Admins: Here’s what teachers think about professional learning

Teachers are overwhelmingly turning to social media and online resources to drive their own professional learning, according to new Speak Up Survey data released by Project Tomorrow on July 30.

The data gives district administrators insight into what teachers still struggle with in the classroom, as well as the professional learning approaches they say they most value.

Teachers are turning away from face-to-face professional learning conferences (47 percent did so in 2010, compared to 40 percent in 2017) and are:…Read More

10 reasons why you’ll love Edcamp as much as I do

Have you ever been in a professional learning (PL) experience where you don’t keep looking at the time, checking Facebook, or texting people? I have! I spend several Saturdays a year at an Edcamp, an unconference-style professional development (PD) for all educators. You might be wondering why I would give up a Saturday to attend an Edcamp, so here are 10 reasons why you will love Edcamps as much as I do.

1. You are with rockstar educators from all walks of life. The energy at an Edcamp is electric! Rooms are buzzing with passionate people ready to learn to support students and make positive change in schools.

2. It is the perfect place to build your professional learning network (PLN). You will meet many of your Twitter connections face to face and encounter new faces to connect with on Twitter. Edcamps build relationships that last long after the Saturday event. I now have plenty of people to reach out to when I do not know the answer to something.…Read More

How to deliver PL that really works

I recently chatted with Kathy Dyer, NWEA’s manager of innovation and learning, professional learning design, about how to connect professional learning (PL) to student outcomes and how to best support teachers.

According to Dyer, quality PL that sticks with learners is when people learn with, from, and for each other. “The good teaching strategies we use with kids are good strategies for teachers to use to learn as well,” she says.

Dyer encourages administrators to give teachers the opportunity to learn something new or expand and deepen something they already know. “When you give learners the chance to practice or apply what they’ve learned right away, there’s an expectation that they will continue to apply it,” she says. Be sure to include time for reflection in any PL session. By figuring out why something works, what can be adjusted, or what they can quit to put this new practice in place, teachers are able to make those adjustments.…Read More

The New Librarian: How to build a face-to-face PLN in 3 easy steps

By now the term professional learning network (PLN) is used very often, but much of the time it refers to the virtual type, meaning our online colleagues and networks. Being a media specialist can be a lonely profession and it’s not uncommon to feel like we’re siloed. As I have moved from being a classroom teacher into teacher leader positions, I’ve noticed it can get lonely and I find myself looking for a face-to-face tribe. Although I find this at conferences, they are infrequent and expensive.

So how can media specialists get out from the media center and network with like-minded educators without flying to ISTE or AASL? By getting involved in the “unconference” movement. Here are three different ways to do just that!

1. CoffeeEDU
I first encountered CoffeeEDU as “CoffeeCUE” and thought, “Cool. I like coffee.”…Read More

4 terrific teacher communities for summer PD

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.…Read More