Yesterday, I participated in ninety minutes of professional development. I learned about:
- Implementing Web2.0 tools into classrooms
- Developing capacity in teachers
- Educating and informing parents about the power of Web2.0
- Overcoming initial obstacles to change
- Strategies to engage a variety of learners
- How to involve administrators
It was terrific. The presenter and participants (it was actually difficult to differentiate the two) were insightful, excited about what they wanted share, enthusiastic about continuing t0 work with web2.0 tools and no longer nervous about being leaders in their school.
The best thing about this particular professional development was that I was enjoying a gin and tonic, wearing shorts, a t-shirt and flip flops and was sitting at home in my dining room at 8:00 PM. It was an Elluminate session with upwards of 38 teachers, much of whom were from Australia sharing their PLP projects.
I realize that Elluminate is not new and I have participated in other sessions, but something struck me about this particular event. Here I was, in New Hampshire, learning from teachers and administrators from Australia. Learning from people whom I have never met. In this case, learning was blind. It was independent of age, job, title, experience level, or other preconceived notions about what I may or may not think about the “presenter”. This “awakening” may be a result of me having to overcome my own personal prejudices and skepticism relative to traditional professional development, but there was something very liberating about this Elluminate session. At PLP Bootcamp in Philly, we talked a lot about passion-based networks. I think I can best describe last night’s Elluminate session as just that, a passion-based network of educators eager to learn from one another.
As my leadership practice evolves, it will be important for me to remember my experience last night and make sure I always create and cultivate personal learning networks that are passionate about learning and growing.