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Will you take the Professional Learning challenge?

Posted by benpaddlejones on Tuesday, December 14th 2010 1 Comment

In your next professional learning event, ask a trusted colleague to be a passive observer and scale the session on the following matrix:
Accessing the knowledge
of the crowd

Only acknowledging the
knowledge of the presenter

Differentiated tasks
One size fits all tasks
Technology meaningfully
integrated into workshop

Technology turned off
by force

Participants actively engaging
in high order tasks

Participants passively absorbing
low order information

Extends prior knowledge
& builds individual capacity

Simplistic tools/scaffolds/
resources provided

If you are wondering why I think we should take this challenge, apply the above matrix to a recent Professional Learning event you have attended and then ask yourself these reflective questions:
1. Justify your position on the view teachers attend professional learning because they are empty vessels versus the view they attend because they have a range of skills, knowledge and experience that they wanting to build upon?
2. What is the effect of asking teachers to take 21st Century Learning seriously when we as Educational Leaders choose not to model it?
3. Describe why simplistic tools, scaffolds and resources that enable ‘just add water lessons’ or ‘door handle planning’ don’t build capacity or empower teachers to deliver sustainable change to their classrooms.
4. Do we as Educational Leaders model excellence or proliferate mediocrity?
How can we do Professional Learning Differently?
§ Run a TinyChat room for participants to discuss and share ideas during presentations.
§ Have an official twitter/yammer hashtag and actively engage internal/external experts to the discussion.
§ Have an official public DropBox for file sharing.
§ Participants collectively take notes in TitanPad.
§ Rather than Power Pointing teachers numb, crowd source the presentation by setting groups differentiated tasks with scaffolds to assemble the presentation in GoogleDocs then present it.
§ Rather than showing off lists of cool stuff on the web, give strategic groups a short list of tools, then allow time for them to explore the tools and report how they would use them in the classroom and what they need to do to prepare/learn to enable this.
§ Use Survey Monkey to gather background information on participant’s needs, wants and likes.
§ Do something totally different.
§ Have lots of unstructured time for discussion and sharing.
§ Run poster sessions to share practice and encourage professional dialogue.
§ Don’t skimp on the wireless.
§ Deliver a demonstration lesson with the teachers as students.
§ Use Poll Everywhere so teachers can interact and provide feedback to the presentation.
§ Have a second display of the back channel so everyone can see the discussion happening.
§ Run a session in a virtual world like JokaydiaGrid.

Learning in the classroom is not passive why should learning in the staffroom be?