Saturday, February 1, 2014

The Secret to Successful PD

The Secret to Successful PD:
4 Tips to Personalize YOUR Learning

Professional Development (PD) is not something done to us.  PD should be personalized and perpetual.  The power of your learning is NOT in a presenter’s hands; it’s in a new paradigm.
For too long we've settled for PD branding irons! We show up at state, district and site PD meetings hoping that the time is valuable and responsive to our needs.  We receive the information and mosey back to our schools intent on changing the world in isolation.  It’s time to step away from the branding iron! 
Educators need the equivalent of personalized PD tattoo parlors that are open 24-7!  Learning is a personal endeavor that should be filled with passion and continuous growth.  Each and every educator needs to be empowered to seek meaningful learning experiences that are personalized...just like a tattoo.

4 Tips to Personalizing your Learning: 

1. Get connected.  Build your PLN.  Twitter is a fantastic start.  Believe it or not, there are some amazingly talented and generous "sharers" outside your district, state and country's borders!  Tap into this potential and your students will benefit.

2. Own your learning.  Start by identifying one or two areas you want to grow in and pursue those relentlessly.  Engage your colleagues, administration, state associations, and workshop organizers.  Tell them what you need.  Challenge them to support your learning in a digitally connected age.  Challenge yourself to add a “digital leadership lens” to your repertoire.

3. Share. Teachers are some of the most humble people I know.  They do amazing things in their classrooms every day (believe me...I see it first-hand).  We need to move towards an ethos of sharing, whereas we are celebrating the unique talents and innovative practices of the teachers in our buildings.  For the benefit of students everywhere we need to invest in a culture of collaboration!

4. Stay connected.  Don't let the initial weirdness of Twitter scare you away.  It's lonely at first.  When you look at your initial “follower count” don’t be fooled.  That’s just a number…the power is in the connections and conversations held outside 140 characters.  Try commenting on blogs, conversing via Voxer, or tuning into educational Podcasts.  Sign-up and start a professional Twitter account today, and make it a daily habit to read one blog, comment to a colleague, and share one idea/resource online each week.  Twitter is a phenomenal springboard to collegial connections. 

Over time you will build a super-charged PLN that revitalizes your practice and directly benefits kids.  A 21st century pedagogy will require educators to think in new ways.  I was recently reminded of a quote that really resonated:

“If you think change is hard…you will like the feeling of irrelevance even less.”

Your PD tattoo awaits.  Seek it with passion and persistence!  Make learning personal.

Photo Credits:


  1. So important that we choose our own brand! Having choices in what we need and what we get is critical. Thanks for the reminder!

  2. I like the notion that we have personalized PD choices 24/7. As connected-educators, our PLN is our living, breathing, dynamic "workshop." Never stop learning!

  3. You are beating the right drum! Just look at the EdCamp movement...and that's what it is at this point. It's a full-on movement creating PD experiences that based on choice by and for those who show up. Thanks for the post!

  4. Thanks, Jeff. I've signed up to attend my first two EdCamps in the next few months...I can't wait to see what the buzz is about! "Choice & Voice" is such a powerful concept; even for adult learners.