On Monday, May 20 at 7pm Eastern, I’ll be a part of a panel talking about “The Potential of Open Resources for Your Classroom.” Hope you can join this and other V4T sessions and expand your professional learning!
Posts Tagged ‘professional development’
I recently helped put together a conference session about the law and filtering that involved a G+ hangout with a panel of remote guests. It took us a while to find the combination of things that worked the best with the room audio so I thought I’d jot some notes down on what worked while it’s still fresh in my mind.
First, we had two computers running, one that “owned” the G+ hangout and was projected for the group (computer A) and one that was for a panel participant/moderator (computer B).
The hangout was started on G+ on computer A. Everyone who was on the panel (including one person who was actually in the room) was invited to hangout.
Computer A was connected to large room speakers. The mic was kept muted.
The person on Computer B used headphones and a mic. When she wasn’t talking, she muted her mic. When she was talking, we muted the big room speakers connected to computer A. (This mostly eliminated the annoyance of her hearing herself echo back through the big speakers a second or so after she spoke.)
We initially had some feedback issues, but doing the above and turning down the speaker volume seemed to resolve it.
We also had another session in a different room watching the hangout and that worked fine as well. (In fact, when we got knocked off the wireless and couldn’t get back on, they were able to continue on without us.)
Below is the end result. (One thing I learned was that when a hangout ends on the initiator’s computer, it will go on with others, but the broadcast cuts off.) Thanks to everyone on our panel and in the audience that made this possible.
Don’t Try This at Home
The initial plan for the hour-long session was to ask people to start by sharing their experiences with peer learning, to share a bit of my thoughts about it, to show a few online tools that can facilitate peer learning (Twitter, P2PU), and then to spend the last 30 minutes on a live #connectedpd tweet chat about peer learning.
Here is the slide deck I planned to use.
I decided to sit out in the room instead of standing behind the presenter’s table, again to try to model a peer driven approach.
I started with my plan for the session and then asked everyone to share why they’d come and what they hoped to get out of it. (I also invited people to leave if the session wasn’t what they were expecting or if they didn’t think it would be useful to them. A couple did.)
When people shared their expectations and previous experiences with peer learning, they were predictably diverse. We talked a bit about PLCs and experiences with district-provided PD, and then a woman in the group said that she was starting a “teacher-led school” soon and wondered if we might talk about that.
My reactions were (a) how fascinating and (b) what a great way launching into this would be to model peer learning. There followed a spirited discussion of what a teacher-led school might look like, administrator roles, what systemic challenges schools have that may limit well-intended administrators, etc.
At some point, the woman expressed a concern that maybe we didn’t want to spend the whole session on this. There were indeed other things I’d planned to cover, but thought it was well worth diverging to experience this kind of peer learning firsthand.
As the scheduled time for the #connectedpd tweet chat approached, I suggested that we continue the conversation but move it to Twitter. I asked who had experience with Twitter and who didn’t and asked people to form small clusters to teach each other the basics of Twitter.
We jumped into the tweet chat with an unstructured format of small groups helping each other and me periodically giving some overall suggestions about how Twitter and tweet chats work.
It was a bit chaotic, but many meaningful conversations were going on. Much of that conversation continued to be verbal in the room, and we were trying to learn Twitter at the same time. At one point I said, “If we say these things on the tweet chat, we’ll also get the benefit of a whole lot more people talking with us.”
And man, was it fun! Afterward, I asked the participants – particularly those who had no previous experience with Twitter – if the format had worked for them. Most everyone said it was a valuable experience. Many of us connected on Twitter and agreed to stay in touch. Learning Twitter in the context of talking about peer learning seemed to bring a new level of meaning and authenticity. I suspect that more people than usual will come back to it after the conference.
At the end, I thought “this was kind of like an un-session!” And I would definitely do this again. I think that every time would be completely different.
I greatly appreciate everyone who took part and took the risk to participate in this experiment, including Claudia at #connectedpd. I hope you enjoyed it was much as I did.
Connected Educator month in August affected me deeply.
I consider myself “connected” — I’m on Twitter often; I use other social media tools to collaborate with others; I love online participatory learning. When I have a puzzling problem or a great discovery, I turn immediately to my PLN. Connected Educator month made me reflect on how important these connections are to me and to many others.
But perhaps more importantly, Connected Educator month made me realize what a great disadvantage teachers who are not connected face. I think this is becoming an equity issue for teachers. If you aren’t a part of a strong PLN, you simply don’t have the edge in your professional learning.
