Professional development is essential to the overall growth of schools, teachers, and students. Because educators are already so busy, it is essential to provide easy access to participate in professional development at no extra cost. Free professional development for teachers can be created in a variety of ways at your school. In a recent conversation with Ari Flewelling, Tech Coach and Staff Development Specialist, she explained how to create a variety of ways to provide free professional development opportunities for teachers.

The Importance of Free Professional Development

For a lot of district’s teachers are obligated to fill a professional development requirement to ensure that their staff is continually refining their skills and seeking out growth opportunities. With how time-consuming the school year can be and how much money teachers spend out of pocket to benefit the quality of their lessons for their students, finding the time and money to meet these requirements can be out of reach. 

Free professional development gives teachers more of an incentive to invest their time in seeking out the best fit developmental session for them. Make gaining professional development easy for your teachers by offering your own professional development services. This way, teachers are getting tailored professional development to help them create the best learning environment for their students. 

Free and Flexible Professional Development with Dyknow

If you are looking for a way to fill your professional development requirement or gain additional PD on your own, register for our virtual 2020 Progressive Learning Conference. A full week of free professional development beginning September 21st and ending September 25th. We have some of the best educators and ed-tech experts lined up to talk about STEM, Blended Learning, Social-Emotional Learning, Personalized Learning, Project-Based Learning, and much more. The best part is, you don’t even have to mark your calendar to attend live. We understand the time commitment teachers take on and we wanted to create a professional development conference around you! Register for free and each day you will receive a link to the breakout session which you can access at any point throughout your day. Pick and choose which sessions you want to be a part of! Get your PD on with Dyknow!

5 Ways to Differentiate Professional Development

The best way to begin planning free professional development opportunities for teachers is to figure out what tools fit the overall needs the best. Ari suggests limiting your tool selection to no more than 10 tools so that teachers have a variety but also don’t feel overwhelmed. After you have established the school’s goals and made a list of potential tools teachers can use, you are able to base the professional development sessions on those tools and goals. PD needs to hit on content, pedagogy, and tech. It’s an intersection of all three of these topics. To optimize the effectiveness and benefit of provided professional development for teachers to keep these 5 ideas in mind:

1. Opt-out of sessions

Every teacher in your district should have the same basic knowledge of how all the tools offered to operate. It is supererogatory to have teachers attend sessions in which tools they do not use are being covered. Let teachers opt-out of sessions they deem unnecessary for their class.

2. Differentiate session levels

The technological knowledge of teachers varies across the board. Some may be at more advanced levels than others. Provide a variety of classes with varying levels of difficulties to best fit each teacher.

3. Survey teachers

Ask teachers what they would like to learn about. Find out if the sessions you have provided are effective or not. Communicate with your staff to better understand their needs. 

4. Provide asynchronous and synchronous sessions

Everyone is on a different schedule and all people learn differently. Some teachers may prefer a session that they can attend in the comfort of their own home and some would rather be face to face with an instructor. Provide options.

5. Tool-subject matching

Think about what tools work best for each subject, and what tools work well across all subjects. Some tools provided will be best compatible with certain subjects. Have sessions for those department teachers to optimize the tool for those subjects. 

Professional development sets the tone for the success of a school as a whole. A school that can work and grow together will thrive in the success of its students. Provide free professional development opportunities for the teachers in your district using the 5 tips provided above. Admins can learn that maybe there is more room for educators and students to use remote learning outside of a pandemic. Ari explained if we can make it work during a pandemic, think about how much we can do remotely outside of a pandemic.

 Listen to the full conversation with Ari Flewelling on our Tackling Tech Podcast!

On this episode of Tackling Tech Podcast, powered by Dyknow, Brett McGrath talks with Ari Flewelling, an educational technology specialist and certified educator, trainer, and innovator. Communication and transparency are key to going into this unique school year. Teachers have stepped up to the plate, proved their professionalism, and adapted quickly with the help of professional development and the right technology tools. 

Register for our 2020 Progressive Learning Conference!

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