As summer approaches and the gifts of time and relaxation come into play, consider spending some of that time on professional learning opportunities that you might have missed during the hectic school year.
With so many PD opportunities available, how do you choose?
Before you even begin to look for learning avenues, try to narrow down the scope of topics you want to learn more about. Choose a handful of topics you might have struggled with over the school year, or didn’t quite have the time to investigate in more depth.
Once you have some topics at hand, consider the types of professional development methods that meet your needs. Maybe you enjoy watching webinars or reading technology blog posts about a certain topic. The choices are many. Let’s dive into summer with some categories you might find useful for your interests:
- Educational Communities. Belonging to an online educational community connects you with other educators with similar academic goals and interests. Many of these communities have areas where you can post questions, gather resources created by educators, participate in scheduled webinars, and connect with other schools/organizations for collaborative projects. Google+ Communities, MimioConnect™ interactive teaching community, The Educator’s PLN, and Discovery Education Network are just a few of many worth exploring.
- YouTube Channels. Many educational software and hardware companies have YouTube channels with training videos, best practices in education, and case studies. Examples of these include MimioClassroom and Google for Education. There are also You Tube channels for various educational topics such as project-based learning (PBL) and digital citizenship. Finally, you can find national presenters such as Kathy Schrock on YouTube, with endless resources for your training needs.
- Webinars (On Demand or Live). Webinars can be an easy way to get specific training without having to leave your own home. Many provide live tutorials and resources that can be just as good as being in the same room with the content provider. Most webinars run between 30-60 minutes and most provide recordings of the sessions for future reference. Additionally, many organizations store their recorded sessions as an on-demand resource. Check out both on-demand and live webinar training resources from such companies and organizations as Mimio , edWeb, Education Week, and Tech & Learning.
- Educational Blogs.There are many talented and knowledgeable educators who blog on a daily or weekly basis (Educational Technology and Mobile Learning). Organizations and ed-tech companies usually have highly resourceful blogs (Mimio) as well. Many of these blogs offer how-to videos, tips for free educational resources (Free Technology for Teachers), and software/hardware reviews (TeachThought). Additionally, some blogs blend content with lesson plans and activities for students (The New York Times Learning Network).
- Twitter Feeds. Many educators use Twitter as a professional development platform addressing topics such as back-to-school ideas, media literacy, assessment that works, and educational technology. The key to Twitter is to follow both people and organizations. Additionally, it’s important to follow educational topic “hash tags.” The hash tag (#) is followed by the topic you are interested in (for example, #edtechchat). Don’t be afraid to join in the Twitter chats. Tweet some questions or ideas in the topic areas you are interested in. Be sure to check out a list of scheduled educational topic chats that occur on a weekly basis.
- Online Training Resources. Don’t forget that Mimio has training resources available that you can use anytime. Access them to refresh over the long summer months or when you’re ready to get back to school. Check them out here.>>
While learning new things is a great way to refresh your brain, remember to take plenty of time to relax and enjoy the summer.
Connect and get lesson ideas over the summer at the MimioConnect online educator community.