20+ Free Professional Development Opportunities for 2013

Part of the Cool Sites series

2013 is here and educators worldwide are thinking about how they can better support their students’ learning journeys. One way is by exemplifying what continuous learning is and learning from other experienced teachers. Educators have various free quality professional development opportunities online with various online educator communities popping up in recent months and years, such as Nings, MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses), SMOOCs (Small Open Online Courses), Google Plus Communities, free LMS platforms, Facebook groups, and more. With free social media platforms you can begin to develop and harness the power of your Personal/ Passionate Learning Network (PLN) to accomplish goals.

Social media provides us with incredible opportunities to choose the way we want to develop professionally. You can choose the topic, the medium, and who you want to learn from. Moreover, online professional development is packed with various types of multimedia experiences, such as webinars, virtual learning environments, discussion forums, live video, podcasts, web 2.0 creation tools, and more. The experience is usually dynamic and motivating because you are learning with others around the world!

Below is a list of courses, programs, and webinars that offer you the opportunity to continue growing and developing as an educator in 2013. I am proud to be a curator/founder/moderator of several of these free professional development opportunities for teachers ranging from giving free webinars, organizing free e-conferences, moderating a weekly Twitter chat/free podcast, and moderating/designing a free SMOOC.

Upcoming Free Professional Development

  • The 30 Goals Challenge- Over 10000 educators have participated in the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd cycles of this global challenge for educators with the premise of getting you to complete 30 professional development goals in one year. These are short-term goals, such as guest posting, changing your classroom environment, providing effective feedback, establishing an online presence, and engaging with parents. We begin the 2013 cycle this month. To keep up to date, please join the 30 Goals Facebook group or you can easily follow through Twitter by checking out the #30goalsEdu hashtag. You don’t even have to have a Twitter account to get the tweets. You can easily subscribe through RSS.
  • Free Friday Webinars- Thanks to the American TESOL Institute, I conduct free 30 minute online webinars every Friday at 4pm EST (New York), 3pm Texas, 1pm LA, 7pm Brasilia, 9pm London, 10pm Paris, 11pm Athens/Istanbul, Sat 8am Sydney, and Sat. 6am Tokyo. We have covered 100s of topics in a multimedia platform (chat, video, audio, presentation), post free recordings, collect 100s of bookmarks, and you receive a certificate of completion from American TESOL. We have won Edublog Awards for the last 2 years.This is the Adobe Room to join! http://americantesol.adobeconnect.com/terrellJoin on your smartphone or iPad using the free Adobe Connect app!Watch several of the slide presentations here!
  • TESOL’s free Electronic Village Online (EVO) sessions- These are free online 5 week courses that start January 14th and end February 17th. You can choose from several courses including the Digital Storytelling one I am moderating with a dream team of Young Learner teachers/authors (Özge Karaoglu, Marisa Constantinides, Esra Girgin, Jennifer Verschoor, David Dodgson, Michelle Worgan, Juan Uribe, Eva Buyuksimkesyan, and our EVO Mentor- Elizabeth Anne). We have over 130 educators already from 20+ countries worldwide. Join the Edmodo group and begin completing digital storytelling projects.
  • Feb. 9th & 10th Free Online Story Sharing Conference featuring various speakers worldwide. I will be doing the closing keynote- Sharing Stories: Powerful Lessons in Language Learning. I will also be doing a free 30minute preconference webinar on digital storytelling. Register here for free, http://www.eventbrite.co.uk/event/4839702681/est
  • Simple K12 webinars- Attend free webinars with experts on various topics. In 2013, I will be hosting many of these webinars! Simple K12 was the winner of the Edublogs Award for Best Webinar Series in 2011.
  • Free Webinars by the IATEFL Learning Technologies SIG- Learn about various technologies and how to integrate them effectively in the classroom.
  • Edublogs Live Events- Every week, attend a free webinar on various topics. Usually, Jo and Phil Hart hosts these free webinars that cover effective use of web 2.0 tools or instructional methodologies.
  • Future of Education- Steve Hargadon will be hosting various free online interviews and webinars with some of the greatest authors, inspirational speakers, and minds in education. Also, check out his various Nings for free online conferences.
  • Classroom 2.0 Live Events- Every week, attend a free webinar with an expert in a field or listen to some great authors speak live and ask them questions.
  • Teach English Webinars- Learn from various educators/authors/teacher trainers in a webinar format.
  • Vital is free professional development offered by the Open University and offers free monthly webinars on various educational technology topics each month. Find more info check here, http://www.vital.ac.uk/events?tid=18. Find free resources here, http://www.vital.ac.uk
  • CO13- Connecting Online for Instruction and Learning free online conference is Feb. 1-3.
  • Attend Second Life Live Events- Second Life has several educational groups that meet weekly for free conferences, talks, workshops, and more. Download the software and register for free. Visit the Edunation Island- a safe place for educators that hosts the free SLanguages Conference.
  • #Edchat- Join over 2000 educators every Tuesday to discuss various topics you get to vote for and suggest. We began the year with a PBS Frontline event and now have the weekly free #EDCHAT Radio on iTunes.
  • Education Chats on Twitter- Find out the dates and times of educational conversations that occur on Twitter
  • SEETA Courses- The South Eastern Europe Teachers Association offers several week courses with a guest author or expert in the field. You will have to register, but the courses are free!
  • MOOC- Massive Open Online Courses where 1000s attend for free through discussion forums and free webinars. Follow the hashtag #MOOC for the latest MOOC. University professors, TED speakers, and notable educational theorists moderate these courses. You learn from the very best in our field! Topics range from Personal Learning Networks to Mobile Learning! Join communities like Coursera with over 2million participants or the new Teach2013 event by Udemy. Various MOOCs and providers are listed here as well as a history and explanation.
  • MIT Open Course Ware offers over 1900 free online courses in over 20 subjects. You can subscribe by RSS or get e-mail updates.
  • Stanford on iTunes- Download courses, faculty lectures, interviews, music and sports that will play on your iPod, iPad, iPhone, Mac or PC.
  • 17 Universities with free online courses- Find out how to access these free courses from some of the most respected universities in the world! This article also describes the experience of learning through these online classes.
  • 250 Free Online Courses- Find a list of several more free online courses from the top universities categorized by subject.

cross posted at teacherrebootcamp.com

Shelly Terrell is an education consultant, technology trainer, and author. Read more at teacherrebootcamp.com