How to Use eBooks & Text Sets to Support Professional Learning

5 min read

| By Char Shryock |

Use eBooks as a starting point for inquiry or as a subject-matter expert to provide educators with job-embedded professional learning that is timely, engaging, and meaningful.

With text sets, you can help build common language and experiences for educators and administrators, drive inquiry, and develop expertise. Learn to create text sets to support collaborative discourse and tailor texts to meet the professional learning goals of individuals, departments, schools, and districts. Plus, connect educators to text sets through multiple learning management systems (LMS), including Google Classroom and Canvas, to offer easier access to professional learning in real-time or asynchronously.

What Do You Need to Promote Learning with Text Sets?

The first step in supporting the use of text sets for professional learning is to identify high-quality resources for administrators and educators to build text sets that fit their needs. eBooks offer unique advantages, allowing users to search across all available resources and compile chapters or sections from multiple books.

Use an intuitive resource like the Gale eBooks: Professional Learning platform to provide an accessible experience for educators to organize multiple text sets on a wide range of topics—while working within a budget.

When starting to build text sets, include at least one text that provides background knowledge and the vocabulary needed to access the other texts in the set. Choose additional texts to expand on that shared knowledge to help develop expertise, spark new ideas, or provide answers to questions the team has generated.

Spark Professional Development Inquiry with Text Sets

One strategy for using text sets to drive inquiry is to use the Question Formulation Technique (QFT) developed by the Right Question Institute.

Start with a statement, quote, or data set designed to spark inquiries relevant to your professional learning goals. Ask educators to read this focus statement and come up with questions to kick off the inquiry process. Encourage all participants to be involved, not judge any questions, and avoid answering the questions before diving into the texts. Have the group sort the questions and prioritize three to five to focus on in the first stage. As they read the first text in the set, participants should look for answers to their questions and generate new questions. After each reading, participants should have a revised set of questions to focus on as they read the next text in the set.

Here’s an example of a focus statement: Complex texts enrich student learning and expand vocabulary. This text set might start with a text that provides background on the features of complex text and a text that provides research-based strategies for using complex text to expand vocabulary. The team would then select additional texts that will further the inquiry.

Using the QFT for professional learning also models this effective classroom instructional strategy.

Rely on Text Sets as an Expert in the Room

Another way to use text sets is to have them play the role of an expert in the room. This opens opportunities for educators to engage with the texts asynchronously or in real-time while working as a learning collective with colleagues.

Choosing expert text sets offers a significant advantage for administrators who are looking to provide access to current evidence-based approaches to meet the needs of all students. For example, the Gale eBooks: Professional Learning collections include all of John Hattie’s Visible Learning books. Teachers can search across the collections and build chapter sets to support the learning goals they have established for themselves or their students. The collections also contain current titles from ASCD, Solution Tree, and more.

Using the text as the expert in the room also frees up administrators and instructional leaders to facilitate discussions, provide related data, and be a learner alongside their education team. Plus, you can use these text sets as a powerful resource to share as part of a post-observation conference or to support teachers who may be in their first five years of teaching.

Make Text Sets Easy to Use with eBooks

When you use eBooks or similar web-based resources, you can easily share access to text sets through Google Classroom, Canvas, or other LMS. One way to streamline the learning experience is to create a class called Professional Learning and invite educators to join this class. Then, you can share resources through the discussion board as “assignments” or as materials.

On the Gale eBooks platform, you can highlight, make clippings, and add annotations to texts. These tools are useful in curating text sets to guide professional learning. Educational leaders can curate a library of text sets and related resources organized by goal-based topics like literacy, student metacognition, problem-based learning, trauma-informed education, and more. Any administrator or educator tied to district professional learning plans can access and share these text sets to support their professional development goals.

Ready to start using text sets and eBooks for professional learning in your district? Explore the Gale eBooks: Professional Learning collections today.

About the Author

Char Shryock is an education leadership consultant with 37 years of experience as a superintendent, director of curriculum, tech integration specialist, and classroom teacher. She is an advocate for literacy for all, and works to promote the consistent use of high-quality texts to build knowledge and vocabulary across all grade levels and subject areas. A state and national level speaker, she also regularly works with districts to provide support on a broad range of topics including STEM, assessment literacy, instructional design, and leadership development.

Leave a Comment