Instructure has announced the release of Canvas Practice to improve professional development for K–12 teachers. The announcement coincides with a recent survey commissioned by Instructure that reveals teachers are looking for new and more comprehensive ways to develop their skills and improve student learning. Practice is an addition to the Canvas learning management platform and provides an effective, scalable solution to train and support high-quality teaching.

"Given the magnitude of the teacher attrition problem we have today, it is more important than ever to provide meaningful professional development," said Hilary Scharton, VP of Canvas K–12 product strategy. "Our recent survey makes it clear teachers are feeling that much of the career development training available today isn't actionable or sustained over time. It simply isn't giving them what they need to improve teaching and learning, and that's why we launched Canvas Practice."

Canvas Practice creates a low-risk environment for every teacher to develop both competence and confidence, regardless of phase, subject area or style of pedagogy. The video-based professional development tool gives teachers the opportunity to learn by doing and receive timely, meaningful and actionable peer and expert feedback as part of continuing professional development—something that many teachers say is lacking in their current professional development.

Today's teacher training environment needs improvement, with 39 percent of teachers expressing dissatisfaction with the current professional development offered by their school or district. While the vast majority of teachers (85 percent) strongly agree that the professional development offered by a school or district is important to educators, they note that most districts (71 percent) do not provide sufficient opportunities for them to engage in professional development that has any effect on student achievement. 

The survey also found that few districts have systems for following up after professional development to look at student outcomes. In addition, according to the survey:

-Many teachers (60 percent) are at best "sometimes" getting professional development that is actionable in their classroom or changes their teaching practice.

-A majority of teachers (86 percent) do not have enough opportunities to observe master teachers.

-Too many teachers (91 percent) are not observing their own teaching in a way that can truly help them grow.

-Most teachers (85 percent) are not getting feedback from their mentors often enough.

As the single most important in-school factor affecting student learning is a quality teacher, Canvas Practice supports professional development and continuing education through a proven, research-based methodology of learning. Through Practice, teachers are able to film themselves practicing a skill, assess their own work, get peer feedback, and receive expert coaching.

"Canvas Practice can help our teachers use video to demonstrate real-world skills and receive feedback from peers, improving the teaching experience," said Amanda Montileone, blended learning specialist, Springfield Public Schools. "We are thrilled to be using Practice to further the professional learning offered in our system and create a more engaging, relevant, and personal experience for staff."

In addition, some schools use Practice to further student success.

"Canvas Practice is a powerful tool for schools," said Chris Lehmann, founding principal, Science Leadership Academy. "We use it to help students learn presentation skills and get feedback from peers as they prepare to present their ideas to a wider audience. Learning to communicate meaningful ideas is essential for students today, and Canvas Practice is an important tool to help students develop that skill."

To learn more about Canvas Practice, please visit https://www.canvaslms.com/k-12/platform/practice.

Note: Participants in this study were provided through the Harris Panel, including members of its third-party panel providers. More than 1,000 teachers in the United States responded to the survey questionnaire.