I love the easy access of virtual professional learning communities! I seem to end up checking them out while waiting in the car to pick up my kids, in the Dr's office and at other random times. The beauty and ease of online means that anytime access! I recently came across these benefits to being part of online professional learning communities.
One of the online groups I think is worth a look has definitely been around for a while. The virtual learning network has been going for quite a few years and has some great groups worth joining. One of the key groups that I follow in the Innovative Learning Environments group. Often great discussions taking place on these.
Of course Twitter is most people's "go to" virtual community. My hot tip, find someone you know who's awesome and see who they follow! Then stalk them! Easiest way to build up your network and if they're boring, you can always unfollow them!!
Using your online network to share your Teaching as Inquiry is a great way to get new ideas and support. Just make sure you participate as well. Don't just stalk!
Think about how you can connect with others professionally in 2017. Online communities are a great resource to access.
The fabulous team at Clarkville school were our hosts for the first MLE PLG for 2014. I was excited to return to Clarkville after my visit during my sabbatical term, to see how they were going on their journey using Modern Learning Practices. (Original blog post.)
Pene and her teaching team relayed their story so far:
Bells, homework, desks, students only learning in class, students as learners of facts, curriculum coverage.
Choice - students are self regulated learners, there is a high trust environment.
Connectedness - between the school, the community, the students and the teachers.
Culture - a culture that is focused on learning.
Consultation - student consultation team that provides authentic student voice, community in action (CIA) groups and workshops, relationships with early childhood providers and high schools, to develop transitions for students.
Authentic learning opportunities.
The development of a professional learning community.
Critical friends - seeking feedback from professionals such as Christian Long. ( Christian Long blog post)
A dynamic, responsive curriculum.
Student think tank.
All teachers teach all kids.
Clear data shift.
Enablers of a school wide culture shift:
A strong strategic plan owned by everyone.
Principal/ Board support.
Teaching as Inquiry.
Clear appointments process.
After this excellent introduction, some of the Clarkville students lead tours around the school. Teachers were able to spend time in each area of the school, talking with the students and teachers and seeing student work and learning environments. It was exciting to hear that some of the classrooms are going to be renovated and linked together, to enable collaborative teaching in a more open environment. The teachers and students are really excited for this next step to happen.
There were almost 100 registrations to attend this PLG and all around I could hear teachers discussing what they saw, chatting together and being inspired by new ideas. A huge thanks to the Clarkville staff and students for sharing their vision, hard work and innovations.
The first meeting of the Canterbury PLG for teachers interested in Modern Learning Environments and Collaborative Teaching, was held at Clearview Primary. There was a great turn out - in fact we had to cut off registrations, as we had reached well over one hundred people coming.
It kicked off with a presentation from James Petronelli, Clearview's principal. This was followed by presentations from myself and our Associate Principal, Angela Scott. We were fortunate to have Chris Bradbeer as a speaker also. He came down from Auckland, where he is Associate Principal at Stonefields School. Chris shared with us how the Auckland PLG got started and the kind of events they have held.
People then had the opportunity for small group discussion. We really wanted to get a feel for the needs of Canterbury schools. People identified opportunities, challenges, ways they could help other schools and support that they need.
We finished off with a tour of the spaces at Clearview Primary, which promoted much dialogue and discussion. Keep an eye out on the PLG blog for another event in Term 4.
My name is Ngaire Shepherd-Wills. This website is a record of my TeachNZ sabbatical, Term 2, 2013 and then I have continued to share my wonderings and discoveries about Innovative Learning Practices. I now work for CORE Education. Views are my own.