Innovation, Education, and the Future of Professional Development at #LearnFwd17

UF students present creative solutions 

It’s an exciting day for three of our Curriculum, Teaching, and Teacher Education (CTTE) Ed.D. students, Rachel Orgel, Kit Wilding, and Matthew Roy. 

While designing an evaluation rubric for a course in their doctoral program, the students found that other methods for evaluation were outdated, time consuming, and not easily implemented on a large scale, inspiring the students to find a way to overcome such barriers-- and thus their app was born. Both easy to use and free, PD Evaluator is an authentic embodiment of what the CTTE Ed.D. program hopes to inspire in the student’s professional “laboratories of practice”.

PD Evaluator is an especially inspiring feat, as none of the trio had a background in technology and the creation of the program required the students to learn more about coding and tech development, providing a new challenge. This draws a new connection between the students, their program, and their hope for the app, as Rachel Orgel said,

“We never want to stop learning. We also recognize that learning should be engaging, cause critical thinking, and inspire educators. Our hope is that we support both presenters and participants of PD in this process.”

The app, PD Evaluator, aims to enhance professional development evaluation by using technology and research-based criteria on an interactive platform. Following the notion that feedback should be timely and thought-provoking, the app streamlines traditional pencil-paper evaluation by allowing teachers and presenters to digitally receive immediate feedback and track progress. A display of transformative education innovation, PD Evaluator illuminates a positive change for the future of effective professional development methods.

“This, in my opinion, is the true essence of what we hope for in our EdD program,” said Alyson Adams, clinical associate professor and associate director of teaching and learning in the School of Teaching and Learning, “that students will use the literature to create real solutions to address challenges in their own contexts, and beyond. I am so very proud of them.”

The app reflects how a love of learning has served as a catalyst to go above and beyond. The students are set to present their research of dynamic professional development at the esteemed Learning Forward conference, with the hope that their work will support teachers and presenters.