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PD on Your Own Time – Charting Your Own Course

Posted by OELMA on behalf of Kris Baker

Wouldn’t everyone love to learn something new? Between evaluations, testing and teaching the last thing most people want to see on their calendar is an after school PD session.  Last May the curriculum director in my district asked me to create a Google Form to survey the staff on the type of professional development offerings that they would find the most beneficial.  Not only did we find out what teachers wished to learn more about, we also found out how they wanted to learn it–asynchronously.  I love that word.  I love to say it.  I love how it sounds.  Weird, huh?  But, the idea seemed to be what the masses were asking for. 

After looking at some options, I assured my curriculum director that a Google Classroom would be a great way to conduct this professional development.  I collected some lists of resources like Infohio’s 21 Things, recorded Google webinars by Eric Curts (SPARCC), Infohio webinars and Google on Air’s virtual conference.  In order to receive credit (CEUs or workshop credit via Ashland University) the teachers would need to complete 10 hours of webinars and attend 3 face to face meetings and record a lesson that demonstrates their classroom use of resources learned in this PD.  During the first meeting we went over the requirements and got everyone signed into the Google Classroom.  The course was entitled Charting Your Own Course.  This will allow the teachers to choose from a list of webinars that will fit their classroom needs.  We used John Green’s TED Talk (The Nerd’s Guide to Learning Everything Online, Nov 2012) as an introduction to our personal learning community (PLC.)  The discussion revolved around trying to find what you need in a vast and seemingly endless sea of technology and resource tools. 

In the future meetings, we will have a Tech Slam to share new and exciting things that the teachers have discovered and finally a showcase of the videotaped lessons.  Overall, the learning will take place on their own schedule and at their own pace.  Within the Google Classroom a shared spreadsheet has been added for teachers to list new and exciting resources that they find.  So far, more than twenty items have been shared.  Everything from World Book Online’s Comparison tool to  Tools that can be used at multiple levels and in many different situations. 

The overall reaction for the teachers has been very positive.  They like the idea of finding what they think is relevant to their classrooms.  The curriculum director is pleased with the price–free.  I am happy that we’ve moved our PD ideas into an asynchronous environment.  Learn on, even if it is in your pajamas at 11:30 on a Saturday afternoon.