Professional development (PD) plays an important role in staying up-to-date on the best practices in STEM education. However, it can be difficult to decide how to spend your time with so many PD opportunities available. We are here to help you focus on what to look for to find the perfect opportunity for you.
It has been proven that some of the best ideas come from collaboration. It is important for professional development opportunities to allow you to mingle with other educators and compare teaching practices. By combining ideas and building on each other’s useful classroom techniques, you will be exposed to better lesson plans and teaching practices. Whether you elect to attend conferences or training sessions, the professional development opportunities you choose should expose you to other educators who teach similar subjects and age groups.
Not only do you want to find yourself in a training that has people to collaborate with, but one that allows you to collaborate. You don’t want to be in a room (virtual or physical) full of people you can’t engage with. Valuable PD sessions are ones that have time for questions, and for participants to work together.
Additionally, if you buy new technology for your classroom you should seek out professional development opportunities that are focused on the implementation of just that. Often these sessions break down all the ways the technology can benefit you, not only giving you experience with using it but also allowing you to learn something you hadn’t known before. Doing this will ensure you are implementing the technology in the way that most benefits students.
The best kind of PD for technology is one that is hands-on. It is easy to watch someone demonstrate, then completely forget how they did it a month later. If you’re wanting to learn more about a specific technology, be sure to bring the tech with you to the PD (if it allows), or ask to try it yourself if the PD is on-site.
Finally, because collaboration is a large part of professional development, it is important to find professional development opportunities that will foster diverse opinions. Attend conferences and training sessions that bring in teachers from across the country or around the globe. With the variety in location and demographics, you will be exposed to a wider breadth of ideas and opinions that may allow you to learn more to take back to your classroom.
Diversity doesn’t stop there. If you’re struggling to find a PD session that has really stuck with you or one that you have been really excited about, then try different kinds of professional development: on-site vs. virtual; one-day vs. multi-day. You can even try switching up the subject matter you tend to gear toward.
When taking these three elements into account, narrowing down the plethora of professional development opportunities will be far easier and allow you to find the perfect learning opportunity to benefit you and your classroom.
Interested in some excellent PD? We offer professional development for any of our STEM products and their curriculum. Contact us for a consultation on how we can customize a solution for you!