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Professional Development Articles

June 30th Professional Development Deadline

Jun 20, 2017 jjamison

Hello Educators,

This is a reminder to register for COTA's Summer Institute by June 30th. Many of the sessions are starting to fill up.

Everyone should fill out an online self-directed pd form even if you are attending the summer institute (June 30th Deadline). There have been cases where unforeseen circumstances prevented teachers from attending their sessions. Having a back up plan is prudent. To help you decide what your plan is for next year, I've listed the themes and keynotes for our October 20th and February 23rd PD Days.

We have a call out for presenters at our October 20th Professional Development Day. Our theme is Health and Wellness.

If you are interested in presenting at this COTA Professional Development Day, please go to Call for Presenters and fill out the application form.

 Our Keynote is Dr. Shimi Kang.

Dr. Shimi Kang is an award-winning, Harvard-trained doctor, researcher, media expert, writer, and keynote speaker. She is the author of The Dolphin Parent: A Guide to Raising Healthy, Happy, and Self-Motivated Kids (Penguin Randomhouse 2014) and The Self Motivated Kid (Penguin Tarcher 2015). The Dolphin Parent is a #1 National Bestseller, won the 2015 US News International Book Award in Parenting and Family Category, has been translated and released in Germany, Russia, and China. Dr Kang’s articles and appearances on topics such as mental health, motivation, and optimal performance can be found in major media outlets including the Huffington Post, CBC, Washington Post,

Psychology Today, South China Morning Post and TIME Magazine.

The theme for our February 23rd Professional Development Day is Innovation and Inquiry. Our Keynote speakers are Will Richardson and Dr. Deborah MacNamara.

Will Richardson

My work around modern learning and schooling is driven by the intersection of three powerful experiences in my life. First, I’m a parent, currently the owner of two teenagers. My daughter Tess is 19; my son Tucker is 17 and is a senior in high school. Without question, I think harder about the world of learning and the future of work and education through my lens as a parent more than anything else.

Second, I also bring 22-years as a public school teacher and technology administrator to the conversation. Even though it’s been a decade since I was employed in a school, I understand the realities of change for teachers and leaders at every level.

Finally, I’ve been learning in online networks for the better part of two decades now, starting as a blogger way back in 2001. Back then, only a handful of us were thinking and writing about the new “Web 2.0” tools that have come to be called “social media” and their impacts on learning and classrooms. It’s been this lens that’s led me to rethink almost everything about schooling and education.

In these last 10 years, I’ve met thousands of educators, kids, parents, policy makers, board members, business people and many others during visits to over 15 countries around the world. I’ve written six books, and published in numerous newspapers, journals, and magazines, all of which continues to amaze both me and the 17-year old aspiring writer self that still lives within me. I’ve made countless friends, and been fortunate enough to have learned with some of the smartest most passionate people in the world.

We are at an inflection point for schools, and this moment generates a bevy of interesting questions: What is an education now that school is everywhere? Why don’t we do in schools what we know makes learning happen in real life? What is the role of school in a child’s life? What is the role of a teacher? What new skills, literacies, and dispositions are required to succeed in the networked, connected world of learning that our kids will live in? (See more about what I believe about schools and the modern world.)

What I feel I can offer right now is to help schools and educators make sense of what’s happening in terms of technology and learning, and to help them forge a path forward. It’s a fascinating, complex, powerful moment, and I feel really privileged to have worked and learned with so many others to try to make sense of it.

Here’s to the ongoing journey!


Dr. Deborah MacNamara is the author of the best selling book Rest, Play, Grow: Making Sense of Preschoolers (or anyone who acts like one), is on Faculty at the Neufeld Institute, and is the Director of Kid’s Best Bet, a Counselling and Family Resource Center. Her book Rest, Play, Grow has been translated into the Russian language with Italian, German, and Spanish translations currently underway.

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