Cool Sites Teacher Development Reflections

What Will You Learn this Summer? 26 Professional Development Resources

Part of the Cool Sites series

Photo adapted by Kevindooley's photo The Teacher Creative Commons Attributes 2.0 Generic

Photo adapted from Flickr by kevindooley licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic.

Summer has officially started for many of you! I know that you will probably be relaxing for the first few days, but eventually you may feel the need to be inspired and motivated for the upcoming 2011-2012 school year! Social media provides us with incredible opportunities to choose the way we want to develop professionally. You can choose the topic, the medium, and who you want to learn from. You can choose the way you like to learn, because social media provides us with several multimedia experiences, such as webinars, LMS, live video, and more. The experience is usually dynamic and motivating because you are learning with others around the world! Additionally, you will be developing your Personal/ Passionate Learning Network (PLN).

Professional Development Opportunities to Choose From…

Free Programs:

  • The 30 Goals Challenge- Over 5000 educators have participated in the 1st and 2nd editions of this global challenge for educators with the premise of getting you to complete 30 professional development goals by 2012. These are short-term goals, such as guest posting, changing your classroom environment, providing effective feedback, establishing an online presence, and more. How do you participate?
  • SEETA Courses- The South Eastern Europe Teachers Association offers several week courses with a guest author or expert in the field. You will have to register, but the courses are free!
  • 31 Days to Become a Better Edtech Leader- With his vast experience, Terry Freedman offers excellent goals to accomplish each day that help you use educational technology effectively. Goals include conducting a SWOT analysis to organizing an inservice! Here’s a handy list of each post and the links.
  • The 23 Things Project- Take Steven Anderson’s 10 week course that shows you how to use various web 2.0 tools effectively in the classroom.
  • ASCD Free Summer Boot Camp- Webinars by various guests. First one is Lisa Dabbs, @teachingwthsoul
  • Arts Integration E-Course on Education Closet- Registration is happening now for an online arts integration professional development course this summer. This was submitted by Susan Riley!
  • Integrating Technology for Active Lifelong Learning (IT4ALL)- provides free online workshops on Moodle for Teachers (Orientation, Beginners, Intermediate, and Advanced), Professional Electronic Portfolios (PEP), WebQuests, Facilitating Online Classes, Grant Writings, TESOL, Integrating Technology and using Web 2.0 in the classroom. This was submitted by Nellie Deutsch!

Attend Live Events in Real Time!

You can attend several free conferences, webinars, Twitter chats, and presentations online with your PLN! These usually last one hour, but many conferences also offer free all day live streaming of their keynotes.

  • Free Friday Webinars- Thanks to the American TESOL Institute, I conduct free 30 minute online webinars on the Adobe Connect platform every Friday at 4pm EST (New York Time), 3pm Austin, TX, 1pm LA, California, 9pm London Time, 10pm Paris Time, 11pm Athens/Istanbul Time, Sat 8am Sydney time, and Sat. 6am Tokyo time. Check your time zones here!
  • Attend the free Reform Symposium E-Conference along with 8000 other educators from over 50 countries. This takes place Friday, July 29 to Sunday, July 31, 2011 and we hope you will join us for what promises to be our biggest yet global online conference for everyone concerned with education. With up to 60 presentations and 12 keynote speakers it is sure to be an incredible event!
  • The Educators’ PLN Ning Live Chats with Guest Experts- The Educator’s PLN is a great place to interact and learn from other educators. Join us for free live chats with various authors. In the past we featured Alfie Kohn, Howard Rheingold, Diane Ravitch, Chris Lehmann, Steve Hargadon, Jim Burke, and others.
  • Watch Live Streams of the 140 Character Conference- Jeff Pulver has been amazing in getting celebrities, educators, and leaders in various fields to speak passionately about how social media is revolutionizing their fields. If you cannot attend physically, then attend virtually. Jeff live streams the talks! Follow the hashtag, #140Conffor continuous updates.
  • Edublogs Live Events- Every week, attend a free webinar on various topics. Usually, Jo and Phil Hart hosts these free webinars that cover effective use of web 2.0 tools or instructional methodologies.
  • Future of Education- Join Steve Hargadon live as he interviews some of the greatest minds in education. Past guests included Sir Ken Robinson, Alfie Kohn, Diane Ravitch, and more!
  • Classroom 2.0 Live Events- Every week, attend a free webinar with an expert in a field or listen to some great authors speak live and ask them questions.
  • Simple K12 webinars- Attend free webinars with experts on various topics.
  • Attend Second Life Live Events- Second Life has several educational groups that meet weekly for free conferences, talks, workshops, and more. Download the software and register for free. Consider joining these educational groups:
  • ISTE on Second LifeDiscovery Educator NetworkEDTECH RetreatEDTECH CommunityVisit Edunation Island- a safe place for educators
  • #Edchat- Join over 2000 educators every Tuesday to discuss various topics you get to vote for and suggest.
  • Education Chats on Twitter- Find out the dates and times of educational conversations that occur on Twitter.

Free Online Classes:

Ever dream of studying at Stanford or MIT or being taught by George Siemens? Well you can attend several free online courses taught by authors, subject matter experts, and university lecturers. Below are useful links to find a free online course in any subject!

  • MOOC- Massive Open Online Courses where 1000s attend for free through discussion forums and free webinars. Follow the hashtag #MOOC for the latest MOOC. University professors, TED speakers, and notable educational theorists moderate these courses. You learn from the very best in our field! Topics range from Personal Learning Networks to Mobile Learning!
  • MIT Open Course Ware offers over 1900 free online courses in over 20 subjects. You can subscribe by RSS or get e-mail updates.
  • Stanford on iTunes- Download courses, faculty lectures, interviews, music and sports that will play on your iPod, iPad, iPhone, Mac or PC.
  • 17 Universities with free online courses- Find out how to access these free courses from some of the most respected universities in the world! This article also describes the experience of learning through these online classes.
  • 250 Free Online Courses- Find a list of several more free online courses from the top universities categorized by subject.
  • Edufire Free Live Online Classes- Register for free and have access to various topics such as using various web tools or learning a different language. You get a live tutor on a video.

