4 Alternative PD Ideas That Teachers Will Thank You For

Educational Technology Manager Janie Everett shares modern methods of administering asynchronous professional learning sessions during teacher work days.

The start of the new school year is here, but before students re-enter the hallways, teachers must all survive the overwhelming week of back-to-school training.  Professional learning may be the last thing on a teacher’s mind as they are arranging their classroom, memorizing student records, and planning the beginning of the year lessons.  Instead of the conventional slide deck projected onto the wall, try some of these more modern methods of sharing information with busy staff members.  Many of the free tools explored in this post allow training sessions to be completed synchronously or asynchronously and provide complete feedback to the administrator.  Gone are the days of flipping through monotonous slides!

  1. Nearpod – Similar to the classic slideshow, but with many more options for participant interaction.  The presenter and learners don’t need to be face-to-face to get the most out of a Nearpod session.  Viewers can flip through slides at their preferred pace and respond to questions or polls, immediately sending data back to the session presenter.  Click here to get started with Nearpod! Click here for a Nearpod tutorial. 
  1. Iorad – Need to quickly teach the staff how to use the new student information system that the division just purchased two weeks ago? Check out Iorad.  This Chrome extension allows creators to make highly interactive tutorials where users actually click through the site by following simple step-by-step directions on the screen. Click here to get started with Iorad! Click here for an Iorad tutorial.
  1. Flipgrid – Professional learning isn’t just about content, it’s also about delivery.  Sometimes verbal communication is necessary to get the importance of a message across.  Flipgrid is a short-video platform that makes it possible for viewers to see a familiar face and hear an accompanying voice without attending an in-person session. Flipgrid makes it easy to check views and the extensive privacy settings protect your creations. Click here to get started with Flipgrid! Click here for a Flipgrid tutorial.
  1. Peardeck – So, you’re interested in changing things up, but the first four options were too overwhelming…Peardeck is the answer for you. This Google Extension is easy to install and use with any previously created Google Slides presentations.  Add interactive questions, polls, and websites to existing slides and get immediate feedback when viewers respond.  Use Peardeck for in-person or virtual training.  Click here to get started with Peardeck! Click here for a Peardeck tutorial.

Janie Everett is the Educational Technology Manager at WHRO Public Media.

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