It seems weird to me that we spend so much time learning about learning. We constantly reflect on our teaching practices and make changes to adjust to the ever changing needs of our students. Then why do we rarely use the same methods that work on our students when we are developing teachers?
Research tells us about differentiated instruction, multiple intelligences, student-centered and inquiry based learning. We are all familiar with them in the context of our classrooms, but when you stop and think about it…how often do we use these techniques in teacher development in our schools or school divisions? I spend a lot of time thinking about integration of technology and using web 2.0 tools with the students in our school. I am not saying that I never think about how they can be used with teachers, because I do. Most often I am trying to help teachers learn technology so that they can use it with their students, not really so they can use it for their own professional benefit.
I recently did a presentation of developing adults for one of my courses. I tried to tie in some web 2.0 use for teacher development, but it was difficult to find research that had been done in this area. In the May edition of Educational Leadership there is an article entitled, “Professional Learning 2.0”, that discusses the use of web 2.0 tools for teacher learning. In the article they list 3 false assumptions about professional learning.
1. Passing information is enough– we see this often when administrators are sent to conferences and then are expected to come back and share information with staffs usually in a condensed time session. The staff is never given time to discuss or use the information.
2. Insight must come from the outside– we like to think that we need to leave our buildings to find experts, when really we are often surrounded by them right where we are. Teachers can be empowered by sharing what they do well with others.
3. Planning means learning– having a great plan does not mean that anything is learned.
The use of web 2.0 tools for collaboration and growth is inexpensive, readily available, probably takes less time and can be individualized for teacher’s needs. It is not the tools that are powerful, it is the connections and conversations that turn information into usable knowledge. Isn’t that what we want as teachers? We want to learn from each other and support each other in our quest to do what is best for our students. One great example of this is classroom 2.0. There is a never ending variety of professional learning groups collaborating together as well as never ending professional development opportunities to choose from.
Web 2.0 is not only for our students to grow in their learning-we can do it too and who knows what we will learn!
Just for fun!