onto any mobile device.


Redbird Professional Learning Platform

McGraw-Hill Education

This online learning system provides 14 to 18 hours of short videos, text, interactive activities and collaborative exercises on various subjects, such as how to select and apply digital curriculum in a classroom setting. It also features instructor guidance, where users can interact directly and learn from industry experts and peers. The platform offers exercises in 20- to 30-minute segments and introduces the fundamentals of the Google Apps for Education tools.


Impact Insight

Creative Leadership

This detailed report includes interviews, surveys and document reviews from superintendents and district leaders who have been successful in increasing student success. Impact Insight provides executive coaching, grant-writing assistance and workshops, such as on effective grading practices.


Flexcat System

Lightspeed Technologies

Flexcat is a classroom audio system with a wearable microphone, speaker and set of two-way audio pods. The system features a new app allowing instructors to switch between the two-way audio pods with their iOS device. It also provides expanded coverage of up to 12 audio pods and supports Whisper Coaching, an earpiece that lets a nearby mentor, who’s training the teacher, listen in on classroom discussions and have private conversations with the educator, offering tips and suggestions.


Becoming the Math Teacher You Wish You’d Had: Ideas and Strategies from Vibrant Classrooms

Stenhouse Publishers

Written by Tracy Johnston Zager, this book provides K8 instructors with practical teaching techniques to successfully engage students in math. Educators will learn strategies to help learners connect ideas, persevere and collaborate through fun activities that won’t potentially stress or humiliate students. It is available in print, as an e-book and in a print/e-book bundle.


HEART! Fully Forming Your Professional Life as a Teacher and Leader

Solution Tree

In his book, author Timothy D. Kanold shares personal anecdotes and reflections on his time as superintendent of Adlai E. Stevenson High School District 125 in Illinois. Readers will gain insight into their impact in the classroom and learn how to better foster productivity in schools.


Project Connect


Project Connect, a librarian advocacy group, offers two PD online courses for school and district librarians. The first course, Educational Leadership, is a free class that identifies specific behaviors common to effective leadership and that offers tools educators can use to assess their own leadership skills. The second course, Digital Citizenship, evaluates current practices and successful initiatives on the topic. Participants can earn a Digital Citizenship microcredential badge upon finishing.


Chromebook app


With this application, teachers complete a video-coaching cycle in which they record one of their classroom lessons on a Chromebook device. Viewers can post time-stamped questions, suggestions and notes, and can generate reports and graphs based on the effectiveness of a district’s PD initiatives.


RtI: Stored!


RtI: Stored! is an online platform where teachers submit data and documentation pertaining to Response to Intervention (RtI), the multitiered system for identifying and supporting students with learning and behavior needs. Rtl: Stored! allows users to run class-, grade-, school- and district-level reports that categorize students into RtI’s specific tiers and identify the percentage of students in each tier to then address weaknesses.


PD Tracking Tool


This tool allows districts to plan, publish, manage, track and evaluate all PD events and activities. Users can send event updates and reminders to attendees, manage and approve all credits, auto-generate and distribute customized attendance certificates, and gather attendee feedback to see if a PD event or activity was successful.


Responsive Classroom for Music, Art, PE, and Other Special Areas

Responsive Classroom

This book for K6 educators offers advice, tips, charts, planners and classroom examples from experienced educators. Teachers will learn how to open each class period in calm, orderly ways, such as by greeting students properly. Teachers can also engage students more deeply by leading them through warm-up tasks, such as jumping jacks if energy levels seem low.


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