As we head into summer, I wanted to point out some wonderful multi-disciplinary learning opportunities that are entirely FREE and available anytime/anywhere.
1. Join the Classroom 2.0 online social/professional network and engage in some of the ongoing discussions. Classroom 2.0 is one of the largest global networks of educators and is a great place to meet other innovative teachers from around the world. You might also consider the Saturday morning (9:00 am pacific) "Classroom 2.0 Live" sessions, which are live, interactive webcasts that take place through a platform called Elluminate.
2. "Attend" the 2007 and/or 2008 K12 Online Conferences . Of course these conferences happened already, but they live on in the form of the archived audio/video presentations and web resources. The 2007 conference is archived here and the 2008 conference is archived here (if you'd like to go way back to 2006, that conference is archived as well).
3. Create a Twitter account and begin building up a global network of people with whom you can share resources and engage in conversation. The easiest way to start out is to create an account (be sure to use a picture and fill out the profile information) and follow folks that other Twitter users here at Castilleja are following (Flaurie, Nanci, Matt, Steve, Bear, and Heather are a few who use Twitter). It can take several months to really start to understand the value of professional networking via Twitter...stick with it and be patient!
4. Join the Independent School Educators Network. This is another social network, but it is primarily targeted toward independent school educators around the world. Be sure to join the Castilleja and the Mid-Peninsula groups and then check out the forums to join the discussions.
5. Join Facebook if you haven't already. There are some wonderful education related groups that you might consider joining, like the Global Educational Collaborative, Teaching and Learning with Facebook, Shift Happens: Bringing Education into the 21st Century, Parents as Partners, Edutopia, and the Stanford University Fan page. You could also become a fan of the Bucky Badger page to get your Wisconsin fix!
6. Start a blog. A blog is an excellent way to reflect and share out on your practice. Your professional blog would be a great space to share our your summer '09 professional development experiences. If you do start a blog, consider dropping the link in a comment so we can share it out with other members of our learning community. There are many places to blog...I would suggest Blogger and Edublogs for ease of use.
Of course there are many, many other wonderful open and free opportunities for professional development on the web. If you come across any others not on this list, drop the links in a comment on this post.
Good luck with your summer 2009 professional development pursuits!