Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Eight Ways to Energize and Gamify Your Professional Development

We have all been there, sitting in those super boring professional developments or presentations that seem to drag on forever and you just pray for it to end. You may even look back on a professional development and cringe because you realize that YOU were that presenter! Whoops... guilty!

Luckily, it doesn't have to be this way! On September 28th, Ben Cogswell (@cogswell_ben) moderated #TOSAChat where the awesome Teachers On Special Assignment shared TONS of great ideas for ways to put the FUN in Professional Development! These are just eight of the awesome ideas shared! For the full #TOSAChat storify click here.

Eight Ways to Energize and Gamify Your PD from #TOSAChat

1. The TOSAs rocked the twitter chat with a fabulous list of recommended YouTube videos to get your audience energized and engaged. Ben Cogswell (@cogswell_ben) and Ari Flewelling (@EdTechAri) put together YouTube playlists from all of the awesome videos shared in #TOSAChat. 

2. Mandi Smith (@mandi_smithml) gave a shout out to the awesome that is the "unconference" style PD of an #edcamp. If you aren't familiar with edcamp this EdCamp 101 video gives you a brief introduction to what an edcamp looks like. You can learn how to host your own edcamp and

3.  Who doesn't love a little friendly competition? Jessica Vannasdall (@mrsvannasdall) recommended using Kahoot (@getkahoot) to bring some fun to your professional development. If you have ever done a Kahoot with a group of educators you know how competitive they can be! If you haven't yet tried out Kahoot you can learn more about how to create and play Kahoot here. An energizing Kahoot at the end of the PD gives your participants a fun way to show what they learned (bonus points for you if you give our PRIZES)! Check out Matt Miller's (@jmattmiller) post 10 Ways to Electrify Class with Kahoot!

4.  GAFE Guru Josh Harris (@EdTechSpec) shared the idea to make it easy for your Google Apps For Edu PD participants to play around with an example Doc, Sheet or Slides by using the "force-copy" trick. Alice Keeler shows you how in this awesome blog post. Also Check out the 51 Gafe Gurus to Follow, Josh is #7!

5. Creating a Hyperdoc for your PD lets you keep all the resources you are providing in ONE place is another great idea shared by Mandi Smith (@mandi_smithml). Check out this Hyperdoc Mandi created for a professional development she ran this past summer. Hyperdocs were created by Lisa Highfill (@lhighfill), Kelly Hilton (@kellyihilton) and Sarah Landis' (@sarahlandis). Visit @TsGiveTs for more examples.

6. Crowdsourcing is a fantastic way to encourage participants to share their awesome during or even after your professional development. Scott Padway (@ScottPadway) shared the idea to use Padlet (@padlet) to give participants the opportunity to share photos or links at the end of a PD session. Also check out this crowdsourced Google Slides presentation created by Alice Keeler (@alicekeeler) and Hans Tullmann (@htullmann). Matt Miller (@jmattmiller) used this Google Sheet to crowdsource ideas from his Sharing Is Caring session at #ISTE2015. Even educators (like me!) who were #NotAtISTE15 were able to participate!

7. Kelly Martin (@kmartintahoe) gamifies her PD sessions with ThingLink (@thinglink), a way to create content by adding links to photos and videos, and Canva (@canva), a graphic design program. Check out Kelly's AWESOME Google Drive Gameboard!  To add extra incentive you can level up the gamification with badges! Alice Keeler shows you how with this easy to use template.

8. S Kong (@SKong81) shared that the amazing Ari Flewelling (@EdTechAri) and @CarynMcLRUSD will be holding a PD that includes a Breakout EDU (@breakoutedu). Visit to find out how you can order a kit that includes locks, hidden contraptions, timers, keys, and other “diversion hardware” that can be used to play the have your own Breakout challenges!

#TOSAChat was started by Ben Cogswell (@Cogswell_ben), Joe Young (@Jyoung1219), Kelly Martin (@kmartintahoe) and myself as a way for Teachers On Special Assignment to connect, share and grow together. Check out to view past chats storify links and upcoming questions. You can join us at 8PM PST on Monday nights.