Posts Tagged ‘ pln ’

Common Goals, Technology Advancement, and Staff Development.

I have been deliberating many things as we prepare for the start of the school year.  One of these items has been advancing the technological literacy of my staff.

With so much social media available, how does one prepare their staff to advance their technological skills commonly?  In many instances, teachers investigate technology on their own, developing a unique skill set.  What then happens is you have staff all over the map in terms of technological literacy.  Combine this with the technological change factor, and you have inconsistency in how technology is applied in classrooms.  School’s can plan specific PD sessions to develop the technology skills of teachers, but this can be very time-consuming.

I feel we need to develop our staff’s technology skills to a higher degree.  I believe my staff want to improve their literacy levels as well.  The best way to improve technology skills, I believe (at this time), is to develop a PLN.

If staff develop and use their own PLN, their technology skills and literacy can improve immensely.  They have for me. 

 So, how do we do this?  I think the plan may look like this:

1.  Use the tools available to us.  The school based PD session at the beginning of the year will be devoted to creating a PLN.  I have messed around with the idea of having a session before teachers officially return as well but that is to be determined.  If we did the latter, the school based time during start-up provides teachers with more time to investigate one or two areas of interest, read blogs, etc.

2.  Common PPGP goals regarding technology:  Each year our teachers need to state one or two personal/professional goals.  When reviewing these plans with staff,  I find most teachers have no problem stating one major area of focus.  However, a second goal (for some) is more difficult.  Probably, because their first goal is significant.   The principal can then help with the second goal.

So let’s take advantage of this opportunity.  Since most teachers want to increase their technology literacy, let’s use the PPGP to our advantage and have a common technology goal.  I am not saying we do everything EXACTLY.  Maybe our commonality is creating the PLN?  From there, teachers have more autonomy to delve into their personal and professional interest areas.  If we all have a PLN, the structure is created to improve technological  literacy from within.  Specialists may develop in certain areas, and that can help with staff PD in the future. 

If we create the framework for self-improvement with a common focus, teachers can use technology to a much higher degree in their classrooms.  I hope this would then develop into more specific, curriculum goals that will improve learning.

I suppose this is also why I wanted to do a session with our admin. group as well.   Help to develop peers and collaborate, then work to improve your school.

Let’s get started…

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.

PLN’s Work

Although my PLN is a relatively small group, they came through for me the other day.

I needed some info. on video sites, specifically, where students could access video besides YouTube.  My response came from one colleague but it was all the info. I needed.  It looks something like this:

  1. Dawn lettergirl

    @bircherd BBC site has video links

  2. Dawn lettergirl

    @bircherd BBC’s site looks especially excellent.

  3. Dawn lettergirl

    @bircherd Great links here for WWII:

  4. Dawn lettergirl

    @bircherd What age kids? Will look for a couple more

  5. Dawn lettergirl

    @bircherd Here you go: Great resource from PBS.

Thanks to lettergirl for her help as this saved me a ton of time and probably grief.  Students were able to use some sites and search video according to their topic.

My PLN although small does work.  I need to continue to blog and attract more followers/followees to my PLN.  Twitter proved its value here!  Information came to me instead of me searching.

How does your PLN help you?