Greetings from the DPI
Julie Palkowski, Fine Arts and Creativity Education Consultant
Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction
A New Age of Professional Development.
Educators by nature are coaches supporting the learning of others. They are versed in multiple ways of encouraging students and engaging them through activities which support the development of skills and knowledge in a concept. For their own growth, educators have often relied on journals, conferences, on-site workshops, face to face professional learning communities, and district driven sessions. These opportunities continue today, but there is an additional option that offers educators a way to personalize their own professional growth - online professional development. Online options are plentiful and share a warehouse of resources on a topic of interest and in many cases ways to connect with others who also wish to learn about a specific topic.
Online professional development (PD) sites are unique in their structures, ease of use, purpose, and content.
Many online professional development options offer some incredibly interactive and engaging resources to inform, inspire, and connect. Finding the online options that work best for you may take some time. Consider the following characteristics as you review various PD websites for your learning: (Five Great Professional Development Sites, 2014)
PD Characteristics - The online professional development site has:
Why should I consider an online option for my professional growth?
Online resources offer you learning opportunities any time, any day, as long as you have access to the online world. Online PD provides you with the flexibility of determining the educational learning topic of your choice, when you wish to learn about this topic, and where you wish to access this information. Current face to face models of PD require a specific location, time, date, and may limit who is involved in the learning.
Online options provide flexibility in:
What are a few sites I can visit to get started?
There are several arts educator focused online networks you may wish to consider. Check the many Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction Fine Arts resources. These are continually evolving based on the feedback gained from educators, as well as the research and resources that become available.
Where may I connect directly with Wisconsin Art Educators?
Consider becoming a part of the Wisconsin Art Educators, a Google community. As of the printing of this article, there are 35 members within this new networking group. The group is meant to foster the sharing of art and design educational ideas, ask questions, and offer encouragement to support each other in the work to build arts skills and knowledge with our students. To join, start by setting up a free Gmail account, and then search within Google+ for Google Communities tab for Wisconsin Art Educators.
Also check these online networks for more connections to colleagues across the state in specific fine arts areas.
· Adult Community Music Organizations - WMEA
· Alliance for Wisconsin Theatre Education
· Art Seeds Mentors - WAEA e-Mentor Program
· Professional Arts Organizations
· Wisconsin Dance Council
What are some additional professional development sites to visit?
Here is a sample of interactive sites to consider in your work.
· Annenberg Learner
· Art of Education (AOE)
· BBC Learning Zone
· Education Closet
· Teaching Today
One last thought....
"Ongoing professional development keeps teachers up-to-date on new research on how children learn, emerging technology tools for the classroom, new curriculum resources, and more” (Edutopia, 2008). Online is just one of many options to help refine our practice as educators. We can learn quite a bit from the face to face workshops and offerings provided through traditional resources. Additional options through online resources allow us to drive our own learning for topics of interest and need. Consider what educational topics you wish to investigate, what format of learning works best for you, and how you might apply this knowledge to the classroom.
I wish you a successful journey in finding professional development online options that work for you. In your journey, please share your stories, suggestions, and ideas about arts education through the sites below.
*Kudos – news of honors, events, and special arts awards
*From the Field – classroom strategy sharing
*Creative Classrooms – Innovative strategies and/or resource use in teaching
Thank you again for your willingness to stretch, learn, and share your ideas and expertise in arts education.
· ASCD Edge. Five Great Professional Development Sites for Teachers. http://edge.ascd.org/_5-Great-Online-Professional-Development-Sites/blog/6006681/127586.html (accessed July 11, 2014).
· Cody, A. 2009. “Putting Teachers in the Driver’s Seat,” http://www.edweek.org/tsb/articles/2009/03/16/02cody.h02.html (accessed July 13, 2014).
· Editorial Projects in Education Research Center. June 29, 2011. Issues A-Z: Professional Development. http://www.edweek.org/ew/issues/professional-development (accessed July 13, 2014).
· Educational Technology and Mobile Learning. The 13 Must Know Professional Development Websites for Teachers. http://www.educatorstechnology.com/2012/07/the-13-must-know-professional.html (accessed July 12, 2014).
· Edutopia. March 16, 2008. ”Why Is Teacher Development Important?: Because Students Deserve the Best.” http://www.edutopia.org/teacher-development-introduction (accessed July 13, 2014).
· Honawar, V. 2008. “Working Smarter by Working Together.” http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2008/04/02/31plc_ep.h27.html (accessed July 7, 2014).
· Rebora, A. 2009. Reinventing Professional Development in Tough Times. http://www.edweek.org/tsb/articles/2009/03/16/02pd_budget.h02.html (accessed July 13, 2014).
· Scherer, M. 2014. Perspectives / Bright Spots in Professional Learning. http://www.ascd.org/publications/educational-leadership/may14/vol71/num08/Bright-Spots-in-Professional-Learning.aspx (accessed July 13, 2014).
· Strauss, V. July 30, 2011. “The trouble with professional development for teachers.” http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/post/the-trouble-with-professional-development-for-teachers/2011/06/30/AGRxQfrH_blog.html (accessed July 7, 2014).