Online VS In-Person Professional Learning

I had the privilege of sharing a session last month called “The Future of Professional Learning” based on these previous blog posts. Admittedly I’m still parsing out in my own mind these thoughts and this session was an opportunity to clarify my own thinking but will continue to evolve.

I’m not typically a big graphics guy but created these two images that I believe help to identify what the specific benefits are of both online and in-person professional learning. While some might argue that this is true for all learning, I do believe there are some significant differences between adult/professional learning and learning as it pertains to school and children. First, adults are there most often by choice. While there is still some obligatory professional learning, adults have more choices than most children. Secondly, adult learning differs from development learning and finally and I think most often overlooked is in most professional learning settings, the opportunity to build and create community is difficult in that we aren’t together daily and in the case of many elementary students for entire days on end. This means relationships, which are the foundation for school learning, will not play the same role. Each … Read the rest

The Achievement Gap Will Grow

This post was last updated on April 9th, 2020 at 12:40 pm

I had some thoughts on it a while back but in the light of our world today and my most recent post I think it’s worth acknowledging further. While the recent post was intended to shed light on the opportunities that exist, I did address briefly the equity issue but wanted to expand a little on that idea.

I’ve never been a big fan of the term achievement when it comes to learning. It seems like a term that invokes competition and constant goal setting. Not that those can’t be useful perspectives but it makes learning sound like a mountain to climb rather than an environment to live in.

Equity has become an increasingly important conversation in education. Whether it’s economic, physical, racial, cognitive or other, education has equity problems. Physical classrooms and spaces can address some of these but now with all our students at home, the differences among our students are fully amplified. Classrooms and schools while certainly far from perfect do many things to give all students opportunities to learn and grow. Teachers in general work hard and have some influence in addressing gaps and … Read the rest

This Is The Time

This post was last updated on March 30th, 2020 at 07:48 pm

The spread of the Coronavirus is one of the most challenging things to happen to us as a society in a few generations, but it very well could turn out to be the best thing to happen to education in 100 years. While that’s a very difficult idea to process at the moment, looking ahead this could be a true turning point in education.

If you look back at education over the past 20, 30 or even 50 years there doesn’t seem to be any substantive shifts in the overall structures of learning, however, significant pressures on the system have become apparent: the pressures and ineffectiveness of standardized testing, the lack of relevance and boredom of students, the constraints of time, systemic inequities that negatively impact marginalized populations.  All of these things are being exposed today and recognized as major problems with our system. We’re constantly looking for examples that buck these trends and trying desperately in many cases to change education en mass. While to the greater public this is a relatively new discussion, I’ve been on this journey my whole life.

My life in education has … Read the rest