As teachers across the country shift to reimagined classrooms, educators need just-in-time coaching, support, and guidance to realign their teaching practices to address students’ learning needs in online, hybrid, and blended learning environments.

Biggest Challenges Teachers Face

Based on our experience working with schools, school districts or networks, and states, we see every day the biggest challenges teachers face. Specifically, educators find it most difficult to:

  • Figure out how to teach students remotely in class and simultaneously support their learning at home. Many teachers do not know what this might look like or how to pull it off, and they are doing double the work—creating classroom lessons and separate activities for students to do online.
  • Create engagement in an online setting. Teachers need help figuring out how to make the online classroom environment an optimal one in which students want to be involved. As in the first days of distance learning, too often teachers simply replace their old lecture-based teaching approaches using video without any enhancement to learning.
  • Introduce appropriate ways to differentiate instruction in remote, hybrid, and blended learning classrooms. This is even more problematic for teachers of special education or English Language Learner classrooms. And as educators look at addressing learning losses caused by school closures, differentiation strategies are critical.

Teachers need a means to engage with other teachers in ways that build community and encourage engagement.

Addressing Challenges

Our company, LINC, and its online learning platform, LINCspring®, help facilitate professional development and coaching, and provide tools that introduce teachers to classroom strategies that are especially effective in creating unique learner experiences. LINCspring empowers educators to drive their own professional development.

Our approach to professional development is rooted in reflection. It offers teachers a means to transform their practice through metacognition, exploration of new strategies, and professional development through continuous improvement. The LINCspring platform guides educators through shifts in behaviors and practice while supporting them with live workshops and personal coaching. Bolstering teachers’ rapid adjustments to different types of digital learning, the platform’s energetic approach:

  • Helps educators transform mindset and use the right solutions
  • Focuses teachers and leaders on learner success
  • Provides enlightening coaching
  • Supports reflection and hands-on practice

Tools, Training, and Coaching

LINC’s professional learning approach recognizes that educators need the same types of personalized learning in next-generation classrooms that they are trying to introduce to their students. LINCspring offers a means for teachers who prefer to learn individually and explore new approaches at their own convenience and pace. Some teachers, however, need structure and regular, job-embedded coaching and training. LINC’s multi-dimensional approach includes an array of tools for planning and instructional design, and various asynchronous and just-in-time supports. The coaches are innovative practitioners—teachers and school leaders—who help educators leverage the best aspects of online environments or share their experiences leading innovative schools. Specifically, LINC offers:

  • A comprehensive suite of online content and tools, including 200+ hours of online content and 85 online learning models to enhance teaching skills and strategies
  • A catalogue of vetted tools organized in categories critical to effective remote instruction, including best practices and lesson plans that teachers can enhance and adapt to become their own
  • Access to expertise and experts: fluid and responsive training and LINCspring instructional coaches who help teachers build lessons and explore new tools and resources
  • LINCspring LIVE!—live lessons, (virtual) workshops, and on-demand video training that augment coaching

Creating Community Online

Even before COVID-19, teachers lacked sufficient time to develop and engage in effective collaboration.  But at least then, teachers were usually in the same building and in relatively close proximity. Today, teachers are isolated and crave connection. Teachers need a means to engage with other teachers in ways that build community and encourage engagement.

On LINCspring, teachers can engage with their peers through community portals and discussion forums that allow them to share ideas, reflect together, discuss what they are learning, and share implementation plans. At any moment, teachers have the flexibility to shift from learning on their own to reaching out to other teachers who are working on the same module.

School, District, and Statewide Impact

We work with districts and schools around the U.S. and in eight countries across the globe.  First, we guide leaders to recognize a new, learner-centered approach to professional development in which teachers have agency over their own professional growth. As the engagement continues, we encourage and support leaders and teachers as they make the giant leap—for leaders, to recognize that innovative professional learning is one of the most powerful accelerators for improvement; and for teachers, to move beyond the role of “content deliverer” to become innovative problem solvers and facilitators of learning.

LINC’s professional learning approach recognizes that educators need the same types of personalized learning in next-generation classrooms that they are trying to introduce to their students.

New Haven, Connecticut. The district’s 22,000 teachers—along with their school and district leaders and district-level coaches—use LINCspring. Many are building their own content in LINCspring using an array of digital tools and resources (e.g., Google Classroom Content Suite, Schoology, and Pilot Study Briefs), which are localized to the specific needs of the school or district.

Middletown, Connecticut. The district’s 500 teachers are using LINC coaching and LINCspring content as they participate in weekly webinars and workshops to introduce blended learning and create a strong overall structure for the district’s professional development.

Boston, Massachusetts. In states and big city school systems, LINC begins implementation strategically and quickly. In the Boston Public Schools, LINC launched a district-wide initiative involving 5,000 teachers across the district in two weeks.

LINC’s partnership with Cognia delivers online learning materials on specific topics, access to searchable resources aligned with effective teaching strategies, and live support from coaches to support blended and hybrid learning. These tools, resources, and supports stimulate incremental shifts in policy, behavior, and practice—resulting in improved engagement and significant gains in achievement.

For a limited time, sign up for a demo and get free access to the LINCspring platform and resources.

Editor’s note: Cognia established its Trusted Partners program in May 2020 to help states, districts, and schools address some of their biggest challenges using tools and services that can bring solutions to scale with reduced risk and cost. During this unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic, resources from Cognia’s Trusted Partners are available at no cost to teachers and leaders worldwide regardless of whether they are Cognia network members.

Jason Green, M.S. Ed.
Inspired by his youth development and nonprofit work as a student at Morehouse College, Jason Green has dedicated his career to creating positive change in education. As co-founder and co-CEO of LINC, the Learning Innovation Catalyst, Jason helps schools and districts reimagine and implement 21st century teaching and learning. He is the co-author of the best-selling book, Blended Learning in Action. A Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Morehouse College, Jason is driven by the belief that all children have a right to a high-quality education. Jason holds an MBA from the Wharton School of Business and an M.S. Ed. from University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education. Jason has served as an adjunct professor and a board member for various non-profits.
Jaime Pales
Jaime Pales is co-founder and Co-CEO of LINC. He is co-author of bestselling book Blended Learning in Action and creator of LINCspring, an innovative online coaching and professional learning platform rooted in over 15 years of research from Stanford University’s Dr. Arnetha Ball. The founding team is surrounded by a dedicated team of blended and remote learning specialists who work with schools across the globe. LINC is an inaugural member of Cognia's Trusted Partner Program.