I think that professional organizations, state policymakers, and district and building leadership should be pushing this issue. Our teachers and our learners deserve it.
So the challenge for me has been thinking about how I can help more teachers get connected.
One thing I’m doing is helping coordinate a Teacher Boot Camp (hopefully, the first of many) with the specific aim of getting teachers connected. This day is for teachers who aren’t on Twitter, haven’t set up a collaborative Google Doc, don’t know what G+ is, and just haven’t gotten around to setting up a PLN.
This day will be in Portland, Oregon on February 27 and is a part of the NCCE “Make Your Future” summits.
If you know a teacher who might benefit from this, please let them know about it. (We’ve tried to keep the price low at $100 per person.)
And if you’d like to host an event like this in your own community, please do (either yourself or in conjunction with me or others)!
I think that getting more teachers actively connected is one of the most important things we can do.
I’ve been pretty vocal about my view of conferences in the past. They seem to me to be a less than optimal format of professional development, and I feel inauthentic standing up and lecturing (presenting) about not standing up and lecturing in the classroom. In short, I don’t think that most conferences model the kind of professional learning we are striving for.
Another issue I have with ed tech conferences in general is that I think “ed tech” as an isolated area has outlived it’s usefulness. It’s time for technology to be integrated with other instructional pursuits. Having separate staffing, budgets, etc. for technology does not serve our students, in my opinion. (Yes, I know there are other considerations.) That’s why you may have noticed that I’ve been participating in more curriculum conferences and fewer ed tech ones lately.
Still, I believe deeply in technology as a tool to further learning and know that much of that is moved ahead by the “ed tech” agenda.
So this year, I’m doing something about this and trying to broaden the conversation with some innovative new models for professional learning.
At NCCE 2013 in Portland, Oregon, I’m helping to coordinate the “Make Your Future” pre-conference summit on February 27. We’ll have five different summits focused on a full-day of reflection, collaboration, and hands-on time focused on topics of critical importance to educators of all types.
- Leadership summit
for superintendents, principals, and other school leaders
- Common Core summit
for curriculum coordinators
- Teacher-librarian summit
- IT summit
for information technology directors
- Teacher boot camp
for teachers who are not “connected” in terms of using social tools for their own professional learning
I hope that these summits begin to build bridges for district and school teams to have thoughtful conversations across the disciplines. I hope that the participants find value in an entire day in which they can think about issues that are important to them and spend time planning how they can affect change in their own districts when they return home. And I hope to see you there.
If you don’t know about the K12 Online conference, you should! This year’s conference starts today, but you can participate any time.
The K12 Online conference is a progressive professional learning opportunity to engage educators worldwide around 21st century learning. Participants can watch pre-recorded sessions any time they wish. This conference is asynchronous, free, and online and takes place from Oct 22-25 and Oct 29-Nov. 2 with a pre-conference keynote on October 15. The 2012 theme is “Learn, Share, Remix.”
This Wed., Oct. 24 at 9:00pm Eastern Time, the Teachers Teaching Teachers (TTT) podcast will feature a live discussion about the K12 Online Conference in general and the Visioning New Curriculum keynote that went live today. We hope you can join us for this event.
In addition, Peer 2 Peer University (P2PU) has an asynchronous discussion group to talk about all the K12 Online Conference videos, and we’d love to see you there as well!
On Nov. 2 at noon Eastern time, the #connectedpd Twitter chat will be having a discussion of K12 Online as well.
Oh, and my keynote on Visioning New Curriculum is posted here.
I hope you can participate in some of the activities around this fabulous learning opportunity!
August is Connected Educator month, and there are so many ways you can participate, whether you are already a “connected educator” or whether you are curious what all this is about!
Here is a calendar of events for the month.
This is a group we’ve set up at the P2PU School of Ed to talk about what it means to be a connected educator, as well as to explore topics like the first six weeks of school, Common Core standards, personalized learning, tech trends, and much more.
Below is a feed of what folks on the web are saying about Connected Educator month. And starting on August 1, this Twitter account will be featuring a day in the life of various connected educators.
We hope you’ll join us for some of these activities. Consider inviting a teacher who is new to being connected to join you as well to gain the benefits of being a part of the fabulous connected community!
image credit: Katherine Pangaro
This weekend I was a part of a panel presentation at NSBA called “New Opportunities Presented by the Common Core: Deeper Learning, Open Educational Resources, and Increases in Long-Term Student Success.”
