As I have been working with our “Learning Leader” group and implementing a blended PLC model, I have been watching and connecting with educators who have been doing things in a slightly different way in their classroom. To be honest, as the PD is being offered to participants over this 2011-2012 school year, I have been adapting and changing the model based on their needs. I am trying to understand the people I am working with and adapt our program to their needs. To plan any learning for an entire year shows how quickly we forget that people are our number one focus, not curriculum.
In our second session, I simply showed a couple of apps and shared this Dean Shareski video and had participants tweet and share thoughts, while I engaged with them online. The conversation did not blow me away, but it was a start for something that was totally new to most people. Trying to make the course participatory and have participants tap into the learning of people in the room, as well as the world, I was happy to see how they started to engage with one another and see how easy the connections were.
As this was something I had done with adults, I was happy to see one of the teachers in the program started to implement this same practice into his own Social Studies classroom. I was proud to see that Cam actually implemented this because of what we were doing in our own program. When I asked what he was doing, he responded with the following:
It was awesome to see Cam using and creating a Twitter hashtag for his classroom. Not only can they learn from one another and tap into the wisdom of the crowd, they also can start to develop and understand the importance of a positive digital footprint. There are so many benefits of this type of networked learning for our students.
As we look at what we want from our classrooms, I realize more and more that we need to model in our own professional development what we want our classrooms to look like. We cannot just lecture about how classrooms should look different, do the same thing with educators, and then look at our classrooms and wonder why nothing has changed. Explaining our why is still important, but educators do not only need to hear about different practices, they need to experience it themselves as learners.
We have to continue to look at models of professional development and our rhetoric between the ever-evolving classroom. If our PD looks the same, why would our classrooms be any different?