How a Principal Uses edWeb for Personalized PD
“edWeb gives you a tool to make a very easy jump into personalized professional development.”
Dr. Robert Furman, an elementary principal at Southpark Elementary School in PA, is a best-selling author, and a national keynote speaker. He talked with Lisa Schmucki, founder and CEO of edWeb.net, about how he uses edWeb.net to provide personalized PD that gets his teachers really motivated and excite about their professional learning.
Rob describes how successful it was the first time he asked his teachers to try using edWeb for PD. “We did a half day PD session with edWeb and it was amazing. My teachers said they got more out of that half day than they had in the past 5 – 6 years of PD. I made friends because they loved this PD so much. If they’re not interested they’re not going to put their heart and soul into it. But if you ask them to pick something that interests them, all of a sudden it’s meaningful, they WANT to do it. I told them there is no excuse for you to not find something interesting because I’m giving you tons of topics and you get to choose. One of my first grade teachers who is a little cynical found school gardens and she went nuts. It was an amazing experience. For me as a principal it was really nice that my teachers gave me that feedback, but a lot of them went right to the superintendent. They said we must do this again, and often. It was a really remarkable half day.”
Rob has continued to use edWeb to provide personalized PD, and his teachers absolutely love it. It’s personalized professional development. Just like we should be personalizing instruction for our kids, administrators should be personalizing instruction for their teachers.
Rob explained how their PD program works. At the beginning of the year, the teachers pick a topic they each want to work on individually, and they find 8 – 10 resources on the topic on edWeb – and there are so many topics. Some of the teachers have been on edWeb for several years and have done a deep dive on topics of their interest. The teachers love it because edWeb is a one-stop shop for great resources on all kinds of specific topics. It’s created a personalized PD system for the school and has made a huge impact with the teachers. So many times teachers ask “Is this professional development going to relate to me? Am I going to have to sit here for 4 hours and listen to garbage?” Well, that’s all gone by the wayside because now they do what they’re interested in, and they look forward to it.
When you look at student learning, we no longer have one class of 30 students. We should have 30 classes of 1 student because it all should be personalized. The same applies to professional development. Principals and administrators should be doing the exact same best practices for their teachers because they are in effect their students. “edWeb gives you a tool to make a very easy jump into personalized professional development.”
About Dr. Furman
Dr. L. Robert Furman is an elementary principal at Southpark Elementary School in PA, a best-selling author, and a national keynote speaker. He is also a Huffington Post Edu blogger and 20 to Watch honoree. He is the author of a number of books including The Future Ready Challenge: Improve Student Outcomes in 18 Weeks and Technology, Reading & Digital Literacy: Strategies to Engage the Reluctant Reader. Rob is working on a new edition of Technology, Reading & Digital Literacy, published by ISTE. In this new edition, Rob will be relating how technology can help a variety of readers, not just the reluctant readers but: non-readers, struggling readers, enriched readers, and ELL readers. @drfurman