Implementing a Personalized PD Program in Your District
Rachel Langenhorst, K-12 Technology Integrationist and Instructional Coach in Rock Valley, Iowa, presented an edWeb.net webinar on “Implementing a Personalized PD Program in Your District” where she provided a guide for how educators can use edWeb in school districts as a tool to implement relevant and collaborative PD.
In a system where people learn in a variety of ways, one size does not fit all for PD programs. Districts must provide choice, allowing teachers to select what they want to learn while keeping in mind district goals. For teacher-selected PD, teachers should be provided with a plan for the time of day to work on PD, expectations for their learning, and a venue for sharing their learning. Rachel explained that Rock Valley uses their edWeb community page to have teachers post their learning reflections and feedback to others. Schools and districts can create their own community page on edWeb.net, and use the community to easily connect with others, facilitate discussion in the discussion forum or blog, post resources to share, and more.
“(edWeb) has really been much more of a great home for all of the different things we want to do…edWeb really allowed us to personalize (our PD platform),” Rachel said.
If teachers need any direction, Rachel provides help through the blog on Rock Valley’s community page. Her favorite feature of the blog is being able to easily spot any new posts, which will automatically appear on the community page. This feature works with discussion posts too. Along with joining a community for your school’s network, she recommended using edWeb to connect with others to build your own personal professional learning network.
Schools and districts can also use edWeb as an online meeting place. When introducing new topics or making announcements to groups of people, it can be difficult to gather everyone in person, especially in larger districts. An online venue proves valuable in these situations. edWeb community pages can be used to make announcements, post updates, and gather input.
When making any PD changes, schools should collaborate with district leaders and teachers, and get the input of all stakeholders, including parents. Schools should also have a plan worked out so that everyone is on this same page; what are you going to accomplish this year and when? People will want to participate if they know the school has put thought into developing a great PD program.
Rachel first came across edWeb as part of her graduate program, and found that it has helped her with her own personal learning and has allowed her to guide the educators in her district through their own professional development. She now uses edWeb in the graduate-level courses she teaches at Northwestern College, too.
“When you have administrators, teachers, and people in my position who are planning PD do so in a way that is meaningful to each and every teacher, in any content area – it’s really exciting. edWeb has been instrumental in helping us achieve this, because it’s easy to get to, easy to maneuver, and there’s something for everyone. To me those are absolutely immeasurable qualities,” Rachel said.
Rachel Langenhorst is a K-12 Technology Integrationist and Instructional Coach in Rock Valley, Iowa and she also serves as an adjunct professor for Northwestern College. A 20+ year teaching veteran, Rachel presents throughout the Midwest, focusing on technology integration strategies and best practices. She serves as a contributor for Mackin Educational Resources, edWeb.net, and Education Talk Radio. Find Rachel on Twitter @rlangenhorst and on her blog at Tech from the Trenches.
For more tips on implementing a personalized PD program in your district, watch Rachel Langenhorst’s webinar.