How to Move PD Forward

“YouTube isn’t special because it’s a video library. It’s not even particularly special because anyone can upload to it, though that in its own right is pretty disruptive. YouTube is really special because it is a searchable video library where videos are immediately sharable to anyone in the world. YouTube exists because of people’s desire to find, share and comment (right now) on what they see.

YouTube is important because it is social.

To be effective, it really doesn’t matter so much if a PD curriculum is mostly delivered via video or via live presentations; it matters whether the learning experience is social.”

From Shelly Blake-Plock’s awesome opinion piece for EdSurge about getting teacher buy-in to Professional Development initiatives


Do As I Say, Not As I Do

What happens to educators when they leave the classroom and move up the ranks of school administration?  Is there some sort of “amnesia ray” that is beamed into their minds to erase all that they have learned about pedagogy?  Why do we teach educators using methods that would be woefully inadequate for students?

from Chloe Dietz (flickr)

I asked myself these rhetorical questions this week as I was “trained” in the use of our district’s new professional development component.  Blaming the high cost of hiring trainers and providing substitute teachers, our very large school district has purchased licenses for a new web-based PD product.  The entire website is based around teachers viewing video clips and then reflecting what they have learned from them.  Many of the clips are simply digitized versions of decades-old instructional videos that weren’t all that helpful in their original, analog, form.

Right now, this service is being presented as a supplement to existing face-to-face workshop opportunities, but how long will it be before this is the model for all future professional development?  I cringe at the thought that the advent of easy internet video streaming and pressing financial woes might inflict this type of boring, passive, meaningless education on professional educators.  But, that’s just the beginning…

Continue reading