Traditionally, teachers at our school have always gone through a self-evaluation and professional improvement process that involved goal setting with our supervisors, observation, debriefing, and reflection. Our professional development process is being tweaked and as part of our self-evaluation process we are being asked to reflect on and document all of the forms of professional development that we participate in–conferences, workshops, presentations, journals read, books read, etc.
Interestingly, this process has made me realize that my professional reality is that without really noticing it, the majority of my professional development is coming digitally. I still read my print copies of Knowledge Quest, American Libraries, and Booklist. I still read books like The Shallows by Carr (Not my favorite), Catching Up or Leading the Way by Zhao (really good stuff), and The Filter Bubble by Pariser (a must read if you are a librarian). Finally, I attended the really wonderful LabSchool@Punahou learning conference over the summer.
I’m not sure when the I hit the digital tipping point, but over the summer I took an online course on Instructional Design for Online Learning from UW Stout which was really great. Interestingly, my school-issued laptop suffered the blue screen of death while I was vacationing on the East Coast and I was still able to complete almost all of my coursework on vacation and on my iPhone!
More than anything, though, I’m finding that most of my true “professional growth” is coming via my Google Reader and Twitter feeds. They are connecting me with thinkers, teachers, bloggers, researchers, and others who I would NEVER have the chance to learn from were it not for my digital connections with them.
I don’t remember where I read it, now, but I read somewhere that we have passed a point where in-service technology training for teachers is a viable model. Teachers need to be technological learners and from there they will rather quickly come to see how the technology fits into their teaching.
I’m not sure that I’m 100% on board with this idea, but I think that I might be getting close!