Teq beefs up its teacher dev platform

A major upgrade to Teq’s online professional-development platform will put teachers face-to-face with tech experts via video conferencing, according to the Huntington Station education-technology producer.

The firm’s new “Instructional Support Now” feature allows K-12 educators to instantly connect with a member of Teq’s professional-development team, one of several additions to the company’s proprietary Teq Online PD line.

The company is also introducing several new online administrative features, including an option that lets school-district clients combine instructional videos into customized professional-development playlists. And it’s rolling out several new online professional-development classes, including lessons on using Microsoft Office 365 and Google Apps for Education.

With the new selections, Teq Online PD now offers over 150 digital courses.

But the real-time benefits of the video-chatting option, noted Teq CEO Damian Scarfo, make the Instructional Support Now development the most exciting of these latest professional-development innovations.

“By adding the ability to instantly video chat with our Teq PD experts, we are providing educators with a fast, personalized way to get instructional technology help right when they need it,” Scarfo said.

Several New York districts and private schools – including the East Williston and South Huntington school districts, Oyster Bay’s St. Dominic’s High School and Huntington’s St. Patrick’s School – already use Teq Online PD, part of a national customer base of 8,000 educators in over 500 districts, according to the company.

Michael Coppotelli, associate superintendent of schools for the Archdiocese of New York, said the major draw of the online suite of professional-development courses is its “simplicity.”

“Teq online PD … allows teachers to create professional learning communities and gives principals the ability to align professional development with instructional technology goals,” Coppotelli.

The professional-development upgrades continue a banner year for the tech firm.  Earlier this month, Teq was named the exclusive New York provider of Audio Enhancement’s award-winning product line, which includes classroom-based microphones, speakers and other technologies. In August, Teq became the exclusive New York provider of software and hardware for SMART, a Canadian manufacturer of innovative business and education technologies.

That marked the latest statewide agreement under an international distribution arrangement Teq and SMART announced in April, allowing Teq to create new distribution agreements with other SMART reseller partners throughout the United States and Canada. In May, Teq announced a series of reseller partnerships making Teq and SMART products available to schools in Arkansas, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Texas, Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio and parts of Pennsylvania.

In July, Teq also announced a foray into school security, launching the “all-in-one mass emergency communications platform” Spot, a mobile app that gives teachers and other school staffers the ability to alert first responders to emergency situations with the touch of a single button.

Teq’s big year comes at a time when classroom-based technologies are coming on strong. Last November, for example, New York voters approved a $2 billion school-spending referendum, part of a national movement to beef up technology-based educational opportunities and a prime example of why innovations like Teq Online PD are taking off.

“With the $2 billion referendum specifically designed to bring new technology into the classroom, online professional development – specifically the Instructional Support Now button – will help teachers in New York and across the country,” Scarfo told Innovate LI. “This gives them access to an instructional technology expert.”