Spice Up Your Summer Professional Development and Training with TALENT

picture of the author, Kjersti Ulvestad by Kjersti Ulvestad, June 2nd 2017

Summer is fast approaching, with some schools already finished for the year. But teacher professional development activities don’t stop when the last student exits the building. If you are an educator working on training activities over the break, TALENT provides a myriad of ways to keep you moving forward. Summer is also a great time to re-engage with TALENT, to catch up on PD-related activities that sometimes fall by the wayside during a hectic school year. Here are just a few suggestions on how to use TALENT over the summer months.


Upload this year’s videos!

Since you took the time to make videos to showcase your practice within the classroom, now is a great time to upload those materials onto TALENT if you haven’t already done so. Keep in mind...summer is the season when smartphones and even iPads land in lakes and pools or at the bottom of soggy beach bags. Don’t take a chance on losing your valuable videos. Get them uploaded!  


Edit Your Videos Into Bite-Sized PD Clips
The most powerful and effective videos are usually the shortest ones. Make sure your videos focus on one topic or concentration. Instead of adding the entire lesson, clip the video down to 3-4 minutes ideally, or at most 15 minutes. Add time-synced comments, to highlight relevant parts of the video. Showcase these videos during summer PD sessions! To learn how to create a clip, check out our FAQ, How do I edit my video's length?


Curate your Exemplar Library Videos

The exemplar library is a powerful tool on TALENT that enables the sharing of best practice videos among colleagues, or throughout your network. But a school’s exemplar library only has value if there is content. You’ve uploaded and edited your videos, now be sure that they can be easily found and viewed by your colleagues. An exemplar library, if it’s to serve as a truly effective teacher professional development tool, must be well-organized and accessible. We recommend organizing videos into channels and sorting them by subject, focus and Common Core Domains when appropriate.


Use TALENT for Hiring And/Or Teacher Training

Sometimes hiring gets done in the summer. If that’s on your plate, then TALENT can help. Use TALENT to give candidates a glimpse inside your classrooms. Record their interviews and share them with other colleagues who will potentially be working with them, to gain feedback from all members of your team. Or, share videos and ask a candidate to give their thoughts, ideas and feedback on videos in your library. This is a  great way to test their understanding of what is working or not working in the classroom, and can help you gain valuable insight into their strengths and weaknesses.


Engage in Self-Reflection and Growth

You’ve been faithfully videotaping your practice all year long. Have you had the chance to review your videos, to reflect on your practice and pinpoint areas for improvement? Sometimes these activities are more feasible once the dust has settled on the school year. The pace slows down, and you have time to truly focus. “How were my interactions with students?” “How can I connect the teaching I’m seeing here with effective teaching practices?” “How successful was I in implementing new curriculum?” “Was I able to successfully engage struggling students?” The opportunities for self-reflection are endless, and summer provides some much-needed time for self-reflection.


Educate Yourself On How Talent Can Work For You This school year we launched Coaching Corner and a variety of new tools and functionality. Summer is an ideal time to get caught up on what’s new with TALENT, and determine how you can best use TALENT in your teacher professional development efforts.  We recommend you peruse the “Resources” section of our website, which has a number of materials that may be helpful. But if that’s not enough, we are more than happy to walk you through a TALENT demo, so you can become fully conversant in all the ways this powerful platform can help you achieve growth in your teaching practice. If you’re a current customer, reach out to your account manager or through the Contact Support button in TALENT. Or if you’re still thinking about TALENT, sign up for a demo today!

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