Tonight our topic for exploration Thursday June 6th is Summer Learning – Summer Fun.
Summer – nights by the campfire. Days at the beach. Family holidays.
For many teachers, it’s a time to rejuvenate and refresh, spend time with families and friends and just relax. But it’s also time for learning.
Always On Learning
Teachers have always taken time during the summer to develop and learn. Today, in a time of constant change, this is a necessary part of the summer routine for teachers. It’s important for teachers to continue their learning throughout the summer which means developing a plan that includes opportunities during the summer.
Traditionally, many teachers took some sort of summer classes or attended a PD event such as a conference or a short-course as part of their summer learning.
Conferences – There are so many different conferences for teachers all summer long. EdSurge outlines 50 K-12 Ed Technology conferences for 2017 – 2018. All summer long there are a variety of conferences that teachers can attend dealing with every subject. Although these are great opportunities, not everyone can attend and benefit from the networking and learning that takes place.
Classes – All summer long university campuses across North America see teachers returning to take classes for a variety of reasons. If they can’t make it to the campus, teachers have a variety of options for online learning.
Short-courses – these take place in a variety of venues and are intense learning sessions that take place over 3 to 5 days and are usually focused on a particular sub-group of teachers such as K – 3 or Science & Math teachers or Administrators. These intense course are geared to helping teachers to improve and develop specific understandings in a short period of time.
There are Alternatives
All of these are great opportunities but they aren’t necessarily for everyone. Many teachers just can’t manage to include these in their summer. Thankfully, there are a number of other opportunities for learning that can fit into any schedule.
Twitter chats/Voxer Groups – each of these is slightly different but are available to anyone who has an internet connection and a connectable device. Both offer opportunities for teachers to join groups of teachers who are continuing their learning. Teachers are encouraged to take part in book studies, informal discussions, scheduled chats, subject specific discussions, and a variety of other variations of these.
Online Courses – online learning continues to grow and there are more options for people who want to improve and develop at their own pace. You might explore PCDI Canada, edX, Open Culture, SkillShare, FutureLearn, Udacity, Lynda, Coursera , Microsoft (like Teaching Sustainable Development Goals) and many others. You can also check out the iTunes Online Courses for a variety of options.
Podcasts – Podcasts have been growing in popularity over the past few years. I’ve been listening to them for about 10 years and have even dabbled with a few of my own. Learning to create a podcast is a great experience which can be used in all classrooms for a variety of learning experiences. I suggest checking out the iTunes library which has podcasts for everything. You can also check out Stitcher, Podcast Alley, PodOmatic, and LearnOutLoud. Podcasts are a great way to learn while you’re exercising or doing something like cleaning or driving. In fact, as I write this I’m listening to Todd Henry’s Accidental Creative podcast.
Local opportunities- I am fortunate to live in a community that offers classes all year long through a variety of different venues including the library and the local community associations. There are also museums, galleries, and other attractions which offer opportunities for learning. In the past few years my wife and I have learned to dance the two-step and waltz. Learning isn’t limited to ‘academics’. I highly recommend looking into a variety of options that include a wholistic approach to learning.
Every Day is a PD Day
The opportunities for learning are changing as new options provide teachers paths for learning at their own pace and when it works best for them. “Every day is a PD day” has been something that I’ve repeated to staffs where I was a principal and discussed with other teachers. One doesn’t need to “wait” or travel or spend a great deal of money but you do need to seek out the opportunities and be open to opportunities. Don’t treat learning like a separate event, it can take place anywhere at any time if one is curious and is willing to ask questions.
What are your favourite learning options during the summer?
How do you include learning throughout the summer?
How do you ensure learning continues to be fun and energizing?
We’d love to hear from you and your ideas and suggestions. Leave a comment or contact us at @saskedchat on Twitter.