Quality Continuing Education at your Fingertips
Teachers, by nature, love learning. Unfortunately, their busy schedules and tight budgets can make it difficult to attend conferences and seminars. With today’s technology, fantastic continued learning opportunities are available at their fingertips anytime of the day or night. What’s more, many of them are free.
Free downloadable toolkits are rich and easy to implement in the classroom right away. Teachers can choose from PBL, arts integration and more.
Staff Development for Educators
Free SDE webinars are a phenomenal resource. Teachers can choose from hours of interesting presentations covering topics from mindfulness in the classroom to emergent readers to math application skills. SDE offers both pre-recorded webinars and webinars that can be attended in real time.
Intel Teach Elements
Intel offers a wide range of free resources including downloadable lesson plans and free online video training. They even offer a free packet of facilitator materials for schools interested in facilitating a face-to-face training for free. All Intel resources focus on technology and work to equip teachers for their 21st century learners.
ACSD offers an amazing array of webinars for teachers of all subject areas and grade levels. Educators can choose from hundreds of archived webinars or, for a more interactive experience, can attend a free webinar in real time. They even offer a special “Summer Boost” series each year to help prepare and inspire teachers for the year ahead.
It’s no secret that teacher’s love learning and that they tightly budget both time and money. These free and flexible PD options are a perfect fit.
Teachers Make the Most of your Summer “Vacation” with Quality PD
For most teachers, the term summer vacation is a misnomer. Instead of soaking up the sun, teachers find themselves working second jobs, volunteering their time and prepping for the year ahead. All too quickly June turns to July and July turns to August. Teachers return to the classroom and start a new year.
As teachers plan for the fleeting moments of summer, one thing that many consider is professional development. Summer is the ideal time to become immersed in continuing learning and summer PD programs inspire teachers to start the new year on the right foot.
With so many options to choose from and many registration deadlines falling in the thick of the school year, it can be overwhelming to know where to begin. These three programs are renowned for a reason. They will not disappoint.
The Library of Congress Summer Teacher Institute
Location: Washington, DC
Application Deadline: March 21, 2018
K-12 teachers are invited to apply for a week-long learning experience in our nation’s capital. Five sessions are offered and teachers can choose to focus on STEM, American History or both. Teachers will leave the training ready to guide their classes through age appropriate activities using digitized primary sources from the Library of Congress.
Registration is ongoing
Teachers have so much to share, but so little time built into their daily schedules to learn from one another. EdCamp exists as a venue where teachers learn from teachers. By joining an EdCamp around the country teachers are choosing to participate in an “un-conference.” They can expect to collaborate and participate in sessions covering a variety of topics.
Location: Parma, MI
Registration full, waitlist spots available
Nerd Camp is a two in one professional development experience. Day One runs much like a traditional conference with a number of fantastic speakers sharing their wisdom on reading and language arts. Day Two works collaboratively and invites teachers to attend a number of participant driven sessions spanning all literacy topics.
A Flexible Approach To PD
The ESSA or Every Student Succeeds Act is the successor to NCLB (No Child Left Behind) and passed with bipartisan support in December 2015. The writers of the ESSA made every effort to update all areas of NCLB in order to better serve teachers and students nationwide. One such update was a rewritten definition of professional development. The ESSA defines professional development as, “activities that …are sustained (not stand-alone, 1-day, or short-term workshops), intensive, collaborative, job-embedded, data-driven, and classroom focused.” (S. 1177, Section 8002, page 295, paragraph 42) This new definition of PD is a welcome change for teachers who have become frustrated with the “one and done” seminars so common in schools across the country.
This new ESSA definition acknowledges two important truths about professional development. First, there is no one size fits all solution for teacher learning. A kindergarten teacher needs something vastly different from a middle school math teacher who definitely needs something different from a high school choir director. Even a 5th grade teacher in a wealthy prep school needs something leagues away from a what would benefit a 5th grade teacher in the inner city. The ESSA gives states and school districts more freedom to choose PD that will best suit their teachers. Secondly, teachers (just like their students) do not learn well in a vacuum. As best practice shows, learners need the chance to process and ask questions in order to truly be successful. The ESSA states that PD should be on-going and job-embedded, allowing teachers the time they need to actually learn.
Under the ESSA, PD across America will take many different forms. Some schools may take a mentor teacher approach, asking seasoned teachers to come alongside their newer colleagues and share their expertise in a one-on-one mentoring relationship, while others may choose to host short after school sessions regularly highlighting a particular topic or expert. Still others will go with the “un-conference” model of participant driven sessions made popular by EdCamp.
The professional development possibilities allowed by the ESSA are almost unlimited and have the potential to greatly benefit teachers and students alike. Time will tell how the states and school districts work to utilize this new gift of responsibility to maximize its benefits.
If you need to track a variety of Professional Development activities, contact us to learn more about how Wisdomwhere's flexible architechure can manage a variety of activities for your organization.
Looking for a PDMS that will move forward with you?
