Welcome back to the school year 2012-2013. Your students are ready to learn what you have to offer them. But are you ready to learn about the opportunities that you are offering?
As I sit and wonder why my school year will look like, I also begin to wonder what my learning opportunities will be. Each year, I pick a topic, subject, disability, service, or something that I want to learn about. During that year, I expand my knowledge on the content material. For this school year, I am struggling with what I would like to expand my knowledge on. For me to learn I need to be passionate about the topic or at least have my interest peaked.
Then I realized something, how often do we remind others that learning about something is a forever process. There are times that we forget some things that we once knew like the back of our hand because we don’t use it often. Or we have progressed in our skills think “I got that”. So this year, I am dedicating myself to refreshing the old brain and going back over skills that are rusty.
I am signed up for three sessions with AbleNet University http://www.ablenetinc.com/Professional-Development.
The first session:
Cambium Learning Technologies (CLT). Cambium is home to Kurzweil 3000 and Intellitools software. http://www.cambiumtech.com/special/webinars/
I am taking a session called: The SETT Framework: Straight From the Horse's Mouth. The SETT framework is a core value in my evaluation process for the clients that I interact with. As time passes you begin to modify and adapt what you are doing while following the process that Dr. Joy Zabala developed. It is important to always come back to the root of the design and be reminded of something that you may have forgotten about. Dr. Zabala has also added to the SETT framework so it will be wonderful to hear how the process has developed over the years.
I signed up for a workshop on Kurzweil 3000: Tips and Tricks. I use Kurzweil 3000 on a daily basis in one fashion or another. But there are so many things that Kurzweil 3000 can do that sometimes you just need that fast shortcut to get you through something. So I signed up for this course because I have students that I am asking them to sign up for it. It is important for me as an AT person to encourage my students to seek support beyond myself. My job is to make others independent so sharing resources are part of that.
These are just a few webinars that I have signed up for September and October. I have made it a goal to sign up and attend at least 3 webinars a month. If I am going to be the best AT specialist I can be. I also know that I need to ground myself on the principals of AT. As the year progresses my training may change because of different skill sets needed. But the important thing is to always make sure that you not only focus on teaching others but that you take the moments and be the student. We are all forever learners. Being forever learners we need to move back and forth in our roles as mentors, facilitators and student. Your professional development should not be one dimensional. You should embraces special education, general education, Speech, Occupational and Physical therapy course but also go to a session on sports, art, language arts, and reading.
Places to look for professional development:
Software vendors often give Webinars on their products. Go to their websites and look under their training possibilities.
ATIA - www.atia.org/webinars
Atomic Learning: www.atomiclearning.com
Even Podcast are considered professional development. Remember learning takes place everywhere and in different formats. The important thing to think of is what you intentions of learning and what a gem(s) of information you have walked away with.
A.T. Tipscast is one that I enjoy listening and learning from. Chris has a way of addressing concepts from a common sense nature and doesn’t make you feel like you should have known that already. http://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/a.t.tipscast/id272223032
Find them on Facebook also: https://www.facebook.com/attipscast
EdCeptional this is a hosted chat. Each session you get to hear from other professionals and knowledgeable individuals on different topics. http://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/edceptional/id452869249
Also look at Twitter. Twitter had turned to be one of the best places to learn about professional development. Learn what general education is doing. The hottest trends in education are. And you get your hands on some amazing blogs and tips from others.
Check with your state colleges. There are some wonderful stuff out there. And branch out. AT is not always about the tools but about learning about reading strategies, math courses or science curriculum.
Check your state museums. You would be surprised at what they offer. Yes, it may not be related to AT however you never know what you might learn about art and how to encourage students to explore possibilities.
Take that writing course at the adult school. Or how about that knitting class that you want to take but you can't find a reason. Who needs a reason to learn? Who needs a reason to find time for themselves?