Summer is always a chance for educators to relax and re-charge after a long school year. It also is a time to attend professional development conferences and trainings. However most of these have been canceled due to coronavirus (just like everything else in our lives.) So, how do we grow our skills during this summer? Virtual professional development.
Just because we can’t have these trainings in-person doesn’t mean you have to miss out. There are so many opportunities you can take advantage of not only this summer but all year long. I know many librarians are worried about losing their positions due to budget cuts and the false perception that we are not needed during distance learning. Attending workshops and learning how to use different educational apps is one way to show your administration how valuable you are. And when we go back to school you may be asked to provide proof of how you are spending your time (if we are in a complete virtual environment). If so, keep all of these ideas in mind.
I have compiled a list of different professional development activities you can complete from home. They include workshops, webinars, trainings and earning digital certifications. I hope you find them helpful.
Become a Google Certified Educator
The Google Certified Educator program is offered free through Google For Education. It allows educators to learn more about Google apps and how they can be integrated into classrooms. Google provides a free comprehensive study guide for the exam and allows users to read through training materials, practice how to use Google software/apps, and complete lesson checks to ensure understanding of material. And other than the cost of the exam ($10) there is no cost to become certified. You can click here to learn more about it.
There are also many of other places online to get ready for the level 1 test. There are some paid resources, but check out ones that are free first. There are plenty of those! Check out the Google Bootcamp. You can sing-up for the Level 1 or Level 2 bootcamp. Another free resource is The Tarver Academy.
PBS Media Literacy Certification
“The PBS Media Literacy Educator Certification is designed to celebrate educators who champion teaching and learning with media, and help all educators enhance their skillsets to ensure students have the tools they need to be successful.” This is a free program. Click here to learn more about it.
The program is comprised of 8 different micro-credentials that cover a range of skill areas. You will have to submit artifacts and reflections for each of the credentials
- Creating a Code of Conduct
- Critically Analyzing Media
- Evaluating Online Information
- Evaluating Online Tools for Classroom Use
- Making Media for Classroom Use: Images, Graphics & Interactives
- Making Media for Classroom Use: Audio & Video
- Assessing Student Media
- Implementing Media Projects: in Early Childhood or in Upper Grades
Webinars for Virtual Professional Development
I admit, I have attended many webinars that have bored me to tears. But I have also seen some awesome presentations and learned some valuable skills. There are several places where you can watch library-specific webinars.
From their website: “edWeb.net is a free social network and professional learning community that can help you with online learning and collaboration, especially as we cope with the spread of the coronavirus”. To find library webinars just search “librarian”. There are also many other webinars on distance learning, reading, STEM, media literacy, social-emotional learning and classroom management
This site provides webinars for every type of library including public and academic as well as school libraries. There is a whole section on libraries and COVID-19 including re-opening procedures, cleaning library books and providing virtual story times.
They are offering a summer camp webinar series that focuses on collaboration. Their website says they will be offering other topics for July and August.
Most of the webinars are about how to use Destiny but there are also a lot of author videos and interviews.
School Library Connection was a magazine similar to School Library Journal. I don’t think they even publish a print version anymore. Their website does provide a wealth of information for school librarians including workshops and webinars. The most recent one is about creating curriculum-connected breakouts. Others include coding in the school library, advocacy and makerspaces. They offer some more in-depth workshops as well, but these are not free. You need to subscribe in order to view them. I did not see any pricing information on the website so I don’t know how expensive this would be.
Digital Certifications for Virtual Professional Development
Last I want to talk about becoming certified in how to use different apps and websites. As far as I can tell, just about every digital app has some type of training or certificate program. Some websites have different levels of training so eventually you could become a trainer yourself in some cases. If there is one or two apps that you use a lot or that your teachers use you may want to look into some of these.
- Flipgrid Certification: Three levels of certification.
- SeeSaw Pioneer: This is the first step before becoming a SeeSaw Ambassador.
- Kahoot Certified: Three levels of certification.
- Book Creator: Become a certified author and then you can move up to being an ambassador.
- NearPod: Become a certified educator
- Pear Deck: Become an Inspearational Educator
What is great about most of these virtual professional development options is that they are not just available through the summer. You can take advantage of these opportunities during the school year as well. Is there something I missed? Comment and let us know what you would add to this list.