Are you ready to connect your professional learning to the modern era? Which venue of digital connection is right for you?

If you are a teacher in need of support, a leader looking to transform professional engagement at your school, or just looking to refresh and enhance your PD options, it may be time to look at a new digital forum to add to your repertoire of personal or organizational PD options. Look below to see our list of the top five choices.

1. Blogging—Old Faithful!

Exemplary models

  • Silvia Tolisano (@langwitches) for visual storytelling
  • Bo Adam’s Blog (@BoAdams1) for contemporary thought leadership

Tips for success

  • Speak from the heart
  • Be clear but don’t overthink it
  • Reinforce your true values and brand
  • Amplify knowledge
  • Contribute to open information

Try It! 60-60-60 blogging (60 days, 60 posts, 60 words each), live blog an event, reflect on an upcoming classroom event, have your students teach you how, blog it in photos, or guest post.

2. Tweeting—Find Your Thinking Network

Exemplary models:

  • #dk12chat
  • #digcit
  • #satchat
  • #BFC530
  • #AfricaEd
  • #makered
  • #blendedlearning

Tips for success:

  • Expect fast action and quick answers or results
  • Use as a retweet catalogue of personal resources
  • Form a network for offline action
  • Identify leading voices in your line of thought
  • Inform your community

Try It! Participate in a chat, cover a conference, inform a community, offer a reflection, ask a question, or seek a mentor.

3. Voxer—Deeper Listening, Reflective Speaking

Exemplary models

Tips for success

  • Similar to Tweeting, but done with voice memos in a walkie-talkie-style app
  • Deep talks about central themes
  • Longer reflections
  • Troubleshoot issues
  • Facilitate deeper understandings

Try It! Gather a planning team, group of administrators, or another adventurous individual to get a chat rolling. Facilitate Voxer as a Q&A, book club space, or free-wheeling dialogue. Use it at your school to pass quick memos or urgent messages with context. This can support face-to-face meetings or provide means to communicate with greater vocal texture over great distances. Become a Vox pro and you can Vox on your commute or on a walk.

4. Google Hangouts—Charming, Social, and Fun!

Exemplary models:

Tips for success

  • Meet and greets
  • Faces to names
  • Provide ongoing support for a program rollout
  • Share screens
  • Save dialogues
  • Replicate and repeat
  • Good for a short and succinct PD series

Try It! “Roundtable” an issue with a Q&A panel. Use Hangout On Air to record dialogue or tutorials for your students or colleagues. Record participation for professional records.

5. Email—Back to the Basics

Exemplary models

Any, but Google Sheets and Google Docs offer great support.

Tips for success

  • Teacher-to-teacher deep and meaningful dialogues often work best through good old-fashioned writing and mutual reflection
  • Google Docs and Google Sheets can help organize people’s thoughts in an email stream if working with multiple voices
  • Finding a teacher pen pal is a great way to work on your writing and thinking for blogs before bringing ideas to the public sphere!

Try It! Find a friend you met at a conference and start a dialogue, or find an abroad educator and connect as pen pals.

Hopefuls

EdCamp Online—Keep your eye on this one! Last year they partnered with MIT Media Lab, who was building out new platforms for teacher PD.

Honorable Mentions

MOOCs (Coursera)—There are always great international dialogues at the start of these courses. It’s also fun to go through old course lectures on education. Even better, earn a certificate!

There you have it—getting a little digital PD boost has never been easier. Keep your eyes and ears open because many districts and schools are embracing opportunities for teachers to earn formal PD credits through their online Professional Learning Communities (PCLs) or Professional Learning Networks (PLNs).

Where else do educators hang out digitally? Please share places where you’ve found great resources and made connections.

This post was written by Lisa Goochee, a 4th-grade teacher at the School of the Nations in Brasília, Brazil. 




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