On Monday, August 4, 2014 educational leaders from around the United States will come together in Philadelphia for Edcamp Leadership (#edcampldr). It’s a wonderful opportunity for educational leaders to connect, collaborate and learn. Too often educational leaders preach to those in their charge about the value of professional development and the need for others to engage in it but they themselves do not do so. The opposite is true with Edcamp Leadership. Those who will attend are committed to the professional development of all educators, including themselves.

Here are 5 things all educational leaders should commit to when it comes to their own professional learning:

1. Be a role model with your own learn for those you lead. It is vital for all educators to stay current with professional development training. As educational leaders we can not promote its value if we don’t engage in the learning ourselves. By committing to being a role model for our own learning we set the example and demonstrate the value of professional development.

2. Be willing to try something new that you learned while expanding your own learning. What’s the purpose in attending professional development unless you are going to try something new? Too many times we go to professional development workshops and put the handouts in a pile that will eventually be recycled. Commit to taking something learned at a professional development training and try it in your classroom, school, or district. This helps us identify valuable professional development that is worth attending.

3. Encourage other educational leaders to engage in professional development that they would not traditionally attend. The days of large group lectures, overly slide focused PowerPoint presentations, and irrelevant professional development trainings are over. Learning opportunities similar to the Edcamp model are becoming more popular and more effective methods of learning for all educators. However, if you have never attended one then you may not “get the concept”. As an educational leader commit to taking a colleague to a professional development opportunity that has a structure or learning experience outside the comfort zone of your colleague. This is being collegial and may just open the door to new learning opportunities for that person.

4. Be an informal mentor to a tech phobic educational leader to help the educator learn the value of being a connected educator. If you are reading this post you get it; technology integration in education for learning and teaching is the present and the future. However, there is a large group of leaders who are either not using it or need some guidance on how to be more effective with the use of technology. Lend a hand, and mentor a colleague. We were once in the position of those who have yet to find value in this technology integration movement. Commit to being a resource and support for your colleague.

5. Be brave enough to submit a proposal to present at a local, state, or national conference. Then inspire the presenters. This sounds as if you will provide the learning but in reality you are doing that and learning yourself. All good presentations help the presenter learn too. But most of all, if you are committed to your own learning and the integration of technology, you will develop a presentation that engages the audience through the information you present and the technology you use. It’s a great way to demonstrate how far you have come as a learner with your own professional development.

Educational Leaders need to continue their professional development as much as the educators they lead. It’s vital to our profession and all of our professional growth. Commit to the five items above related to your own professional learning and let me know how it goes.

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