Cathy Beach

Cathy Beach, Grade 7 Classroom Teacher

PLP eCourses attract participants from across the globe to learn and grow with one another.  Over the next few weeks, we will feature interviews with current and past PLP eCourse participants.  We’ll ask participants to share information about themselves, why they chose PLP eCourses and what they are up to professionally.

Cathy Beach is a past eCourse participant from Peterborough, Ontario, Canada.  She is a seventh grade teacher.

1.  Which PLP eCourse did you take this Winter?

Transformation, One Lesson At A Time” and “Project-based Writing

2.  Have you taken other online courses from PLP?

Yes, last summer I took PLP’s “21st Century-ize Your Curriculum” with Kevin Jarrett and the self-paced “Do It Yourself Web 2.0 Tools

3.  Why did you decide to take more eCourses from PLP?

I’m just a regular classroom teacher and until recently, I couldn’t find colleagues in my local area who were interested in the same issues, or who could help me with all the questions and frustrations I was having trying to figure out how to integrate 21st technologies with my Grade 7 class on my own. And the more I started to learn, the more I realized there’s so much more I need to learn to provide them with rich, engaging, and meaningful – authentic – learning tasks.

4.  Prior to taking courses with PLP, would you describe your knowledge on 21st century education as basic, intermediate or advanced?

Basic – but now feel I have progressed to intermediate 🙂

5.  What was your favorite thing about this eCourse and/or instructor?

The thing I love most about the PLP courses is being connected with an instructor and a small group of colleagues who understand both my technical challenges, and my deeper philosophical and pedagogical questions, who have ideas, suggestions, their own questions, and resources for me to work with. It means so much to me to be able to chat and discuss things with a group of educators in an atmosphere of “we’re all in this together – we’re just at different stages along the way”.

6.  What is your personal philosophy/belief on learning in the 21st century?

I believe that Tsunamis of Change have already begun to surge over us, and that in education, a vast number of us are caught underwater, trying to survive the swirling currents of budget cuts, standardized testing, and enormous work load – so much so that we can’t even afford to think about lifting our heads out of the water and dealing with the changes taking the rest of the world by storm. As a classroom teacher becoming more ancient and out-of-date every day, I’ve spent the last 2 years on a very steep learning curve, just trying to learn about some of these new tools and technologies. And I’m only now finally starting to grapple with the very fundamental changes I need to make in the way I teach and learn with my 21st Century students.   I’m really concerned about the implications of all of this for my fellow classroom teachers… And I’m really hoping that by the time they are forced to surface and adapt to the changes these new technologies are bringing, that there will be a huge depth and breadth of support, models and resources for them to draw on for help. Change in pre-service training is an essential starting point.

7.  Any other information you would like to share about yourself personally or professionally?

Things I’ve learned:

1. Listen to our students. They are constantly telling us what is effective and what is not.  Respect and credibility is earned by our hearing, valuing, and responding to them.

2. New Rules! “Don’t count on it.” What we thought we knew, what we thought would be – may not.  New F-word: Flexibility.

3. Technology in education allows us to build new relationships. I’ve learned that we need to build really good relationships. Surviving tsunamis of change will depend on it.

4. I have so so much more to learn…

PLP loves helping educators’ transform their 21st century classrooms through eCourses and year long programs of study.

Have you seen Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach’s A Day in the Life of a Connected Educator infographic?  Are you ready to start connecting with other educators and expand your PLN?  Register for PLP’s Connected Learner Experience (prior to June 1st to receive our early bird pricing) and join over 5,000 other educators who have taken their classrooms into the 21st century.

Want to get 20% off your eCourse registration? PLP is offering a 20% off sale through May 20th!  Use the promo code of SUMMERLEARNING20 to get your discount!

Did you know that if you show us what makes you a connected learner (using digital storytelling) you’ll be entered to win an Apple iPad 3, Year-long Webinar Pass to our Connected Learner Experience, Powerful Learning Practice eCourse of your choosing, or a bundle of books made up of top titles in education and technology from our recommended reading list?  Create and submit your videos by June 1st!

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Christen Dodd

Christen is a Connected Learning Specialist for PLP. After earning her MEd. in Curriculum and Instruction at the University of Virginia, she began her career as a K-5 Computer Resource Teacher. She enjoyed collaborating with staff and creating technology lessons that engaged students, but caught “the bug” for presenting to educators on a national level. For eleven years, Christen trained educators both face-to-face and virtually with Verizon Thinkfinity. She also served as their Distance Learning Coordinator and Vice President of Professional Development. Christen has enjoyed working with Powerful Learning Practice since 2011 and continuing her work with educators, parents and students alike. Currently, she is also an instructional technology specialist at her children's JK-8 Catholic school.

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