Thinking About Redefining Professional Development

Thinking About Redefining Professional Development

As a former Director of Instructional Technology my job was to provide technology embedded professional development (PD) to a district of 4000 teachers. Each day was filled with new and exciting challenges, trying to figure out how we could best help our teachers understand technology integration, while keeping our PD fresh and engaging. I’ve been a part of a lot of successful PD and been a part of a lot of not so good PD.

The traditional forms of sit-and-get PD are giving way to MOOCs, webinars, Edcamps and flipped learning. But what does all that mean? What does this transition to innovative PD practices mean and where can we find these new forms?

One idea that I’ve been thinking a lot about lately is Flipped Faculty meetings. I always heard there wasn’t enough time before school/after school or during the day to do professional development. So we had to look at how to reclaim some of that time. If we take the traditional staff meeting, many times the information shared is just “for your information” or anything that could be posted to a blog or in an email. The idea of the flipped faculty meeting means the time normally spent on the boring stuff can be turned into a time to share, learn and grow, together, as a faculty. There are lots of ways information can be shared to capture that time back. Check out this blog post to learn more.

Faculty Meetings aren’t the only thing we can flip. Traditional PD models can be flipped too, where work is done before to learn basic skills via video or through course work. Then face-to-face time is spent going deeper with that understanding, creating something or looking at how the learning can be applied. The post on The Flip Side Of Professional Development really captures how to make this work and gives several examples.

Professional Development is more than just flipping the traditional models. There are lots of new and exciting ways to take control of your own professional learning. The DIY Professional Development Kit from Edutopia is full of ideas and resources you can use to drive your own learning. Everything from learning on Twitter to Unconference models to building a Personal Learning Network is covered here. What else would you add?

There has never been a time to think about how to break free from boring professional development. With so much information being shared online and off, now is a great time to think about how you can take control of your learning!

photo credit: hawkexpress via photopincc

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Steven W. Anderson is the Director of Instructional Technology for the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools in Winston-Salem, NC. He also regularly travels the country talking to schools and districts about the use of Social Media in the classroom. Steven has been recognized with the NOW Award and the 2009 and 2011 Edublogs, Twitterer of The Year Award. In 2012 he was named an ASCD Emerging Leader. Read more at