Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Four Easy Ways to Keep Growing After Formal PD



As a district instructional technology trainer/coach in Bellevue Public Schools, I conduct a lot of professional development sessions. Our two district initiative are Google and Apple, so most of the training I do are related to these two topics.  Most recently, I have been conducting Apple Foundations Training with my colleague Jenny Krzystowczyk (@jennykbps) and the last session we conducted were on iPads in the classroom.  


It is amazing to see the tremendous growth each teacher experiences and how that growth occurs for each person in different ways.  As we embark on a learning adventure, our own growth is not only a result of what we personally do, but also what we learn and share with one another. To me, that is the essence of learning.  Each of us is unique and each of our learning experiences needs to be unique too.


Although training is over, it is really just the beginning of a new adventure of connectedness, inspiration, learning, and growth.  Here are some ways to continue professional growth by being connected with others, taking a deeper dive into learning practices, and putting ideas into action in the classroom.

Stay Connected
Many people ask our team where we get great ideas and how we keep learning. Twitter and Google Communities is the answer.  Twitter and Google Communities connects me to brilliant minds every day and I am constantly being pushed to be better, try new things, be inspired, and share!  Tapping into social networks is the best thing I ever did and the best FREE professional development I regularly receive!   Create a thread of connectivity for attendees by utilizing the collaborative tools of Google+ Communities and Twitter.  Both are powerful connectors, so take advantage of them and create a Google Community and Twitter hashtag!   Encourage everyone to check in to the community, share ideas, comment, and even join a Twitter chat.   

Connect to the World
Public Google Communities are a great way to connect your classroom to other classrooms.  From online field trips via a Google Hangout to finding classrooms to connect with.  Two great communities to join are  http://eduhangout.org  started by Brent Catlett (@catlett1) and Connected Classrooms at http://connectedclassrooms.withgoogle.com/  that Google recently launched.   Connecting your students to each other and the world is also possible with a simple tool - blogging.  You can use http://www.kidblog.org (@kidblogdotorg) to get your classes blogging and #comments4kids on Twitter to share the blogs with the world and have other students and teachers comment on their writing.  

Take a Deeper Dive
Tap into the training materials even after the sessions are over!  Take advantage of online resources that were provided during the training.  Whether it is from an iTunes U Course, a shared Google folder, or a website hosting all the materials,  the materials are there for you. Reviewing the materials you were given can be a great way to dig deeper into new content, construct meaning, and implement new ideas into your classroom setting.  

Take Action
One of my favorite sayings is:  “If it is to be, it is up to me.”   Take what you are given, and make a difference.  For example, if you completed our training and have 1 iPad, teach with your iPad in hand and create rich learning experiences with that iPad.  We have a strand in our Google Community to share ideas in the 1 iPad classroom.  What you share may inspire others!  Continue to push yourself to be better and continue to learn and grow.  

As Adam Bellow (@adambellow) said at ISTE 13, “Do not let fear and/or fear of failure hold you back.”  Connect, inspire others, take a deeper dive into the content, and start a ripple.  Seize the opportunity as a learner and make a difference.  The main agent of change isn’t professional development or devices, it is YOU!  You are the agent of change!  

Written by Ann Feldmann
@annfeldmann1


19 comments:

  1. Thank you, Ann! I was so inspired by the things you and Jenny taught us at AFT. Thanks for the tip on the #comments4kids hashtag!

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  2. thnx for the information..
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  3. It was great to have your in the Apple Foundations Training! Love the way you are using technology in your classroom and making a difference every day for your students! Keep doing great things!

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  4. thank you guys for the informational day

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  5. I love the saying "take what you are given and make a difference" this is a perfect saying for an educator. Thanks!

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  6. Appreciate the thoughts for how to take away from professional development after the formal time is over. I think the BPS new teachers community will be a helpful way to do that.

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  7. I can't wait to utilize all I have learned in my classroom! It will be great to see the feedback and growth from being a better connected teacher. I think I can be a technology advocate in my school and help others move into utilizing these great resources too! First step, build up the Leonard Lawrence google + page!

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  8. I think it's so important to try to act on what you learn as soon as possible after PD. If you read something or go to a seminar, etc. try out the strategy or technology you discover ASAP. I know the longer I wait, the less likely I am to do anything with it (let alone remembering HOW to do anything with it.)

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  9. I look forward to diving deeper after our new teacher training today. If I don't use it, I will lose it - quickly!

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  10. Completely inspired me to connect and explore all of the options I have at my finger tips to bring into my classroom!

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  11. Of all these new things that we learn every time we attend these trainings, I always remind myself that if you don't use it, you lose it. Taking a deeper dive into what we've learned will help solidify that knowledge. I sometimes put things off till a different day, but when I come back to it, I had forgotten what I was doing. So remember to dig deeper.

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  12. Thank you for all the inspiration to achieve more and grow within my classroom. I appreciate all of your help Ann, Brent, and Jenny. You guys rock! I'm going to continue to try to do more with technology.

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  13. So many good ideas. I think staying connected is one of the most important things a new teacher can do. (Well, any teacher for that matter). To be able to see and hear from others outside of your district or state can help your classroom grow to new heights.

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  14. I appreciate all the information on technology in the classroom. I would say that I started out very hesitant on the twittering thing and now after trying it and seeing how fast information can make it's way to me, I'm pretty hooked. I can't wait to get even more entrenched into technology in the classroom.

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  15. Such great ideas. I think the best part of these PD days is that we GET to try things out immediately. I know I have a horrible time implementing things I learn at PD the longer I wait...when I get to do it "in the moment" it really sticks!

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  16. Thanks for the tip on getting comments for Kidblog. My students love writing their stories on there so it will be great to get them a larger audience.

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  17. I also deliver professional development. This blog gave me some great insight. There were definitely ideas to invite my participants to continue learning long after our session is over.

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  18. Initially I was concerned about kindergarteners spending too much screen time and not enough time being actively engaged in learning. I like real hands on learning and can see now how I can balance adding technology and stay true to my teaching beliefs.

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  19. I love having the time to tryout everything in class so you can answer questions immediately. I also have been using your YouTube videos to help refresh my memory on things I can't remember how to use. Thanks for your time and dedication!

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