Summer can be an ideal time for teachers to receive professional development. We don’t have the pressures of the regular school day and usually, no one is making us do it. Let’s face it. Many times teachers show some animosity towards professional development (PD) because it is not geared towards their needs and it’s given at times when teachers aren’t interested. Plus, no one wants to be told what to do.
The question then becomes, “Where can I get professional development?” and “Do I have to pay for it?” The answer depends on what your goals are and what you want. Many educational technology companies provide professional development that is geared towards their specific products for free. Below, I will discuss three of them.
I have spoken about Seesaw in previous blog posts. It is listed amongst my favorite apps of 2016 and my favorite overall app. Instead of trying to figure out how Seesaw works on your own, you can participate in their amazing professional development. They have a series of webinars called PD in your PJs. Generally, they are held after school and you can get in your pajamas while attending hence the name. These webinars are held online and can be accessed anywhere. The sessions are live and interactive. Seesaw suggests you watch on one device and have a secondary device available so that you can participate in the activities. They are hosted by teachers who are using Seesaw in their classrooms so you get real examples of implementation. The sessions are geared towards different grade levels and subject areas so you can probably find something that just for you.
This summer you can watch previously held webinars by viewing the recordings. Seesaw has 10-minute sessions, 30-minute sessions, and one hour sessions. Take some time to explore Seesaw and think of ways that you want to implement it in your classroom.
Microsoft has an entire website dedicated just for educator professional development, teacher collaboration, and connecting to other educators. In the Microsoft Educator Comunity, you can learn how to use Microsoft products, how you can implement them in your classroom, participate in discussions with educators around the world, and learn about events Microsoft is offering.
Once you sign up for a free account, you will have access to the everything included in this website. The courses are self-paced meaning you can complete them in as little or as much time as you need. After each course, you will need to pass an assessment in order to earn points and/or badges. The range of courses they offer can benefit teachers at all levels of technology integration. Beginners, as well as experts, all can learn something.
What I like about the Microsoft Educator Community, is while you learn about Microsoft Products and how they can transform your classroom, you also learn the basic tenants of using technology in the classroom, making learning accessible for all learners, and teaching and learning in a global environment. Microsoft is focused on developing your teaching skills and sharing how they can make your classroom better.
Apple began a free professional development program last year where teachers could learn more about using Apple Products for implementation in their classroom. Even if you are an avid Apple device user, the Apple Teacher program will still have something to offer you.
To Join the Apple Teacher Learning Center, you will need to sign up with an Apple ID. I suggest using your personal Apple ID so that you can always have access to the materials offered. Once you are signed in, you can choose the path that you would like to take – iPad, Mac, or Swift Playgrounds. There are links to the resources offered to help you pass the quiz. If you choose to download the book, you will create a product using the Apple app of focus. After completing all of the resources (Pages, Numbers, Keynote, iMovie, etc.) you will take an assessment. They also resources for Creativity and Productivity so you can see the application beyond knowing how to use the app. Upon passing the quiz, you will be an Apple Teacher!
I found the courses’ material pretty simple to follow along with. In the beginning, they will walk you through some basics of using the device that you are on such as split screen on an iPad and copying and pasting material from one app to another. Since this is self-paced, I suggest taking your time if you are new to using iPads or Macs so you get the hang of things. Once you establish a workflow for getting things done, it will go pretty quickly and you will be fine.
I have participated in all of the above professional development and love having access to these resources. I find that I can use most technology pretty well but I always learn something new in these classes. Since it is summer and you should be having fun, try to get together with a few teacher friends and complete some of these together! Kick back and have some fun while learning!
Try one of the websites above and leave a comment to share which one you interests you the most!