When it comes to CPD has there ever been a better time to be a teacher? I’ll start with the most obvious source – twitter. I first used twitter as an outsider, following a few influential tweeters and observing conversations at arms length. This was useful in itself. Just a couple of accounts such as @ukedchat and @ofstednews is enough to keep you in touch with key policy and professional developments. Then there are specialists such as @deputymitchell for blogging, @ICTmagic and @ICTevangelist for computing and then the odd unexpected gem. Who would expect that one of the best sources for computing resources is from a teacher at a school less than a couple of miles from mine – if you don’t follow @simonhaughton and you teach computing you are missing out on a goldmine.
Twitter is also great for debating issues and sharing opinions. I often contribute to twitter chats such as #bettchat, #ukedchat and an unexpected find this morning – #aussieED. The real power was shown for me last week. I retweeted a link from @ukedchat about a House of Lords select committee, and one retweet later I was in a discussion with @jimpknight, also known as Lord Knight, the former Labour education minister. I have also seen great uses of twitter for teaching and learning. At my school KS1 have set up @wizard1_ who visits from time to time, leaving clues around the school to alert the children of his presence. A brilliant way to introduce audience and purpose.
Staying on the theme of technology, there are other great ways to collaborate. Why not use something like a google hangout or cover it live to bring people from outside your school, whether it’s for a staff meeting or a lesson. I have also recently signed up to staffrm.io a new site which connects teachers and offers the opportunity to share ideas and opinions.
Another fantastic CPD opportunity are Teachmeets. For those that are not aware, they are regular meet ups where a series of short presentations are delivered, usually around a particular theme. They are fun, lively and really encourage teachers to share and collaborate. I have picked up loads of ideas, and will be presenting for the first time later this week. If you are in the North West look up #tmastley and #tmoldschool which both promise to be great events.
Finally, don’t forget good old fashioned courses and conferences. I’ve enjoyed inspirational INSETs by Lee Parkinson, Hywel Roberts and Alan Peat during the last 12 months. I also had a great afternoon at EICE in Manchester on Friday. Amongst other things I was introduced to Sonic Pi, a wonderful app for Raspberry Pis or other platforms which uses live coding to make music. I will definitely be using this in school. So has there ever been a better time for CPD? I don’t think so.