PDFlix: Providing ‘On Your Time’ PD Opportunities

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Screen Shot 2020-01-21 at 6.42.02 AMOk, yes…the sound of Netflix went through my mind as I started typing. Each year, Jess Gilcreast (High School librarian), and I think of creative and different ways to provide professional development for the staff that we work with. We have tried it all, or at least seems that way. Whether it is providing ‘learning at your own time’ opportunities through Google Classroom, in person trainings, or online book chats through Twitter. We strive to keep things ‘fresh’ and continuously push the limits.

This year, Gilcreast came across a Netflix Google Slide template. This template was created by John Meehan. We decided, to use the template and customize it to our needs. (Some of you might think, I could use this template for my students with a particular unit. Great! There is your aha.) Could we have just directed staff to our PD Google Classroom that is already in place? Sure. However, just as teachers are looking for ways to get students excited and interested about learning, we feel the same way with regards to trainings. Most everyone can relate to on demand tv and movie watching. So we decided to make that connection with our staff this year. Beyond just finding an awesome Google Slides template, we wanted to think differently with the type of training we wanted to provide our staff.


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PD Training Offerings

In our template, we provided required district-wide tech training, recorded staff presentations, and ‘on your time’ trainings created by Gilcreast and I. A wide range of training opportunities all in one place.

  • Two required district trainings were given at the beginning of the school year. However, not everyone was able to attend the trainings due to absences on the day or family emergencies. Those staff members who delivered the Data Privacy and Bullying training to staff in person, created a screencast to record the presentation.
  • Staff presentations: Last October, our district held its fourth annual ‘Future Ready’ Conference where staff provide trainings/deliver presentations to staff on an area of interest. We got smart this year and recorded eight different sessions. We all have expertise, we all have skills, we all have knowledge. As with any conference, people end up missing content that they would have been interested in attending but due to not being able to be in two places at once, end up missing it. Three of our videos highlight: Podcasting, Writing Letters of Recommendations and ESL “I wish my teachers knew…”. Weeks after the conference, Gilcreast and I watched the videos and created a work flow in Google slides to help highlight the important information. We did this for a couple of reasons. We didn’t want to waste peoples time. We used the feature in Google Slides where you can customize start and end times of a video. To learn more about this feature, click HERE. Below is an example of what we are talking about. Each slide shows a certain part of the full length 50 minute video.


  • On Your Own Trainings: Both Gilcreast and I have content we feel staff in our buildings could benefit from ranging from latest Google tips and tricks to database resources and ideas.  Staff are given instructions and resources to refer too to complete certain tasks.


Linking Assignments in Google Classroom

Gilcreast also taught me something new that I didn’t know you could do. As long as users have access to your Google Classroom already, you have the ability to provide a link to an assignment in Google Classroom so that it automatically opens up to that page. I never knew that you could do that. In the gif file below, you will notice that when I click on the PD opportunity “I wish my teacher knew…”, Google Classroom opens on another tab right to PD resource.


Want the ability to link to an assignment that is already in Google Classroom? Follow the steps below. Remember, users must already have access to your classroom in order for this to work.

  • Create assignment in Google Classroom
  • View the assignment
  • Select the ‘Instructions’ tab at the top of the screen (default when viewing assignment is ‘Student Work’ tab
  • Copy link at the top to this page. Past the link where ever you want users to access


If you have any questions about what was shared or you want to talk things through with me, you know where to find me. And that is my Spiel…

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