This post is for my education professionals who only attend professional development when it is required or when it is paid for by someone else. Listen, there is a wide world of Professional Development opportunities out there and you can’t improve your practice if you do not engage. Truthfully, seeking outside professional development opportunities has been the only way that I have developed for years. It has saved me when I felt that my new road was less traveled and pushed me to consider my practice when I felt that I was doing everything the right way. We can ALL improve and if we are doing what we love, have to continue to grow in it in order to remain effective at it. To that end, here is a list of the free professional development opportunities that have helped me and may help you too!
- Ted Talks: TED TALKS have done WONDERS for me and my educational practice! If you have followed this blog for any length of time, you know that I always include a short Ted Talk as a resource to supplement my point. It can be powerful to hear ideas from others. An outside perspective can help to shine a needed light on a shortfall in our own practice. In fact, here is a TED TALK on how to stop having pointless meetings (not that I can relate). Use the link above to find others that help you too!
2. Podcasts: I admit that I am something of a podcast junkie. A couple of years ago, Edutopia put out a list of podcasts that educators should listen to and I have been hooked every since! I like podcasts because it is another way to passively take in information that I can use and unlike TED TALKS, I don’t have to look at a screen to do it. I listen to podcasts like awesomeatyourjob.com for tips on how to get better at work. I also listen to Ted Talks podcast to find out about world events as well as Cult of Pedagogy podcast to keep current on more education practices. Find some that you like on your App Store if you have iTunes and by searching topics you like and if you don’t have an iPhone or Mac here is a link of podcasts that you can listen to on soundcloud
3. EdCamps: If you have followed this blog, you know that I am a frequent EdCamp-er. I love the collegial environment and the mix of education professionals. These free professional learning events happen ALL OF THE TIME year round and are worth the trip. Check the EdCamp website for one near you!
4. The Library- I KNOW you may be thinking really? The Library? I will tell you that the public library has taught me more about leadership than any classroom in my career. I check out books using the online library system so that they download virtually to my device. This differs by library so check the one closest to you for digital resources!
5. Twitter- I can tell you that social media gets a bad rap when it comes to professional learning opportunities. I find out about conferences, new books, and new ideas ALL from my Twitter Professional Learning Network. I cannot encourage you enough to make your personal account private (no posting pics of kids, no profanity, no vacation photos, etc) and create a professional Twitter account devoted to connecting with other education professionals and discovering what is out there. I have a video that can help you get started here.
Remember, to lead is to constantly learn and while others may not tell you the truth, I always will. I know this may be outside of your comfort zone, but the effort is needed. You have to develop yourself if you are ever going to effectively develop a team.
– Dr. Kia