I’m excited to be teaching a course in a few weeks for Wilkes University called “Sustaining Digital Literacy” as part of the new EDGE offering. Essentially this is a great way to quickly get yourself up to speed with emerging technologies.
The course I’m offering focuses on a few things:
Finding trusted people who are doing the heavy lifting of research and implementation
This is more than about a Personal Learning Network but a more focused look at how to find people who doing interesting work and sharing it in such a way that one can not only tap into their research but also view issues from multiple perspectives. Today’s challenge is the traditional research is often difficult to find. A shift to participating and observing action research that is less formal is critical. We can’t, and don’t need to wait till the white paper is published.
Understanding and valuing civil discourse
Civil discourse is something I’m highly cognizant about and when it works, it’s a powerful thing. Case in point this recent discussion on Google Glass. You don’t need to know much about Glass but you really get two distinct perspectives, some you may not have considered. You … Read the rest
“In a nutshell, connected learning is learning that is socially connected, interest-driven, and oriented towards educational and economic opportunity. Connected learning is when you’re pursuing knowledge and expertise around something you care deeply about, and you’re supported by friends and institutions who share and recognize this common passion or purpose.” Mimo Ito
We just finished the Discovery Educator Network’s Summer Institute aka DENSI 2013. I saw a number of people calling it “the best PD” they’d ever had. I kept thinking PD is not really the right term but it’s the closest thing we have. I guess we butcher our language all the time. Using the word “awesome” to describe a great sandwich as well as the beauty of a sunset. Or the word “love” to talk about our favorite app and the relationship we have with family. I get it, and I do it all the time as well. The problem is the words may not matter much among friends who understand what we mean but to share it with those not close to us sometimes the words fail miserably.
As a follow up to my previous post on learning, I’ll add this one to the list of things we’ve made more complicated than it ought to be. In a sense it’s much the same as Professional Development is obviously learning too but perhaps needs to have a little more light shed on it.
I was thinking back about 10 years. I attended a three day workshop with several of my colleagues in Prairie South in Portland with Dr. Rick Stiggins talking specifically about Assessment but also Professional Learning Communities. It was really the first time I had heard about the Dufour model and its impact on student learning. We left those workshops feeling very excited about both these ideas. As we thought about the PLC model I pushed very hard that we not tell people what their PLC’s should be centered around but rather let every teacher choose something they wanted to learn about. I then would take all the submissions and allow teachers to self select their groups. Of course lots of concerns were shared about logistics about how we would organize these groups and how would we know it was effective.
The sound is pretty raw. I recorded while walking the dog and there was a bit of wind. I used Audcaity's Noise Removal tool but I probably didn't use it correctly. It's useable but not great. Good thing it's only 7 minutes.
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What if school districts and school administrators trusted teachers to let them direct their own PD?
What if the ideas of personalized learning and students owning their learning was applied to teachers?
These are questions I ask as I wonder about the ways in which schools and districts attempt to support teacher growth. In the same way schools have a hard time empowering students to own their learning, districts struggle with letting teachers own theirs. I'm not aware of any district that truly embraces the notion of personalized learning. Districts all seem to feel the need or push to set goals for schools and teachers. They tend to standardized professional development and in many ways replicate the industrial models of school. The underlying desire for accountability is largely the barrier to trust.
What if their goal was to have teachers truly own their own learning?
There seems to be a strong disconnect with the emphasis on differentiated instruction in the classroom and differentiated professional learning for teachers. Some teachers will encourage teachers to seek their own learning but only after they do what they're told or mandated. I've had enough experience working at the district level to understand the … Read the rest