Friday, May 22, 2015

Summer Learning Opportunities for Teachers

Photo Credit: Wes Fryer at Flickr
I'm not going to lie to you: one of my favorite things about working in education, along with getting to interact with fantastic students, staff, and parents, is the ability to take a break in the summer.  And like many teachers, I use my summer months reflecting on my practices and looking for opportunities to learn.
   With that said, here are a few summer learning opportunities I wanted to share.  Some are local, some require a little travel, and many are online.  Hope there is something here that sparks your attention and challenges you!

Webinars/ Online learning:

1) AEA PD Online system lists dozens of summer learning opportunities educators can take online.  Many of these classes offer renewal and graduate credit.  With topics ranging from Iowa Core K-5 Writing Standards training to What Great Teachers Do Differently based on Todd Whitaker's book, there's bound to be something for you.

2) The ASCD has an online repository of past webinars which are free for anyone and usually include all the materials used in the webinar: handouts, powerpoints, assignments, etc.  Presenters are professionals from all walks of education around the world.  The archive has webinars from the past five years from education greats like Grant Wiggins, Doug Fisher and Nancy Frey.

3) Education Week has posted a list of summer webinar classes that deal with many issues in education, including educational technology topics from Microsoft or Google for Education, the "Opt-out" movement from the Walton Foundation, and building school communities from the Ford Foundation.  Many of these webinars only last an hour during a single day, require a registration, and allow for a question and answer period.

4) Google for Education hosted a two-day online Education on Air Summit in early May featuring people from all walks of life talking about how to make an incredible impact with students.  Speakers included First Lady Michelle Obama, LeVar Burton (of Reading Rainbow fame), Michael Fullan (Professor Emeritus University of Toronto), and Laszlo Block (Google Senior VP).  The entire conference was done using Google on Air, and has been archived.  The best part- the entire archive is free to watch!

Local (NE Iowa) Summer Learning Opportunities:

1) Again, AEA267 (Cedar Falls) offers a number of classes for graduate or renewal credit.  You must have an AEA account to register for classes.  Just a quick look at their summer learning catalog showed a class over working with students on the autism spectrum and a class on building literacy in a Social Studies curriculum.  Quite a few of these classes have multiple sections meeting in places like Clear Lake and Marshalltown, and meet throughout the summer.

2) Grant Wood AEA is hosting iPadU, a conference looking at innovative uses of an iPad in education.  The conference takes place July 8, 9, and 10 in Cedar Rapids (at Grant Wood).  The registration costs $110, and includes lunch for all 3 days.  Keynote speakers include Brent Catlett and Craig Badura.

3) The Technology Integration Conference (TIC) is happening June 16-17 in Dubuque and features some incredible keynote speakers, including one of my favorites, Jennie Mageria from the Chicago area.  Registering for the conference will cost $130.

4) The Technology Integration for the 21st Century Learner (TICL) conference is June 15-17 at Buena Vista University in Clear Lake, Iowa.  The conference will focus on using technology to engage students differently.  Sessions during the conference include student portfolios in the elementary, using technology with autism, STEM based learning, Makerspaces, Digital Citizenship, and online tools for students.

Midwest Travel Conferences:

1) Brian McLane, a teacher in Dubuque, has compiled a nice list (via Google Spreadsheets) of Midwest Ed Tech learning opportunities in Wisconsin, Iowa, and Illinois.  The conferences listed in the sheets are links to the websites.  Some (if not all) of these conferences will require a registration and cost.

2) What Great Educators do Differently is a power conference in Chicago dealing with how to go from being a good educator to becoming a great educator.  The conference is at Trinity International University on October 16th and 17th.  I know that it technically isn't during the summer, but I know if I want to go, I'll need to start saving now.  Conference speakers include Todd Whitaker, and Iowa legends Shannon Mclintock Miller, Jimmy Casas, and Angela Maiers.  It's a little pricey at $399 (early bird, before July 1), but the two day conference looks to be an incredible chance to hear from and connect with the best teachers in the midwest.

More Travel Conferences:

If you're looking to possibly get a little further away for the summer, or you want to turn your travel vacation into a learning vacation, check out the Google Summit page to see if there is a summit taking place somewhere you want to go.  Google summits take place all over the world and all throughout the year.  I've been to a few summits, and they always deal with incorporating Google Apps for Education in innovative ways in the classroom.  Google Summits feature Google Certified Teachers and Google for Education Certified Trainers in leading sessions.  Most summits will have a registration cost.

If you're looking for a creative way to find funds for a few of these conferences, take a look at GoFundMe, IndieGoGo, or DonorsChoose.

Finally, feel free to comment other conferences or webinars below that you've attended.  Include a link if possible! Have a fantastic summer-

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