Thursday, February 09, 2012

Professional Learning Redefined

At our school, we are going through a reflective process on what it means to redefine the way teaching and learning occur. That process is yielding some innovative yet research-based plans. So it occurred to me that we also need to redefine professional development. How often have those leading professional development sessions espoused active learning while lecturing to a group of educators? I dare say too often.

Then a serendipity occurred. I saw on a tweet where Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach was talking about her new book titled The Connected Educator: Learning and Leading in a Digital Age, co-authored by Lani Ritter Hall. I obtained a copy of the book and read it, marking it up from cover to cover. The book offers theoretical explanations for the assertions made but bridges to everyday life by providing application activities at the end of each chapter. This is not just another technology book however it encourages technology awareness through the activities provided. The book offers ideas such as unlearning and relearning. “Unlearning is necessary, although it is often difficult and painful because it involves grieving for what we leave behind.”p.49 It also goes through how to build a collaborative culture and connected learning community as well as the issues of sustainability and assessment.

There have been a lot of books recently that get at some of the points made in this book but none provides the bridging and scaffolding for the average classroom teacher that this book provides. I am recommending that all of the teachers from our school read The Connected Educator. I am sure that will be the start of some important conversations!