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Plan Your Summer Vacation Today!

Whatever your plans for the summer might be, chances are you'll pursue at least a few professional development opportunities. To help make your summer as productive -- and as pleasant -- as possible, we asked members of the Education World Tech Team to tell us about their favorite professional development activities. Included: Online and on-site courses and workshops that provide professional development opportunities for teachers.

What will you do during the upcoming summer vacation? Lie on the beach? Read that novel you've been dying to indulge in? Paint the porch? Write lesson plans for technology integration? Get a job?

Whatever your primary plans for the summer might be, chances are you'll also use the relative calm of the summer months to pursue at least a few professional development opportunities. To make those efforts as productive -- and as pleasant -- as possible, we asked members of the Education World Tech Team to tell us about their best professional development experiences. Their responses ran the gamut from graduate school classes to summer "camp" to online tutorials.

Surely, there's an idea here that will appeal to you!


"I have attended the Sally Ride Academy four times and will probably go again this summer," Mary Kreul told Education World. "The Academy is a week-long math, science, reading, and technology session (It often seems like a cool teacher camp!) that, along with the usual course work, includes a keynote speaker and a half-day trip to a local business."

What About You?

What do you plan to do during your summer vacation? E-mail texpert@ to share your favorite summertime activities.

"Sally Ride is one of 10 summer Academies held in Wisconsin and coordinated through WASDI (the Wisconsin Academy Staff Development Initiative)," Kreul added. "The academies are based on a model of teachers training teachers, with a focus on integrating technology into curriculum areas, especially science and math. I've taken courses in tech integration, tech ed, hands-on math, and WebQuests; all have provided me with teaching ideas, lessons, and strategies that I could use in my classroom come fall."

Other Tech Team members recommended their site-based professional development programs. They include

  • The Digital Media Academy. DMA, which will be held this summer at both the University of Texas at Austin and California's Stanford University, offers hands-on, project-based training in the use of digital media, including Flash, digital video, Web site design, game design, and more. Most week long courses cost $895; adult dorm rooms with meal plans start at $400 for the week.
  • Summer Courses for K-12 Teachers. The College of the Atlantic in Bar Harbor, Maine, offers a variety of field-based courses in life sciences and environmental studies. The one- and two-week courses include biological oceanography, field botany, geology, ornithology, forensics, and much more. Comprehensive course fees, which include tuition, housing, and meals, range from $680 for a one-week, two-credit class for a Maine resident to $1760 for a two-week, four-credit class for an out of state student.
  • New Jersey's Rutgers University offers a number of summer programs for teachers, including Instructional Workshops for Teachers and The Artist/Teacher Institute. Costs and credits vary.
  • CARLA Summer Institutes for Language Teachers. The Center for Advanced Research on Language Acquisition offers ten week-long institutes for second language teachers on such topics as immersion, assessments, and using technology in second language classes. The cost of each institute is $350; some scholarships are available for "teachers of less commonly taught languages." Participants earn 30 continuing professional education credits, and nine of the institutes offer two graduate-level credits at an additional cost. Housing is available at a variety of nightly rates.



Tech Team members also recommended four programs, available nationwide, that train teachers to use technology or to integrate it into their curricula. Any could be an excellent summer activity for the teachers in your district. Those programs are

  • FutureKids. This professional development product offers a variety of courses designed to train educators in the fundamentals of computer literacy, the application of technology in the workplace, curriculum integration, and classroom management with technology. Topics include operating systems, the Internet, multimedia and graphics, word processing, spreadsheets, desktop publishing, database, and more. Purchased courses, which provide pre-assessment, evaluation, electronic portfolio creation, handbooks, a final report, and graduate and CEU credits, can be held at your school or at another convenient site. Self-study guides also can be purchased.
  • Teach to the Future. Intel's Teach to the Future program is a free professional development program for K-12 inservice teachers and pre-service educators. In the program, which is available worldwide, Master Teachers receive training and then train their colleagues.
  • MarcoPolo Professional Development. The MarcoPolo Education Foundation offers technology training for teachers and trainers through group and individual sessions held at your site. Topics include technology integration, teacher training, lesson plan development, and more.
  • Microsoft Office Specialist Training Programs. Formerly called MOUS (Microsoft Office User Specialist), this program offers certification in a variety of Microsoft products; most also provide a single college credit. Prices, locations, programs, and times vary.


A number of online training opportunities are also available. Some that were recommended by Tech Team members include the following:

  • Concept to Classroom Workshops. This site "features a series of FREE, self-paced workshops covering a wide variety of hot topics in education. Some of the workshops are based in theory, some are based in methodology -- but all of the workshops include plenty of tips and strategies for making classrooms work."
  • UCLA Education Online. The UCLA Extension offers online programs in counseling, test preparation, advanced placement training, and online teaching for K-12 teachers.
  • Annenberg CPB. The Annenberg CPB Channel offers a variety of courses and workshops targeted to specific curricular areas and grade levels. Participation is free; video programs are broadcast on the Annenberg/CPB Channel and print guides are provided. Graduate credit is available for a reasonable cost.
  • The American Museum of Natural History provides educators at all levels with professional development opportunities designed to deepen their knowledge in various areas of science and social studies. Those opportunities take the form of internships, lectures, graduate courses, institutes, professional development days, viseo conferences, and more. In addition, the Museum's online Seminars on Science include classes for K-12 teachers in the life, earth, and physical sciences.


Or why not start -- or continue -- working toward a graduate degree at one of the growing number of online programs? Many colleges and universities now offer online graduate degree programs and it would be impossible to list all the good ones. So we have provided a list of some that our Tech Team members have heard good things about.


Not everyone wants to spend the summer in formal education programs, however. As Jennifer Wagner told Education World, "I spend a lot of my summer visiting places I don't have time to visit during the school year -- such as The George Lucas Foundation site, which is filled with great information. I also usually take a few classes at LVS Online, to keep up with my ongoing computer understanding.

"Mostly though," Wagner noted, "I spend the summer surfing -- the Internet way!"

Who Are They?

The Education World Tech Team includes more than 50 dedicated and knowledgeable educational-technology professionals who have volunteered to contribute to occasional articles that draw on their varied expertise and experience. The following Tech Team members contributed to this article:

* Mary Kreul, grade 4 teacher, Richards Elementary School, Whitefish Bay, Wisconsin Lori Sanborn, technology specialist, Rancho Las Positas School, Livermore, California

* Ernest Sinclair, training director, Texas Computer Education Association (TCEA), Austin, Texas

* Robin Smith, educational technology specialist, Hollidaysburg Area School District, Hollidaysburg, Pennsylvania

* Jennifer Wagner, computer coordinator, Crossroads Christian School, Corona, California


Article by Linda Starr
Education World®
Copyright © 2003 Education World


Updated 05/09/2006