What they're saying about Powerful Learning Practice

We are willing to learn and evolve by listening closely to those who are participating with us.

Here are just a few of the awesome things we’ve heard about Powerful Learning Practice over the years.

This community thinks deeply about Problem Based Learning, student centered learning, making the shift to being a connected teacher and inquiry learning. There are lots of practical ideas that someone can take away and immediately apply in the classroom. In a similar way, there are posts and articles about how to start thinking about these topics, so if you don’t know anything, it’s a good place to get started.

Lastly there are such a variety of teachers, classrooms and types of schools represented, you can probably find someone who is very much like you and your classroom that is offering practical, tried in the classroom reports of how it went and what you can try.

Marsha Ratzel

NBCT, Leawood Middle School, Kansas

This is a thoughtful community with lots of people from around the world who are doing very cool things. Members are generous with their time to help new members of the community and are transparent about the work they do, so it’s easy for new members to get up to speed. I’ve broadened my perspective a great deal from my work with PLP and I continue to learn on a daily basis from PLP.

Steve Goldberg

Triangle Learning Community Middle School, North Carolina

PLP is a fantastic community of passionate learners. There is enormous support within the community, and a strong leadership through Sheryl, Will, and the community leaders. “PLPeeps” are there for one another through Twitter and other social media, providing information and encouragement for teachers attempting to shift their classrooms, long after they have completed the program. PLP truly “gets” learning communities, and fosters leadership in these communities. PLP also helps members understand how to bring 21st century skills to their classrooms and schools through guided action research projects. There is a reason it’s called POWERFUL Learning Practice!

Patti Grayson

Educator, Hampton Roads Academy, Virginia

Dedicated, passionate people-many are right where I am in the process of learning to infuse technology into the classroom using an ever-changing landscape of tools. Best Quote: It is no longer what you know, nor who you know but rather “Do you know what who you know knows? This learning community has been a lifeline to connect with others for meaningful discussions and practical information on blending pedagogy, knowledge,and technology . Thank you for starting this community!

Allison Robertson

Bryan ISD, Texas

PLP is an amazing community of educators that are committed to life-long learning. It is a place in which one can collaborate about a girth of topics about education. I am a better person for being a member of PLP. It has taught me that we are better when we lean on others and when we collaborate with others. In short, we are better educators when we connect educational dots with others from across the county or across the world.

Sister Geralyn Schmidt

Our Lady of Angels, Pennsylvania

The life of a Technology Coordinator can be a pretty lonely experience. I speak a language only a small number of people understand; few people want to buy what I’m selling. At least it seems so much of the time.

That’s why the Powerful Learning Practice has become so important to me both personally and professionally. Contrary to the popular myth that the internet has weakened social connections, I have found my professional family with the individuals I have met through this organization. I share, I learn, and I grow with with teachers from all over the world. This year my Year Two PLP Cohort is exploring Passion-based learning and it is having a real impact in our classrooms.

I’m grateful to the good people at the Powerful Learning Practice, especially Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach and Will Richardson, for providing me and others with the support and space to make this happen.

Renee Hawkins

Educator and Director of Instructional Technology, Garrison Forest School, Baltimore, Maryland

I participated in PLP community in 2011 in Victoria as part of the DEECD (Education department Victoria). I was a wonderful opportunity to build a community of like minded individuals and to network to develop and challenge ideas, understandings and approaches to how we can best engage and support learning in 2012. I met amazing people both face to face and during online workshops and was inspired to ’embrace change in my teaching practice’ and to promote problem based learning as the key to engage learners in our school.

Sheryl, Will and all the gang involved were supportive and really encouraged you to think deeply, asking questions that promoted thinking and problem solving at a deeper level. Our wrap up ‘show case’ day was fantastic. It was inspiring to see the growth and development of the community of PLPpeep’s across Victoria.

If you have a chance to get involved, I’d say, “Go for it!” I’m glad I did.

Trish Dower

Yuille Park Community College, Victoria

I am in my second year with this wonderful group.

Support, ideas, latest trends, a caring community of educators.

Sharon Raquet

St. Francis of Assisi, Pennsylvania

The benefits of being part of a global community and having so many dedicated educators who share ideas openly has inspired me to continue to grow as an educator. I am thankful for foresight of Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach and Will Richardson to create an online community that fosters lifelong learning.

Michele Redding

Fredericksburg Academy, Virginia

PLP has completely changed the way that I think about teaching me. Through the PLP network, I feel that I have grown as a teacher and the support has helped me to change my practices in the classroom in a way that enhances the learning of my students to be prepared for the world which they will enter.

