New Paradigm for Professional Development

New Professional Development Plan

I’ve written earlier posts about using Twitter for professional development and the need to change our current PD model. Now let’s look at a sample social media professional development plan. This follows a Diffusions of Innovations stategy: Knowledge, Persuasion, Decision, Implementation and Confirmation. This post will introduce the Knowledge phase.


Step 1: Knowledge phase – Start with a consumer-based model

In the consumer-based professional development model, teachers are not creating content as part of their PD, they are just receiving information and then acting, in a limited fashion, upon this new information. Of course we all want teachers to be creating content but let’s start with baby steps. Many teachers have not had any experiences with social media, especially Twitter, so start slowly.

New Paradigm for Professional DevelopmentTo introduce teachers to this, I show a live feed from with an educational hashtag. You do not have to sign in to use this site.

TIP: To show a feed from any Twitter hashtag, type in your browser and then the hashtag. For example:

Once I have a feed going, this is a good chance to explain how Twitter works and that posts contain links to all sort of excellent content. This may seem obvious to experienced Twitter users but I can’t tell you how many times I have done this demonstration and I hear, “Oh, I thought people just posted about going out for a slice of pizza.”

Now that everyone understands how Twitter works, I explain that I am going to learn something in the next two minutes. I scan the feed and click on an interesting link and see what I can learn. If the content is a dud, I just explain that sometimes the content is great…sometimes not, just move on. If the teachers are at computers, and I hope they are, have them go through this process and then share verbally what they have learned. Once they are familiar and successful with the process, ask them to learn something new over the next few weeks and incorporate it into a lesson.

TIP: What if you don’t have a professional development day to introduce this? Take a few minutes at the beginning of grade-level, team or faculty meetings.

In the next post I will move beyond the knowledge phase and talk about moving to the next level.