Break free of the conference crowds and leave behind keynotes and breakout sessions! With summer here there is no reason to wait for a formal workshop environment when there are so many collaborative learning opportunities to build your network and learn new skills on your own.
Educators across the globe can now choose between traditional professional learning and nontraditional styles of learning such as teacher-led conferences. Gone are the days when we could only learn a new skill by attending lectures. Now we’re empowered to take our own professional learning by the horns.
ATTEND – EDCAMP
Edcamps, also known as unconferences, are popping up across the country. They allow educators to get together, usually for only a day, to engage in discussion-based professional learning. What makes edcamps unique is that there are no planned sessions at the beginning of the event. Attendees gather in the morning to suggest topics and offer to facilitate sessions, which are then displayed on a large schedule board for others to view and attend.
The participant-driven sessions encourage sharing and collaborative learning among everyone who comes to the session. Teachers share best practices, challenges and passions, each listening for key information to enhance their personalized professional development. Participants are empowered to have a voice and choice as they are encouraged to stay for sessions that meet their needs and politely leave ones that do not. Find one close to you at www.edcamp.org.
ATTEND – WEBINARS
There are many live and recorded webinars and podcasts that provide insight into how to effectively integrate a new learning tool or introduce a strategy to incorporate into a lesson. Gather a group of friends or colleagues and host a lunch to watch a webinar together. If your friends are geographically dispersed consider hosting a blog club online! Using a tool like Google Hangout, have a handful of teacher friends sign on at a set time one night a month. Before you meet, the rotating host should choose four or five blog articles for the whole group to read. During your blog club, participants can share their big takeaways, classroom applications or questions about what they’ve read.
Want to learn about how Performance Matters can help with your professional development? Check us out!