My favorite thing about summer vacation is the gift of time. I have time to go bicycling in the morning. I have time to have fun in the sun with my family. I have time to take some meaningful professional development to improve my teaching practice. The Internet offers us educators a whole array of professional development opportunities. The best part is many are free. Below is a list of some of my favorite podcasts, video libraries, and discussion boards:
1. Podcasts: I have always enjoyed the power of radio. Audio lets the listener to use his imagination to visualize the world through story. Podcasts allows amateur radio enthusiasts to create and distribute their own radio show. Here are some of my favorite education podcasts:
Teachers Aid: Host Rae Pica facilitates a weekly podcast by interviewing a panel of educators, administrators, and ed experts sharing their expertise on each week’s topic. Recent topics have included soft skills and the Common Core, tips on how to give effective student feedback, and instructing students to effectively evaluate sources. New episodes are sporadic, but each one contains includes meaningful discourse about teaching practice. http://www.bamradionetwork.com/teachers-aid/Page-2
Talk With Teachers: New York High School English teacher Brian Szatbnik interviews educators across the nation picking their brains for ideas how to implement innovative teaching practices such as mindfulness, Genius Hour, and restorative justice in the classroom. Szatbnik gives a great forum for teacher voice allowing teachers to share their expertise in the field. http://talkswithteachers.com/podcasts/
#Edchat Radio: Host Nancy Blair combines the best of podcasting and social media. In her weekly ten-minute podcast, she rehashes the best discussion threads on the #Edchat Twitter chat. My favorite thing about the podcast is she includes teachers in the conversation she discovers on Twitter. This is an invitation to listeners to continue the conversation online, and perhaps, they may be featured in a future episode. http://www.bamradionetwork.com/edchat-radio/
2. Video Libraries and Webinars: While audio allows us to use our imagination as we listen on a run, a hike, or in the car, video let us see and hear education in action. Webinars, in particular, are great because they offer a series of videos that build upon each other. Below are some of my favorites:
EngageNY: This is a vast website created and run by the New York State Education Department about implementing the Common Core. They have a large video library of lesson plans, conversations with David Coleman, chief architect of the Common Core, panel discussions, and samples of student work. Furthermore, the site is highly organized by grouping videos in searchable categories like math, writing, reading, ELL, elementary lessons, secondary lessons, etc. https://www.engageny.org/
Teaching Channel: Imagine Youtube for teachers, but better. That is the vision of Teaching Channel. A vast, and ever growing, video library that has teachers instructing lessons in the classroom and reflecting on their practice. Videos are categorized by subject matter, offer a short blurb, listed by grade level, and each tied to Common Core or NGSS standards. Some of the best conversation takes place in the comment section at the bottom of each video. https://www.teachingchannel.org/
AJJuliani.Com: Juliani is a former teacher, current technology specialist, author, blogger, and frequent Tweeter. On his comprehensive website he offers a number of free webinars including courses on divergent thinking, 20% time, and creative classroom management. I am currently taking his webinar on Genius Hour. Each episode is short, to the point, and offers an array of links or resources to learn more on your own. In many ways, my ideal professional development. http://ajjuliani.com/20-time-guide/
3. Discussion Boards, Workshops, and Hangouts: While online audio and videos are informative, they passively involve the listener or viewer. Discussion boards, workshops, and hangouts illicit active participation from the participants. In this way, you contribute to your own professional development, while expanding your professional network.
CTQ Collaboratory: The Center for Teaching Quality (CTQ), an organization that supports and encourages teacher leadership, runs a wonderful discussion board hosted by some of the top teacher leaders across the country. Discussions are friendly, positive, and encourage professional discourse. A great forum to connect with educators across the country and a safe place to find your teacher voice. http://www.teachingquality.org/collaboratory
Teachers Write (Facebook Group): Educator and children’s author Kate Messner runs a month long summer workshop co-facilitated by young adult authors Gae Polisner and Jen Vincent. Teachers Write invites teachers and librarians to share their writing with each other on a Facebook group page. They expect you to write and comment on other participants’ writing every week. This is a big commitment, and can feel like a risk to amateur writers, but it is a safe forum to engage and learn from fellow aspiring scribes, and get free feedback from three professional authors. http://www.katemessner.com/teachers-write/
Google Teacher Buddies (Google Hangout Community): If you are unfamiliar with Google Hangout, it is a multi-media community forum where participants talk via a discussion board, share documents, photos, and videos, and engage in a live video chat. I like this particular group because it is a forum for teachers to learn and share how they use Google applications in the classroom. This Hangout has a positive tone and participant often are self-deprecating about their trials and errors implementing technology in the classroom. Video chats are monthly. https://plus.google.com/communities/113153416497808567389
My Hope (an Invitation)
My hope is this post will inspire you to take time in the day to listen, watch, or participate in some online PD during your summer vacation. This is my list, but I love to hear yours as well. What online professional development do you participate in and how has it helped you grow as a professional? Here’s to growing online together.