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.

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’!

Pinspiration: 3 Types of PLN

While out on Pinterest, we saw this pinned, which helped explain 3 types of Personal Learning Networks (PLN):

If you need help with any of these programs, Atomic Learning has the training resources you need, including these and more:

Developing a PLC to Get Results for Educators and Students

A recent Education Week blog article shares 13 questions related to developing an effective personal learning community (PLC). Learning Forward's Executive Director, Stephanie Hirsh states:

Our definition of effective professional learning captures the foundation of the PLC strategy. I have converted the key components of the definition into questions that I invite you to take to your school leadership team, or to your grade or subject-level learning team, to make sure you have everything in place to get you the best results for this new school year.