I’m always looking for ways to innovate professional development. Teachers are busy people and sometimes those after-school, face-to-face sessions just aren’t doable. I actually prefer PD that comes to me…webinars, Twitter chats, blog posts, podcasts…so I ran with that and created a podcast PD for the teachers in my district. Think book club, only with podcast episodes and online discussions. This was really simple to set up, especially because we are a G Suite for Education district but this could be done in other platforms as well. To get this running, I:
- Posted a sign-up to my district (this could be done at any level; district/school/grade-level/etc.)
- Created a Google Form with links to 20 episodes for participants to vote on (I chose all Cult of Pedagogy episodes for this initial session because I am familiar with the high quality of them but episodes could be from any/many podcasts.)
- Chose the top five episodes and created a Google Classroom with the link to one episode per “assignment”.
- Added open-ended discussion questions (What resonates for you? What do you agree/disagree with? How can you see this working in your own setting?)
- Set two-week “due dates” for each episode.
- Sat back and watched amazing conversation unfold…I didn’t really sit back, I participated, BUT I was shocked at how rich and thoughtful the conversation was!
- I offered 2 professional development hours for each week (10 total), assuming that listening takes about an hour and posting/commenting takes another hour.
- We require that our PD participants demonstrate learning through some type of product, so we are going to create reflection videos at the end.
The participants are already asking for additional sessions and I’m thinking that participants could make suggestions for podcast episodes in the future! Such a simple solution to creating accessible and relevant PD for educators!