Dana Livne

5th Grade Teacher in Maryland

…the experience shook me out of a comfortable position of being “The Teacher” and encouraged and cajoled me back into being “The Student.” PLP gave me a forum within which to stretch myself.  It gave me people to talk to along the way, to share confusions and frustrations as well as successes and joys. It allowed me to move slowly, step by step, out of one comfort zone into another, one where the colleagues I share and learn from circle the globe. As I live that, I can share it with my students and empower them for the world that will be their future.

Hadley Ferguson

Springside School, Pennsylvania

PLP expanded my understanding of using the internet and on-line tools exponentially. I have been doing workshops for helping small business professionals use on-line tools to build their business and get connected, but I was completely unaware of the tools for educators, in spite of going to every technology workshop that the college I worked for gave up to the time I left 4 years ago. I was stunned at what was newly available since that time. Thanks so much for getting me restarted!

Janet Ott

Science Program Coordinator, The Chinquapin School, Houston, TX

The Powerful Learning Practice celebration was an awesome event to attend. There was a buzz in the room and it was wonderful to see adults sharing their learning. The pride was so evident. The level of achievement was amazing. I am so encouraged to have witnessed the use of Web 2.0 tools in use in classrooms of western NY. Teachers and administrators took risks, stretched their minds and tapped into each others’ expertise and experience.

Carol Barber

Associate Superintendent for Planning, Chief Technology Officer, Erie 1 BOCES, Buffalo, NY

The PLP team has done a wonderful job drawing on theory, research, and evidence-based best practice and in creating a framework for professional development for educators. The guided tour provides a clear and coherent picture of what the network offers and how participants will participate. The timeline of the courses and the sequencing of the learning experiences enable participants to build capacity as well as trust, focus on authentic learning projects, and communicate and share work within and beyond the network. Thank you!

Mary Rearick

Professor, Eastern Michigan University

There are many different reasons why I am thankful to be part of the PLP community. As a PLPeep I have learned new tools that have allowed me to connect with educators throughout the country and the world. These connections helped me create a professional learning network that has taught me more than any professional development day or conference I have ever been a part of. Prior to being part of PLP I was not happy with the test-centered focus of my classroom and wanted to integrate technology more, but I wasn’t sure what to do to change things.

PLP taught me how to make effective changes in my classroom so I can meet the requirements of the tests I give and still provide my students with learning opportunities that will prepare them for their future experiences.

Becky Bair

Educator, Elizabethtown Area School District, Pennsylvania

The PLP professional development model is so smart: It allows teachers to be true learners again. In our PLP work, we encounter new information, skills and concepts related to how technology is contributing to the shift and shape of education. We are challenged to make sense of our roles in this shift, and we are encouraged to develop a community of connected colleagues with whom we wrestle with the questions of how we can best help students learn and thrive with their knowledge and skills in the 21st Century.

Christa Forster

Educator, The Kinkaid School, Texas

This is my second year in the PLP community. It has been one of the best PD opportunities that I’ve been involved with. It has given me the tools to lead our teachers and students in embracing 21st C learning tools and processes. While we have a long way to go and a lot still to learn, Sheryl and Will’s leadership, as well as many others who have taken leadership roles, has been phenomenal. They are credible and practical and they help make sense of paradigm shifts.

Patti Rodger

Educator, Lindale School, Saskatchewan

The PLP community pushes the boundaries. Actually, that’s not quite accurate. We, as individuals and as colleagues, are encouraged and supported to push our own boundaries – to become ‘natural’ learners similar to what we were like as children before formalized school. PLP is a community where we can follow our passions, engage in questioning our understandings of education and learning, challenge others and be challenged by ‘critical friends’. It encourages us to be transparent about our learning – our wonderings, frustrations, ahas, questions, ‘thinking aloud’, revelations, and classroom practice. The Powerful Learning Practice community is daunting in its wealth of information – both ‘stuff’ and people resources – but, in that way, it is not unlike the ‘real’ world. The real world is rich with complexity and we struggle all our lives to make sense within it. PLP is similar.

One learns to be in the community with ‘intention’, with purpose and passion. This allows ‘ideas to find us’ as Eleanor Duckworth might say. It’s not always comfortable – but then ‘cognitive & emotional dissonance’ are at the heart of learning. If you want to learn how to best meet the needs of students in this era, this differentiated environment affords the best opportunity I know.

