Company: School Improvement Network, 8686 South 1300 E, Sandy, UT 84094. (866) 835-4185, www.schoolimprovement.com/
Price: PD 360 is cost-effective with cost based on material used and the number of teachers using it. Contact the School Improvement Network for specific information. A free 30-day trial is available.
Audience: This material is aimed at K–12 teachers and administrators
Format: PD 360 version 4.0 is an online “on-demand” collection of professional development resources. It relies heavily on video content along with several tools for optimal effectiveness. Support material in the form of offline and online courses, books, DVDs, and more are also available.
System Requirements: Internet access via computer is needed. Since much of the material is video, the faster the computer and access, the better.
Description: PD 360 is an on-demand (ready for use whenever needed) library of professional teacher development resources that makes professional development more effective, convenient, and sustainable. PD 360 has more than 200 hours of research-based video content, featuring more than 65 education experts, plus tools for follow-up, tracking, reflection, and group training.
**** Report Card
Ease of Use A
Product Support A-
Installation: PD 360 would be purchased by school districts to use with their teaching and administrative staff. Once accounts are purchased, use is a matter of setting up group and individual access. Installation Rating: A
Content/Features: PD 360 consists of research-based professional development programs, broken into hundreds of searchable segments for faster answers to pressing questions and individualized support. Teachers and leaders can work through learning at their own pace, aided by digitized facilitator guides, which can include group activities, discussion questions, lesson plans, related handouts, and much more. Follow-up work can be done with online or offline classes, books, DVDs, and more.
A few examples of topics include Classroom Instruction, Using Data, Differentiation, Classroom Management, Diversity, Assessment, Special Education, Instructional Strategies, English Language Learners, Coaching & Mentoring, and Leadership. Further, professional development can be customized for school or district needs including different topics for different teachers.
For example, districts can set up new teacher programs and programs for secondary and/or elementary teachers, different subjects, different topics, etc. This is so flexible that the creators of PD 360 say it provides “on-demand, job-embedded learning anytime, anywhere.”
The follow-up and reflection tools are excellent. When finishing a segment that can be watched as many times as desired, teachers are given some questions to guide thought. A week later, teachers receive another email to guide further thinking about progress.
Other features include easy alignment with system, school, or state goals and objectives; private or global interactive learning communities; and “Admin Tools,” which increase educator accountability with excellent tracking and reporting features.
In 39 years of teaching, I wasted a lot of time at often irrelevant and poorly constructed workshops. PD 360 seems like an excellent answer to many of the problems I observed with school improvement over the years. It is flexible and relevant, and it fosters learning about how to deal with genuine problems. Content/Features Rating: A
Ease of Use: PD 360 is easy to use with clear, complete, and intuitive instructions. Ease of Use Rating: A
Product Support: Online support is sketchy, but support is available at email@example.com, via an online email link, or at (866) 835-4185. Instructions for use of materials appear excellent. They do have a large collection of case studies, news articles, etc. Product Support Rating: A-
Recommendation: PD 360 is an excellent, well-designed, complete tool that I recommend for all K–12 schools and districts. Recommended.
Reviewer: Charles Doe (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a 39-year teacher, including 10 years as elementary media specialist in Hastings Area Schools in Hastings, Mich. For the past 12 years, he has written articles and reviews for Internet@Schools.