Definition personal professional development
Welcome to a two part post dedicated to facilitating 21st century skills through the development of professional learning communities for educators and students. In Part One you get… an introduction to definitions and processes for developing a learning community. Use it as a great handout for your professional development. All I ask is you provide a link to this blog. Part Two will include five simple steps with close to 50 links bringing you hundreds of valuable resources. It is a post you will not want to miss! First, please take a moment to subscribe by email or RSS to my 21centuryedtech Blog and also give me a follow on Twitter at mjgormans. Enjoy this post and get ready for all the learning community resources in the second post that will follow in a few days.! – Mike Gorman
Part 1: Connecting and Collaborating… In and Out of the Classroom
First, Learning Communities are not a new thing. Like the rest of the world, the educational landscape is greatly changing. With the advent of the internet and modern technology, classroom walls have disappeared as educators are able to make the world the new classroom. This new learning environment allows both educators and students to expand their learning connections and develop powerful learning communities that span the city, state, country, and globe.
Definition – Does it matter what we call these learning environments?
Some people wish to call these new learning environments PLN’s, for Professional Learning Networks. Others describe the PLN acronym as standing for Personal Learning Networks. You have may have even heard them called PLC’s, standing for Personal (or Professional) Learning Communities. It really doesn’t matter what you call them since they all have the same goal. It is the collective wisdom and support of a group of learners dedicated to professional and personal improvement that is at the core. Speaking of the core, it is this very concept that is promoted by the new Common Core. As stated in CCSS overview documents, the CCSS must allow students to:
“Prepare for and participate effectively in a range of conversations and collaborations with diverse partners …” and “Use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing and to interact and collaborate with others …”
As for teachers, it is imperative that educators share curriculum, effective instructional strategies, and assessment, in order for the school community to accomplish the goals of the common core.
How does a learning community benefit educators?
- It builds professional knowledge allowing educators to make meaning of work while providing best practice leading to student success.
- Learning communities are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and can be accessed from anywhere to everywhere.
- These learning communities remove educators from the isolation of their four walls and provide a supportive team rich in resources, reflection, and feedback.
- New resources, tools, methods, and research are constantly made available… many times within minutes of creation, production, or publication.
- They provide a way to promote and model life-long learning allowing for necessary transformation and change that has become a mandate in today’s education environment.