K-12 schools aren’t the only ones to benefit from the Powerful Learning Practice model, as Scott Schwister discovered. Scott, a program administrator and adjunct faculty member at Hamline University, led his team of teachers through the PLP journey last year. The “shift” began for many on the first day, he said.

“We had a perfect storm in terms of group,” he said, with members of the team coming from various departments and levels of experience. A curious, open-minded team, they were ready to “invest time” and “build common knowledge” as they organized a technology committee, which then worked to develop a school plan.

“Change happened that first day,” Scott said. Many professors experienced that “cognitive dissonance” PLP talks about, however the team worked through issues to come up with a meaningful project.

“We knew we wanted something that would ultimately result in a school development plan,” Scott said. They looked at a plan that would impact the school in terms of tech integration, but also tied into the field of teacher education. They focused on the language higher ed speaks: research.

“We are trying to pull together a research project that ends up being published,” he said. Using questions such as “why should we pay attention to this and does a PLN make a difference to teachers and students,” the team developed a framework for the research by the end of the year.

Though Scott had been in the “web 2.0 world” for sometime personally, he knew for his team, the value would also be in understanding how this world impacts K-12 education, the schools for which his university is preparing its students.

“I feel like with our group, schools of education occupy this unique spot. Sitting down with (K-12)teachers was fantastic and eye opening for our faculty who don’t get to see the people who are our students in that way,” he said.

For his team, the year was too short and the publication of the research is yet to come. However, the impact of the program is already being felt.

“It was powerful and transformative,” he said.

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Susan Carter Morgan

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