Personal Learning Communities, School-wide Communities of Practice, Professional Learning Communities, these are all concepts I’ve been tossing around in my head lately. We are attempting to begin our own PLC here, meeting during lunch on Thursdays and Fridays.
The benefits are tremendous. And, if we use the tools available, we expand our school PLC to a global PLC. No longer are we working in isolation. In an instant, we can put our hands on research, tools, anecdotes to support whatever we are working on.
Here’s an example, I was thinking of how to talk to our students about their "online presence." We are a laptop school and attempting to embed (not integrate!) technology into our classes. A few minutes ago, a Twitter popped up from Jeff Utecht on a presentation he did for his students. Perfect! Then, Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach posted about school-wide community learning related to 21st century skills and this great quote from the Journal of School Improvement:
"That means a new role for teachers. Great teachers will not only
serve as subject matter specialists but will also become partners
with students, helping them learn how to turn information into usable
; knowledge and knowledge into wisdom. Rather than simply dispensing
information, 21st century teachers will become orchestrators and
facilitators of learning" (Marx, 2002).
Some days we get weighed down by the technology that fails, the students that seem overwhelmed and unwilling to try new things, or the teachers who are stressed by not having enough hours in the day to consider other ways of teaching.
Then there are days like this when I find this about leading and learning, or this on turning fear into goals. And get this from a colleague, who is letting me work with her students in spite of the tech issues we are having:
This is all a learning process……..
and isn’t that what school is all about! I’ll stop by your upper
school chair tomorrow morning to catch up.
Sigh. It’s a good day.