The way educators consume professional development is changing, with local authorities unable to offer the courses and services they used to. Teachers are now starting to pick and choose their own professional development using online communities, such as UKEdChat, but Andy Knill asked how can you encourage more teachers to share their practice onto online environments.
CPD, Continuing Professional Development – there are so many models for this essential aspect of our job. Over the years I have attended courses arranged by LEAs, in-school provision, attended commercial courses, exam board meetings and now I do more personally sourced development through the use of online contacts, resources and chats.
How do others keep their subject knowledge up to date?
Previously, I attended the annual conference of The Geographical Association, my subject association that helps me to access subject-specific training. I found it difficult to adjust at first as most events I attend now are cross-curricular pedagogy focus. How do others keep their subject knowledge up to date? I find that I converse with other geographers more online as the opportunities to meet are more limited than previously. If I want extra information about exam changes, the boards offer courses. I access a range of news and geography resources online, but as always, time and information overload is an issue.
So what is out there and how do school practices of in-house CPD vary? If you are an online educator (Being aware of UKEdMag and UKEdChat you fall into this category) you are one of a minority. We are the “geeks”, the odd ones! Or so I have been often told. How do we encourage more teachers to share their practice?
I openly extol Twitter’s potential to others. I have been actively involved with Twitter as a networking tool now for about 3 very busy years. I chat truly globally with teachers from many countries from many time zones. I find this has brought my creativeness to life after years of trying to find a way of managing external links. I openly extol Twitter’s potential to others but know that it is never likely to be taken up the whole scale by many fellow educators.
If people are unwilling to link online, where else can they access free CPD? We now have a growing calendar of events through Teachmeets, and other pedagogy events such as TLT, Pedagoo, Northern Rocks and the UKEdChat CPD certified Online Conferences (click here to view). These are truly events for educators to share, but they require a time commitment in evenings or weekends. I would propose that many attendees are also online networkers.
Attracting new people to these networks continues to be a challenge. Some schools model these events through their internal in-house training and there are growing numbers of Twitter accounts and blogs that share the ideas discussed and resources made available for others to use or comment on.
This piece offers no solutions, but questions a major need for educators – how should CPD models reflect an increasingly online networked world if we are to pass on these skills to our pupils?