It never fails to surprise me how certain individuals at educational institutions disregard informal professional development. It is so easy to blithely dismiss professional development which is offered through MOOCs, through online training and any other training which is not gate-proofed by formal Higher Ed institutions.
Yes, there is a time and a place for formal professional development - a place, which more often than not, comes with a hefty price which is prohibitive to many teachers' budgets. Despite the value of a yet another piece of paper declaring that individual X completed XYZ course (on the condition that full fees were paid), this attitude - especially among educators who should know better - is very much stuck in a past which no longer makes sense.
There are excellent opportunities for continuous professional development and learning online - whether through specific training providers (who provide practical training which one can use immediately in one's practices) or through MOOCs, webinars, blogs, open resource journals and more.
One space for teachers, in particular for those who work in the field of K12 is CubeForTeachers.
CubeForTeachers shares practical resources, aligns curriculum standards, giving voice to educators through their blog and resources which teachers share. Having started in Ontario, Canada, it is a collaborative effort through which teachers share best practices and educational issues.
Another site which is of interest for teachers is Playmeo.
Playmeo is not free but provides an activity database, resources and tutorials as well as professional development to educators. Its driving force is embedding fun activities and approaches to educational practices - something which is dearly needed for learners!
Educators have more choices than ever for their own professional development today. Whether taking online training, courses, joining learning communities or sharing resources, teachers today can own
their own professional learning; they are empowered to make choices, to share their voices, to learn in an open world and not rely solely on formal learning at institutions. Both have a place in learning but professional development is more than just sitting in a lecture room listening to someone who has little, if any, experience of real life classrooms outside their protected ivory towers.
In change and pulsating with life.
Teacher Development and Resources
Re-Visting Professional Development
Sharing Learning and Professional Development with Videos