Among the main points of this presentation were:
- The Common Core standards offer a unique opportunity for schools to examine the interconnected realms of standards, curriculum, assessment, and professional development, and hopefully, to improve learning.
- Common Core represents a significant change. If you think you have implemented Common Core and your classrooms don’t look substantially different than they did before, you haven’t really implemented Common Core. (Related points: Cross-walk documents and superficial alignments are not the best tools to realize the benefits of this change.)
- New assessments are coming in 2014. They too will be very different. We need to explore how students are being prepared for these assessments and, of course, for the real world.
I feel a certain amount of sadness that most educators seem to view Common Core as yet another worthless series of hoops they are being asked to jump through, rather than as an opportunity to do the kind of deeper learning that many of us feel is missing from classrooms.
One of my concerns about Common Core is that many districts seem to be implementing the new standards very quickly, possibly without considering all the opportunities and ramifications. New instructional materials are being purchased hastily. Professional development and planning is inadequate.
In the audience of school board members I spoke with, approximately two-thirds said that they have already implemented or are well into implementing these new standards. Many are doing this without being aware of the forthcoming new assessments and without thorough thought about related curriculum and instructional materials issues.
For example, at a time in which many districts are making large curriculum purchases, might it be a good time to think about digital content? New ways to involve teachers? Etc.
As we discussed these issues, there was a fair amount of discontent in the audience about the current state of assessment. Teachers are not afforded the professionalism to do what they know is best for students. Charter schools are often lauded without being held to the same standards. Deeper learning is not happening in many classrooms. Many new mandates are unfunded. There was plenty of unhappiness and blame to go around.
But perhaps it is time to put aside the blame and start doing some things that we all believe are best for our students.
This point in time might be the best opportunity in decades to look deeply at standards, curriculum, assessment, and the professional role of our teachers — it is simply too important to rush through or not do to the best of our abilities.
I have been excited about the potential of the Common Core standards. Fewer standards, deeper coverage, more higher order thinking skills and process orientation, better assessment — it all sounds like an improvement.
Yet, as I’ve seen the beginning of Common Core implementations, they don’t seem to be living up to that potential. And the outcry from teachers about the problems with Common Core have surprised me. They largely seem to view it as the millionth change imposed on them by the powers that be. “This too shall pass” is what I’m hearing. This passive resistance has surprised me because I saw Common Core as a part of the solution to the curriculum and assessment problems that everyone sees.
I talked to someone from an organization involved in Common Core who said “If a school is implementing Common Core, and it doesn’t look radically different from how it looked before, they aren’t really implementing the Common Core.” Again, what I see so far isn’t radically different curriculum or classroom practice.
So why the disconnect?
I think the answer lies in part in how schools are implementing the standards, which looks something like this:
- Look at a cross-walk of old standards to new standards.
- Identify major changes between grade levels and any additions.
- Layer that onto the old and proceed.
I think that process misses the spirit of the Common Core.
In business, we do something called zero-based budgeting. The idea is that instead taking last year’s plan and adding a bunch of incremental stuff to it, you start from zero. This forces a hard look at every decision and its relation to the overall mission.
What if a curriculum were designed from scratch using Common Core? I venture to say it would look quite a bit different than one taken from previous years with cross-walk items added. Probably a lot more like what those of us who were hopeful about Common Core were thinking. And what a wonderful opportunity for some collaborative professional exploration around standards unpacking and curriculum mapping.
Anyone doing this?
The P2PU School of Ed is happy to announce a new round of free, open-licensed professional learning groups for educators that will start March 5. These courses are available for sign-up now:
Student Grant Writing – A group for high school teachers and students interested in writing a grant to fund a local school project
Empower Your Personal Learning — Taking control of your personal learning is an important 21st century skill — for students and for educators. In this group, we’ll explore new ways to empower your own professional learning and how to get started.
Effective Use of Multimedia and Graphics — Participants will explore and apply techniques and strategies to foster deeper learning using multimedia and graphics.
Global Classroom Collaborations – Elementary — Elementary teachers from around the world will discuss, design, and establish collaborations between their classrooms.
Global Classroom Collaborations – Secondary — Secondary teachers from around the world will discuss, design, and establish collaborations between their classrooms.
School of Ed is about hands-on learning driven by each educator’s particular needs and classroom situations. It’s about connecting, collaborating, and creating, not just reading or studying. You can sign up for occasional updates on the School of Ed here.