Keeping up on skills over the summer isn’t just for students. The summer break is a great time for teachers to take advantage of those professional development (PD) opportunities that are hard to fit in during the school year.
Teacher communities are a nice blend of social interaction and knowledge-sharing among peers. We put together a list of our favorite online professional learning networks (PLNs) for you to check out over the break. And yes, we included our own. See you there!
Common Sense Educators
Common Sense Educators is our Facebook group for educators committed to creating a positive, collaborative culture of digital learning and digital citizenship in their classrooms, schools, or districts. Whether you’re a classroom teacher, administrator, tech coach, or homeschool teacher—you name it—you can connect with inspiring colleagues here. Topics of discussion include tech integration, media literacy, internet safety, and much more. Members share articles, ask for advice from peers, give virtual high-fives, and relate to each other’s challenges. And if you’re looking to complete our recognition program to become a Common Sense Educator, membership in the Facebook group is the first step toward that goal! It’s a “closed” group, so you’ll need to request to join.
Formerly Digital Is, The Current is an open-publishing media-literacy website created and curated by a community of educators. It was created under the direction of the National Writing Project and champions a strong sense of community. The site content is organized into three sections: Blog, Resources, and Collections. This content not only focuses on writing but also extends to general teaching practices. Educators can get support and feedback from peers while staying current in the digital landscape.
A community of classroom-teaching videos, this website provides teachers with an opportunity to learn from peers. Educators can share lesson ideas and find support in an active Q&A forum. Rather than take time away from the school day to observe other teachers in action, this innovative online tool allows educators to observe actual classroom teaching anytime. The Teaching Channel Plus platform offers a more personalized version of the public model and enables individual schools to share videos within a small group setting.
Twitter is an incredible resource for PD. Although not focused primarily on teachers or education, Twitter makes it easy for educators to build and expand their PLNs. Education-focused chats are a great way to engage; they’re searchable by hashtags such as #edchat, #ellchat, and #sschat. By following other teachers and thought leaders, it’s easy to find new resources and support among peers.
[Editor’s note: This post originally appeared on Common Sense Education.]