Everybody's entitled to my opinion ;o)
Occasional PD is so passé… Ongoing PD is the way to go
Why wait for a professional development (PD) day to take place in your centre or school in order to benefit from what some of the world's best pedagogues have to say? I get a daily dose of PD from educators in the United States, the UK, Australia, South Africa, Maui, Canada and many other countries. Obviously, I'm not talking about day-long lectures or workshops, here. We can get so many amazing ideas for our pedagogical, didactic and evaluating practices on the web in a short, to-the-point format, that relying solely on in-person PD seems not only passé, but a little bit oblivious as well. So how do we start benefiting from ongoing PD? Here are the first steps:
The occasional conference or well-planned PD day is still a valuable part of everyone's professional development; it's important to meet with other pedagogues face to face (f2f). Not only are the in-person interactions different from those online, but what's special about these occasions is that you can devote all of your work day to your PD. There's no choice to be made between ongoing online PD and occasional f2f PD; both have their raison d'être. We simply need to understand that benefiting from ongoing online PD is a choice that any educator can make. It starts with a desire to learn. To teach means to forever learn… we kind of knew that when we took the job, right? ;o)
- Get a Twitter account and follow a few pedagogues. You can start by following Avi Spector (@a_spector) and myself (@malalande) and see who we're following for inspiration. Here's a short list of interesting pedagogues you could follow right away: @tomwhitby, @InnovativeEdu, @web20classroom, @vcnam, @mauilibrairian2, @edutopia. Need a short video on the benefits and limitations of Twitter? Watch this: To Tweet Or Not To Tweet www.tinyurl.com/recitttontt. Make the habit of visiting your Twitter feed once or twice a day for 5 minutes or so.
- Subscribe to a few YouTube channels. The advantage to subscribing is that you'll get emails telling you what's new on the channels you follow. Edutopia and TED Talks should be at the top of every educator's list. My colleague Avi Spector's channel and my own could also be helpful for your ongoing PD.
If you're looking for a selection of videos that are especially relevant to your PD in education, you can find some on the r.u.a.ware blog (http://www2.recitfga.qc.ca/RUaWare/).
- To truly benefit from online PD, you need ubiquitous access to the Internet. For your PD to be ongoing, you need to access the content or share what you want whenever, wherever and on whichever device you prefer. Personally, I'd go for a tablet (iPad, Surface, Androïd, etc.). They're affordable and chances are you'll make professional as well as personal use of it.
- After you've used Twitter and YouTube for some time for your PD, you might want to sign up to the Educator's PLN http://edupln.ning.com. Here, you'll connect with thousands of educators that are sharing PD resources.
Let me know what you think @malalande on Twitter.