Open Letter from A PD Facilitator 8 months into the job's creation
Figuring out the job of PD Facilitator in a school full of vastly differnent but equally skilled teachers, I realized that the idea of personalized PD was the way I wanted to go. Rather than showcase only one style, I wanted to share the best things about all the different styles of teaching that happen in our building so we can take what we want from each other.
Not only do we have to recognize that ways of teaching we ourselves would not choose are valid and productive, we must realize that for a school to work, to run smoothly and to serve all the various needs we are tasked with we MUST all be different, and continue to be so. PD should help us use and develop our strengths to compensate for our weaknesses. Therefore it MUST be personalized.
I am facilitating PD by showing you each other and then you choose what you want to take from that, where you want to go. I am always here for your requests for any specific thing you'd like support on, but while you are in your classes being amazing, I am showcasing what the other amazing around the school and putting that in the weekly newsletter so we can inspire each other.
This is kind of backwards to what I thought PD was going to be because the PD is coming from each other and I am just the conduit but it seems right when I am surrounded by so much intelligence, talent and craft. We are getting ideas from each other and are also you deserve to have someone recognize and brag on your skills and ideas!
This just came across my twitter feed via @cbeyerle and I am posting for the students and teachers who've asked about this.
6th grader Ryan Williams is using our 3D printer to print a scuba tank as I write this. He was inspired to do this for his love of learning project after an incident at the Georgia Aquarium. When he was diving, the weight of his heavy metal tank caused him to flip and his regulator came out of his mouth. He researched and discovered that TPU material in 3D printers can withstand pressures of up to 2000 psi. Can you believe a sixth grader is interested in this? We can!
He'll be presenting his findings plus a 3d printed tank tomorrow.
Update: The article mentioned in the last link of this article is an example of being connected via an online PLN. https://www.edsurge.com/n/2014-04-09-charting-the-pd-waters-with-badges came about via a PLN connection. I admired Laura Fleming's work, and because I followed her on Twitter, was able to connect her with Edsurge.
I was asked to share why I like being part of district PLNs so when I went away last weekend, I used my time at the airport to film myself talking about why I love having an online PLN - a global learning network of educators that I can learn from via social media like Twitter and Yammer, and how it is good to have district connections within that PLN.
Upshot: You willl get new views, great ideas, and a lot of inspiration and practical tips from connecting to others on social media.
I love the idea of a PLN as personalized professional development. Along with badging I hope it is the wave of the PD future. I can help you discover the ones that suit you or help you navigate the ones that are not intuitive.
Thanks to Ms. Hall for sharing thisKQED article about the need for variety in learning. It reminds me of our PD book discussions from Wednesday's meetings and it is also a big focus in CMS right now. Contact me if you want to know more about personalized learning and shout out to Mr. Kennedy for his at-your-own pace quizlet review (see one here http://quizlet.com/40384714/set-2-personal-descriptions-flash-cards/ ) and below is a tweet of Ms. Hall's students using it!
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Lisa Gurthie is the PD facilitator at Piedmont IB Middle School. She specializes in tech and arts integration, interdisciplinary holistic education, and unschooling school to reconnect academia to real life. One day she will modernize her "about" page. She curates this blog for the professional development convenience of the teachers at Piedmont, but the editorial comments are her own.