A Different Style Of Professional Development

Professional development is a word that almost all teachers dread, especially around the beginning of the school year. Stale lecturing about new initiatives, icebreakers you've done before, all teachers really want is time to get their rooms ready. I think it may be one of the most frustrating times of the year for teachers. 

The folks at Birdbrain Technologies are trying to change all that with some fun ideas to get you hands-on with robotics. I attended Bots & Beverages last week with Katie Henry hosting the festivities in downtown Portland. The idea is to get you some robotics and coding experience in a non-school setting. What a concept! All you need is a small venue to host your event and a way to invite people. There were about 20-25 people at our event last week. Katie brought in some of the new Hummingbird Bits and Micro:bits for educators to share. The Hummingbird Bit is currently available for pre-order and is one of my favorite new edtech tools to get students creating and coding. You can click this sentence to open a new tab with all the info. (BTW all my links are NOT affiliate links, they are just to be helpful.) 

That is all you need. The best way to learn something is to just get in there and try it out. You could copy this style for almost any type of hands-on PD that you wanted to share. It was a lot of fun to get educators together from different districts around the Portland area. I think the fun part is you get to learn at your own pace and can ask questions and get ideas from other teachers you may not see on a daily basis. I know this is a different take on some PD that has the same philosophy as Edcamps, Barcamps, CoffeeEDU, and other ideas. I think the important thing is that we need to move toward this style of learning so that administrators can see that maybe they don't need all the structured lectures at the beginning of the year. 


Tim Lauer and Katie Henry