How a Principal Uses edWeb to Personalize PD
In May, when edWeb.net surveyed principals, personalized professional development for teachers was the number one topic of interest. With all the responsibilities and tasks on principals’ plates, relevant, engaging professional development focused on best practices can be extremely challenging. In a recent edWebinar, Dr. L Robert Furman, Principal of South Park Elementary Center in Pennsylvania, asked the question, “Why is it that when we think of professional development, it becomes a comedy or a depression and teachers automatically assume that it is going to be a colossal waste of time?” Personalized professional development can alleviate these feelings about professional development as it provides teachers with opportunities to be better teachers, which translates into improved student learning. Furman and the administrators in his school have completely revamped teacher professional development by utilizing the well-curated webinars and accessible and relevant resources available on edWeb.
Teachers are expected to be the best every single day, and this expectation can weigh heavy on them unless principals support them with productive instructional practices. South Park Elementary Center decided what better way to support teachers on how to do be creative and innovative in classrooms than with personalized, creative, and innovative professional development. Using edWeb resources, teachers quickly find their topic of interest and easily access webinars that enable them to “jump in and get a lot of great information in a hurry.” Access to edWeb resources also provides principals with opportunities to meet with teachers and reflect on questions such as: “Did it challenge your thinking? What caught your attention? Did it change your way of thinking about the topic specifically? What evidence could you show that helped you change ideas or concepts from the webinar or artifacts that mesh or contradict with your current beliefs?”
edWeb used as a platform for professional development is done fairly regularly in South Park Elementary Center. Because teachers were excited and engaged in this type of professional development, it was decided to expand the program from weeks to semesters and school years. The teachers also began to group topics based on their groupings at school. For example, the six second grade teachers all picked the same topic and collected 60 different artifacts. When they would get together in their team meetings have the conversations, the amount of wealth of knowledge was in there. The teachers would then implement the instructional practices into their classrooms as the final piece to this personalized professional development.
As the person who’s doing professional development, Furman firmly believes that principals need to change the format of professional development. Principals need to model what they teach, and present learning opportunities that address their relevance to teachers focused on learning styles and engagement. So, this is an excellent opportunity to be able to do what we preach. Using the built-in resources of edWeb for personalized professional development, teachers can learn at their own pace and pick their interests, language, and their cultural background in an accessible, safe, and collaborative environment.
This broadcast was hosted by edWeb.net.
This article was modified and published by eSchool News.
About the Presenter
Dr. L. Robert Furman is an educator, leader, principal, student, speaker, and published author. As a former teacher and now administrator, Dr. Rob serves in the foreground of everyday education. Currently, Dr. Rob serves as Principal at South Park Elementary Center outside of Pittsburgh, PA, and has become a sought-after leader in topics surrounding the field of education today. Dr. Rob is the author of several books including Reading, Technology, and Digital Literacy and the ISTE best-selling title Are You Future Ready. Beyond speaking at venues across the country, Dr. Rob is also a contributing blogger for The Huffington Post as well as the EdTechReview. Rob also hosts a well-known YouTube educational video blog called The Seditionists and educational podcast called the Council on the Future of Education. Further, he has received several prestigious awards, such as being named in the National School Board Association’s “20 To Watch” in technology education and a Pittsburgh Tribune Review News Maker of the year.
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edWeb 24-7 PD is a free professional learning community on edWeb.net that provides online coaching and ideas on how to use edWeb as a free platform and resource for personalized PD.