As teachers it can sometimes be difficult to find the time to really dive in to learning or honing in on our practices. As a classroom teacher I always looked for learning opportunities that fit the personal and professional goals I set for myself. Because it is so difficult sometimes to actually attend some of the conferences and workshops that I wanted I have found several opportunities to learn on my own and at my own pace.
Webinars through the Siemens STEM Academy have been amazing. From finding ways to Put the M into STEM to actually interacting with Danny Forster from “Build it Bigger” the Siemens Academy has been a great resource for my personal and professional growth. They also archive their webinars so you can watch and learn in your own time and at your own paste. Click Here for direct access to the webinar page.
Another great tool for learning is twitter. This to me has probably been one of the most beneficial tools I have when it comes to learning. The twitter approach allows complete autonomy in learning what you want when you want. I simply follow folks in the science, technology and education world. They provide links and ideas. Those that interest me I read and learn, those that don’t I simply skip. When I find items of interest I tweet those out. This method of learning for me has been very beneficial but also very fun. To find a list of educators to follow, Click here.
Sometimes finding the time to learn during the school year can be quite difficult. I have a rule for summer time learning. If I am going to take my time to participate, It’s going to be great. In the past 2 summers I have had 2 great opportunities that are currently accepting applications.
In 2010 I was a Siemen’s STEM Institute Fellow. This fellowship included a trip to Washington, DC to spend time at Discovery Communication’s US headquarters. The week was full of fun, collaboration, fun, inspiration and more fun. We had the opportunity to have conversation with the White House’s Director of Science and Technology, Dr. John Holdren and many other leaders from various science and education department and agencies. We participated in a architecture tour of DC led by Danny Forster and had lots of mini workshops on Web 2.0 tools and their uses in education. To top it all off it was Shark Week on Discovery. This is an incredible and fun opportunity whose deadline is fast approaching. February 9th
In the summer of 2011 I was a Kenan Fellow through the Kenan Institute for Science and Mathematics. The general gist of a Kenan fellowship is the fellow is submerged in to a real world or research entity to learn current skills and research. The end product is to create lessons to share with other teachers around the world that will ready our students for the real world. This fellowship comes with real world experience as well as top notch professional development. Their development is based around inquiry based learning, goal setting, how to become a powerful presenter, and engineering principles. The deadline for this application process is January 23.
Learning in our industry is a necessity. I still hold to the belief that our learning can be fun also.
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