Professional Development

Web Sites to Know

October 18, 2007 4 min read
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AllThingsPLC
As its name suggests, AllThingsPLC provides extensive resources, including research articles and implementation tools, for educators seeking information about professional learning communities. Along with data and information on existing school PLCs, the site includes presentations and blog entries by Rick DuFour, who is considered one of the leading experts on teacher learning communities.

Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development
ASCD is a nonprofit membership organization that develops and disseminates information on effective teaching and learning practices. The organization offers a number of professional development products, including online courses, multimedia inquiry kits, books and videos. The site also includes summaries and analyses of important teaching topics, such as differentiated instruction and performance assessment.

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Center for Comprehensive School Reform and Improvement
The CCSREI has developed a searchable database of more than 4,600 articles and abstracts on school reform and improvement. Other features include an “ask the expert” e-mail service for help with school-improvement strategies, and a collection of research and issue briefs on school best practices.

Curriculum Associates: Topics in Education
The curriculum and test-prep publisher Curriculum Associates hosts a free professional development site for teachers. Offerings include award-winning online course modules on key education topics, including differentiated instruction and integrating the curriculum, as well as podcasts on teacher-learning news and developments.

Education Reform Network
Edform.net, part of the National Institute for Community Innovations, collects “exemplary, free, and inexpensive professional development materials” on school-reform initiatives identified by networks of expert education communities. Topics include classroom instruction, classroom management, and data-driven reform.

Federal Resources for Educational Excellence
The government’s nicely designed education site compiles teaching and learning resources from dozens of federal agencies. Materials are available in core subjects and others, and include primary source materials, lesson activities, and professional development tutorials. Users can set up an RSS feed to receive regular updates of new resources on the site.

North Central Regional Education Laboratory: Professional Development Best Practices
As part of a “Pathways to School Improvement” series, NCREL provides analyses of critical issues in teacher professional development. Topics include creating time for professional development, rethinking teachers’ learning traits, effective use of technology, and evaluation of outcomes. Each discussion includes an overview, a list of goals and “action options,” as well as resource links and contacts.

National School Boards Association: Professional Development Tips
Part of NSBA’s “Education Leadership Toolkit,” this feature provides checklists for planning and evaluating professional development efforts, as well as guiding principles for effective teacher training.

National Staff Development Council
The NSDC is a national nonprofit organization that provides research and resources on professional development and student improvement. The NSDC’s site includes its official standards for staff developments, along with related discussion and links to supporting resources. The site also provides an extensive library of articles and reports on key issues in professional development, from staff-development basics to policy and advocacy.

SERVE Center: Tools Educator Quality
The SERVE Center, an education-research organization based at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, has developed models for professional learning, teacher research, and educator growth and assessment. The site includes links to tools and resources in these areas.

Teacher-to-Teacher Initiative
The U.S. Department of Education’s Teacher-to-Teacher Initiative is designed to provide instructional assistance and professional development opportunities to teachers at a time of heightened academic pressure. The site includes a schedule of workshops provided by the department’s officially sanctioned Teacher Training Corp, and e-mail updates of resources and activities. Perhaps most valuable are the archived presentations and handouts from previous workshops in core subjects.

Tapped In
An online-community service designed specifically for teachers, Tapped In allows educators to collaborate on learning projects, participate in or lead topical discussions and groups, and engage in one-to-one mentoring sessions. The site, which is modeled as a virtual campus, also hosts online courses offered by professional development providers. A calendar of events is provided.

Teacher Leaders Network
The Teacher Leaders Network, an initiative of the Center for Teaching Quality, is a professional community of accomplished educators dedicated to sharing ideas and expanding the influence of teachers. The group’s Web site includes blogs on instructional and teaching-policy issues, as well as excerpts from members’ daily e-mail discussions on current classroom topics.

The Teachers Network: Action Research Projects
The Teachers Network, a nonprofit effort to connect exemplary teachers, posts research studies conducted by classroom teachers on a variety of professional development and student-improvement initiatives. Issues addressed in current projects include teacher collaborative study, interdisciplinary team teaching, supporting new teachers, and the impact of NCLB on instruction.

—Anthony Rebora

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A version of this article appeared in the October 25, 2007 edition of Teacher PD Sourcebook as Web Sites to Know

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