3 Simple Ways to Personalize Professional Development

While schools and districts offer formal professional development, all too often such opportunities are focused on a topic that doesn’t quite fit individual teachers’ needs, or is too basic or advanced to be effective.

And, while teachers themselves also have the opportunity to learn on their own, some struggle to find the time in their busy schedules to participate in self-driven learning.

One option that you hear more about every day is personalized professional development, a term for taking charge of your own professional growth by seeking out anytime, anywhere learning experiences that meet YOUR individual professional needs.

For those looking for a place to start, we’ve gathered together three quick tips to get you started personalizing your personal development right away:

  1. Watch and/or Participate in a Twitter Chat
    Twitter chats can be great learning opportunities that provide up-to-date (even up-to-the-minute) information from fellow educators experiencing the same things you are. There’s a chat for nearly every education topic you can think of, you can participate from your couch, a soccer game or anywhere you have internet access, AND IT’S FREE.

    You can check out this education twitter chat calendar, and we’d also like to suggest @JaimeDonally’s chat on Wednesdays at 8pm CST focused on augmented and virtual reality—check it out at #ARVRinEDU.
  2. Join or Start a PLC (Professional Learning Community)
    PLC’s are an excellent opportunity for creating your own professional development, hone skills, and improve student outcomes through action research. There’s a ton of great information in this PLC-focused course on Atomic Learning to find out more.

    Looking for ideas on what others are doing? The educators at one of Oklahoma City Public Schools collaborated as a group to take their recent 1:1 initiative even further. They utilized the school's existing PLC page on Facebook to openly collaborate and easily share tips and resources they found interesting—including Atomic Learning’s courses on Classroom Management in 1:1 Classrooms, Supporting Gifted and Talented Learners, and others.

2014 Technology and Professional Development Survey Results Released #techpd14

From the abacus to the calculator, the chalkboard to SMARTBoards, technology has had an immense impact on education and how students learn. However, technology is only one piece of the puzzle. Bill Gates said it best: “Technology is just a tool. In terms of getting the kids working together and motivating them, the teacher is the most important.”

But how are teachers using technology? And how are teachers maintaining expertise in the areas of teaching and new technology?

Educators Connect to Share Wisdom

We have almost concluded Connected Educator Month! Behind ISTE® this is one of my favorite events that the Ed Tech Community sponsors.  It’s at the perfect time of year…I’ve just about calmed down from the chaos of the back to school rush and I am ready to buckle down and start getting to the heart of moving education forward. 

As a classroom teacher, I always felt that October was the month when the real learning began.  Students have figured out how to manage the halls, adjust to the schedule, and where to sit, or not to sit depending on the distractions.  It’s that time when we have started the course and now the real learning has begun.  It’s during this time that I have determined what my students strengths and weaknesses are and I am ready to plunge into some new ideas and see where they take me and all those formative minds that I’m working with for the rest of the year. 

Using technology to connect with your peers is an exciting, yet also, overwhelming task! Do you feel like you couldn’t take it all in? I know the days passed quickly and I’m hoping to find some archived sessions at http://connectededucators.org. They also have a  starter kit, created by Powerful Learning Practice will at help you understand some common terms, and tips for things you can do each day to connect with educators just like you even after the Connected Educator month ends.

It’s never too late to become a Connected Educator and learn about ways to ‘connect’!

How is #Edchat changing education?

The University of Southern California -- Rossier's online Doctor of Education is conducting a quick survey on how education Twitter chats are influencing educators around the world.

Does social interaction via Twitter help or hinder teachers? Are #Edchat participants more interested in social media in the classroom? Do education Twitter chats benefit teachers?

Grow Your PLN

We came across this article on Growing Your PLN and thought it might be helpful PD for you in the summer months. How are you connecting with your peers and building your personal learning community?