Professional development is widely considered one of the dullest routines in education. For some reason, what should be one of the most exciting and engaging aspects of a teaching career has become a mundane practice, limited to boring meetings and conferences that often leave you feeling less motivated than after a meeting with your bank on that unattainable loan. What makes it so boring? The fact that those encouraging professional development are speaking the wrong language. For most educators – teachers, principals, and superintendents alike – the aim is to learn; to get motivated; to discover; to collaborate; to think. Yet, what we too often get is instruction, instead of construction.
How we connect is central to achieving our goals. I’m sure most educators will agree when I openly admit I got more insight from five minutes with my colleague than I ever did at a day-long conference. What makes the EdCamp non-conference model so appealing? The difference is it’s organized by teachers, it’s fun, and it’s collaborative. What I‘ve come to realize from behind the #edtech scene is that a conversation is happening, but too often without educators. How can we move into a new era of education without including its key drivers? This is like building a plane, without training the pilot. By engaging teachers in that key conversation, movements like EdCamp are accelerating professional development in the right direction, planting little seeds of edupreneurship in a global movement towards change.
Now let’s look closer to home. What I’m seeing on a daily basis on social media is incredible. A growing movement of connected educators is dominating news feeds, collaborating in the most innovative ways with like-minded professionals around the world. Instantly swapping ideas, opinions, and concerns in an environment that breaks down the traditional barriers of the conference hall and meeting room, it’s the most effective PD imaginable!
Fishtree wants to push this global movement of connected educators a step further, transporting the message that professional development is one, if not the, key factor in bringing education to the next level. As edtech enthusiasts, we want to make the transition to technology as smooth as possible, and the best way to achieve this is by listening to educators.
So now it’s your turn. Are you ready to make professional development fun? Register for our 60 Second #PDfun Challenge, offering one piece of advice for professional development, nominating another educator to do the same! Watch the video with the first ever PDfunner – Sarah Thomas!
About the author:
Lorna Keane specializes in language teaching and has taught in second and third-level institutions in several countries. She holds a B.A in languages and cultural studies and an M.A in French literature, theory and visual culture. Follow her on Twitter or connect on LinkedIn.