CommunityThe 2010 National Education Technology Plan demonstrates the importance of educators becoming more connected to resources, tools, colleagues, experts, and learning activities, both within and beyond schools. Participation in online communities of practice is a key way educators connect. Robust online participation contributes both to individual excellence and to the vitality of the profession as a whole. The Connected Online Communities of Practice project will steward a scalable, sustainable ecology of online communities in education to improve teacher and leader effectiveness, enhance student learning and increase productivity.

Powerful Learning Practice is represented in this directory of popular online communities and the comments we’ve received in this have been amazing! It demonstrates the strength of our PLP community through these positive messages of support and transformation. We’re proud of the work done by thousands of PLPeeps – we don’t think it’s equaled anywhere else.

What they’re saying about Powerful Learning Practice, professional development for educators

Marsha Ratzel says:

This community thinks deeply about Problem Based Learning, student centered learning, making the shift to being a connected teacher and inquiry learning. There are lots of practical ideas that someone can take away and immediately apply in the classroom. In a similar way, there are posts and articles about how to start thinking about these topics, so if you don’t know anything, it’s a good place to get started. Lastly there are such a variety of teachers, classrooms and types of schools represented, you can probably find someone who is very much like you and your classroom that is offering practical, tried in the classroom reports of how it went and what you can try.

Steve Goldberg says:

This is a thoughtful community with lots of people from around the world who are doing very cool things. Members are generous with their time to help new members of the community and are transparent about the work they do, so it’s easy for new members to get up to speed. I’ve broadened my perspective a great deal from my work with PLP and I continue to learn on a daily basis from PLP.

Becky Bair says:

There are many different reasons why I am thankful to be part of the PLP community. As a PLPeep I have learned new tools that have allowed me to connect with educators throughout the country and the world. These connections helped me create a professional learning network that has taught me more than any professional development day or conference I have ever been a part of. Prior to being part of PLP I was not happy with the test-centered focus of my classroom and wanted to integrate technology more, but I wasn’t sure what to do to change things. PLP taught me how to make effective changes in my classroom so I can meet the requirements of the tests I give and still provide my students with learning opportunities that will prepare them for their future experiences.

Shelley Wright says:

I am truly grateful to be part of the PLP community. It has been a huge source of encouragement and inspiration. Through the seminars and interactive community I have learned to completely shift my classroom from an overfocus on prescribed content, to a student-centred, project-based, tech embedded classroom. It’s been an incredible journey, and I’ve received a lot of support from PLP. My favourite part is that it’s provided job embedded PD, which has changed my classroom more than any conference.

Patti Grayson says:

PLP is a fantastic community of passionate learners. There is enormous support within the community, and a strong leadership through Sheryl, Will, and the community leaders. “PLPeeps” are there for one another through Twitter and other social media, providing information and encouragement for teachers attempting to shift their classrooms, long after they have completed the program. PLP truly “gets” learning communities, and fosters leadership in these communities. PLP also helps members understand how to bring 21st century skills to their classrooms and schools through guided action research projects. There is a reason it’s called POWERFUL Learning Practice!

Christa Forster says:

The PLP professional development model is so smart: It allows teachers to be true learners again. In our PLP work, we encounter new information, skills and concepts related to how technology is contributing to the shift and shape of education. We are challenged to make sense of our roles in this shift, and we are encouraged to develop a community of connected colleagues with whom we wrestle with the questions of how we can best help students learn and thrive with their knowledge and skills in the 21st Century.

Darren Kools says:

Powerful Learning Practice is such a game changer. The process of discovery that I have embarked upon will help all of my students in the future. I try to share more, connect more and challenge myself to be better because of this program. My energy and excitement about teaching is at an all time high and it’s not coming down. If you have the chance, try it! Make the chance, be the change you want to see in the world, because most likely they will be doing PLP too!

Allison Robertson says:

Dedicated, passionate people-many are right where I am in the process of learning to infuse technology into the classroom using an ever-changing landscape of tools. Best Quote: It is no longer what you know, nor who you know but rather “Do you know what who you know knows? This learning community has been a lifeline to connect with others for meaningful discussions and practical information on blending pedagogy, knowledge,and technology . Thank you for starting this community!

Patti Rodger says:

This is my second year in the PLP community. It has been one of the best PD opportunities that I’ve been involved with. It has given me the tools to lead our teachers and students in embracing 21st C learning tools and processes. While we have a long way to go and a lot still to learn, Sheryl and Will’s leadership, as well as many others who have taken leadership roles, has been phenomenal. They are credible and practical and they help make sense of paradigm shifts.

Cary Harrod says:

Without a doubt, this was the most life changing professional development experience of my 23+ years in teaching. I was fortunate enough to be a “fellow” for our district for three years. We have had over 40 of our district staff participate in PLP. This professional development embodies what we now know about professional learning: it must be job-embedded, long-term, community-driven, passion-based and leverage digital technologies to bridge the gaps of space and time. Sheryl Nussbaum Beach and Will Richardson have their feet firmly planted in the 21st Century; their understanding and knowledge of good teaching practices, coupled with a deep understanding of networked learning and digital technologies is the basis for this compelling PD. All professional development should be based off the PLP model.

Sister Geralyn says:

PLP is am amazing community of educators that are committed to life long learning. It is a place in which one can collaborate about a girth of topics about education. I am a better person for being a member of PLP. It has taught me that we are better when we lean on others and when we collaborate with others. In short, we are better educators when we connect educational dots with others from across the county or across the world.

