top of page

Virtual Professional Development

Many of Rick’s presentations are appropriate for webinars using Zoom, Microsoft TEAMS, GotoMeeting, GotoWebinar, Webex, and other platforms. Rick is comfortable customizing content and timing to meet your faculty’s needs. Options include session lengths of 60-90 minutes, two hours, half-day, full-day, and multi-day. A virtual, full-day seminar can be broken into two, half-day sessions or four, 90-minute sessions so that teachers have time in the rest of the day for instructing students or conversing about content. These full-day virtual sessions broken into smaller sessions are conducted for the same price as one full-day session, even though it’s spread over more days.


Sometimes, teachers have to play with ideas while working with students before forming helpful questions, so feel free to ask Rick to join your faculty virtually for a 1-2 hour follow-up, “Q and A,” session a later date following the initial presentation to help teachers and leaders clarify thinking. This follow-up session is provided for free.    


There’s no doubt that being in the room physically together adds energy to the professional development experience; humans are like that. When a national or international presenter is in your school, it builds momentum, elevates the conversation, and helps everyone maintain focus. Guest speakers and their ideas are humanized for faculty members when they visit, their ideas no longer abstractions from far away, the possibilities for local application blossom, and faculty connect personally.


Virtual trainings have advantages, though. First, schools cut out the speaker’s travel expenses, and with budgets already strained, this is a huge consideration.


Second, participants have direct access to the speaker. Auditorium keynotes, for example, can be antiseptic and frustrating, even when the guest speaker is physically present: He’s a distant figure on the stage; you may or may not be able to make out the text on the slides; the microphone echoes and crackles from time to time; you may be stuck in the middle of the row with no easy way out if needed; you are distracted by those sitting behind you having loud conversations; and rarely do you get a chance to talk one-on-one with the speaker about an individual question, as there are just too many people in the room and the lines to the bathrooms are oh so long.


In the virtual training experience, however, your own screen fills your visual focus and you control your own environment during the session. Heck, you can get up and exercise while participating, getting oxygen for mental focus to the brain. You are up close and personal with content, seeing every slide, hearing every word and piece of music clearly. You can ask public and private questions directly to the presenter, and you can see his/her/their face and body language vividly, helping you perceive their message clearly. In evaluations from past virtual presentations, participants repeatedly declared they were more interactive with each other and the presenter during the training, as they felt more comfortable sharing ideas and participating in the virtual space than they would have felt when being with everyone in a large room at the school.   


Preparing content for the virtual experience has forced presenters to reinvigorate their message, visuals, and style. It’s been a creative renaissance for many of them, me included, as we become even more mindful of the participant’s experience. We’re culling tired tropes, content, and stats while adding new technologies, improved aesthetics, and creative ways to engage each participant directly. The sessions are more dynamic, with presenters and participants encountering multiple moments of back-and-forth interaction not possible in an auditorium.


Another great advantage is that virtual trainings can be recorded easily without any extra video equipment or wiring. It can be paused for discussion; viewed multiple times to clarify thinking and revisit ideas in the months ahead; and shared with those unable to attend the live session or with future faculty members to get them up to speed - what a great resource for professional development for years to come!


Virtual trainings are also significantly more flexible for schools, too, as they are easier to schedule and easier on the body and mind of participants. For example, they can be recorded in advance, if the school is concerned about internet availability on the day of the professional development - ‘no worries, the speaker and his content are already in your hands via your laptop! And if there is inclement weather on the Professional Development day and schools are closed, it’s not a “down” day for teachers as they can still participate in the training from home.


There is simply less drain on the school funds, but a greater dexterity, and in most cases, more creative and focused experience for participants that comes with virtual professional development done well in short chunks, half-days, full-days, or multiple days. If you prefer in-person Professional Development, it might be helpful to consider initial, in-person training to establish connection among faculty and the presenter followed by several virtual trainings.


Topics that work particularly well for virtual professional development with Rick include:

  • Accurate/ethical grading

  • Assessment fundamentals and myth-busting

  • Formative/summative assessment

  • Re-learning/re-assessing

  • Summarization techniques for any subject

  • Metaphors and analogies for instructional use in any subject

  • Teaching young adolescent students

  • Cultivating tenacity, motivation, and self-discipline in Students

  • Minimizing cheating/copying/plagiarizing among students learning at home

  • Descriptive feedback principles and techniques

  • Differentiated instruction: principles and practices

  • Tiering assignments and assessments

  • 21st-century homework practices

  • Reflective coaching for teachers

  • Cultivating professional creativity in teachers

  • Cultivating intellect and professionalism among teachers

  • Shifting school culture for differentiated instruction

  • Shifting school culture for standards based grading

  • Being principled first, practical second

  • Emancipating English language learners in the regular classroom

  • Finding time to work with students

  • Getting to know our students so we can differentiate instruction

  • Practical cognitive science principles

  • Sponges and warm-up activities

  • Rubric design

  • Teaching gifted students

  • Building executive function skills in students

  • Vocabulary acquisition

  • Writing education articles/manuscripts for publication


As far as pricing goes, shorter virtual sessions cost less than longer ones, obviously. Consider how in-depth you’d like to dive into the principled and practical nature of the topic, and plan accordingly. Send Rick an email to inquire about pricing. Such an inquiry does not put you on any mailing list, nor does it obligate you to book time with Rick.

bottom of page