Impactful Professional Learning
Share the most important/impactful professional learning in which you have participated, so far.
How did it impact your practice moving forward?
My most impactful professional learning is that related to connected learning: interest-driven, shared-purpose, peer-supported, production-centered through an open network.
What does that mean? It means that I chose my path by connecting with those with a similar purpose in mutual support to learn together that which best fits our own needs.
I started with Classroom Live [started by Steve Hargadon] where I could learn about how to integrate technology in purposeful and thoughtful ways each Saturday morning. Expert teachers and others shared their processes via a Blackboard Eluminate web tool complete with an active chat that allowed members to discuss, interact, and connect beyond the webinar. It helped start me on my tech journey way back in 2009 — and those archives are still available. Sessions begin again in August. From blogging to curation to collaborative tools to digital citizenship– I learned so much from that one hour, and connected with fellow teachers to learn and share more.
Twitter kept us connected, sharing, and on top of issues and tools.
Next, I jumped into MOOCs: massive open online courses. But the ones I participated in were definitely open — allowing participants to dig deep or just lurk to learn. My most memorable, of which I still have “friends” of whom I care deeply: #etmooc [blog and community] from Alec Couros and #clmooc, a collaboration of the National Writing Project and Educator Innovator through our still active blog and Google Plus Community. In both of these, our shared purpose brought us together to learn, connect, create, and curate our work and learning. We played with tools, blogged our efforts [my etmooc and clmooc], and planned for our own application in the classroom. A fun way to learn tech. Click the communities to join: we’re always open.
Learning by doing reflected my own choice for classroom pedagogy: projects. So I also took the PBL course at Buck Institute. Google for Education [much from Classroom Live] and Google Certification helped me bring both projects and Google to our middle school.
As you can see, my own agency drove me to find the places, connections, and courses or communities so I could develop as a professional to best teach so my student could learn in a similar way — with their own agency using their choices and their voices and through collaborative projects that spanned the globe. This learning impacted my school, my students, and myself.
The important thing is agency: I owned what I needed and sought the learning that would best fit my classroom. That’s the best way to impact education and our profession.