Reposted with permission from blog.texthelp.com
In preparation for a new year many schools will begin with several days of on-site professional development for educators. While training is never a bad thing, much of the information gained prior to the beginning of a school year can go right out the window as soon as the craziness of the first few days of school occur.
Knowing this is likely to occur, it is a good idea to take advantage of additional professional development opportunities throughout the year. While conferences are great, time and budget constraints rarely permit for a week long trip to a conference across the country. If this is the case in your setting, I’ve listed a few alternative budget friendly options below.
For years individuals have rated online professional development lower than face to face training opportunities, but research continually suggests that they are equally effective. In many cases I actually prefer online training opportunities because a.) I can find specific training focused on the area I am interested in b.) it is frequently shorter and accessible 24/7, and c.) many are free or very reasonably priced.
Online training can take the form of a webinar, series of videos, case studies, or even streaming audio. For example if you are a Read&Write Gold user, Texthelp offers a variety of opportunities depending on your interest. These include (click hyperlinks to be taken directly to offering):
- Video tutorials on individual features for Read&Write Gold for PC and Mac.
- Previously recorded webinars and presentations on topics ranging from preparing for end of the year assessments to using Word Prediction to support struggling learners.
- Higher Ed focused webinars and resources.
- Upcoming live webinars on products and specialised webinars such as Google Apps for Diverse Learners.
- Strategy Video tutorials on how to integrate effective strategies using Read&Write Gold.
In addition to resources from Texthelp there are many additional low or no cost Assistive Technology related web-based training available. For example:
- Ablenet offers many live and pre-recorded webinars on their website covering topics ranging from creating accessible content to switch access and much more.
- Assistive Technology Industry Association (ATIA) offers monthly webinars from top notch presenters on a variety of topics. While not free, the price is usually very reasonable for the content being delivered.
- Similar to ATIA, Closing the Gap also offers quality monthly webinars related to Assistive Technology at a reasonable price. In fact, Texthelp is partnering with Closing the Gap to provide a free webinar on Using AT Accommodations to Assist with PARCC and Smarter Balanced Assessments on September 4th at 3pm Central.
There are of course also many resources that go beyond Assistive Technology available. A few I recommend include:
- The Center for Learning offers free webinars and resources for educators -
- ASCD offers many high quality webinars and webinar series on a variety of topics. For example, the next upcoming FREE featured webinar is titled Flipped Learning: Gateway to Student Engagement. There are also dozens of archived webinars available for instant viewing.
- For more on demand training, Atomic Learning offers hundreds of bite sized trainings on a variety of topics and technology. There is a cost associated with this, but your school or district may already have access. Single user access is also available.
Resources for quality web-based professional development opportunities could go on forever, but hopefully this gives you a good starting point for exploring what is out there. I would love to hear what other resources you find beneficial. Please share any that you recommend in the comments section below.