I read a great post by Shelley Blake-Plock today on edSurge titled How to Move PD Forward. I think that the post was spot on in regards to what we need and what we don’t need in regards to Professional Development for educators.
As I read through the post, the following two thoughts kept going through my head:
- I have come to dislike the words Professional Development. Why can’t we just call it learning?
- I know this obvious, but the qualities that are prevalent in meaningful learning opportunities for adults are the same ones that are prevalent in meaningful learning opportunities for students. Why do we fail to see this so often?
Take the quote below from Shelley’s post and substitute the word learning in place of “professional development.”
“The point of professional development should be in helping human beings–who in this case happen to be educators–become more fully engaged and connected with their peers…”
Of course the irony here is that if we do not create this type of learning for our educators, then we will not see the necessary shifts that also need to take place in student learning.
As we enter a new calendar year, it is interesting to reflect on the changes we are seeing in regards to the impact of digital resources on the way we learn. One thing I feel strongly about is that as long as we look at digital learning as something extra or separate, we will not be where we need to be. The fact of the matter is that we need to put aside the debates about which technology is the right one for students to access (i.e. tablet vs. Chromebook) and embrace the idea that there is a rapidly expanding number of digital tools that can enhance learning when thoughtfully employed. In fact, knowing which resource to choose and when to utilize it is imperative for those who wish to be considered literate in the years ahead.
Students in the 21st century should have experience with and develop skills around technological tools used in the classroom and the world around them. Through this they will learn about technology and learn through technology. In addition, they must be able to select the most appropriate tools to address particular needs.
Unfortunately, the discussions on education in 2013 has been too focused on which technological devices schools are incorporating into their classrooms and less about how schools are rethinking education and creating more inquiry-based opportunities for students. Hopefully 2014 can focus less on the stuff and more on the substantive changes that are possible when we think about the opportunities that can be afforded all students if we begin to embrace the possibilities for differentiation to meet the needs of all students.
The video short below from Michael Horn, co-founder and Executive Director of Education at the Clayton Christensen Institute for Disruptive Innovation, makes some good points in regards to the past year and what we can expect in 2014. I hope that Horn’s predictions that we will see some interesting flex models that push the thinking on how schools use time, as well as, a bigger focus on competency-based learning instead of seat time ring true.
From Dr. Conti’s Blog:
We are excited to announce the start of our newest blog – Learning Everyday
This blog is modeled after Parkland School Division’s (Alberta, Canada) 184 Days of Learning Blog
and it is intended to show highlight some of the stories from the Burlington Public Schools for the 2012-2013 school year. Through this project we hope to share the voices of Burlington Public Schools and how we are a community of learners enjoying our journey together.