3 Unexpected Places for Summer Professional Development

3 Unexpected Places for Summer Professional Development - @DianaLRendina | Normally, educators tend to focus on conferences, books and formal trainings for their summer professional development. Read this to learn about three other unexpected places to get your learning on this summer

Like many educators, I’ve got a summer of learning ahead of me. I’ll be attending and presenting at ISTE, attending webinars, getting Microsoft Innovative Educator Certification, and more. I’m also spending a lot of time researching as I work on the book I’m writing with Colleen Graves and Aaron Graves. Most of these are pretty traditional ways to get summer professional development. But as I think back over the things I’ve learned over the past few years as I started my makerspace at Stewart, I’ve realized that a lot of my professional development came from less traditional sources. Here’s three unexpected places for you to seek summer professional development this year:


There’s all kinds of excellent museums out there, but my favorites are definitely art museums, science museums, and children’s museums. Many of these types of spaces have programs specifically geared toward educators. The Columbus Museum of Art has a Teaching for Creativity Summer Institute each year that offers an amazing immersive experience for educators. The Exploratorium in San Francisco holds many professional development trainings, including their Teacher Institute and Institute for Inquiry. They also host the Tinkering Fundamentals MOOC every summer. Even if you aren’t able to attend a formal professional development experience, just visiting museums can be a great way to look at how informal learning spaces teach students.

Local Makerspaces

Local makerspaces are amazing resources for summer professional development. Maybe you’ve always wanted to learn how to solder or program an Arduino. Check out the classes that your local makerspaces have to offer and grow your own maker skills.

Your Public Library

Your local public library has more to offer than just books. But of course, you already know that. :) Many public libraries offer classes on technology, and lots of them have makerspaces as well. Try taking a class on a new-to-you program. Also, public library systems often have connections to professional development experiences that might be available to you. My local system sometimes hosts guest speakers on various topics and invites local LIS students and media specialists to the events.

What is your favorite source for summer professional development?

Author: Diana Rendina

Diana Rendina, MLIS, is the media specialist at Tampa Preparatory, an independent 6-12 school. She was previously the media specialist at Stewart Middle Magnet School for seven years, where she founded their library makerspace. She is the creator of the blog RenovatedLearning.com & is also a monthly contributor to AASL Knowledge Quest. Diana is the winner of the 2016 ISTE Outstanding Young Educator Award, the 2015 ISTE Librarians Network Award, the 2015 AASL Frances Henne Award & the 2015 SLJ Build Something Bold Award. She is an international speaker on the Maker Movement and learning space design and has presented at conferences including AASL, FETC & ISTE. Diana co-authored Challenge-Based Learning in the School Library Makerspace and is the author of Reimagining Library Spaces: Transform Your Space on Any Budget.

Categories: Blog Topics, Professional Development

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2 replies

  1. Diana,
    What are you presenting at ISTE? I will be there and would love to see your presentation.

    Lynn Ratkey
    Media Specialist
    St. Pius X Catholic School

  2. Lynn, here’s where I’ll be presenting:
    Saturday, Mobile Megashare, 2-6
    Monday, ISTE Librarians Playground, 9-9:40
    Monday, Girls in STEM Snapshot panel, 4:15-5:15
    Tuesday, Amazon Maker Challenge, 10-12
    Wednesday, Knights of Make-a-lot Part 2, 10:15-11:15

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