Don't wait for PD, learning opportunities are always available!

Last term, we surveyed 450 teachers from ACT Public Schools (you can see the questions we asked here).

One of the key themes that emerged from this survey was that teachers were keen to hear more about PD opportunities and resources around using ICT for teaching and learning. After the success of the recent Canberra Summit, it seems timely to tell you about some of the options available right now to learn from your peers and develop your skills.

Please check out the information below and feel free to share it with your colleagues.

Local Professional Learning and Networking
There are a number of opportunities that local teachers can tap into to make connections and learn more about using ICT in high-quality ways:

Google Apps in EDU 
This Google+ Community currently includes more than 700 members from all over the ACT. It provides a nice local context for the discussions and the resources that are shared. Content in a Google+ community is set out just like any other social media page, so it's easy to follow and an easy platform to use. To start using Google+, all teachers need to do is click the G+ link on their Digital Backpack page and follow the links to sign up.

Canberra GEG
The Canberra Google Educator Group is facilitated by some super-keen teachers from ACT Public Schools. They have their own G+ Community, and run regular PD and sharing sessions at various locations. If you're looking to learn some new GAFE skills or do some networking, it's worth attending a GEG session.

TeachMeets are another awesome way to get information and skills really quickly. The idea behind them is for teachers to present something in either 2 minutes, 5 minutes or 7 minutes. A TeachMeet was held last term at the HBCTL and more than 90 people showed up. There's another one scheduled this term. TeachMeets move quickly, but you can walk out of a TeachMeet with a bunch of ideas that you can use straight away.

Digital Schools Blog
The aim of the Digital Schools blog is to showcase good ICT practice in Canberra public schools. It's still in its early stages, but it's worth having a look to get ideas and find other excellent teachers to connect with.

What else is out there? 
There are many more online PLNs that extend past the ACT and are well worth exploring. Here are a list of a few that you might like to try:

EdTech Team Global Community
The EdTech Team facilitate Summits (like the recent Canberra one) worldwide, and have developed an extensive network of innovative and motivated educators. It's worth joining this community to keep up with what people both locally and internationally are doing with Google Apps for Education.

Twitter is one of the most popular networking platforms for teachers, used very effectively by millions across the world. There's even a Twitter account dedicated to teachers sharing their resources with other teachers.
If you haven't used Twitter before, it's worth having a look. To get started, here are 15 tips for getting up and running on Twitter. You might also like to check out some of the most common hash tags to see what other educators are Tweeting about.

The way that teachers do professional learning is changing, and connecting with other educators -both local and international - is going to be a significant part of how good ideas are shared.