Learn by doing, not by PowerPointing

Mar 30, 2016 | Leadership


Allison Winston

Are the days of point-and-click Professional Development over?

On Monday, the Hapara Workspace team released an exciting new feature that allows teachers to add other teachers, staff, and admins as learners to Workspace. Now, professional developers and instructional coaches can use Hapara to accelerate the learning of staff and teachers in professional development contexts. It also gives educators new collaborative options for PLCs and PLNs.

Hapara Certified Educators have already started using Workspace to facilitate differentiated, hands-on Teacher Professional Development in their organizations.

“The best way for teachers to learn a tool is to use it as a learner,” says Evyan Wagner, Hapara Certified Educator and Educational Technology Coordinator at Battle Ground Public Schools in Washington. “By doing PD in Workspace, I can accomplish two things at the same time: I can teach content–whatever those teachers need to learn–and also give them hands-on Workspace experience. If teachers have a chance to use a tool in an authentic way, they’re far more likely to use it meaningfully in their classrooms.”

Created by members of the Hapara Community, here are some great examples of Workspaces being used for teacher professional learning 

(Remember that Hapara users can copy any of these publicly shared Workspaces into their own Hapara instance, where they can customize for their own needs).

“Embedding the 4Cs”

This Workspace focuses on intentionally embedding the 4Cs into your classroom lessons and activities. Several resources are provided to help you develop a better understanding of how these 21st Century Skills fit into your curriculum and teaching methods. Many school districts reference 21st Century Skills in their mission, vision, and values statements, but often lack a systematic approach to embed the skills across the curriculum.

Created by Shawn Brandt, New Prague, Minnesota, USA during his work in the Hapara Certified Educator Program, Cohort 3.


“Making Feedback Meaningful”

Let’s learn some techniques to make the feedback that we write on student work more impactful! This Workspace is intended to teachers improve the feedback loop, especially when teaching in a digital environment. By completing this Workspace, teachers will also learn how to use Workspace as a learner.


“Become a Twitter ‘Lurker'”

Exchanging 140 characters on Twitter may seem like a useless task. I was skeptical when educators started claiming Twitter as the best professional development resource. But once you learn who to follow, Twitter can become a source of new ideas to explore. We will focus on the first stage of building a Personal Learning Network (PLN)… the observation stage (more commonly known as, a lurker).

Also created by Shawn Brandt, New Prague, Minnesota, USA (you’re on a roll, Shawn!)


“Building a Professional Learning Network: A Differentiated Approach”

It is more important than ever to be a “connected educator.” Building a personal learning network, or PLN, is a necessary step to becoming connected. Twitter is the perfect app to help establish an online presence and build a PLN. This Workspace is designed for people who are either brand new to Twitter or who have very little experience with it. To get started with the activities in this Workspace please open the document at the top of the resource column called “Start Here!”

Created by Beth Still, Gering, Nebraska, USA, during her work in the Hapara Certified Educator Program, Cohort 3.


“What is Digital Citizenship?”

An initial introduction to digital citizenship for 6th-8th grade teachers and students. Besides a brief introduction, this Workspace will server as an archive of good DC resources that will be curated afterwards by the Workspace owner. Teachers and students will work within this same Workspace!

Created by Andrew Hammons, Hapara Certified Educator, Hesperia, California, USA


Want to add teachers as learners to your own Workspace?

Once you’ve created your Workspace, navigate to the Groups tab, and add teachers as learners by typing in the email addresses of all teachers you’d like to add (Note: the email addresses must live inside your school domain and exist in your school’s Hapara system).


Creating multiple groups allows you to differentiate content and learning experiences by ability, interest, level, approach–or to facilitate collaborative learning experiences or PLCs.


For detailed, step-by-step instructions on this and all other Workspace features, visit Hapara Support

Update 10/16/2017: For even more great examples of using Hapara Workspace for professional development, check out this great resource.

Blog Categories


Join our Hapara Newsletter

Get notified about new posts and resources!
Sign me Up

Check out our webinar: The Personalization of Learning

Watch the Webinar

Share Your Story

Use Hapara? Tell us how and we might write about it!


Pin It on Pinterest

Share This