What does your self-directed online professional development look like?
Twitter and Pinterest were of course on the top of many self-directed online PD plans. Matt Miller (@jmattmiller) loves finding ideas and links on Twitter to help him curate the vast number of resources and articles online. Ms. Worthman (@CAMMediaCenter) uses Pocket to keep track of these links. Following various hashtags on Twitter (especially conference hashtags when you can’t physically attend) were great ideas shared.
The #INeLearn Voxer group is a new tool for informal professional development. Contact Michelle Green (@mrg_3) to get added! It’s a great way to add a personal touch to your PLN.
In addition to social media, our group shared they valued reading blogs, articles, research organization publications, and webinars to further their own learning.
What are the benefits and potential pitfalls to creating structured online PD for teachers?
To start us off, JD Ferries-Rowe (@jdferries) reminds us that online PD should not be used as a shortcut. Relationships are still important. This can be accomplished online, but must not be overlooked.
Susie Highley (@shighley) encourages us to think about why we go online for PD. We value the lack of structure and the choice it gives us. Something to keep in mind when designing personalized online experiences for other staff. Kelly Scholl (@SchollHouseRock) agrees that this platform gives us the opportunity to provide flexible, individualized support for teachers.
Seth Ponder (@SethPonder) said that online PD would be a great tool to connect teachers from various school districts. This is especially relevant for smaller school districts. Scholl agrees that this is powerful regardless of the size of your school.
Ferries-Rowe reminds us of another potential pitfall to keep in mind when designing professional development opportunities. He says that “PD by Social Media can lead to a lot of confirmation bias. Need some skeptics to keep it real. Keep the focus on learning.”
Many shared that a good starting place for online PD is the rote learning that happens. If it is a repeat of information or something that just requires memorization or understanding of content, start by trying to put it online. Green suggests that we “keep F2F (face to face) for culture building.”
Nancy Ellis (@naellis1202) understands that engaging PD that models good online instructional time takes time and skill though. She says this type of PD “must be interactive, engaging, and collaborative.”
Considering the benefits and pitfalls, what does online PD look like to you? What form can/should it take?
Scholl suggests starting small to not overwhelm the designer and to ensure that there is not a negative reaction from participants.
Regardless of where you start, Jason Bodnar (@APJasonBodnar) emphasizes the importance of differentiation. He says to “ask teacher what they want to learn and provide them resources and time to get there. Teachers have different needs.”
When asked if they imagined starting with synchronous online professional development like webinars or with self-paced PD opportunities, the responses varied. Worthman is interested in self-paced PD because of the convenience and flexibility. I (@lyonmi) like this approach too, because it’s nice to be able to share that PD over and over with a simple link.
We generated some interest in flipping PD. We would love if you could comment below or share on Twitter with #INeLearn of any resources you have on this.
When blending your PD, what situations are best for F2F, webinar, asynchronous virtual learning, flipped PD, etc.?
Many of our tweeters like to do F2F when teachers are learning something new. Human interaction is still very powerful. Tim Kasper (@TimKasper) prefers face-to-face “for sensitive/social issues; virtual may be best for technical skills.”
Ferries-Rowe breaks it down like this: “F2F- new material, discussions with emotions/support; Webinar - the details from experts who are not around; Asynchronous - Follow-up.” Sounds like a good plan!
Others use webinars for scheduling conflicts. Sometimes the best time to meet is at 8:00 at night.
We discussed how relationships can be maintained and grow online, but if that culture is not in place, building in some F2F time to a blended approach could be a good starting point.
What tools and resources are essential for creating engaging and meaningful online PD?
Here are the tools and resources that we discussed:
- Google Docs
- Google Hangouts
- LMS (learning management system)
- 3D Printed Coffee (still working on this one)
- PD hashtag for your participants
- Anything collaborative!
- letsgeddit.com for quick feedback
Are time requirements the most ideal way to measure and credit teacher training?
We agreed that while convenient to measure in seat time, we know that measuring completion via product or reflection is better for this type of professional development.
Shout out to Matt Miller for creating a great sketchnote while participating in the chat. This is a wonderful visual depiction of our conversation.
Thank you again to all of the #INeLearn participants. We would love for you to share any additional thoughts on designing and delivering online professional development on Twitter. Please tweet your ideas using #INeLearn.