Monday, May 5, 2014

#EdTechBridge: Would you like to contribute to our openPD initiative?

We've had a number of great chats and it is clear that the idea of creating a community to bring EdTech developers and Educators together has been well received and is gaining traction.  The mission of EdTechBridge is to foster a collaborative environment among Developers and Educators with a shared goal of creating great EdTech products to help our students and move education forward.  It is very clear that creating and nurturing authentic relationships is the common theme to accomplishing this goal.

Last week's chat was about working together to improve EdTech Professional Development.  The discussion was great.  Now it's time for action.  One of the ideas that was discussed involves the idea of offering inclusive Professional Development opportunities.  How might this look?

Here are a few ideas:

  1. Open existing Professional Development opportunities to the greater #EdTechBridge community.

    My school district has a program called "Staff College".  Every year, staff must complete six hours of PD (based on our large catalog of offerings) in lieu of a day of in-service.  Essentially, those who complete this get the Friday before Memorial Day off.  Staff who have not completed this requirement come in for a scheduled day of in-service.  A number of years ago, while I was completing my Masters degree in Online Teaching and Learning I proposed adding online courses to our offerings.  This idea was well received and now we offer a variety of online courses to supplement the face to face offerings.  When the EdTechBridge discussion began I approached my Assistant Superintendent about the possibility of opening up these courses to members of our community.  He was very open to welcoming others.  This could become a great model especially if other districts, educators, and developers were interested in contributing and possibly offering courses that could also be opened to the community.
  2. Offer 'office hours' through Google Hangout (or the like).

    This possibility came up during a chat a few weeks ago.  It wasn't directly tied to PD, but related to the idea of being available to educators, customers, etc. in order to facilitate relationship building.  In terms of our 'openPD' initiative, regularly scheduled office hours could certainly serve as a casual, informal option for PD related to specific topics or products.
  3. Schedule PD 'webinars' through our Google+ community.

    This group is already composed of awesome individuals with varied skill sets. We can certainly create a schedule of interesting 30 minute talks on a variety of skills, tools, or concepts.  Sessions could be recorded and archived on the #EdTechBridge YouTube channel (coming soon...)  The events could be interactive through google hangouts and hangouts on air.  This is not a revolutionary concept but it could certainly help put a face to community members and assist with professional development while staying true to our mission of relationship building.
  4. Curate and share existing on demand learning opportunities.

    Again, not revolutionary, but if we work together we can certainly develop a data warehouse of worthwhile PD related to EdTech products and classroom implementation.  
That's a start and we are open to your thoughts.  Do you feel another discussion on PD (PD Part 2: "Making Real Connections" or "Moving from Words to Action" would be worthwhile for this week's chat?  If not, please don't hesitate to offer other ideas for chat topics.  I know that one thought was related to Conferences or Relationship Building 'do's and dont's'.  As a community, we are looking for participant input.  Please post your thoughts on these PD ideas, chat topics, and if you are interested in joining us in this 'openPD initiative' please let us know!

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