By Clarence Fisher

First steps.

That is the way to describe what has been happening in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia cohort. A large group of educators gathers in this ning and many of them have very little experience using technology in classrooms. This is one reason that the PLP model is so powerful, it gives people at all skill levels the opportunity to spend time exploring and learning at a reasonable pace and not just as a “one – off” type of inservice.

In our ning we have seen voices emerge as leaders and people explore the societal shifts that are taking place; the shifts that are driving some of the changes we are now viewing as essential in education. This cohort has added many videos to explore, and dozens of bookmarks to look through. The individual schools have formed their own groups and are beginning to look inwards at the practices in their own buildings as well as outside to the shifts occurring in the larger world.

Some people have taken first steps into exploring the use of 2.0 tools in the classroom. We have teachers interested in ning, in blogging, in using Audacity to record students singing while others are looking into the educational uses of facebook and myspace. Many people are amazed at the ease of use that many of these tools have and how they can reach out beyond the walls of their classrooms to forge connections around the world. While these are still first and early steps, we have seen people working on some of the essential planning pieces that are needed before these changes in classroms can take place.

These changes can be difficult, but people have been willing to talk, to think and to consider what might work for them in their school and their classroom. Our expert voices will be joining us soon and our focus will move more directly on to our classrooms.

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Sheryl is the co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of Powerful Learning Practice. She works with schools and districts from around the world helping them to infuse technology into their curriculums and by leading other digital conversion efforts. Sheryl also consults with governments, educational organizations and non-profits in development of their various professional learning initiatives. Sheryl is a sought-after presenter at national and international events, speaking on topics related to digital and online learning, teacher and educational leadership, online community building, and other educational issues impacting children of poverty. Sheryl served on the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) Board of Directors for six years. She co-authored The Connected Educator: Learning and Leading in a Digital Age with Lani Ritter Hall. Sheryl has four children and four grandsons, Luke, Logan, Levi and Tanner and a trio of dachshunds. You can find out more on her blog and on Twitter @snbeach.

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