By Mary Worrell

Teams from the New Jersey PLP Cohort celebrated the culmination of a year’s worth of professional development last month with a project showcase.

Sarah Mendoza of the Carteret Public Schools team, an English teacher, said she found the PLP experience to be very enriching.

“I can speak for all of us – it was an eye-opener. One of the most memorable moments was when we were discussing effective use of technology in the classroom,” Mendoza said. “People operate under the notion that they know technology, but we realized we really don’t in many cases.

The Carteret team experimented with some of the things they were learning through PLP with a class wiki.

“We received lots of student participation – they weren’t hesitant at all – and they demonstrated higher order thinking skills,” Mendoza said. “They were actually learning and engaging in conversations on their own. We understood that when we let go a little bit of the traditional methods, students engage more in the learning.”

Scott Godshalk of the Quakertown Community School District found the expansion of his professional learning network to be one of the most beneficial perks of his PLP experience.

“Just being exposed to these conversations had the biggest impact on me,” Godshalk said. “I’m used to the conversations being within our four walls.”

The Quakertown team is launching their professional development project with something teachers are familiar – a professional booktalk – before moving into virtual conversations.

“I think a way of summarizing my shift is that I have always been one of those technology people,” Godshalk said. “But through PLP and the initial face-to-face, I had to sit back and say ‘good grief – I don’t know what they’re talking about.’ It has really expanded my thinking.”

The team at Hoptacong experienced a similar shift in their thinking.

“For me, PLP fostered a thought provoking question, namely what impact will Web 2.0 social networking tools have on instruction and learning?” said Joanne Mullane, curriculum supervisor.

Colin Wells said the process gave him “the tools to help broaden the spectrum in which [he] presents content to students.”

And Douglas From can better see the future of education.

“During this past school year, I was exposed to and at times felt bombarded by the massive explosion of how information is being shared in society,” From said. “As an educator, I will need to blend the traditional educational experience with new technology.”

Please visit each team’s wiki page to learn more about their projects.

Union City School District
Read about Union City Board of Education’s team project here.

Springfield Public Schools
Read about the Springfield team’s project here.

Quakertown Community School District
The team at Quakertown combined the familiarity of a professional book club with Web 2.0 professional development and documented their journey every step of the way. Read more about the project here.

Sayreville Public Schools
Read about Team Sayreville’s project here.

Jersey City Public Schools – Curriculum & Instruction
Read about the Curriculum & Instruction team of Jersey City’s project here.

Jersey City Public Schools – Special Education
Read about the Special Education team of Jersey City’s project here.

Pascack Valley Reg. H.S. District
The team at Pascack is developing an ongoing professional development plan that includes a number of Web 2.0 learning and communication elements. Read more about their project here.

Bound Brook School District
Read more about Bound Brook’s project here.

Vineland BOE
Read more about the Vineland BOE’s project here.

Keansburg School District
The team at Keansburg is developing a professional learning community for teachers, and ultimately students. Read more about their project here.

Kean University
Read about Kean University’s project here.

Perth Amboy (Middle Schools)
The team at Perth Amboy Middle developed a virtual learning community for students to communicate with Holocaust survivors and students from other schools that have visited the Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C. Read more about their project here.

Perth Amboy (High School)
Read about Perth Amboy High’s project here.

Long Branch School District
The team at Long Branch created a professional development wiki for educators to collaborate and share course content and ideas. Read more about their project here.

Carteret Public Schools
Read about the Carteret team’s project here.

Hopatcong Public Schools
The team at Hoptacong is addressing instruction and professional development through their project. Read more about it here.

State Leadership Team
Read about the State Leadership team’s project here.

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Mary Worrell

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