Peter Skillen

21st Century Specialist, YMCA of Greater Toronto, Ontario

Being part of the PLP community has pushed my thinking and helped me to be more reflective about what I do in my classroom. I love the fact that it is a year-long experience and that it is job-embedded. Change does not happen overnight. The asynchronous/synchronous model of PLP allows those involved to learn at their own pace and at a time that works for them,while still bringing participants together to learn. I am a better teacher because of my involvement with these educators.

Kathy Cassidy

Educator, Westmount School, Saskatchewan

I am a year 2 PLP member and this is the best opportunity to learn how our students already and will continue to learn in the future. This community models how I want my classroom to look. Everyone participating – all moving forward with their learning – endless support – the permission to make mistakes and ask any question – time to slow down or move ahead as needed – all levels of expertise addressed- all effort celebrated! The perfect combination of self-directed and collaborative learning with endless resources to facilitate both.

Kathleen Tsakaris

Saint Bernadette of Lourdes, Pennsylvania

This is my second year as a member of the PLP community, and during these two years I have found myself on a learning adventure unlike any other. Through the course of the journey, I have grown as an educator in ways that I could never have envisioned, and I have met some of the most amazing people who stretch my thinking with each encounter. I am grateful for the journey because of where it has taken me and because of where I know it will lead me in the future. My outlook as a teacher and a learner has been forever strengthened because of my place in the PLP community.

Chris Shriver

Educator, Garrison Forest School, Maryland

Powerful Learning Practice is more than a company that provides professional development – it is a true learning community. Participants are encouraged to share their voices and ideas in collaborative spaces, the discussions in which challenge traditional thinking and help educators grow as professionals. Through appreciative inquiry, a network of critical friends, and action research, educators are pushed to shift their thinking about teaching and learning in 21st century schools, and they are supported in embarking on innovative endeavors in their classrooms and schools.

Last year, I participated in Year 1 of the program, and experienced with a team of my teachers how PLP challenged us to grow in so many ways. This year I continue to learn with Year 2 participants, where we are engaged in PBL work and continued reflective practice. I am also privileged enough to serve as a community leader for one of the cohorts, and contribute to PLP’s fantastic group blog – Voices from the Learning Revolution.

PLP is constantly looking to inspire its participants, challenge their assumptions, and support them through the change process. By putting the emphasis on teachers as learners, first and foremost, PLP helps strengthen the way in which learning organizations serve students.

Lyn Hilt

Principal, Brecknock Elementary, South Dakota

The PLP experience forced me to stretch and push my thinking out of my comfort zone. It encouraged me to think of ways to “push out” what we were doing in school with technology and connect with other schools and educators. PLP infused an incredible amount of energy into our PLP team and also into our school. We made great strides with working towards total integration of technology into all of our curriculum and it was the PLP experience that spurred us on.

Pat O'Donnell

Principal, St. Patrick's Elementary School, Malvern, PA

PLP was a chance to recapture my love for learning in a cerebrally challenging environment.

Scott Kemp

Teacher, Cameron Heights Collegiate Institute, Ontario, Canada

PLP was a very challenging experience. You not only got your feet wet a little, I felt you were challenged, inspired, and driven to the edge and then totally immersed.

Marie Williams

First Grade Teacher, Our Lady of the Angels School, Columbia, PA

I am a better teacher, learner, and person because of what I was empowered to do this year. I became a true leader in a role I feel I was born to play and in my second year of teaching, no less. I realized that a young, motivated, passionate person has something to teach her colleagues no matter how much less teaching experience she has than they. I accomplished feats I never believed I’d overcome and led a team, in their time of need, to successfully begin and execute a dynamic action research project. And without PLP and your push back, championing, and teaching, the year would have looked much different-lacking color, passion, direction.

I feel I am truly part of a PLP family and that I have discovered my true mini-vocation within my main vocation of teaching–bringing 21st century technology and shifted thinking to teachers as learners as well as our students.  I am quite amazed at how clear this mission has become and how comfortable I feel in executing it.

Stephanie Bader

Educator, Saint Margaret Mary School, Pennsylvania

I am truly grateful to be part of the PLP community. It has been a huge source of encouragement and inspiration. Through the seminars and interactive community I have learned to completely shift my classroom from an overfocus on prescribed content, to a student-centred, project-based, tech embedded classroom. It’s been an incredible journey, and I’ve received a lot of support from PLP. My favourite part is that it’s provided job embedded PD, which has changed my classroom more than any conference.

Shelley Wright

Cornerstone Christian School, Saskatchewan

Powerful Learning Practice is such a game changer. The process of discovery that I have embarked upon will help all of my students in the future. I try to share more, connect more and challenge myself to be better because of this program. My energy and excitement about teaching is at an all time high and it’s not coming down. If you have the chance, try it! Make the chance, be the change you want to see in the world, because most likely they will be doing PLP too!

