DIY Professional Learning

Does your school run compulsory, one-size-fits-all PD? Are you ever bored, disinterested or unmotivated when attending?  Have you ever been to a conference where the presenter was dull, the audience passive and the content unengaging?

Fortunately, we have the power to create our own more effective professional learning opportunities. What’s yours? Daily connection with other educators via social media? Online workshops and webinars by educators for educators? Teachmeets, where educators meet and share practice informally? One of the many Twitter chats dedicated to different areas of learning?

Keen responses to a tweet from @wholeboxndice a few days ago motivated us to try and establish #pypchat, a Twitter chat for IB PYP educators. While the discussion will be PYP related, it’s all about learning and anyone will be welcome to participate.

A preliminary survey to assess the level of interest quickly attracted responses from every continent. It’s unlikely we can find a suitable time to accommodate people in all the time zones, but it’s encouraging to have so much interest expressed so quickly.

It’s interesting to note that nearly half the responders so far indicated that they would like to be part of the team of moderators. It’s an opportunity to create our own professional learning.

DIY. Why not?

(Survey here. Details soon)

15 thoughts on “DIY Professional Learning

  1. Spot on post…

    The DIY professional learning that I’ve been involved in has always been the most interesting and beneficial. The impact it has on my teaching is usually immediate. Maybe I read about a new tech tool on twitter and then I work it in to my class. Or I am emailed about changes to the maths IBDP curriculum so we set up an informal meeting with peers to discuss initials concerns/questions and next steps. It’s relevant.

    Too often I think that the compulsory PD that is set by schools is actually simply “in-service” – a chance to get that stuff completed to check a box on somebody else’s task list. Great for them. But the rest of us cry at the thought of what could’ve been…. (yes yes, slightly melodramatic!)

    We’ve set up a posterous site for our own DIY PD. It’s called The Collaborative Learner ( and it’s a no rules blog where we share ideas and experiences.

    Also, just recently at our school @danmagie has set up the Peer Observation month which is really very much inline with the idea behind DIY PD. Check out the ideas and structure here:


  2. Great statement Ed – “…we have the power to create our own more effective professional learning opportunities…” you have summed it up extremely succinctly. We are the masters of our own fate when it comes to knowledge and learning – it always takes courage to change, it always takes guts to branch out and dare with the new but it really is encouraging that worldwide, there are educators seeking to expand their knowledge and make connections with like-minded thinkers. YAY!


  3. I would much rather have DIY PD because I have learned more online than anywhere else. Unfortunately, we have to complete district PD to get credit. Any outside PD doesn’t count towards our 57 hours.


  4. Diy proffessional learning has an immmeadiate impact.But i think it always takes guts to branch out and dare with the new but it really is encouraging that worldwide, there are educators seeking to expand their knowledge and make connections with like-minded thinkers.Isn’t it great….!!!


  5. Hey Edna,

    Another great post from my favourite educational blogger!!

    Twitter has opened up a whole new world for me regarding professional development, reading and interaction over the last 6 months or so. Combined with a lot of the work I’m doing at uni as part of my course work, I’m feeling very good about my own professional development & learning for the first time in many years.

    A constant complaint I’ve had at my current school is that there is no / very little differentiation for professional development / staff training. As an experienced teacher with about 25 years’ experience in systemic and international schools, I’m still forced to sit through some sessions with teachers assistants who aren’t trained as teachers or beginning teachers, oft times doing things I’ve done on numerous occasions. While I’m happy to support my younger colleagues, I still want something that is going to benefit me! This is where my uni course work and a range of readings and interactions on Twitters and blogs like yours has got me stimulated.

    I’m hoping that school heads and administrators are keeping up with current practice when recruiting and look past the long list of workshops that someone may have attended. I hope they start recognising teachers that have developed Personal Learning Networks (PLNs) and been pro-active about their own learning. I know that when I leave my current school at the end of 4 years ( or we may even stay for a 5th) that I’ll have 1 PYP Workshop under my belt and not much else.

    Keep up the good work Ed


  6. Thank you Craig! Great comment (better than the post)

    We’ve had responses from 70 PYP educators already and will be starting #pypchat soon- I hope you’ll be participating. Meanwhile I hope you don’t mind if I share your comment at a local PYP coordinators network meeting, where I have been asked to talk about what it means to be a connected educator.


  7. I am really looking forward to the “pypchat”. Thanks @danmagie and Ange for sharing how you use posterous as a strategy for PD. There is so much potential for teachers to learn and share with each other- We do have the power to create meaningful professional learning opportunities. It’s such an exciting time!


    1. Miranda, I hope you are going to be able to participate 😦 The time that most people have voted for so far is a Thursday night, Australian time. We aren’t going to be able to find a time to accommodate all time zones unfortunately. Still, if we establish #pypchat, the hash tag can be used for asynchronous discussion too, just like #elemchat and some others. Let’s see what happens…


  8. I was in a really interesting day long PD the other day and even though I was engaged in the topic by fifth period I was struggling to stay focussed and awake. This got me thinking, what must it be like for students who don’t like the subject being forced into traditional schooling all day?
    There is no one size fits all PD, and there is no one size fits all class.

    I look forward to venturing into Twitter to explore this concept more 🙂


  9. I did not enjoy our in-service training. We were usually compacted into a classroom at the end of a long day or in the middle of summer. I really enjoy earning my credits through Alabama’s Learning Exchange Of course, it is set up for Alabama’s teachers, but it is online learning which allows me the opportunity to work with teachers from across the state and choose courses that are interesting to me.

    I have never participated in a Twitter chat with other professionals, and I would be willing to take advantage of another learning opportunity.


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