Professional Development is undergoing massive disruptive change as a result of the developing shift in thinking around teaching and learning which itself is something of a result of the broader shift brought about by the social media revolution.
Three developments in particular are important to watch.
1. Participant-created PD. Edcamp is the best example of the pendulum shift from edu-guru sage on a stage PD to professional development created for and by the people taking part in it. This is what self-directed learning looks like.
2. Data-validated PD. Hey school principals, how do you know if the PD your just spent your annual budget on actually had any effect on improving the quality and experience of your teachers? Services like Bloomboard and BrightBytes want to help you quantify that data. Watch what happens over the next few years as schools increasingly become data hubs — and not just for the student achievement data we expect, but hubs of data about all kinds of interactions with technology.
3. PD supported by social media. PD is increasingly happening in the informal realm. And no where online is the variety of informal learning more visible (and sharable) than through social media. We've seen this over the last few years with the rise of #edchat and its many inspired off-shoots. Next steps? Educators creating new social technologies. Check out eduClipper as a great example.
What will be the broader implications of a shift in the professional development of educators? While it is difficult to predict, it is more than likely that programs and technologies that address these three developments will succeed in influencing the future of teacher education, PD, and informal learning throughout the profession.