Peter Skillen says:

The PLP community pushes the boundaries. Actually, that’s not quite accurate. We, as individuals and as colleagues, are encouraged and supported to push our own boundaries – to become ‘natural’ learners similar to what we were like as children before formalized school. PLP is a community where we can follow our passions, engage in questioning our understandings of education and learning, challenge others and be challenged by ‘critical friends’. It encourages us to be transparent about our learning – our wonderings, frustrations, ahas, questions, ‘thinking aloud’, revelations, and classroom practice. The Powerful Learning Practice community is daunting in its wealth of information – both ‘stuff’ and people resources – but, in that way, it is not unlike the ‘real’ world. The real world is rich with complexity and we struggle all our lives to make sense within it. PLP is similar.

One learns to be in the community with ‘intention’, with purpose and passion. This allows ‘ideas to find us’ as Eleanor Duckworth might say. It’s not always comfortable – but then ‘cognitive & emotional dissonance’ are at the heart of learning.

If you want to learn how to best meet the needs of students in this era, this differentiated environment affords the best opportunity I know.

Sheamus Burns says:

PLP has pushed our independent school educators to think about professional development in ways that alight with 21st century values and ideas. The community continues to grow and we find invaluable resources in each other. If you’re just starting to develop your own online presence and looking for a place to team up with others like you as you navigate the web and strive to connect with a diverse group of educators, I recommend PLP.

Renee Hawkins says:

The life of a Technology Coordinator can be a pretty lonely experience. I speak a language only a small number of people understand; few people want to buy what I’m selling. At least it seems so much of the time. That’s why the Powerful Learning Practice has become so important to me both personally and professionally. Contrary to the popular myth that the internet has weakened social connections, I have found my professional family with the individuals I have met through this organization. I share, I learn, and I grow with with teachers from all over the world. This year my Year Two PLP Cohort is exploring Passion-based learning and it is having a real impact in our classrooms. I’m grateful to the good people at the Powerful Learning Practice, especially Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach and Will Richardson, for providing me and others with the support and space to make this happen.

Kathy Cassidy says:

Being part of the PLP community has pushed my thinking and helped me to be more reflective about what I do in my classroom. I love the fact that it is a year-long experience and that it is job-embedded. Change does not happen overnight. The asynchronous/synchronous model of PLP allows those involved to learn at their own pace and at a time that works for them,while still bringing participants together to learn. I am a better teacher because of my involvement with these educators.

Lani Ritter Hall says:

Members of the Powerful Learning Practice community, affectionately dubbed PLPeeps, collaborate together to effect systemic change in education. As learners first, they aspire for a more accomplished collective practice. From NE Ohio I’ve connected with educators in Australia where it was our tomorrow, with passionate teachers in Texas, in PA, in Ohio, in Kansas, in NY, and across Canada. Their diverse perspectives have added a special synergy to our learning. Relationships, both personal and professional have become long lasting. The world has become a better place for the action research they have conducted and for the PBL units they have designed. My interactions with others in this community have had a profound impact on my life and my beliefs around learning.

Trish Dower says:

I participated in PLP community in 2011 in Victoria as part of the DEECD (Education department Victoria). I was a wonderful opportunity to build a community of like minded individuals and to network to develop and challenge ideas, understandings and approaches to how we can best engage and support learning in 2012. I met amazing people both face to face and during online workshops and was inspired to ’embrace change in my teaching practice’ and to promote problem based learning as the key to engage learners in our school.

Sheryl, Will and all the gang involved were supportive and really encouraged you to think deeply, asking questions that promoted thinking and problem solving at a deeper level. Our wrap up ‘show case’ day was fantastic. It was inspiring to see the growth and development of the community of PLPpeep’s across Victoria. If you have a chance to get involved, I’d say, “Go for it!” I’m glad I did.

Kathleen Tsakiris says:

I am a year 2 PLP member and this is the best opportunity to learn how our students already and will continue to learn in the future. This community models how I want my classroom to look. Everyone participating – all moving forward with their learning – endless support – the permission to make mistakes and ask any question – time to slow down or move ahead as needed – all levels of expertise addressed- all effort celebrated! The perfect combination of self-directed and collaborative learning with endless resources to facilitate both.

Lisa noble says:

PLP has been an incredible growth experience for me. Here, I find people to bounce ideas off, to challenge the way I think, to push me to do more, go further, think deeper, try again and again and yes, again, to figure out the best way to help my colleagues and students and me make the shift to 21st century learning. I am not the same learner I was before I began this journey, and I know I have much farther to go.

Sharon Raquet says:

I am in my second year with this wonderful group . Support, ideas, latest trends, a caring community of educators!

Chris Shriver says:

This is my second year as a member of the PLP community, and during these two years I have found myself on a learning adventure unlike any other. Through the course of the journey, I have grown as an educator in ways that I could never have envisioned, and I have met some of the most amazing people who stretch my thinking with each encounter. I am grateful for the journey because of where it has taken me and because of where I know it will lead me in the future. My outlook as a teacher and a learner has been forever strengthened because of my place in the PLP community.

Check out COCP

Check out the Connected Online Communities of Practice project. There are lots of ways to get involved. You can also follow this effort on Twitter or sign up for their newsletter.

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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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