No matter what team you root for or region of the world you live in, chances are that COVID, and its aftermath, has impacted your daily routine. Whether it is the way you order groceries, visit the doctor, or socially interact, we’ve all been changed, and the field of education is no different. In fact, today’s educational landscape seems to be rapidly evolving faster than ever, making professional development an essential pillar of success. In this post, we will delve into how to utilize the various avenues of professional growth and how artificial intelligence is shifting things into a “Ludicrous Mode” of progress, Tesla-style.
Despite the best efforts of school leaders, coaches (including tech coaches like myself), try to design valuable professional development (PD) sessions, far too often, participants end up feeling like they’re simply experiencing the “worksheet/sit-and-get teaching” they are being told not to partake in. From my little perch in the Midwest, I’m noticing that remote teaching and the technology trauma it put teachers through seems to have allowed teachers to enhance their ability to uncover their own solutions. The reality is there are unsung heroes in the educational realm with digital binders of goodness just waiting to be discovered or created by you. Find these unicorns (@mrshowell24 and the GOLD Edu family is my latest find!) and follow them in all spaces! Don’t just follow them but discover their lists and search for their Wakelet profiles. When educators are given autonomy to do this in PD, they can save valuable time accessing recommendations from individuals they trust allowing them to focus on the success of their students.
PICK UP THE MICROPHONE
We all experienced “zoom fatigue” but the ability to jump on a virtual meeting is now priceless in my line of work! Collaborating in a space that encourages personalized guidance and support without giving way to travel time and time zones is something I’m here for! Tools such as Microsoft Bookings and YouCanBookMe make scheduling easy. There could be a tech-savvy coach/influencer right at this moment within your district, yearning to offer you insightful support and guidance. Go ahead, grab that headset, wipe off the dust, set a clear objective to stay on track, and make that call to someone who can provide support via virtual coaching.
GRAB A SNACK AND LEARN
I don’t know about you, but I love it when I learn content in a way that is easily digestible. Snackable asynchronous training is all around us, the best advice I can give is just grow where you are (whether it’s Facebook or TikTok) and know what medium will accelerate your growth (whether that is infographics, badges, or podcasts). Our Edtech department used bite sized professional development this year by organizing a thrilling gamification competition. Teachers completed numerous short challenges.
BrainPOP is just one of many EdTech Challenges teachers had the option of learning about during our Edtech Playoff.
Each successfully completed challenge earned them valuable points, enhancing their opportunities to win prizes donated by local businesses. So, be sure to embrace the abundance of resources crafted by your district, subscribe to a YouTube channel that provides succinct videos, and remember to utilize the help buttons and visit help pages. Numerous digital companies provide dynamic and on-demand content, ready to assist you on your learning journey.
EMBRACE HYBRID LEARNING
Our lives are a blend of online interactions and face-to-face collaborations so adopt this approach with professional development. The value of in-person workshops remains unparalleled. If you are lucky enough to have opportunities locally that provide hands-on learning experiences, fostering collaboration and meaningful connections take full advantage. However, if attending your favorite conference in person is not feasible, you can still participate from afar! Simply stay connected by following the conference hashtag or virtual hashtag (shoutout to #notatISTE), and you’ll be able to tune in and engage with the event remotely. Lastly, websites like EDx and Microsoft Learn feature robust libraries that continue to expand, offering a wealth of valuable resources available for free. These platforms are excellent sources for accessing high-quality educational content that pairs well with what you might be learning about in your school building PD.
JOIN THE AI EXPRESS
From creating soccer practice plans, writing songs, or crafting assignment instructions using Artificial intelligence presents limitless possibilities. As the digital divide continues to widen, educators who possess the ability to effectively utilize AI skills in education will have distinct advantage over their counterparts who lack such proficiency. For example, is that YouTube video recording too long, use one of the several YouTube summary tools out there. Having trouble meeting the needs of all the different reading levels in your classroom, use Diffit to get level resources for literally anything. Need a copyright free graphic for your newsletter? Bing Image Creator to the rescue! By leveraging AI in professional development, teachers can unlock a world of customized learning experiences that provide tailored support for themselves and their students.
No matter your role in the educational field the path to growth and improvement lies in embracing new approaches to professional development. As the plates of educators continues to overflow professional development is vital to adapt and thrive. Regardless of where you stand in the hierarchy of professional development design, delivery, or attendee, it is essential to take a moment to think outside the box and reassess. In doing so, you will discover untapped potential and pave the way for continuous growth, ensuring that professional development remains a driving force in your journey towards excellence.
Written by Guest Blogger