Bringing the Fun back into Professional Development

Mention professional development and many classroom teachers groan. The standard form of torture usually involves a prolonged amount of “sit and get.”   

Two schools in Illinois recently empowered teachers to change their practice and implement technology in their classrooms by documenting their work on video. 

Instead of endless PowerPoint presentations, the Project-Based Learning task asked teachers to create videos showcasing how technology can be used in the classroom.  Essentially, it put teachers in charge of their own professional development using video creation technology .

In one video called “There Must Be a Better Way,” (embedded below) a superhero in the form of a flying stuffed animal shows these educators how smartphones and apps can enhance student learning.  Their big question that this superhero helped answer was:  “How do we engage our students?”  

Of course, engaged students come from engaged teachers who have personal ownership over the learning process. This is the type of ownership that video creation affords.

Challenging these teachers to create a video (complete with a blooper reel I might add) allowed them to learn from each other and have FUN while doing it.  These teachers were not given any parameters, and their takeaways from the project seem that much greater because of it.

Videos don’t need to be revolutionary to be high-impact — learning for students and teachers happens through authentic, relevant engagement. 

We might be biased, but we think video is a pretty engaging medium and definitely a “Better Way” to learn. 


There Must Be a Better Way from PBL4PD on Vimeo.

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