Our PLP (Powerful Learning Practice) project last year was to develop a meaningful professional development program for faculty and staff that enriches teaching and learning.
Our program, called IP21 (Individual Plan for 21st Century Teaching and Learning), is in its second year of successful implementation!
The five characteristics of IP21 are:
– Embedded within subject-specific needs
– Focused on the TPACK framework
– Aligned with the NETS-T and NETS-A
– Grounded in a collaborative, inquiry-based approach
Over 120 faculty from three divisions: Lower School, Middle School and Upper School selected a minimum of three professional goals for the current school year.
Faculty acquired the competencies through instructional technology support or by self-learning using the resources compiled in the NETS-T wiki. Everybody has documented evidence that demonstrate acquisition and application of competencies in teaching and learning.
This is the link to our 2009-2010 project: Parish Episcopal School PLP Action Research Project
PLP YEAR TWO
Our PLP team read a very articulate posting by M.E. Steele-Pierce called ‘Unconference: Revolutionary professional learning‘ that got us thinking about adapting the idea of an unconference to design our own Professional Learning Day at school.
According to M.E., unconferences are part of the learning revolution. They’re participant-driven professional learning gatherings. The “un” refers specifically to the fact that there is no top-down organization, no registration fees, and no vendors. The unconference is organized and led by participants.
One of the best parts of an unconference like Edcamp is that it creates a level playing field for discussion. Since the attendees drive the conference and also serve as presenters, there is no hierarchy between presenters and attendees. Teachers can present in front of administrators, and administrators can engage teachers in dialogue, with both parties taking an active role in the discussions.
Our faculty has been very active throughout the year implementing innovative teaching strategies and creating engaging projects that fit their IP21 professional goals.These goals are not mandated by the administration but selected by each teacher. Giving ownership to teachers to design their professional growth makes these goals relevant and meaningful to our teaching practice.
So why not apply this same PD approach to designing our Professional Learning Day?
The focus of the PLP Year 2 teams has been on Project-Based Learning.
We decided to use a PBL approach to guide us through the process of design a Professional Learning Day that encourages teachers to facilitate and participate in conversations discussing their ideas and passions as they relate to their IP21 professional goals.
How can we engage our faculty and administrators in meaningful conversations about teaching and learning?
Our IP21 Edcamp needs to include the following traits of optimal Professional Learning:Relevant, Meaningful, Applicable, Adaptable, Differentiated, Enjoyable, Safe and Diverse
MAP THE PROJECT
This is how we created our action plan:
Take a closer look at how our plan developed:
IP21 Edcamp Action Plan and Process Management
Faculty will complete an online survey to reflect on their personal learning as a result of their participation in the IP21 Edcamp. The survey invites the teachers to relate:
– What they learned
-The impact of their learning on their teaching practices
It is our hope that all of our colleagues find value as they participate in conversations throughout the day.
IP21 Edcamp Reflection
Creating our agenda was the final task in our process. Our IP21 Edcamp day will include a Keynote, four sessions with 24 conversations, a lunch with a Pecha Kucha round and a Closing Remarks session.
Take a look at the final program here: IP21 Edcamp Agenda
So there you have it: Professional Learning 2011 Style!
Image Credits: Sunset on Boracay by wili_hybrid. Attribution-NonCommercial License
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I applaud you and your district for tapping into the expertise of the teachers in your district and providing a wide variety of opportunities for people to learn in a differentiated manner.
But you didn’t run an Edcamp.
Your PD day sounds like a great day of learning for all involved, and much better than the typical PD day most districts offer for their teachers, but it’s entirely too top-down to be truly participant-driven in the nature of an Edcamp. When you’re determining conversation strands, tapping facilitators before the event, and populating your sessions, you’re doing a lot of great things, but I’m not so sure you’re really running an unconference at that point, let alone an Edcamp.
I’ve revised your chart to better match a typical Edcamp. The organizers fulfill the role of securing the location and making sure the day runs smoothly, but they don’t seed any presentations other than the ones they decide to run themselves as participants.
I appreciate your comments very much and I agree that this is not an actual representation of what the original Edcamp looks like.
Our school is an independent K-12 school with over 120 teachers in two separate campuses. Unfortunately there is little time for collaboration especially among divisions.
Providing a structure for a professional learning day that brings together faculty and administrators from both campuses to exchange ideas about projects and teaching strategies was at the heart of the design of our project.
Quoting Lao Tze: “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” Let this attempt of a professional learning day led by teachers for teachers be our first step. We are hopeful that after a successful event we can have a real unconference in the near future!
I agree with both of the previous comments. It sounds like a great day of PD, but it does not sound like an EdCamp. I wish my school district would create PD days that are closer to what this is. Our district has a strict agenda for every meeting, and most people agree that the district PD is a waste of time. It would be interesting for your K-12 school to have a voluntary day of PD.
There’s room for both: individual autonomy and systems work.
I love the empowerment and energy of edcamps and the authentic learning that ensues. We’re looking forward to our next edcampCincy.
Still, healthy systems have shared goals, and planning a schoolwide or districtwide day around shared “conversation strands” lets us tap into the experts, experience, and credibility within the system.
Prediction: staff will love the participant-led sessions. I’m eager to hear how it turns out.