Free online PD for the summer

It’s so weird to think that another year is about to come to a close. In nine short months, another class has come and gone. Summer is upon us and for many teachers, that means taking classes and attending professional development in preparation for yet another group of students to come walking through the door in the fall. This summer I’m teaching a couple classes, but I’m also going to spend some time learning and gathering ideas. Some of my personal development will be formal classes or meetings that I attend, but most of it will be through free online resources where I’ll get ideas, strategies and resources from a variety of different sources. As this is my final, formal writing for this school year, I though I’d share some of the places I’ll be virtually visiting this summer.

Podcasts

If you’re not familiar with podcasting, it’s a broadcast medium that allows you to download episodes of audio and video to your computer for playback either on that computer or on a mobile device (mp3 player or even your phone). Anyone can podcast but it certainly takes a commitment to do on a regular basis. The following are some podcasts that I’ve listened to at some point and found interesting.

  • TWiT – This is a tech podcast that discusses weekly news. At twit.tv you’ll find a number of different shows on a variety of topics. It’s not geared towards education but it’s one that I consistently listen to (I also suggest TWiG – also found on the TWiT network)
  • Revision 3– This isn’t a single podcast but actually a network much like TWiT with a variety of shows
  • Teachers Teaching Teachers – A group of teachers who discuss educational topics (many shows have a tech slant but not all of them)
  • Grammar Girl – Answers questions about grammar explaining concepts in easy to understand terms
  • Teaching with SMARTboard – A podcast around using the SMARTboard in lessons
  • EdTechTalk – A podcast around technology in education

There are tons of other podcasts available. The easiest way to find them is by opening up iTunes and searching through the “Podcasts” section of the store. If you’re interested in it, there’s a good chance a podcast is being made by someone out there.

Other Online PD

In addition to podcasts, there are many other PD opportunities online. The Discovery Educators Network regularly does webinars on different topics and the site Classroom 2.0 hosts and interviews a number of different authors and educators. Finally, TED.com is a regular visit for me as they have some amazing speakers discussing all kinds of topics from education to the arts to politics. There’s some AMAZING stuff there.

Finally, METC has made their featured speakers available in a virtual format until this fall. There are some great presentations here from some great speakers in the areas of education and how to use technology in the classroom.

Regardless of how you spend your summer, these have become staples in my own learning and have opened me up to new ideas over the years. I highly suggest trying one or two of them out. If you want to know more about podcasts and how they work, take a look at this video from commoncraft.com.

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