Wisdomwhere is a great alternative to Pearson Schoolnet EDS (Educator Development Suite). Schoolnet EDS will no longer be supported after June 30, 2018.
Wisdomwhere is a complete Professional Development Management System that allows for:
- Event & Conference Registration
- Certificates of Completion
- Professional Growth Plans
- and much more!
Solutionwhere's technical staff is available to work with you to import historical data from Schoolnet EDS. We're here to make the transition as smooth as possible. Contact us for a consultation today.
Over the past two and a half weeks the world watched as Olympians from around the world took to the slopes, ice and sled runs. It’s no secret that these athletes rely heavily on their coaches and teammates. What many don’t realize, is that educators can take a nod from their favorite Olympians and apply some of the same principles to their classrooms. Team teaching takes many different forms, each with its own benefits for both teachers and students.
A mentor teacher is the “coach” of the education world. Unlike many other professions where employees are promoted as they gain skill and experience, most teachers do the same job throughout their careers. These seasoned teachers are often underutilized and have so much to share with their colleagues. Their experience makes these teachers ideal candidates for the mentor teacher role. Mentor teachers lead teams of newer teachers while still teaching in their own classrooms. They share expertise, observe lessons and offer insight to their mentees.
Teaching is, by nature, an individual profession – one teacher teaching, as the only adult in the classroom, for the bulk of the day. While many teachers check in regularly with grade level colleagues, vertical collaboration is often overlooked. So much can be gained when teachers connect with their vertical “teams.” A first grade teacher can be encouraged to see how far her students have come since kindergarten, while an eighth grade teacher can get an idea of how to best prepare his students by checking in with his ninth grade counterpart.
Departmentalized teaching creates two avenues for teachers to connect with a team. A departmental, or subject specific, team is useful when developing lesson plans and pacing curriculum. Teachers working on the same department team can also lean on each other for shared resources and subject specific professional development. In addition to their subject teams, departmentalized teachers have their cross-curricular team. Cross-curricular teams that work well together provide amazing benefits to their shared students: consistent classroom procedures, coordinated accommodations and cohesive parent communication.
Although team teaching can often be overlooked and may fall by the wayside without intentionality, the support it offers both teachers and students makes it worth pursuing.
You know Coursewhere like the back of your hand. It's been your home for professional development event registration for a long time and you are comfortable with how it works. Why should you switch?
Wisdomwhere is our market leading app that is packed with new features to take your PD registrations to the next level. Features that will help free up staff time and make running the hundreds and thousands of events you put on each year that much easier.
Here are just some of the new features:
- New static pricing model
- Modern interface
- Auto-manage course status
- Unlimited custom form fields
- New conference display
- Restrict registration
- Copy sessions from course to course
- WYSIWG editors
- Email templates for just about everything
- Auto Attendance
- Email hunt group
- Google Analytics
- Permission templates
- Upload documents
- Searchable dropdowns
- Multiple certificates
- Certificates by credit type
- Configurable certificate signatures
- Instructor pictures
- Customizable attendance sheet
- Better billing options
- Evaluation status
- Single sign on
- Peer to peer (join with other districts)
- Registration cut off dates
- Group unregistration
- And so much more
Contact us today if you want a demo of Wisdomwhere to see how it would align with your school or service agency's goals.
Seminars that Stick
Any teacher can tell you they’ve logged numerous hours of professional development. Sometimes the hours are well spent, but sometimes teachers leave wondering if the day away from their classroom was really worth it. Follow these teacher-approved tips to help your seminar earn a gold star.
Break it Up
Any good public speaker will tell you to know your audience. Your audience is teachers. Teachers spend most of their days moving around and multi-tasking: be it teaching a lesson while managing student behavior, grading papers while supervising study hall or tying shoes while helping students line up for gym. Teachers aren’t used to sitting still, so an extended lecture is sure to leave them itching to stretch their legs. Try breaking up your content with meaningful activities and allowing teachers time to talk to one another and process what they’re learning.
Use What you Teach
Nothing inspires good teaching like seeing good teaching. If your topic is hands on science, let the teachers try out an experiment; if it’s literature circles, get some book discussions going. As facilitators, teachers rarely get to experience the learning as their students do, so take this opportunity to turn the tables and let the teachers experience your content first hand.
Keep it Practical
Many a teacher has left a seminar with an amazing dream of transforming her classroom only to realize that she doesn’t have the tools to make it happen. Empower your teachers by giving them practical steps to use your material when they return to the classroom. Give them something, no matter how small, that they can use in their classroom the very next day.
End your seminar with processing and prep time. Teachers are busy and many of them are already dedicating hours of unpaid time to their classrooms. Even thirty minutes of time to collaborate with other teachers and make a plan to put their new learning to use will be a welcome gift.
Have an Exit Ticket
Take a cue from elementary school and ask your teachers to turn in an “exit ticket,” a small paper stating one way they plan to apply today’s learning in their classroom tomorrow. This accountability forces teachers to think of one practical step. Once they’ve identified that step and written it down they’re much more likely to make it happen.