Professional development is one of the most important resources a school can provide to its teachers, but with a mix of funding available across schools, it can be difficult for educators to access. From conferences to courses to retreats and much more, the options can seem endless. However, we’ve all been at those conferences where we’re ready to leave an hour in, and depending on your school’s budget, traveling to a conference might not be possible.
Virtual professional development is becoming more readily available and the quality gets better every year. Check out this list of online alternatives to conferences. Many of these options are flexible, easy to attend on your own time, and (the best of all) free!
edWeb has a whole collection of webinars, articles, and podcasts that are available to peruse whenever you have free time. You can also sign up for future webinars, join a community of teachers thinking about a particular topic, and earn certifications online, all for free. If you’re a public school teacher in the US, they even have a handy tool for figuring out which programs fulfill the PD requirements for your state.
EdSurge has a lot of resources available, whether you want to keep up with edtech news or just get an informative newsletter to your inbox every week. They also have recorded webinars on a variety of topics from AR to social-emotional learning. Podcasts, webinars, and news are available for free, and they also have a yearly conference.
PBS TeacherLine offers online courses for teachers in a variety of subject areas. They aren’t free, but the curriculum is very specific and depending on the course, it can be quite inexpensive.
Harvard Graduate School of Education offers online workshops, courses, and certificate programs. They aren’t free, but the quality can’t be beaten and that Harvard credential on your resume doesn’t hurt!
Cait Levin is Director of Research and Instructional Technology at an independent school in Boston. She completed her BA at Barnard College and her MA at Middlebury. She has held a variety of roles at schools, including overseeing writing centers, advising, collaborating with faculty on instructional design and technology, and classroom teaching. She has taught elementary, middle, and high school courses in English, history, entrepreneurship, and design thinking. She also works with edtech companies to discover strategies for best practices when collaborating with teachers. You can find her on twitter @CaitLevin