Creating a Successful Teacher Professional Development Program

This week we returned with another edition of the MAET Webinar — The Bridge. If you have not had a chance to look at what MAET Bridge is, check out our website here: bridge.educ.msu.edu.

Our aim at MAET Bridge is to bring together great resources that help create free professional development opportunities for teachers.  This week we brought together an amazing panel of guests made of experts in teacher professional development in K12 or university level. In this webinar, we discussed what it takes for them to create a successful teacher professional development program and what role does technology play?

In this video, check out our discussion with Dr. Melissa McDaniels, Amber White, and Ashlie O’Connor.

Ironically, we had our share of the challenge with technology this week. For every webinar, we use Google Hangout-On-Air, which has proved to be the most convenient way for us to live broadcast. After every live session which is broadcast on YouTube, a video is also automatically saved for us to share later. However, we have also had occasional difficulties with Hangouts-On-Air when it comes to consistency. For instance, in past, at separate occasions, it crashed mid-session, it’s toolbox plugins decided not to work, there was a significant delay between audio and video in the final recording on some occasions, and so on.

This week, Google Hangout-On-Air tried a new way to annoy us. Despite showing a live session to us as hosts, its YouTube live stream refused to work. Our technical team (which is two other graduate students like me) worked for an entire hour to solve this problem. Unfortunately, there was nothing we could do, and we had to rely on Google fixing itself and eventually saving a recording of the live session. It worked.

Although all our promotion went in vain and we left our live viewers waiting, we did manage to share the final recordings with them. But, more importantly, we learnt a valuable lesson: despite all the technical prowess and expertise you can bring together, technology can still betray you. Sometimes there is nothing you can do but fail. What is important to understand is that it is OK to fail. Things happen, and things will happen, that will be beyond your control. These things will happen when you are integrating tech in your class in front of your students, or during your PD sessions in front of adult learners. Even after a ton of practice, things can fail on you. Just remind yourself that you embrace the failure and own it. Make sure that your crowd knows what you learn from that failure. In fact, fail again, fail better.

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