Darren Kools

Kenner CVI, Ontario

Without a doubt, this was the most life changing professional development experience of my 23+ years in teaching. I was fortunate enough to be a “fellow” for our district for three years. We have had over 40 of our district staff participate in PLP. This professional development embodies what we now know about professional learning: it must be job-embedded, long-term, community-driven, passion-based and leverage digital technologies to bridge the gaps of space and time.

Sheryl Nussbaum Beach and Will Richardson have their feet firmly planted in the 21st Century; their understanding and knowledge of good teaching practices, coupled with a deep understanding of networked learning and digital technologies is the basis for this compelling PD. All professional development should be based off the PLP model.

Cary Harrod

Forest Hills School, Ohio

PLP has pushed our independent school educators to think about professional development in ways that alight with 21st century values and ideas. The community continues to grow and we find invaluable resources in each other. If you’re just starting to develop your own online presence and looking for a place to team up with others like you as you navigate the web and strive to connect with a diverse group of educators, I recommend PLP.

Sheamus Burns

The Lawrenceville School, New Jersey

Members of the Powerful Learning Practice community, affectionately dubbed PLPeeps, collaborate together to effect systemic change in education. As learners first, they aspire for a more accomplished collective practice. From NE Ohio I’ve connected with educators in Australia where it was our tomorrow, with passionate teachers in Texas, in PA, in Ohio, in Kansas, in NY, and across Canada.

Their diverse perspectives have added a special synergy to our learning. Relationships, both personal and professional have become long lasting. The world has become a better place for the action research they have conducted and for the PBL units they have designed. My interactions with others in this community have had a profound impact on my life and my beliefs around learning.

Lani Ritter Hall

Director of Connected Coaching , Powerful Learning Practice

PLP has been an incredible growth experience for me. Here, I find people to bounce ideas off, to challenge the way I think, to push me to do more, go further, think deeper, try again and again and yes, again, to figure out the best way to help my colleagues and students and me make the shift to 21st century learning. I am not the same learner I was before I began this journey, and I know I have much farther to go.

Lisa Noble

Queen Mary School, Ontario

This community has helped me grow enormously. Whenever I need advice or an idea, I know I now have a huge group of wise and thoughtful educators to turn to. I also have learned from PLP how to work with students and teachers in ways that will help them grow as well. I don’t know what I would do without PLP and have a hard time imagining my professional life before my colleagues there came along. PLP is such an important resource for me — it is a key place where I learn and expect to learn for the rest of my professional life.

Susan Davis

Chinquapin Preparatory School, Texas

Powerful Learning Practice is all about learning and sharing. It is a learning environment where educators learn about the shifts taking place in how people learn. They learn how to work in a virtual space and share deep discussions. Also, they take part in Action Research that benefits them and their schools. Many teachers from my school who have gone through the Powerful Learning Practice program have changed their teaching practice for the better. Their kids are more engaged learners, and the teachers are happier in their practice.

Larry Kahn

The Kincaid School

I think your leadership was remarkable. You are both so credible and knowledgeable. While at first the problem based learning was mucky for me, I look back at it as a wonderful experience. I am so empowered by the experience.

Patti Rodger

Middle school teacher, Alberta, Canada

In my opinion, PLP has been the best PD experience in my career thus far. From this experience, I have learned that teaching isn’t just teaching, but learning as well. We can’t expect our students to develop amazing, innovative projects if we aren’t giving them the chance to do so. Also, with the constant changes around us, it is imperative that we open our eyes and those of our students in order to allow them to make the connections necessary for a strong future.

Danielle Cripe

Language Arts Teacher, Nagel Middle School, Ohio

The sky is the limit! If you are ready to launch your professional growth into the next century, buckle up and join PLP.

Rose Arnell

K-12 Gifted & Technology Specialist, Nagel Middle School, Cincinnati, OH

What drew me to PLP was the passion in the words Sheryl and Will used to describe the work they were doing. I had never heard of anything like this before, but it totally intrigued me as it felt part of that missing link in the work we are trying to do in education and professional development. Being an active participant in the PLP Canadian Cohort has provided me with relationships, PD, and a personal and professional understanding of teaching in the 21st Century. This experience has changed, moved, and inspired me to work on becoming the educator that our students need.

Margo Nygard

Learning Services Coordinator, Chinook's Edge School Division, Alberta, Canada

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