What is PD? What is DIY PD? Let’s take stock of these acronyms being thrown around.. Officially, “PD” is Professional Development. This used to look like trainings that we would attend that exposed us to a new program, system or curriculum that the district purchased and we were to implement. Research showed that this system was not effective, and so it has shifted more to the development of Personal Learning Networks (PLNs) and trainings that are more about pedagogy and philosophy (like blended learning) than a canned program. The “Do It Yourself” movement has brought us even more options for seeking out what we as individuals need in our teaching practice, and combined with a time when budgets are strained to the maximum, we have the opportunity to personalize our professional development in ways that we never have before. But, who has time for that? No one, of course! So, efficiency is key to getting what we need to continue growth in our practices – great sources for PD and getting inspired!
Sources of PD are come in many forms. Twitter is truly a great forum for finding resources. It is fast to sift through, intrigues you with short blurbs and links to more information. The best part is you can save the tweets to look at later – just email them to yourself! There amazing educators out there taking their practices to new heights. Here is a thorough list from Getting Smart – a Who’s Who of educators in the Twitter world.
Subscribing to Newsletters is another effective method. See a website you like or belong to a professional organization? Sign up for their newsletter! It comes directly to your inbox, you can scan it, delete it if there is nothing immediately pertinent, save it to peruse more thoroughly, or check out the resources in it with a few clicks. There is no Who’s Who list of newsletters really, but some great starters are Edutopia and Getting Smart.
Free webinars are happening virtually (as in online) all the time. Challenge yourself to attending a few this year – once a quarter? Semester? It is likely that you will find ones that are pertinent to areas that you are focusing on improving in your practice. Several sources with a variety of topics and regular, free webinars are Edutopia, ASCD, The Center for Learning, and Simple K-12. There are many, many more organizations out there! When we schedule these things it seems like a good idea, then we often get bogged down, so don’t attend. Consider challenging yourself to attend. Inspiration is golden!
Finally, let’s not forget the local resources! Our buildings and districts are full of people to bounce ideas off of or discuss something you are working on. Ask your questions, and you will get good suggestions with angles you hadn’t even considered. Share what you are doing and get feedback. When we are trying something out, it is difficult to see the bigger picture sometimes. You can even formalize the popular Professional (or Personal) Learning Network or PLN option. Then, you are held accountable to a group to continue active progress in your practice development. The list goes on… Our administrators are there to provide guidance and resources for us. Our constituents, the students, are the best source of feedback on some