This summer I worked with some wonderful librarians on considering opportunities for non-traditional professional learning opportunities as well as exploring some easy and fun technology tools to use in their libraries and library instruction. One of my favorite simple tools to use is Thinglink. You can upload any image to Thinglink and tag it with links out to websites, images, videos or just plain text. Below is an example I created with a few of the topics we discussed during our summer library workshops. Unfortunately, Thinglink isn’t embedding correctly with my WordPress hosted site, so you’ll have to click the image below to be redirected to the Thinglink site get the full effect of the tool. This is a frustrating pattern I’m noticing with WordPress, a tool I recommended to the librarians in my workshop this summer who are looking to start blogs, but one which I am reconsidering recommending. Seems like embedding shouldn’t be so complicated. But what do I know?
On a side note, I created the main image above in Piktochart, another of my favorite tech tools for creating pretty and informative images. The downside to both of these tech tools is the branding that is so common to free tools. This free thing is also probably the source of my WordPress limitations and frustrations. The upside: did I mention these tools are FREE?
I am learning that there are huge parallels between teaching students in our classrooms and teaching teachers via professional development. As a new provider of PD I feel passionate about providing teachers with the same high quality learning experiences we expect them to create for the students in their classrooms.
Some areas I want to explore in creating professional learning for teachers include:
Teachers, like students, have a wide variety of needs when it comes to learning. And yet very often teachers have to sit through one-size-fits-all training sessions. I want to figure out how to provide differentiated experiences so that teachers get at least a little bit of support in exactly the areas where they need it. Maybe small group rotations? Sustained support vs. a one time session? Individualized learning plans? Radical, I know. But could we do that for teachers? What would that look like?
Student-Centered Learning Environments/Active Learning
How do I create professional learning opportunities that don’t involve me as the disseminator of information…the proverbial “sage on the stage”? In much the same way as we are moving away from the lecture model of teaching and creating facilitated learning experiences for students that involve them being actively engaged and at the center of their own learning, I want to figure out how to create that same experience for teachers.
The best learning experiences I ever had as a teacher/librarian came from collaboration with other teachers & librarians. How do we create more opportunities for collaboration, communication and sharing and have that count as “official” professional development?
One of the most effective practices that impacted learning in my classroom was establishing relationships with my students. They KNEW I cared about them and their academic growth. It was a safe environment where each student was encouraged to celebrate his/her strengths and could count on support from everyone as they worked on areas of weakness. I want to create the same type of learning environment with teachers. Wherever you are is ok. Where do you want to go? How can I/we help you get there?