I am taking a course right now and I was challenged to think about what great PD would look like. This is where I landed...
Building on the success of Massive Online Open Courses, or MOOCs (OSSEMOOC is a great Ontario resource), I would like to see some sort of partially online workshop model. In my experience, many teachers cannot make it to after school or weekend learning sessions. Moreover, even learning that occurs during the day (like lunch-and-learns) are not always accessible because of commitment to students. This hybrid solution would roll out on LMS and CMS platforms (Google Classroom, D2L, Edsby, etc.). It would consists of short, accessible video tutorials for teachers. (Note: I have a Google Classroom I post in twice a week and teachers can enrol to get notifications or opportunities and tools. I also have a YouTube Channel whereon I post short videos about various tech tips. Both are well received but do not have the reach I would like.) Prior to any formal learning I like the notion of having “get up to speed” videos (Teaching 2.0) so everyone is aware of the ins and outs of technology used in the district. These videos, however, would need to be monitored or have links to e-mail/message “live” people so that questions could be posed while learning (to avoid the main criticism in the YouTube as Teacher Training Tool article). Webinars would be another model that could be employed using Adobe Connect or YouTube Live. My district does after school webinars (with Adobe Connect). Teachers can participate in real time or watch after the original air date. I think this sort of learning is beneficial to teachers as they have the option to participate in real time wherein they can ask questions or they can find a time that is convenient for them to watch after the fact. I also like the social aspect of this model - as Eric Westendorf, co-founder of LearnZillion, explained in Teachers without Borders, it is important to leverages the expertise of teachers to reduce isolation.
Commitment to Initiatives
I love the aspect about commitment from teachers of 2 years (like in the Teaching 2.0 article). I think committing to initiatives is very important for true learning to take place. With commitment would come release time (time, after all is a teacher’s currency) and a guarantee of others to collaborate with on the learning journey. Moreover, I think this model would empower all teachers as they would all have a voice in the meetings during release time. Furthermore, I would like to see all stakeholders have a say in what the release time days would look like in terms of learning, discussion, and next steps. (Perhaps a collaborative agenda?)
Involve the Students
I have always felt that a sure fire way to get teachers invested in learning is to involve students as teachers. (I equate it to walking by a lemonade stand and not buying a drink - few teachers have the strength). I love Jennie Magiera’s (Google Certified Innovator and Apple Distinguished Educator) use of Speed Dating to Learn Apps wherein students demonstrate apps to teachers in 3 minutes or less. I also love the Student Gurus/Genius Bar model wherein students act as experts and resources for teachers. I would love to find a way to implement this into my schools for learning, and into in-service learning for teachers.
Making Learning Visible
The last component my model would have is the publishing/sharing aspect. As mentioned in Teaching 2.0, the sharing does not need to be as formal as a peer reviewed journal. At a school level, implementing a Pineapple Chart would be a great beginning. Beyond that , I would like to see teachers present at workshops, district meetings, as well as sharing on blogs, Twitter and other forms of social networks. I am also toying with the idea of doing a #passthescope model wherein learner broadcast live from around the world on a common topic and each person is given a 15 minute time block before they pass off to another person for their insight. This is great for remote areas as it really makes learning global.