Thursday’s Tip: Find Your Own Professional Development

Audiences North East - summer professional development event, Alnwick Gardens (19) - The Poison Garden

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We’ve all been there. Your district or building sets aside days for professional development. Sometimes the topics are specific to your school’s needs, but often they are not. The sessions drag on and all you can think about is all the work you have to get done. And this is coming from someone who facilitates professional development for a living.

Sometimes, the best way to get the most out of professional development is to find your own. There are many ways in which educators can find professional development opportunities with minimal cost and without leaving their home or school.

Below are a few tips for finding your own professional development opportunities:

  • eLearning for Educators -A part of the eMINTS National Center houses eLearning for Educators, an online space for teacher professional development. Pricing is reasonable. Plus, the savings from not having to travel make it worth your time right away. Visit eLearning for Educators for more details.
  • FeedOn the Horizon: 20+ Free Professional Development Opportunities for 2012PostedTeacher Reboot Camp lists some great online PD opportunities that will only cost you to have decent internet access.
  • Read educational literature – Sometimes, the best learning we can do is accomplished by sitting down with a good book. Larry Ferlazzo polled his audience to see what they have been reading this past year and the results can be found at this post.
  • Cultivate your PLN – Personal Learning Networks (PLN) have been around for a while now, but I am still surprised at how many educators don’t utilize or even have one. Some good starting points for creating your own PLN are here and here.
  • Watch TED talks. – TED talks bring together the brightest and most successful thinkers of our time to discuss their unique projects and perspectives. These talks are then shared with the world via online videos. A theme of interest for educators might be How We Learn, but most TED talks can provide great insight and inspiration to us all.

What other ways are there to attain professional development with limited resources and budgets? How can some of these ideas be applied to the professional learning communities (PLC) currently appearing in schools everywhere? How can these practices enhance your current professional development?

Zac Early is an instructional specialist and blogger with the eMINTS National Center.

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