Carrie Fruin, Program Manager for Capella University’s School of Education, has 25 years of experience teaching chemistry, physical science, and physics in K-12 classrooms.

Outside the classroom, she has been involved in developing online learning platforms, writing and evaluating state and national science curriculum, and creating large-scale professional development programs for teachers at all levels. She has presented at multiple conferences on integrating instructional technology and helped districts successfully launch digital initiatives.

Fruin recently published an article on EdSurge discussing how to use the summer months to gain professional development without sacrificing summer vacation.

Her suggestions include:

Go online. The internet is a teacher’s best friend. Professional development opportunities can be found via webinars from numerous organizations, including the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development and; Twitter education chats; or free online professional development courses.

Combine a vacation with an in-person conference or education session. Conferences and classes are offered all over the country by educational organizations such as the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning, or by technology companies that specialize in ed tech. Teachers can also pursue less formal development opportunities by seeking out local museums, history centers, nature centers, or state parks. The latter options are not only educational, but entertaining, and often inexpensive.

Listen, watch, and read. Use time on a road trip, or time spent on a morning run to learn by listening to podcasts. There are countless topics to choose from, including this series of TED Talks from inspiring teachers (you can download the TED app for your iPhone or Android by following these instructions). For times at the computer, there are also plenty of video and blog options, including veteran educator Tom Whitby’s blog My Island View. And let’s not forget an older form of technology that’s still highly viable: reading books. Here’s a list of books to get you started.


Teaching is a dynamic field that changes and grows. Keeping up your own education and development is critical for you to be able to provide the best education to your students. As a teacher, you definitely deserve some downtime in the summer, and it’s important to know that keeping current does not have to be drudgery. With some research and planning, you can get your education—and your summer vacation, too.

For more resources and ideas on how to continue your growth as a teacher, check out Capella’s free professional development courses. Follow Carrie on Twitter @cfruin