PD, Teachers and the Principal

Since the school year ended, I have been thinking a lot about professional development for my staff, specifically, how I can lead them in the growth of their own PLN.

I see the value of a PLN on a daily basis.  Subscribing in a reader, using Twitter, and reading blogs have been an incredible help to me over the last three years.  Now I wonder, “How can I help others create their own PLN’s?”  I did some work a while back with my staff, during after school sessions, but I did not achieve the results I had hoped for.  Many staff seem interested in developing a PLN, but time and other work commitments are significant factors.

During start-up for this school year I want to discuss technology planning with our staff in greater detail.  One element of this plan is creating their own PLN and I believe I can provide some leadership in this area.  Although I am not a true edtech teacher, I have learned and grown my PLN from the ground up and I hope this provides some comfort level for my staff as well.

Some benefits I hope to achieve with teachers developing their own PLN are:

  • Continuous PD.
  • Increased technological literacy – for them and the students.
  • Creating more global classrooms.
  • A common growth plan goal among staff.
  • Future leaders in technology.

The social media I believe are most important (to start with) are Google Reader, Twitter, Delicious and/or Diigo, and blogs.  If we can get teachers using these, I believe the basic framework will be in place.

In the months following, we can get together and add various social media to the list and continue to grow together.  I do not believe I should facilitate all new media.   Teachers could investigate one media and share with the group, hence they lead future sessions.

This plan is still in its infancy.  I welcome any input so I can make it better.

With technology so important in education today, this needs to be added directly to our Learning Improvement Plan.

    • georgecouros
    • July 21st, 2010

    Great post and really good to start thinking about this now to get the year off and running. I wrote a post on narrowing what we use so teachers get a strong basis but are also not overwhelmed: http://georgecouros.ca/blog/archives/768 You suggest a lot of the same tools that I have so it is great that it seems we are on track.

    Good luck with the upcoming year and great post!

    • Thx. George. I remember reading that post of yours now. I also have some other ideas and will post later. Thx. for commenting and all the referrals.

  1. Thanks for being such a great leader and envisioning what will be beneficial for your students and staff.

    Providing time for practice is ALWAYS important for teachers. As you mentioned, the time commitment is a big obstacle. I’m back in the classroom now, but spent 8 years in Prof Dev. The single most repeated comment I received on evaluations of PD was: “Great. Thanks for showing us how to do this. Now help us find the time to practice it more.” Providing short follow-up sessions will be very much appreciated, and will probably be more successful for you in the long term.

    I applaud your leadership- by the way, no such thing as a “true ed tech teacher.” We all are. 🙂

    • Thx. for the kind words Michelle. I believe one needs to be careful and not too be too forceful or exuberant with staff when implementing initiatives. I think if we concentrate some time now, it will pay dividends later.

      Thx. again for following and the comment!

    • murcha
    • July 24th, 2010

    As with all the previous commentees, I agree that your school is so lucky to have your leadership. Often the change starts from the bottom up and takes a long time to be achieved. I would also add that membership of a ning or other social networking site such as classroom2.0 is valuable. That site might be too large now, but teachers can also find an eager PLN by sharing in conversations there. There are many online PD sessions held now for any global members to participate in eg Classroom20 LIVE and membership of classroom20 alerts you to many of these events. It is little steps all the way and I like the way you have mapped out your goals.
    All the best with your planning and implementation. I also thank you for the comments on my post, “Teaching History in the 21st Century Classroom”. They were much appreciated.

  2. Just found your blog through Mr. Couros’s leadership feed in Google Reader. I really, really want to impress upon my staff this year the importance of professional networking. I will use some of the tools you mentioned, and I hope to get an Edmodo site for our building up and running, as well as continue to share resources via our wiki that’s in place. I will show my teachers all of the wonderful things I’ve learned from my amazing PLN! Have a wonderful 2010-2011 school year!

    • Thx. for the comment. I need to check out Edmondo and learn more about it. Take care and all the best this school year.

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