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Professional Goals to Ponder This Summer

Janelle Cox

 

For some of you, summer has officially started. This means you’re ready to kick up your heels and relax.

As great as that sounds, eventually you may feel the need to get up and get motivated for the next school year. If you’re looking to brush up on your teaching skills, further your professional goals, or just learn something new, there are some incredible opportunities that allow you do so without even leaving your house! Here are a few professional development resources to consider this summer, which will help make you a more effective teacher next fall.

Free Online Courses

Who says you can’t sit by the pool and relax this summer while bolstering your skills? Online classes are a great choice for those of you that want to learn at your own pace and time, and not to mention that they are free! You can learn from the best experts in your field, for free, from home. Here are a few links to help you find the course that’s right for you.

  • Massive Open Online Courses, otherwise known as MOOC, has an abundance of online courses for free. You can view a quick video of what they are all about here. Topics range from shaping the way we teach English to mobile learning. Here is a complete list for teacher professional development.
  • Coursea.org offers over 400+ courses for free. This summer you can learn about the foundations of virtual instruction from the University of Irvine.
  • If you are one of those people that have your smartphone attached to your hip, or love using your iPad Stanford on iTunes U may be a great option for you. They feature full courses right on their app. Just imagine laying on the beach with your iPad learning about STEM education.

Free Online Conferences

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Instead of sitting in a conference room for hours, you can attend a conference, webinar, or Twitter chat for a quick hour. Here are a few links to help you choose. Some sites even keep their videos and notes up all day so if you can’t make the conference, chat, or webinar then you can watch it at a later time.

  • Edublog.org offers free webinars and live training every Thursday at 4pm Pacific. Each week the topic changes.
  • Classroom 2.0 Live! offers a free webinar each Saturday. Viewers get to learn from a new expert in the field each week, chat with other members, as well as ask questions. For example, one topic is “Earning Your Learning: iPad Apps and Accessibility” with special guest speaker Toni Plourde. Viewers would use their iPad to explore ways to enhance and engage students learning.
  • Join more than 1,000 + educators on Twitter every Tuesday at #EdChat to discuss various educational topics. Discussions take place around noon Eastern and 7 p.m. Eastern. Here you will find more information on #EdChat.

Educational Programs

There are so many educational programs on the web that we narrowed them down to a few of the best. Here are a few to ponder:

  • The 30 Goals Challenge is an online community with more than 9,000 educators. The goal of this program is to decide on a number of goals (1-30) that you would like to accomplish within the year. Once you accomplish the goal you post your reflections in the community on Facebook or Twitter.
  • OK2Ask is a free, live, online series of sessions that provide educators professional development and exploration. Sessions start in June and all you need is a computer to attend. You can even receive a completion certificate for those of you that qualify. Here you will find a full schedule for this summer.

While it’s important to rest and relax this summer, it’s equally important to maximize your time and incorporate some professional development into your summer break. While you refuel with some fun, also find some time to train your brain. If none of the professional resources above interest you, then try reading an educational book, learn how to upgrade your organizational skills, or reorganize your classroom materials. Whatever you choose, make it count.

What are your professional goals this summer? Share with us in the comment section below, we would love to hear your thoughts!

Janelle Cox is an education writer who uses her experience and knowledge to provide creative and original writing in the field of education. Janelle holds a Master's of Science in Education from the State University of New York College at Buffalo. She is also the Elementary Education Expert for About.com, as well as a contributing writer to TeachHUB.com and TeachHUB Magazine. You can follow her at Twitter @Empoweringk6ed, or on Facebook at Empowering K6 Educators.