As educators, we constantly promote student learning and discovery. And as our students get closer to graduation, the conversation often shifts to the learning that happens beyond the classroom… to lifelong learning. This goes from corporate boardrooms to mechanic’s shops and from TED Talks to Netflix. With that drive for ongoing exploration in mind, it’s critical that teachers are also learners themselves. That’s why MindFuel believes in continuing professional development (PD), both for our team and for teachers in the community.

Over the past month, MindFuel has delivered PD sessions to STEM teachers in Alberta from rural and urban communities, as well as those delivering classes online.

  • At the third annual blendED symposium for blended and online learning in Alberta, we shared how our org blended learning platform weaves student competencies and design thinking into meaningful science projects for students.
  • At the recent Alberta Teachers’ Association (ATA) Science Council conference, Making Space for Science, we offered two sessions: one about design thinking concepts to support teachers exploring makerspaces and the other about engineering design. We also shared our ongoing research into how to better engage diverse students in physics.
  • To wrap up our month of conferences, thanks to the Calgary Regional Consortium, we hosted an in-depth, hands-on professional development session for teachers spanning early elementary to adult learning.

“With a mandate to help teachers teach and students learn, the professional development sessions we offer give educators tools and techniques they can take directly to the classroom,” said Caitlin Quarrington, MindFuel’s education manager. “Our presence at conferences and other events connects us to the issues that teachers are facing. It also helps us understand how we can best support them.”

Why do we believe in professional development? Effective PD leads to teachers who are competent, confident, and have the right skills and training needed for today’s classrooms.  Well-trained teachers create the best possible learning environment for their students. And with the many demands put on teachers – from classroom management to instruction, assessment, extracurricular activities, parent relations and professional cohorts – there is an ever-increasing need for teacher support. Without this support, teachers run the risk of developing ineffective practices for daily challenges.

We believe in encouraging students to explore real-world science and technology to inspire a lifelong appreciation for learning. To us, learning knows no age limit, and supporting teachers is just one small way we can foster lifelong learning in others. As a team, we are continually seeking out opportunities to grow and develop ourselves – and we are always excited to expand that conversation by participating in events with other educators.

Next up? We’ll take a break for the holidays, but kick off 2018 with Calgary City Teachers’ Convention and the Greater Edmonton Teachers’ Conference. See you there!