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ASCD Enhances Online Professional Development Tool for Teachers

ASCD has released a new version of its online professional development tool, PD In Focus 2.0.

PD In Focus provides educators with on-demand access to professional development videos, resources, and activities through a Web-based interface that is accessible through any Internet-connected device, including smart phones and tablets.

According to the company, "the program is designed to bring practical classroom applications to life, coupling examples from contemporary teaching with insight from some of the most important voices in education today."

Users can search the video library by topic, grade level, subject area, classroom type, and other criteria. Administrators can also use the tool to assign and monitor the professional development activities of individual or groups of teachers.

New features in version 2.0 enable educators to customize the channels to suit their professional development goals and communicate with each other through the discussion boards and video comments. The new version also helps administrators guide and report on the professional development activities of their teachers.

New features in PD In Focus 2.0 include:

  • Ability to build custom channels and subchannels according to the teacher's professional development goals;
  • Group discussion boards, where teachers can ask questions, leave comments, and connect with other teachers;
  • Video commenting tool that enables users to comment directly on individual videos and discuss their content;
  • Ability for administrators to assign professional development content to individual teachers and highlight portions of video content to direct online discussions;
  • E-mail alerts for updates on the status of assignments, including new, updated, or completed assignments; and
  • Ability to create reports using a drag-and-drop interface and then download them in PDF, Excel, or Word format.

PD In Focus is available through an annual subscription plan.

Further information about PD In Focus 2.0 is available on the ASCD site.

About the Author

Leila Meyer is a technology writer based in British Columbia. She can be reached at [email protected].