In the podcast, Mark Ahlness (a third grade teacher who blogs and has his students blog) says something at about the 12 minute mark about the “old model” of how we learn about new things in education. He uses the example of going to conferences. That typically a few folks go to a conference, hear some new ideas, then come back and try to share those ideas with others. He goes on to talk about that as a top-down approach that maybe isn’t the most efficient way to disseminate information in a flat world. That maybe there is a better way to connect directly with teachers.
That got me to thinking about another way to view professional development. While I obviously think conferences are still a valuable experience (since I’m encouraging all of you to attend some), maybe there is a new “story” for professional development. My way to frame that new story is to think of it as “Personal Professional Development through RSS.” I think teachers need to take control over their own professional development, and that it needs to be personal and ongoing. The resources that the web is now providing us, along with a tool like RSS, allows us to subscribe to professional development that is tailored to our personal needs and interests. Certainly the more traditional staff development pieces still have their place, but I think it’s too easy to ignore those. I think teachers need to take responsibility to grow their own staff development. I also think that any teacher that is resistant to new growth during this time of rapid change should consider a career change. That may sound harsh, but that’s where I’m at. I think our students deserve nothing less. Comments?