With tools like Periscope, Voxer, YouTube and Twitter, there really is no excuse for lacking the professional learning needed to step out of your comfort zone and try out some new teaching strategies. You can "attend" a conference from the comfort of your own home by following their hashtag on Twitter, and watch entire keynote speeches from said conference on YouTube. No longer can you blame your district for offering poor PD, or blame the politics of education for the lack of funding; it really is a choice.
Can't attend a conference? It is frustrating, I know, but there is an alternative.
CUE is my personal favorite, so I'll use it as an example:
Follow #cue15 and/or #notatCUE
Day 1 #CUE15 & Day 1 Keynote:
Jennie Magiera: Beware the Transformation Trap: Making Meaningful Change
Day 2 #CUE15 & Day 2 Keynote:
Sugata Mitra: The Future of Learning
Day 3 #CUE15 & Day 3 Closing Keynote:
Adam Bellow: Crossroads
*Shout-out to Lucy Gray for the #stories on storify.
Many presenters post resources for their sessions online and participants use periscope to post videos of sessions-hopefully they ask if it's okay first. Is it the same as attending the conference? No. Can you still learn something? Yes!
If you really prefer your PD up close and personal, there's anEdCamp for that. What's an EdCamp you say? In short, it is teacher driven professional development, for teachers/by teachers that costs you no more than a bit of spare time and some gas money.
If you have Amazon prime, you can borrow books for free. I'm currently borrowing "Teach Like a Pirate". If you want to have a more in-depth conversation about your borrowed book, get on Twitter. You can read Dave Burgess' book "Teach Like A Pirate", follow him on twitter (@burgessdave) and there is even has a weekly #tlap chat. I specifically chose a #tlap chat to illustrate this that's about all things PD: part 1 & part 2. Thanks to @LisaMilstead, the #piratelibrarian for storifying these tweets each week. The best part, this is all free and just waiting to be discovered.
Read blogs! Bloggers attend ED conferences, read professional books, and try out new strategies in their classrooms. They post their reflections on classroom tested lessons and experiences and you reap the benefits of having someone jump first. Find some great blogs to follow on the Teach 100 page. Some of my personal favorites, in no particular order:
- The Readiness is All
- Brilliant or Insane
- Cult of Pedagogy
- Blogging Through the Fourth Dimension
- The Jose Vilson
Bottom line, literally, why leave it up to someone else to decide what you need to learn? Seek and you shall find.