By: Dean Shareski

Unlike other cohorts, the El Paso PLP group is half done their year. They began in late February and will be working until December. Summer break represents a mid year break in their PLP work. In addition, this cohort is comprised of all elementary teachers and is using Digital Storytelling combined with a grant to fund not only the work of PLP but also to provide equipment for teachers.

Like every other cohort, the first few months represent a great deal of trust building, cognitive dissonance and simply coming to terms with the influx of new ideas and approaches to teaching and learning that is at the core work of PLP. I asked a few members to assess their journey to date and here’s what they said:

Richard Schluyer writes:

I’m struggling a little with the whole notion that everyone becomes your teacher. I’m not sure that the wisdom of the crowd is all its cracked up to be. I’m certainly aware of the huge benefits for the democratization of knowledge derived from the web but I don’t entirely trust the crowd. Maybe its the Ayn Rand I used to read in the 60’s.
Another aspect of this is the issue raise by your compatriot Marshall Macluhan of the medium being the message. This intrigues me even though, I must admit, I was never sure I understood all of what he was saying. I have been stimulated a lot by the ning site.

I’m grateful for people like Richard who is bringing his challenges to the table. While for many the ideas shared are fully embraced, we also encourage folks to challenge assumptions and use the NING for open and honest discussions.

Alfredo Chavez, who teachers kindergarten writes:

The biggest shift for me, is trusting the kinder students with the equipment. So many things, but by far is seeing the end result of their videos, it’s so exciting. One thing I discovered about myself is that, I truly like the process of the imovie.

Putting the power of technology into the hands of our students, even if they are 5 and 6 years old represents a big shift for many.

Bonita Fraire writes:

I am overwhelmed. The same thing that gets me excited, teachers willing to try technology, is exhausting. It is baby steps all the way.

I’m sure many PLPers have felt exactly this way.

And finally Beth Wells says:

The single biggest concept shift for me is looking down the line and seeing how assessments and perhaps even diplomas will have to change to meet the needs of a digital world. I can’t quite wrap my head around that.

You know what Beth? Neither can I.

I can’t wait to see what these folks will do in the fall.

PS. On a side note, I’m tickled to be able to keynote the localĀ TCEA podstock conference in early August. As a community leader being able to meet many of these people face to face will be a huge bonus to my work in the NING.

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Dean Shareski

Dean Shareski is an author, educator, speaker and coach. He taught K-8 for 15 years as well as 8 years as Technology Coordinator in Canada. He has supported the PLP network at various times over the past decade. He also served supported Community Engagement and Principals for Discovery Education throughout North America. He has over 12 years of experience in online instructional design and teaching. Working, teaching, learning and living online gives Dean a unique perspective at this moment in time.
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