Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Getting Professional Development Right

We have all had our own unique horror stories when it comes to professional development.  From a one size fits all approach, to unqualified presenters that lack passion, to leaving a session or entire day for that matter with no applicable ideas and strategies to implement into practice - poor professional development has left many scars.  Another glaring void has been the availability of quality opportunities to learn about the latest Web 2.0 tools or innovative pedagogical techniques that have begun to take hold in small pockets across the country.   Up unto recently many of the best hands-on, authentic learning opportunities for educators were restricted to large conference events that were out of the financial reach for many to take advantage of.  These reasons in combination with a few others served as a catalyst for the Edscape Conference.

This past Saturday marked the third year that a conference was held at my school.  The first year it was called TSETC and was subsequently re-branded and refined into the current event.  Regardless of the event name the ultimate goal has remained steadfast - to provide relevant, meaningful, and applicable learning opportunities that will inspire participants to break out of their comfort zones and innovate now.  We have taken what we think are some of the most effective and desirable components of a quality professional development experience and rolled it into one action packed day typically reserved for mainstream events.

I have seen firsthand the impact that Edscape has had on my staff and the new ideas that have been readily implemented immediately after the event.  We specifically seek out a keynote that will not only resonate with a diverse audience, but also inspire participants to take action.  Vicki Davis shattered every expectation we had with her remarkable presentation and has set the bar very high for next year.  The over 50 concurrent sessions focused more on the "how"as opposed to the "why" to integrate tools and innovative pedagogical techniques.  It is one thing for me to share my opinion as it could tend to be a bit biased, but the voices of others provide a powerful, unbiased perspective.  Below are some of the reflections and thoughts on Edscape that have begun to surface
Approximately 350 educators from 10 different states and Canada joined us at Edscape this year.  Please mark your calendars for Edscape 2013, which will again be held at New Milford High School on Saturday October 19, 2013.  If you have any ideas for an electrifying keynote please add your suggestion in the comments section below.  Again, thanks to everyone who attended and/or assisted with this event.


  1. Principal El, Todd Whitaker, Cybraryman, Will Richardson, Ken Williams,

  2. Thanks for sharing your experiences with this type of PD. Other options also allow teachers and administrators to reach out to the larger educational world for support and ideas -- Twitter and online conferences.