Professional Learning Communities for School Transformation. The role of the teacher is slowly but surely changing and with this come new challenges. Change becomes inevitable and processes for managing this and capitalising on the opportunities it brings becomes paramount within organisations. It is perhaps not surprising that educational institutions may evolve to become what are termed ‘Learning Organisations’ or ‘Professional Learning Communities’ within which there is a focus on the application of the principles of learning to manage change and explore new opportunities.
The formation of 'Professional Learning Communities’ what they look like, how they function and the purposes that the best serve was the focus of the Hawker Brownlow conference in Melbourne. The traditional model of a teacher in a classroom expertly meeting the needs of their students through a combination of personal passion and pedagogical craft is increasingly outdated and yet oddly persistent. By Nigel Coutts. How to Connect With Other Teachers in the Social Age.
In the 2012 Primary Sources Survey conducted by Scholastic and The Gates Foundation, teacher respondents claimed to spend only about 4% of each day collaborating with colleagues, while 44% of teachers surveyed responded that they would like that collaboration time to increase. Traditionally, the teaching profession has been an isolating one—if you’re not spending every minute at school teaching classes, tutoring during your breaks, or covering someone else’s class, then you’re likely spending that time disciplining, administrating testing, or scrambling to the microwave to reheat leftovers during your 15-minute lunch break. In addition, as state and district mandates swing from one end of the pendulum to the other, teachers are so completely overwhelmed with trying to follow all of the rules that they are left with no time to develop themselves and their practices.
Feeling isolated and crunched for time used to mean that teachers weren’t able to collaborate. In Short. Ten Step Program to Being Connected; or Getting Connected for Dummies. Sharing: A Responsibility of the Modern Educator. In a past post blog I discussed the idea that every educator has a story and that they should share those stories: Educators are doing amazing things with their learners in spite of the standards-based and accountability-driven movements. If all educators publicized the accomplishments they had in their classrooms using technology, hands-on activities, global collaborations, project-based learning; then an informal qualitative research project would result.
When educators are asked to provide evidence of efficacy to administrators, parents, other educators, funding sources, they could share these success stories. This aggregate would become the collective narrative – story of education of our times in the beginnings of the 21st century. Sharing takes on many forms. On a personal level, sharing assists the educator in becoming a better educator. The educator becomes a connected educator and through sharing, is an active participant and contributor to the connected educator movement. Top Tips for Using Social Media to Expand Your PLN. Developing a personal learning network (PLN) is a great thing to do and should be thought of as a requirement rather than a preference.
One of the best things about a PLN is that you can take advantage of it for many years to come. It involves creating a reciprocal network of people and resources that you can tap into to study or learn about a particular topic. Once you have developed a PLN, you can use it as a form of support for your career and personal endeavors. If you have found yourself in the middle of creating a PLN, make sure you don’t overlook the many ways in which social media can be of assistance. Here’s a closer look at a few tips for optimizing your PLN using various social media platforms. First You Have to Join In order to use social media to enhance the creation of your PLN, you’ll first need to join several platforms, especially Google+, Facebook, and Twitter. Don’t Overlook Communities and Groups Get Involved in Discussions Make Sure to Use Scoop.it The Takeaway. Learning professionally with Google+ Communities.
Google educator Kimberley Hall recently presented a full day workshop for School Library Assoc of Victoria. For some delegates it was a glimpse into the possibilities of the Google Apps for Education (GAFE) tool-base, for others it was an opportunity to enhance their existing knowledge with the leadership of a dynamic trainer. Educational institutions, from primary to secondary schools, through to universities, are now using GAFE, so skill in managing the range of tools such as Google Docs, Tables, Presentations and the indispensable Google Forms with confidence is essential.
