Professional development opportunities for teachers should include some real-time experience for dialog (even F2F, if possible, or at least webcam so voices are not disembodied). They also need to include the convenience and personal flexibility of self-selection and asynchronous scheduling. TeachersFirst.com, a free, ad-free service of the non-profit The Source for Learning (www.sourceforlearning.org) has been conducting free professional development "snack sessions" for teacher self-directed professional development and exploration of exactly the types of tools that can make their STUDENTS self-directed learners, as well. This "OK2Ask" series has garnered very positive feedback and much repeat attendance. The diversity of teaching experience, location, subject, grades, and curricular interests within the sessions has been a very positive influence, as have the connections made between teachers whose classes are obvious mirrors to each other. You can see some of the sample offerings and watch archived sessions here: http://teachersfirst.wikispaces.com/ok2ask and read the general information here: http://www.teachersfirst.com/ok2ask.cfm GOOD teachers are eager for non-threatening, supportive chances to experience and participate in learning using broadband-facilitated options, and only by experiencing such self-directed learning will they be able to envision and structure similar models for their students.
Idea No. 21