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This post is also published at The Professional Learner and has been co-written by Michael Springer and I.

Here are two professional development possibilities that are in the works. Which policy appeals to you the most? If you could write the PD policy for your district, what would you look for?
Policy A:
All teachers will attain certain goals each year of their employment. They will attend prescribed workshops (e.g. blogging, podcasting) with specific targets to be met at the end of every two years. By the end of 6 years in the district, all teachers will be expected to have met all of the PD goals by attending the predetermined workshops. Teachers will be evaluated on their successful completion of the workshops and having demonstrated mastery of the material covered in each workshop. Continued employment is contingent on regularly meeting the goals detailed in the district plan.
Policy B:
As a benefit of employment, all employees will be given the opportunity to further their professional knowledge through participation in workshops designed to increase knowledge and understanding of technologies. These life skills workshops will be offered regularly with a variety of topics to be presented during each workshop period. Workshops will include podcasting, blogging, building a PLN, etc. During each session, educators will have the opportunity to choose which workshop best meets his/her current needs. Each two years the educator will list the workshops attended and reflect on how those tools/skills have improved his teaching/learning. At the end of 6 years all teachers will have had the opportunity to attend all of the district’s workshops.
Which plan would you vote for? Things to add or subtract? Pros/cons?

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For me, professional development is most meaningful when it really addresses what I can and want to do as an educator. Whether I’m learning a new tool for improving projects with my students or better understanding the learning styles of my students or better managing resources or time to improve my instruction doesn’t matter. I get more out of what I’m doing when I choose what I’m learning and not just sitting in the auditorium listening to a speaker whose job it is to inspire several hundred teachers when they would much rather be prepping their classrooms. Even more meaningful for me is being able to seek professional development at a time when I can truly focus on what is being shared. When my classroom needs to be set up, when I have grades due, when my kids are seeking attention I can’t pay attention no matter how interesting the presentation. For all of these reasons, the K12 Online Conference is so meaningful and powerful. This great collaboration of educators is available live and asynchronously as a learning opportunity for teachers and administrators. Workshops, talks, fireside chats, discussions and presentations will begin the week of November 30 and will continue for the two subsequent weeks. Join in when you can – even after the event, since all presentations are archived. Come join me and educators from around the world for this on-line professional development opportunity.

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