The value lies in streamlining and managing workflows and documentation within the library, plus the ability to be a learning support resource for students. Ample support material is available online and Google for Education is a good place to start. The sites of trainers such as Kimberley, Chris Betcher and Jim Sill are just a few of the training sites bursting with tutorials and ideas. Being a Connected Educator: Face to Face. Being a connected educator means connecting with other teachers to exchange ideas, improve your teaching practice, and in turn, make a change in education. It is only through being connected that we can collaborate and help to foster learning for the 21st century and beyond. Learning should extend for teachers (and students!) Beyond the walls of a classroom and take outside perspectives into account. This can be done both through in-person experiences and online. Much of what is shared during Connected Educator Month is that of the online experiences, but it’s also important to remember the valuable relationships that we build face to face.
Although online connections allow us to reach people that we would never be able to reach otherwise, in-person conversations and collaboration encompass an important aspect of our humanity. The face to face relationships of a school community, which can be amplified through technology, are what make a lasting impression on both children and adults. Personal Learning Networks for Educators: 10 Tips - Getting Smart by Guest Author - edchat, EdTech, PLN. By Dr. Mark Wagner I often begin my workshop on personal learning networks (PLN) for educators by asking these questions: Who is in your learning network? Who do you learn from on a regular basis? Who do you turn to for your own professional development? Some educators are lucky enough to learn from their coworkers or colleagues at their site. I usually ask these questions at conferences, which are frequently only annual events – and rare treats for many educators.
Learning to Network and Networking to Learn 1. 2. 3. 4. Networking Tools and Anecdotes The four tips above are the core activities of building a personal learning network, and they can be applied using various tools to connect with others online. 5. 6. 7. 8. Final Thoughts These final two tips will help keep your initial frustrations in perspective, and help you avoid the temptation to focus on unimportant metrics as you grow your network. 9. 10.
Note: I’ve also been writing about this topic for some time. Three Easy Tips for Teachers on Twitter — Bright. By Rusul Alrubail It is often said that teaching is an isolated job. Sure, we might not feel this way while we’re teaching — after all, we’re surrounded by our students. The classroom noise, students’ laughter, and busy conversations often make us feel like we’re not alone. But what happens when class is over? Like Molly Robbins, Twitter for educators helped me see that teaching does not have to be an isolated job. Twitter is changing the way of professional development, teaching, and learning in education. Twitter chats: This is a great way to meet other educators and to discuss similar topics of interest. Twitter chats provide the pathway to building these connections, but they’re not what Twitter for educators is all about. Blogging: Tweeting is microblogging. 140-character thoughts on teaching, learning, and professional development.
By reading each other’s reflections of classroom practices, we learn from what works and what doesn’t. Teaching the Teachers, 140 Characters at a Time — Bright. Educators around the world are gathering on Twitter for professional development. What has the network done for your education career? By Molly Robbins The “Twitter-verse” has dramatically altered how 236 million social media users communicate, vent, consume real-time news, raise awareness of special causes, and — of course — pass on plenty of useless information. Twitter has been called a “digital soapbox” for politicians, and can create almost instantaneous demand for a new product. It has also been used, unfortunately, to damage reputations and self-esteem. But for millions of teachers like myself, the platform has become an irreplaceable force to strengthen our professional lives.
Educators are using the platform to share resources, interact with peers, and advocate for policy changes. A 2014 University of Southern California survey of Twitter-using educators showed that 77 percent of respondents used the tool to stay informed, while 66 percent share resources in their Tweets. Why build a Personal Learning Network? 'Inside the Black Box’ was written by Black and William in 1998 and in it they describe the classroom as a black box with inputs and outputs but what occurred inside was a mystery.
For many teachers the reality has been that what occurs in their classroom has been both private and isolating, a matter between the teacher and his or her students but a task largely tackled alone. But this isolationist view is, in the age of the social media and networking increasingly challenged and more and more teachers are finding their voice, sharing their ideas and gaining valuable insights from a global community of connected educators. Understanding the value of the collective knowledge teachers have is a critical step towards understanding the role of a Personal Learning Network. The flip side of access to this collective knowledge is understanding that you also have valuable knowledge to share. Time spent developing your Personal Learning Network is time well spent but it does take time.