Monday, 2 September 2013

Using Technology for Professional Development

Social Media and Readers - Real Professional Development

From Executive Heads to Schools Direct trainees, from Heads PA to Gap year Learning Support Assistant, your day to day foci at school can be complex and changeable. Government policies, developments in working effectively with SEN students, teaching techniques and best practice; there is always room for improvement. Luckily there will be an online community discussing all this and much much more... Why not join them?


Ignoring the new terminology that inevitably is created by new technologies twitter hosts public conversations on everything and anything. You can choose to join in with the conversations that are of interest to you. Below are some conversations that demonstrate how twitter can be a very useful professional development tool. Here is a twitter guide for teachers, which covers terminology, how to set up an account and making that first tweet!


Facebook is only useful in education for engaging students in a forum they understand and are familiar with. There are a number of educational versions of facebook (edmodo and mycampus and examples) that have varied degrees of success and generally need to be heavily pushed by teachers to get engagement. I know of some teachers who have created private groups for their classes in facebook. This allows students to share homework issues in a forum they interact with daily. Many of you may use facebook socially, carefully choosing who you accept friend requests from, if that is the case,  I suggest you don't need to change a thing.


The symbol on the left represents rss feeds. These allow the stories, articles and blog posts from a site to be displayed easily on other websites or they can be added to a reader. Google recently terminated their reader, which was a great shame as it was very effective and simple at allowing you to read articles and posts from your favourite sources of information all in one place. After some searching I have found my replacement Reader+ (android app available). Below is a screenshot of my reader. It has meant as head of faculty I could be on the crest of the waves of change, often sharing educational news with those senior to me. It is a great way to see best practice and interesting ideas from around the world, improving your teaching and access to resources. 

Smartphones apps for all these can be downloaded if you have such a device but beware, this steady stream of interesting information can be hard to resist peaking at...

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