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How do I pursue self-selected Professional Development?

How often do teachers get to choose their professional development based on their strengths and passions? How often do they get to engage in meaningful conversations about learning?

Following blogs that resonate with my pedagogical beliefs for learning provide me with the professional development that meets me where I am.

How in the world do I have time for this? It started by clicking the word "Follow" on blogs, so that I could read them later in my Blogger Reading List. I do still look at this, but I've realized that Google Reader is even quicker (and appeals to my love of lists and organization).

To read the blog in Google Reader, all I have to do is click on the RSS, which stands for Really Simple Syndication. However, when I see "RSS" I think of it as "Read So Simply," because that's what it does.

You click it, and now the blogs I've requested get placed in an organized, alphabetized menu with a window to read them! I can dive into the blogs, look for particular ideas, or simply "Mark all as read," and not bother with it.

Every once in a while I have an issue getting into my Google Apps account because I'm still logged on under my regular Google account. I was fixing that by emptying the cookies/cache, but that was a bit of a nuisance. With the suggestion of Sue Waters, I now just use a different browser when I open my Google Apps account. Easy fix.

I can engage in meaningful conversations with other educators on the blog, at work, or in personal reflection. My pace. My time. My choice of professional development.


  1. Hi Tracy - thank you for the mention!

    This is an important post for teachers that are either tech newbies in general or new to blogs specifically. Not only have you given clear instructions for following blogs but you've made the point that we can be/need to be/are learners and self-teachers. And with our keyboards we can seek out those who teach us what we need to know, when we need to know it. I know I've learned much more from this type of "self selected professional development" than just about any I've sat through at school!

    Great post!

  2. I like the idea of self-selected PD. I have enjoyed doing the Blog Challenge and for me, as a Technology Professor, it is exactly what I need to be doing to understand more of how technology is being use by others around the globe.

    Check out my Fresh Fowlers blog at


  3. Hi Laurie,
    I completely agree. It has been a fabulous challenge. I am not done with the challenge, either. I loved your blog! I added it to my reader and I added you to my Delicious network. Thanks so much for finding me and commenting on my blog!
    Kind regards,

  4. I really like self selected PD, but I find that when I am following blogs I need to do 2 things to keep my sanity. #1) I need to set aside time each week that I designate as the time to review the blogs I am following. Just like creating lesson plans, I need to put the time in my schedule to actually review the items that I am interested in professionally. #2) I need to remember that I do not have to look at everything that I follow. If I leave messages to myself week after week expecting that I will get caught up later it does not happen. Review the things I have time for and move on. Chances are if it is a great topic others will continue posting about it and I will have more opportunities to see it.

  5. Hi Tina,
    I love your comment about sanity. When it's an email, I feel like I'm doing something wrong if I don't read it all. But in Google Reader, I can wait until I'm ready, or just click "Mark all as read" and start over with a fresh slate.


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