Find several more professional development opportunities by clicking on the tabs of Mike Fisher’s Live Binder.


Try any of these professional development opportunities and blog about your experience. Blogging helps you reflect and decide how you can apply this learning to improve your instructional methods.

If you enjoyed this post, you may want to subscribe for FREE to receive regular updates!

What are your favorite ways to learn online? Did I miss any other great professional development opportunities?


  • Ingrid
    May 26, 2011 - 22:34 | Permalink

    Thank you! Love it. I’m always looking at something to do over the summer. Thanks

  • May 27, 2011 - 10:00 | Permalink

    I would like to add Integrating Technology for Active Lifelong Learning (IT4ALL) to the list. IT4ALL provides free online workshops on Moodle for Teachers (Orientation, Beginners, Intermediate, and Advanced), Professional Electronic Portfolios (PEP), WebQuests, Facilitating Online Classes, Grant Writings, TESOL, Integrating Technology and using Web 2.0 in the classroom.

  • May 27, 2011 - 10:05 | Permalink

    Great stuff here, Shelly! I’d also like to add that Edutopia will be presenting Free Summer PD to be launced in a few weeks.
    Also ASCD has launched their Free Summer Boot Camp
    I’m privileged to be the first webinar presenter for this exciting line-up!On Tuesday June 14th 3pm ET
    Thanks for all you do to keep us well informed!

  • May 27, 2011 - 11:34 | Permalink

    Hi Shelly – thanks SO much for sharing this wealth of resources. I also wanted to add an opportunity to the list. Registration is happening now at for an online arts integration professional development course this summer. Educators will walk away with a full portfolio and action plan for implementing an arts integration program at their individual school. Thanks, and have a great weekend!

  • JoAnn
    May 28, 2011 - 13:16 | Permalink

    Thanks so much for a great list of opportunities. Brain Pop will also be continuing with their free weekly webinars over the summer but still need to finalize.
    You are absolutely amazing!

  • May 30, 2011 - 00:14 | Permalink

    This post gave me so many ideas to make my summer productive and help me take my professional development to the next level. So many times I have things I want to do or learn but I don’t know where to start. Thanks Shelly!

  • ozge
    May 31, 2011 - 02:08 | Permalink

    Shelly, you have done a great job again! Thank you so much for gathering all these resources together!!I have already shared them with my colleagues and all of us will benefit from them. You are fabulous!!

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  • May 31, 2011 - 18:47 | Permalink

    Don’t forget about free and online professional development opportunities at the Language Acquisition Resource Center at SDSU :) Testing and Assessment / Social Media / Passage Rating

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  • June 2, 2011 - 13:55 | Permalink

    Please check out our site, Youth Change, Your Problem Student Problem-Solver. We have a staggering amount of resources for teaching troubled and problem kids. We have thousands of free interventions, video tutorials, free articles, free podcasts, free Problem Student Problem-Solver email magazine, workshops, distance learning, posters, books, ebooks, and much more. We’ll be providing webinars this summer for one of the groups you’ve listed, SimpleK12. We’d love to be listed on your site too. We’re at Please take a look at us. Thanks.

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  • June 8, 2011 - 13:38 | Permalink

    I really appreciate your professional approach. These are pieces of very useful information that will be of great use for me in future. Thanks for it.

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  • June 12, 2011 - 13:08 | Permalink

    A great web site with free online courses and diplomas is , some of the courses are for educators and school administrators.

  • June 13, 2011 - 11:29 | Permalink

    A great professional development opportunity not on your list is Fund for Teachers. 430 teachers from across the country created their OWN professional development and are using $5,000 individual and $10,000 team grants to pursue their global odysseys all summer. Check out their plans on We’re also tweeting teachers’ updates and posting their notes on our Facebook Fan page. The grant cycle for 2012 summer teacher grants opens on 10/1/11.

  • June 16, 2011 - 17:12 | Permalink

    This summer, take the opportunity to learn about Design Thinking, an exciting, project-based approach that teaches you how to help students develop a growth mindset so that they treat every experience — especially failures — as a learning opportunity.

    If you are new to design thinking, or have had a taste and want to deepen your knowledge, this high-energy, experiential workshop is for you. You will leave the workshop with a Fail Forward Toolkit filled with hands-on activities to bring Design Thinking to your practice as you begin a new school year. We believe that this workshop will forever change how you approach teaching.

    Design Thinking Studio at Woodside Priory
    Portola Valley, CA
    July 13 & 14
    Register at

    Camp Woo Hoo at Zeum
    San Francisco, CA
    July 18 & 19
    Register at

    Design Thinking Studio at The Ethel Walker School
    July 25-27
    Simsbury, CT
    Register at

    Become a design thinker- reframe failure- and learn how to build creative confidence in your students!

  • June 19, 2011 - 07:24 | Permalink

    Hi Shelley,

    Just posted a link to this on the TeachingEnglish facebook page if you’d like to check for comments.



  • June 20, 2011 - 07:19 | Permalink

    This is a wonderful resource. There is such a wide variety to choose from that I’m not sure where to begin!!

    I will be sure to share this with my colleagues. Looking forward to a productive summer!

    Thanks for sharing!

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  • July 7, 2011 - 13:35 | Permalink

    I am enjoying the University of Illinois EduMooc this summer. Anyone can join at any time: through August 19.

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