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Innovative professional-development options for 2013

3 min read


School administrator and #Satchat co-founder Brad Currie shares his top recommendations for professional development in 2013.

There is no doubt that 2013 will be another unbelievable year for relevant and innovative professional development opportunities. So far educators, including myself, have recently been affected by the likes of the ASCD Annual Conference & Exhibit Show, Educon 2.5 and the 2013 NASSP Conference in National Harbor, Md.

Looking ahead, there seems to be some outstanding opportunities for lead learners to collaborate and learn from one another. Let’s take a look at a few and why you should strongly consider attending not only to benefit yourself, but to bring back “lessons learned” that will affect your school environment.

Our first professional development opportunity takes us to New Milford High School in New Milford, N.J. for Edscape 2013 on Saturday, Oct. 19. Principal Eric Sheninger is the mastermind behind this innovation- and tech-driven conference. George Couros, a school leader from Canada, will be the keynote speaker for the action-packed event that will leave participants with some great ideas to implement in their own districts.

The next stop on our professional development tour takes us to EdcampNJ on Saturday, Nov. 23 at Linwood Middle School in North Brunswick, N.J. The inaugural “unconference” debuted last year with resounding success. Over 300 attendees filled the venue with wonderful best practice initiatives that sparked the minds of educators and motivated everyone to keep pushing forward with innovative ways to meet the needs of diverse learners.

Some other great professional development opportunities coming up in the near future include ISTE 2013 in San Antonio, Texas and Learning Forward in Dallas. Although I have never attended either of these conferences, I have heard nothing but great feedback as it relates to the fundamental educational shifts participants are exposed to year after year. If you are willing and able, don’t forget about other opportunities that are right around the corner: EdCamp Philly, Edcamp Leadership, NAEP’s Annual Conference, NJPSA Fall Conference, TabCamp, PadCamp and a host of others.

As you can see, the professional development opportunities are endless, and many at little or no cost. As you may or may not know, the Edcamp movement has taken over the PD scene in recent years. I encourage you to check out a local Edcamp that is coming to a theater near you. It will change the way you view traditional educator-driven learning opportunities.

Join the conversation and leave a comment below or tweet out additional PD recommendations that you think would benefit others as we all move towards becoming more well-rounded lead learners.

Brad Currie is a school administrator for the Chester School District in Chester, N.J. Currie is the co-founder of a weekly Twitter discussion for current and emerging school leaders called #Satchat. He has presented at various conferences around the country on educational technology, social media integration and personal learning networks. Visit Currie’s website or follow him on Twitter @bcurrie5 for more information.