Professional Development Supports to Differentiate Instruction Using Technology

The 2017 National Educational Technology Plan explains that “professional learning and development programs should transition to support and develop educators’ identities as fluent users of technology; creative and collaborative problem solvers; and adaptive, socially aware experts throughout their careers.” To achieve this goal, district leaders must understand where teachers are in their ability to effectively integrate technology into their practice to enhance instruction, and provide the necessary to professional learning opportunities and technological support to ensure they are successful.

What are the target goals?

The bulleted list below identifies the competency target(s) for each category.

Category Competency using technology
  • Helps implement effective, differentiated instructional strategies
  • Helps develop all students’ self-efficacy
Content delivery
  • Regularly occurs in a wide array of formats
Student expression
  • Is offered in each students’ choice of format to demonstrate learning
Student engagement
  • Motivates students, in a variety of formats, to achieve their learning goals
  • Embeds differentiated assessment within activities
  • Monitors progress in a timely fashion
  • Is used to target and personalize instruction
Professional development
  • Is taught to teachers in regular, ongoing professional development activities 


If you aren’t there yet, it’s okay – you’re not alone. According to a recent Speak Up survey administered by Project Tomorrow, over half of first year teachers and veteran teachers (11+ years) identified “using technology to differentiate instruction”  as a top choice for professional development.

Plan Professional Learning Opportunities

To build lasting knowledge and create positive changes in the classroom, it is important to provide professional learning opportunities that are empowering and support continuous learning. Research findings on districts across the country suggest that school leaders who provide time for professional learning and collaboration at least monthly have higher rates of success when implementing technology. To support your professional learning opportunities, check out the action steps below and visit the full Implementation Practice Guide for more resources and materials.

Action steps

  • Refine professional development goals and set a focus for professional development efforts
  • Define modes and frequency of professional learning opportunities
  • Reflect and refine professional learning plan
  • Consider different types of professional learning

What's New on POWERUP?

AIR Informs Episode #6: Meeting the Needs of Students with Disabilities During COVID-19

Remote learning requires adjustment for all students, but students with disabilities face additional challenges during the COVID-19 quarantine. In the latest episode of AIR Informs, Allison Gandhi, managing researcher and director of AIR’s special education practice area, describes some of these obstacles and shares strategies to help students make the most of this time.