Thursday, June 25, 2015

How to Organize Summer PD Sessions in a Free App

Educators don't stop learning or thinking about school just because it's summer. In fact, summer is a great time to grow professionally because of the fewer number of distractions and the constant feeling of needing to get something done for class.

Imagine yourself by the pool, and you pull out your smartphone and open an app to see what professional learning opportunities are upcoming at your school. You can also register for the sessions or listen to a podcast while enjoying your personal time during the summer.

This summer, I created an app for our teachers so that they could do just that! (I made the poster above using Canva, one of my new favorite digital tools.)

I used Yapp to create it, and it couldn't be easier. Here's what the app looks like when teachers download it:

(The actual link is on the poster for our teachers; 
I just didn't want to make it public on the blog.)

This is the first screen once the app opens. 

On this screen, teachers can touch the arrow that points to the right of each session, and they can read a short description as well as find out the teacher that is leading the session.

On the next screen, I included a link to the Google Form where the teachers can register for the PD sessions. (Note: Clicking the link will take you out of the app.)

The next screen is fun because participants can take pictures and upload them into the app for others to see. 

When teachers touch "More" at the bottom of the window, this is what they see. 

Where it reads "Message Board," everyone can type messages for others to see in a news feed. While I was out of town at a conference, I shared a picture from Bill Daggett's presentation about instructional rounds, which were an Innovative Best Practice. 

We have the Alabama Teacher of the Year, Jennifer Brown, coming to lead a PD session for our teachers on the instructional rounds program she leads at her school, so I thought it would be a great thing to share the above slide onto the Message Board.

Below the message board, you can see that I have uploaded 3 podcasts so far. I got the podcasts from the Educators Radio Channel on the Bam! Radio Network. Teachers can touch the arrow on the right of each podcast to read a description and click a link to take them to the podcast.   

Cool, huh?!!

How did we decide on the sessions we would offer? 

This summer, our school has three areas of focus for our professional learning (see above.) Before the school year was over, I sent a needs survey to the staff and asked them for their input. Most of our sessions are teacher-led, and the feedback so far has been wonderful. 

If you are interested in doing this in your school or district and need help, feel free to contact me.


  1. Very exciting venture, Jennifer. I am eager to hear the responses from your teachers.

  2. Hi, Carol. Our teachers really like having sessions that are led by their colleagues, and they also appreciate being able to access the schedule anytime, anywhere. Thanks for stopping by!