The likelihood of me taking online professional development is certain. I love the idea of being able to take a class while at home and when it is convenient for me. Taking “PD in your PJ’s” is a definite plus, and not having to leave your home, saving on gas, or taking time away from family adds to the lure of online professional development. There is just more flexibility! Although taking classes online has its advantages, it does also have its disadvantages. If one is not comfortable with the technology, it could unnecessarily frustrate the person taking the class. Not having the face-to-face interaction with the instructor could also be a hindrance to the learning if that contact is needed to succeed with assignments and activities. It is also necessary to be self-motivated and have the self-discipline to complete the course.
Most of my experiences with online PD have been related to technology. After browsing some of the course offerings on Michigan Learnport, I found classes related to teaching reading comprehension. I will definitely be looking into taking those courses for future professional development. (I also like that I can receive SB-CEU’s for these courses and many of them are free!) It would be great to see the ISD also offering online PD geared toward subject specific content if that is possible.
My time spent on this particular online class has been well worth it. Some “things” were already familiar to me, but many “things” were also new. The online photo-sharing apps like Flickr, Dumpr, and BigHugeLabs are great additions to my repertoire of technologies to use in my classroom. I also have never really explored the available podcasts, especially from iTunes. The PBS widgets and activity packs were also new to me and I am sure I will try to implement some of these into my curriculum. In my case, taking a PD course like this “forces” me to explore new “things” that I may not have before. As a life-long learner, I know that there will always be new and improved technologies and web applications for me to explore and bring into my classroom. I’m hoping that the “13 Things” class will be offered again as I know it also will be beneficial to me.