Professional Development

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4 Easy Technology Tips to Support Your Own PD

The National AfterSchool Association recently published "Reading is a Way to Learn."

The article shared that personal and professional development is not about luck. It also shared a quote from Charles Tremendous Jones:

"The only difference between who you are today and the person you will be in five years will come from the books you read and the people you associate with."

Let's talk about reading.

As afterschool professionals and leaders, we know reading is important in youth development—but how about in our own development? Strong professionals and leaders read to learn. This learning is critical and is one of the most powerful levers to build our knowledge and skills.

What can you read and how? Of course, there are books and magazines, in print and digital editions. There are eNewsletters and social media—which is still reading, but easier to absorb because it's chunked.

The real key is to make technology work for you:

  1. Set up Google alerts with topics you're interested in learning about.

  2. Set up email folders or use the Outlook app on your mobile device to separate them from other emails.

  3. Like and follow social media sites that interest you, so information automatically shows up in your feeds. Take it one step further by interacting with post authors and others who show a shared interest.

  4. Take advantage of audiobooks and podcasts—they're similar to reading but can be done in different settings.

Stay tuned for future articles with favorite podcasts of NAA members. Have ideas to share? Email

Contributed by Heidi Ham, NAA's VP of Programs and Strategy, Avid Reader and Listener (including audiobooks and podcasts).