life-long professional learning

Interestingly, I initially thought this project would be the easiest, because it didn't require "work", but I've found this entry the one I've procrastinated on the most.

I am continually involving myself in professional learning communities and working to further my knowledge of best practices in education. My degrees are in science, and I arrived at education from a roundabout way ("I had some pretty bad teachers, I bet I could do that better; and I'm graduating and its 2008, so marine ecology jobs are few and far between....I'll be a teacher! They're always in demand!"). Because I arrived at education as a career from an indirect path, I always felt like I needed to learn as much as I could, because I felt like I was probably at a disadvantage not having 4 years of education courses under my belt.

Currently, I work to further my knowledge in a few areas: Canvas LMS/Microsoft because we use both tools frequently, personalized learning because we are pushing in that direction at GAVS, and motivating/teaching teachers. We are also focusing on improving the executive functioning skills of our students at GAVS (and my own sons), so I gravitate to PL about executive functioning as well. Oh, and coaching! So, I guess I'm all over the place! 🤣

For Canvas and Microsoft, I've found webinars to be particularly helpful. GaETC, the Georgia Educational Technology Conference, has some great Microsoft sessions, and InstructureCon has some great Canvas sessions, although most of the sessions I attended this past summer at InstructureCon were tailored towards products that seemed REALLY useful, but I have no control over what we purchase in terms of software, so it was like looking at a toy store window.

For personalized learning, obviously this endorsement has been a great help. I've learned so much going through this program. We have also been attending these sessions offered through the GRE4T grant. While most sessions are geared towards face-to-face classrooms, I can still usually glean something relevant from these sessions. DLAC, a conference for digital learning schools, and GaETC also are including more and more sessions about personalized learning. DLAC is especially relevant to me because everyone at that conference is working to engage students virtually.

As part of GaETC this year, I've also been participating in a book study focused on The Innovator's Mindset by George Couros. He is the featured speaker and the book study is taking place through Facebook. I've found the format to be really interesting, as educators from all over the state are able to participate asynchronously when it is convenient for them. I was surprised to see how many folks I recognized in the group. This PL is great because we are learning how to motivate our teachers to be more innovative in their practice, but I'm also getting the opportunity to see how others lead a PL group and, especially important to remember, how life can make participating in PL difficult. This is important for me to remember, as I'm the one responsible for scheduling and implementing PL at our school. So, it's good for the teacher to be the student and gain that perspective.

I'm also frequently listening to podcasts in the car. While I typically use this time to listen to podcasts about neurodivergent learners (my children), there's so much that is widely applicable to all learners in these podcasts. Some of my favorites are the TILT Parenting Podcast and In It: Supporting Kids Who Learn and Think Differently. Debbie from TILT Parenting has interviewed several executive functioning coaches (Brendan Mahan and Seth Perler, in particular, who are absolute masters of their craft), which has proven tremendously helpful in my own classes, and the administrators of Davidson Academy Online, which was incredible - it was amazing to see what they were able to do as a public school program in terms of engaging their online learners. 🤯

My Favorite Episodes:

It seems that no matter what type of learning I'm doing - conference, book study, course, podcast, webinar, I can find a way to relate it back to my position at GAVS, slowly moving our own PL in a more personalized, inclusive, and, ultimately beneficial for students, direction.

It seems that I've come full-circle, a bit, because I have several presentations scheduled for this fall, sharing successful strategies we've adapted in our program to others through online or in-person conferences.


Couros, G. (2015). The Innovator's mindset: Empower Learning, unleash talent, and lead a culture of creativity. Dave Burgess Consulting, Inc.

Deborah, R. (n.d.). A podcast about parenting children with learning disabilities and more. TILT Parenting Podcast. Retrieved September 16, 2022, from

Digital Learning Annual Conference. DLAC. (n.d.). Retrieved September 16, 2022, from

Georgia Educational Technology Consortium: Advancing Education Through Technology. Georgia Educational Technology Consortium. (2020, November 30). Retrieved September 16, 2022, from

Home: Instructurecon. Instructure. (n.d.). Retrieved September 16, 2022, from

Morin, A., & Vierstra, G. (n.d.). In It Podcast. Retrieved September 16, 2022, from