Kate LaBarbera teaches 2nd grade at the K-5 Carlton Avenue School in San Jose, Calif. Jaison Naiker teaches a social-emotional learning seminar called Connections to 7th graders at Surprise Lake Middle School in Milton, Wash.

Naiker was curious about how he might use new tech tools in his instruction even before the pandemic. LaBarbera, on the other hand, only used classroom technology on a limited basis, when it was necessary.

But both experimented with new technologies way outside their comfort zones during the pandemic, and, in the process, they developed new technology skills that they plan to keep using in the classroom next school year and beyond. They also have some strong opinions about how schools ought to tailor tech-related professional development so teachers—and, by extension, students—get the most out of it.

The following Q&A is composed of interviews conducted separately this month. Naiker and LaBarbera’s…

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