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Educational Services Blog

Professional Development 101

Posted by Arey Jones on Jun 20, 2018 3:09:47 PM

Professional Development 101

Professional Development is hardly one-size-fits-all because every one of your teachers has different needs that must be met. Tackle professional development in a new way by thinking outside of the box. Try these ideas, based on what districts across the United States are doing: 

  • Unconferences
    An unconference is a grassroots conference where the content is provided by the attendees, not outside experts. Don’t think of them as unofficial events, rather bring unconferences in-house as the official professional development.

TIP: Have the MIEE and GoogleEIs at your institution do the talking, not the administrators. Have breakouts using Google Sheets and Google Hangouts.


  • Personal Learning Community

Personal Learning Communities, or PLCs, are a group of teachers with a shared interest or mutual commitment. Administrators can choose the focus, like hybrid teaching models, and allow teachers to sign up for the PLCs they align with most.

TIP: Use Google Team Drive, to keep everyone in the loop. You can drop information in about each PLC and share with your team.


  • Choice Boards

Choice Boards offer a menu of professional development options for teachers to pick and choose from; the amount would depend on your district. This method allows you to meet your teachers’ individual needs, instead of addressing them in a group setting.

TIP: Create a DIY bingo board with Google Sheets or Docs. Or, go old school and draw it up on a white board then use Microsoft Office Lens to digitize it. This app trims and enhances to make notes on whiteboards and blackboard readable on your mobile device.


  • Personal Action Plans

Personal Action Plans allow individual teachers to set their own learning goals, including an action plan to achieve them.

TIP: Try Microsoft Sway. This digital storytelling app helps create professional, interactive designs with images, text, videos that can be easily shared with just a link.


  • Peer Observation

With peer observation, your teachers take advantage of the best source of professional development available to them, each other. Teachers shadow then follow up with colleagues about applying what they’ve learned in their own classrooms. The best part is if they have questions, the answer is down the hall. 

TIP: Suggest Microsoft OneNote to take notes or draw up quick ideas. This tool has a variety of ingenious uses and each note is stored on a phone, pad or laptop and accessed from anywhere


Got some great professional development ideas? Share them with us and include which tech tools you used to knock it out of the park.


Topics: Google Sheets, Google Docs, Google Drive, Microsoft Education, Microsoft OneNote, Google, Microsoft Office, Professional Development, Peer Observation, Microsoft Sway, Unconferences, Personal Learning Community, Choice Boards, Personal Action Plans

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