EdCuration Blog: Learning in Action

ExPLorations Allow Teachers to Choose Their Own Professional Learning Adventure

Oct 15, 2021 10:54:13 AM / by Kristi Hemingway

Twitter ExPLorations May

The rapid evolution of technology, biomedical research, environmental science, and so many other fields continually necessitates new jobs and careers—a job market that we haven't yet imagined. As we scramble to equip our students with new knowledge and skills, it becomes more important than ever to commit to our own lifelong learning and professional development.

The wheels of change move slowly in education, so we can't always count on district and school-led initiatives to stay ahead of the knowledge and innovation curve if we are going to equip the citizens and workforce of the future.

We all understand the importance of educator professional learning, and yet fewer and fewer districts are prioritizing release time, substitute coverage, and the funds to provide training, coaching, and other formal learning opportunities for their teachers. Budgets are tight and the unpopularity of obligatory professional development is an additional challenge. Teachers have grown weary of, and resistant to, professional learning sessions that may not be engaging, relevant, or applicable.

Even prior to quarantines and lack of educational conferences and in-person training, educators were expressing the need for professional learning opportunities that are flexible, easily accessible, immediately applicable, differentiated, led by industry experts, and that fit easily into a teacher’s packed schedule.

In response, EdCuration has recently launched ExPLorations. ExPLorations are bite-sized, interactive digital learning for educators. Teachers choose when and what to engage in, with a wide range of important topics and strategies to choose from.

Educators report that the most effective professional learning is:

  • Interactive

Lecture based instruction leads to low engagement and low retention. We know this, which is why we've been shifting our classroom pedagogy for decades to more project based, inquiry-based, gamified, and hands-on learning. Teachers are no different than their students. ExPLorations actively engage participants in "as learner" experiences that are engaging and fun.

  • Fresh

Check the expiration date. No teacher has time to sit through a redundant workshop. The fields of brain science, socializing intelligence, adaptive learning, and many others continually shift our pedagogy. Teachers need to continually update their practices with the newest research and most promising practices. ExPLorations are created by industry experts, innovators, and fellow educators, representing the most current research and practices.

  • Delivered in Manageable Chunks

We all learn best incrementally. We can only really focus on one shift or improvement at a time. Brief instruction, followed by opportunities for practice, review, and repetition, is the best formula for learning that lasts. ExPLorations are short, focused learning that you can practice right away with your students using the accompanying downloadable or linked resources.

  • Available for Review

Professional learning can feel like drinking from a fire hose. Teachers, like students, are human and learn at varying rates. Delivering mountains of information about new processes, strategies, and resources in a multiple day marathon is simply ineffective. Teachers need to focus on one new resource or strategy at a time, with opportunities to practice and then review the instruction or information. ExPLorations are saved on your EdCuration dashboard indefinitely and available for reference and review anytime, from any device.

  • Differentiated, Relevant, and Applicable

Nothing kills a teacher's desire to engage more than generic training that is not relevant to their content area or has no immediate application in their classroom. Educators appreciate being able to choose learning that’s in line with their interests, and relevant to their content area, grade band, and student population. As a teacher, I always loved trainings that gave me something I couldn't wait to use with my students. ExPLorations allow teachers to choose what they want to explore. Each ExPLoration is packed with ideas, strategies, and free resources to use with students right away.

Do you want to learn how to maximize the impact of your social-emotional learning resources and strategies? Maybe you’re currently focusing on DEI and how to evaluate your instructional materials through an antiracist lens. You can explore how to best adapt instruction for students with learning challenges, how to use popular media to enhance learning in all content areas, or how to create a classroom economy in order to manage behaviors while simultaneously teaching financial literacy. New ExPLorations are added monthly and the possibilities are endless.

Best of all, ExPLorations are completely free to educators. Once completed, you can activate a downloadable certificate for recertification credit. Check back often to take advantage of this new resource created by educators, for educators, at EdCuration.com.

Topics: EdCuration, Professional Learning, Differentiated

Kristi Hemingway

Written by Kristi Hemingway

Kristi is a lifelong educator, published author, national award winning journalist and a writing/literacy teacher and consultant. After working with international and European schools, as well as the US, Canadian, and British militaries, she managed programming for a large Arts and Humanities non-profit. Most recently Kristi worked for a curriculum company as a literacy consultant, instructional coach, and professional developer prior to joining EdCuration in 2019.

Recent Posts