Thing x: Online Learning & DIY PD

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Learnning is a choice


All of you have had online learning and DIY professional development experiences through this workshop and likely through other courses and webinars as well. We have so many different ways to learn online – from short webinars to multi-week ecourses and even full degrees.

The resources in this week’s lesson focus on helping you find ways to learn the things that you want & need to learn. Though we aren’t going to cover online learning for students specifically, many of the ideas and resources can apply to them as well.

I’m a huge believer in setting your own learning goals, while working with your administrators & colleagues to make sure that your goals are realistic and fit in with the overall goals for your department/school. There’s really nothing worse than being forced to sit through a PD session or workshop that you have no interest in and has no connection with the work you do. Having taught many PD sessions for school districts, I’ve always felt sad for the folks who tell me they’re only there because they have to be and then proceed to zone out (at best!). I want them to find something that engages and inspires them and I’m convinced that means being more flexible with those PD days.

It was exciting to hear that in one school district, the librarians taking this Cool Tools workshop were able to use a PD day to work on the workshop lessons together. What a great example of flexible & collaborative learning. Many of you have made great use of the “DIY – You Choose” topic to pursue what you are interested in. Here’s a listly list of some of the projects from recent years.

Along these lines, wouldn’t it be great if we (and our students) had some official time set aside to pursue our own professional interests? It’s interesting to see this becoming a trend in education, as it has in some industries. It’s sometimes called “genius hour” or “20% time.” Some articles on the topic:


Webinars, eCourses, Podcasts

  • EdWeb Webinars – EdWeb has dozens of interest based community groups, with discussion forums to share ideas.  EdWeb offers NYS CTLE credit for participating in their webinars.
  • Teachers First OK2ASK webinars archive – Lots of great education related webinars. (free) Also Upcoming Workshops
  • Connecting Online 2017 – View the recorded webinars (free) from this Feb 2017 online conference focusing on the use of the internet in instruction and learning. (CO18 is coming up in Februrary)
  • AASL & YALSA – if you’re a member of these ALA Sections, you can access webinars and training.
  • YOUR professional organization – what opportunities are offered by your professional organizations?
  • ISTE Librarians Network – Monthly webinars. Join in live or view the archives.
  • ISTE Professional Learning Networks – Connect with and learn from other educators.
  • Bloom Board – free service offers short courses that award micro-badges after your work is assessed. Also has many collections of resources on education related topics curated by educators. Each collection links to a few key articles, books and other resources with an annotation by the curator. Use these collections to quickly get up to speed on hundreds of topics.
  • PD Learning Networks – Not free, but you can earn university credit. Offers 15 hour courses and short micro and shorter microbadge courses. many of the courses share lesson plan ideas for free.
  • and other commercial training services – check with your school library system and your public library. You may have free access to some great online learning resources.
  • EdCamps – Flexible, open, unconference learning events. NYSCATE sponsors Google Camps occasionally. Why not organize an edcamp for your school?
  • InfoOhio PreK-12 Information Network Webinars – Check out the recorded and coming soon webinars.
  • InfoPeople webinars and archives
  • Empire State Library Network – shared calendar includes some webinars
  • OCLC WebJunction – Self-Paced and web-based training opportunities. Courses and webinars.
  • Teacher Librarian Virtual Cafe – Twitter chats, TL News Night, Webinars

Webinar Schedules

These sites maintain listings of upcoming webinars of interest to librarians.



Massive Open Online Courses – Even though you may not have heard the term till recently, the term has been around since 2008. With the ease of creating online learning spaces and ever increasing connectivity, this kind of learning has grown like crazy. Of course there are controversies too. How many people sign up and don’t complete (raising my hand on that one!), how to assess what has been learned and so on. Regardless, there are lots of MOOCs available. Even if you don’t take one, you should be aware of some of the major places to find them. And keep these in mind for your students who are passionate about a topic, a MOOC might be just the thing for them.  edX, Coursera and Udacity are the leaders in offering MOOCs

Informal Learning

What’s the role for informal learning in our Learning Plans? How do things like Twitter, Facebook, professional social media groups, EdCamps and Unconferences fit in? Many of us turn to these tools when we need to explore an idea or figure out how to do something. You probably won’t get PD credits for a twitter conversation, but you may find just the person who can help you learn more about something you need to know.

Things to Read, View, Think About


For your activity, pick an idea from this list of topics or come up with your own idea to explore:

  • Create your own personalized learning plan. Explore resources and think about what you need and want to learn over the next year. What resources can you use? Will you get PD credit? Does your school support and encourage personal learning plans? What have you learned from this lesson that will help you gain support for you plan? Create a plan you can follow through on and share it with us.
  • Explore the resources and readings. Have conversations with colleagues (in person, online) about the topic. Write a reflection sharing your thoughts and experiences.
  • The “Double Dip” Find a webinar that comes with PD credit (like the EdWeb ones). Watch an archived webinar or participate in one live. Write a post about the experience. Will your school give you credit? Do you think this is a good way to learn? What about trust and accountability? How would you assess your learning?


  • Write & publish your blog post.
  • Copy the URL (webpage address) for your post.
  • Return to the Google Classroom assignment page, find the assignment page for the lesson you just completed and follow the directions for turning in and sharing your work.

*Only for students participating in the workshop for PD credit hours through the Google Classroom.

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