How many professional development sessions have you been to in the last year that have actually been valuable to you in your teaching and learning? If you can count them on one hand, then the PD in our profession is failing. It’s not just failing you, it’s failing our students as well. The more I talk to teachers and administrators in different districts and different states one thing is always the same: PD is not personalized, usually top-down, and not impacting teaching and learning the way that it should be. So what do we do? How do we solve this problem?
About a month ago my district opened a position for an EdTech Teacher Leader. It is an extra duty position so I still get to continue teaching 3rd grade but in addition to that I get to be part of a team that provides Technology PD to our district. As part of that PD, we also get to meet 1:1 with teachers, team teach, and work with teachers in their classrooms on integrating tech into their classes. Needless to say, I am extremely excited for this new opportunity!!
But now the question hangs in the air: what do we do to make the PD that we are offering different from all of the other PD they get? How do we personalize it? How do we make it accessible to teachers K-12 when they need it? How do we differentiate it so that teachers with less tech experience don’t get lost but teachers with more tech experience don’t get bored?
What if we offer a differentiated, collaborative program online where teachers can move at their own pace? Is there such a place? I think there could be. I’ve spent much time searching and trying out different ideas. The best place I found so far is called Participate Learning. I was introduced to it at NCCE 2016 a few weeks ago. It’s an easily accessible platform online where multiple people can collaborate on a “collection” adding resources, videos, links, etc. You can share your collection with others for them to access. There is also the ability to have discussions within the collection. Here is a link to my Seesaw collection. Check it out and let me know what you think. Do you think this will be a good solution to our PD problem? Any suggestions? Any other options to consider?