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Low-Cost Professional Development Ideas for Teachers

Jayne Miller wrote this on May 5, 2015

You push for training. You test-drive different online resources. You hang out in the Twittersphere after school to connect with other instructors who are also hungry for classroom ideas.

You’re always looking to connect with other teachers and you’ve got lots of questions: What learning management system are you using? Do you like Google Classroom? How do you do online quizzes? What’s your take on gamification? Rubrics?

You want more professional development and you want ideas from other teachers.

We collected low-cost, high-impact ideas for connecting faculty and sharing professional development resources.

Professional Development for Teachers

Digital Spaces for Sharing Ideas

One of our favorite stories comes from a group of teachers who created a class in Chalkup so they could share ideas and resources.

We’re talking discussion threads, resource libraries - the whole shebang. This professional development space became an online hub for teacher tips and strategies, both for using Chalkup in classrooms and for finding great content to start discussions and supplement lessons.

It was free and totally teacher-powered. All it took was creating a central location to get everyone connected.

Creating Superusers

If you have a strong corps of connected teachers at your school who are really interested in seeing more professional development, divide and conquer.

In the absence of formal training, identify superusers who can share best practices, tips, and tricks for different platforms. A handful of teachers can dedicate themselves to mastering the school’s learning management system, while others can investigate winning apps. Someone else can focus on software for quizzes or all things Google.

A superuser system puts built-in resources in your faculty lounge. It's all about leaning on colleagues for support and development as you grow your skills.

Get on Twitter

Probably don’t need to tell you to get in on the Twitter action.

But how about turning your Twitter participation up to 11 with these weekly Twitter chats geared at exchanging ideas and resources. These are some of our favorites.

Also - @WizardOfEd is a fantastic handle for getting updates and reminders on educational Twitter chats. Worth a follow.


sunday

#nbtchat

No Box Thinking

8:00 PM EDT

sunday

#21stedchat

21st Century Education 

8:00 PM EDT

sunday

#ccsschat

Common Core State Standards 

9:00 PM EDT

sunday

#sunchat

Sunday Ed Chat

9:00 AM EDT

monday

#BFC530

The Breakfast Club

5:30 AM EDT

monday

#Thetitleonechat

Title I Chat

6:00 PM EDT

monday

#engchat

English Teachers 

7:00 PM EDT

monday

#sschat

Social Studies Teachers 

7:00 PM EDT

monday

#edtechchat

Educational Technology Chat

8:00 PM EDT

monday

#flipclass

Flipped Classroom Teachers

8:00 PM EDT

monday

#stuvoice

Student Voice

8:30 PM EDT

monday

#colchat

Culture of Learning 

9:00 PM EDT

monday

#tlap

Teach Like a Pirate

9:00 PM EDT

tuesday

#edchat

Education Chat

12:00 PM EDT

tuesday

#pblchat

Project Based Learning 

8:00 PM EDT

tuesday

#spedchat

Special Education 

9:00 PM EDT

tuesday

#TeacherFriends

Teacher Friends

9:00 PM EDT

tuesday

#Teachwriting

Teaching Writing (bi-weekly)

9:00 PM EDT

wednesday

#suptchat

Superintendent's Chat

8:00 PM EDT

wednesday

#ntchat

New Teachers 

8:00 PM EDT

wednesday

#1to1techat

1:1 Teacher Chat

9:00 PM EDT

wednesday

#ptchat

Parent-Teacher Chat

9:00 PM EDT

wednesday

#educoach

Instructional Coaching 

10:00 PM EDT

thursday

#whatisschool

What is School Chat

7:00 PM EDT

thursday

#langchat

Foreign Language 

8:00 PM EDT


Also: Pinterest

And on that note, give pinning a try. Lots of teachers are sharing new resources and DIY classroom projects. 

Chalkup on Pinterest

Invigorate Yourself w/ These TED Talks

Watch these. Get inspired. Share with your colleagues. Find other ones that remind you why you're passionate about teaching. Rinse and repeat.

AnnMarie Thomas: Hands-on science with squishy circuits
Ken Robinson: How to escape education's death valley
Christopher Emdin: Teach teachers how to create magic
Angela Lee Duckworth: The key to success? Grit
Stuart Firestein: The pursuit of ignorance
Bill Gates: Teachers need real feedback

Mentor Program

If you don't already have a mentor program for new teachers at your school, maybe propose one to the powers that be.

Training is awesome, but little can top classroom experience. By pairing up veteran teachers with new instructors for support, questions, or perhaps a weekly lunch chat, we bank on the institutional knowledge and classroom experience of your veteran educators trickling down.

Similarly, the fresh perspective or tech savvy of your new educators could benefit those who have been doing the same thing over and over again for decades at your school.

Mix folks up. Pair up different viewpoints. Coach and learn from one another.

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Topics: Chalkup, Development, Teachers