Battle River School Division

Team Members: Debra Boyda, Karen Blumhagen, Sharon MacFadyen, Patrick McFeely, Ken Robitaille, Maureen Parker
Community: Canadian Year 1, 2010-2011

Our project is intended to support lead teachers in AISI schools to develop individual PLNs, integrate technology in their professional collaboration as an AISI group, and model digital learning as a strategy for building staff capacity at AISI schools.

Professionals need ways to collaborate that transcend space and time barriers; technology holds many possibiltiies for overcoming these barriers without compromising the quality of the experience. For all Alberta school divisions, AISI resources are significantly reduced for the coming school year, magnifying the need to innovate in our networking strategies. As well, lead teachers provide leadership and support for staff capacity relative to digital learning and citizenship.
We want to create a meaningful context in which teachers to learn skills that they can use as professionals and with students.

  1. ‪Supporting 20 Lead teachers from 25 schools build their PLN‬
  2. Building a robust network of professional learners with capacity to tweet, blog, flip, bookmark, digitize learning, and make collaborative docs (!) ‬

On February 28 and March 1, school teams from our entire school division contributed to a collective assessment of 21st century skills in our schools. Wow, the data was vivid! Our AISII Leads pre-survey RESULTS told us most were at a Beginning level (measured according to beginning, developing, achieving, excelling) in confidence and skill. Prior to our session with AISI Leads on April 28, we each prepared a Pecha Kucha presentation on 6 different topics. Each Pecha Kucha ended with a focus question that prompted participant discussion:

Maureen – Setting context for the day (What’s with the Ps–PLP, Pecha Kucha, PLN)

Ken – introduction to social bookmarking

Pat – introduction to Twitter

Deb – cameras and digital visuals in the classroom

Sharon – introduction to blogging

Karen – introduction to Google Docs

January to April 2011 – Data gathering and planning

Pre-survey Leads

Pre-survey Results April 28, 2011 – Implementation day (step 1)

May 27, 2011 – implementation support continues during face-to-face PD session

2011-12 school year – implementation support continues as AISI Leads build individual PLNs and we explore ways as a group to integrate technology in our collaboration practices.

Our lessons learned include:

  • This is not a one-shot PD experience. We will provide ongoing support and relevant context.
  • Our teachers had a mixture of excitement and anxiety about the day before it began.
  • We will be measuring the next stage at our May 27, 2011 AISI Leads session and again in the 2011-12 school year.


About Action Research Projects

Action research is a process in which Powerful Learning Team members collaboratively examine their own educational practice systematically and carefully. Action research is:

  • Disciplined inquiry into a problem or possibility within the school or classroom
  • Collaborative and usually takes place in a community of practice
  • Meaningful, positive, and reflective
  • Data-driven, action-based, improvement-focused
  • Transformative

View all Action Research

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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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