Online professional learning: Punch above your weight

Butterfly flying free from cupped handsHere’s a story:

Sally is a primary teacher, who has had some exciting shifts in the way two of her students are learning to read. She rushes down the corridor to tell a colleague in the staffroom. Her colleague listens, is pleased for Sally, and spends a few minutes reflecting with her on both of their classrooms and how they teach literacy. Occasionally they return to the conversation over the following weeks. The end.

I use this as the start of an activity in the sessions I am running throughout this year on how blended/online approaches to professional learning can change the ending of this story. Sally’s story is the ‘BC’ version (before connectivity), although I know that it is still the norm in many schools.

I have been exploring why and how the social web, when it’s used strategically by educators, can make Sally’s story go further so, as a group, we can:

  • build a shared articulation of practice
  • make visible for others our reflective inquiries around ‘what works’
  • create spaces for a collaborative approach to inquiry
  • offer opportunities for professionals to make connections with each other, using visible online networks
  • curate learning to build a lifelong digital portfolio, against which to reflect and discuss
  • create expression of our practice to enable comparisons with others, to clarify what the key stories of effectiveness look like.

I am facilitating these sessions as part of the CORE Education breakfast series throughout 2012, and also at the ULearn12 conference in October.

Meanwhile, here’s me giving an overview of this trend, created for the 10 trends series:

[Image source:  Beverly & Pack]

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