New Model for Professional Development

Yesterday, March, 2012 I was privileged to take part in a live edu-tweet with #edchat. #Edchat is a group of educators from around the country and globe that Tweet each other via the hashtag #edchat on Twitter twice a week to discuss issues in education. The discussions last for an hour and are determined by a poll that #edchat moderators send out via Twitter. Educators then, take the poll and whatever subject dominates the poll, is what is determined to be the point of discussion for the next #edchat live session. Participating in an #edchat discussion is like participating in a chatroom, except that it takes place on Twitter using a hashtag (#). All edu-tweets function the same way. There are tons of them. To find more about edu-tweets you can view this blog post I wrote in October 2011.

The topics are different each time. Yesterday, the #edchat discussion I participated in met live on Twitter at 7:00 PM EST. I really wanted to take participate in this #edchat discussion, after seeing the topic via taking the poll this past Sunday. The topic of discussion was, “What specifics should be included in a new model for professional development for teachers?” Transcripts from each session are posted on #edchat’s website. Click on the link provided to view the archive from the discussion yesterday, March 27, 2012.

The discussion was fast and heated. The Twitter feed moved so fast that sometimes it was hard to keep up. Going back and reading thoroughly through the archives is a good idea. There seemed to be a unanimous opinion among the educators participating in the #edchat discussion. You can see for yourself by reading the transcript of Tweets. This is an area I’m passionate about because I have learned more in my short 7 months of using Twitter compared to the past 5 or more years of professional development provided by school systems. I have blogged about how much I have learned via being a Twitter Newbie and how social media seems like a great new professional development.

Why have I learned more by using Twitter and social media as a professional development tool compared to live in-person professional development sessions provided in brick and mortar locations? Why have I learned more in 7 months of professional development on Twitter and social media compared to 5 or more years of professional development in brick and mortar locations provided by school systems? Why was the unanimous consensus by the educators participating on yesterdays #edchat session that current professional development offerings by employers, mostly school systems, are not effective? What does this mean about the state of professional development? What does this mean about the costs being spent on providing these offerings? What does this mean about what educators are really learning from these offerings? Are the professional development offerings based on an old education model?

Do professional development offerings need to be revised and updated to be aligned with 21st Century principles, practices and technology? What does this mean for professional development in the 21st Century? What should professional development in the 21st Century look like? How should 21st Century professional development be implemented and presented? Should it be mandatory?

These are questions that can be derived from the #edchat discussion yesterday. What are your thoughts regarding these questions? Do you have answers and/or ideas for what professional development in the 21st Century should be and how it should be implemented? Comment below.

While the #edchat session was taking place, I already knew I wanted to post some of the Tweets on my blog to present. Below, I am posting some of the Tweets I “favorited” because they are awesome Tweets.  I want to give a big shout out and thank you to the #edchat participants who made these comments. You are fabulous educators!

*When you read these Tweets, “PD” stands for professional development.