As I wait for the plane home now that ECOO 2013 is over, I’m thinking about teachers’ professional learning. I remembered and just reread Andrew Campbell‘s “Hacking Your Professional Development” and find his advice to be still awesome. Teachers should take control.
But I’m in a central role as an e-Learning Contact, so I am also that guy planning those eye-roll-inducing PD sessions. And I’d rather not do a bad job of the sessions I host, really. I’ve tried a few things to improve my work in this area:
- Provide a menu. If people can choose from a list of possibilities, perhaps they can get what they need.
- Inspire instead of train. I don’t find showing people technical details really helps them to persevere. Showing possibilities might.
- Share resources that are useful. If someone can use something right away, maybe they will.
But after hearing from Donna Fry about EdCamps, I keep thinking that there is a missing component: teachers should choose from everything, not just from a list. I don’t really know what everyone needs; it’s pretty arrogant to think I could even do a mediocre job of planning their learning for them with a bunch of formative work first. And I shouldn’t be the expert, but just one of the many resources people can reference.
I had someone ask me on Wednesday to explain how I configure something in the learning environment. I didn’t need to create a PowerPoint presentation first; in fact, I didn’t anticipate that anyone would ask me about it. We just got together and talked for a few minutes, and he walked away with a plan.
What would happen if a bunch of teachers got together in a room for half a day with these two instructions?:
- You can’t complain.
- You need to learn from each other.
(I don’t think all groups of teachers would need that first instruction, but some would.)
I think the learning would be tremendous. I know that every time I get together with other tech-minded educators, I’m inspired and motivated (and educated, really). Shouldn’t everyone have this opportunity? Let’s try this.