Monday, March 2, 2015

personalized learning - #edtechchat thoughts

#edtechchat happens every Monday night from 7-8CST on Twitter.  I thoroughly enjoy this hour! Sometimes I just lurk and sometimes I participate.  This last week I was an active participant.  The guest moderator was @bhwilkoff (Ben Wilkoff) and the topic was on personalized learning (PL) and how school districts can support PL.
Because of my job, I have had to rely on personalized learning to stay current and informed. I can't just go to what you would consider "normal" CEU course and get what I need. Joining #edtechchat, for example, is just one way I learn and grow in my profession.

So, the questions we discussed made all of us ponder personalized learning for ourselves and our teachers within the district.

So, lets go back to the questions:

Q1: What does personalized PD mean to you?
Q2: Is it up to the individual to personalize their own PD or should districts play a role? Why?
Q3: How are districts/schools currently helping to personalize pd?
Q4: What should districts/schools do to improve the way they personalize pd and how can teachers better advocate for change?
Q5: What types of tools work well (or could work well) to personalize pd?
Q6: What role should technology play to help districts (or individuals) personalize pd? When should we put the tech away? 

For me, personalized learning should be just that - personalized.  What I need in terms of educational growth will not be the same as the person next to me. This is one big reason why experts say one-size-fits-all PD just doesn't work. If all you offer is workshops on math, how will this help your music, PE, and ELA teachers? 

Some districts play a big role when is comes to offering PD or PL opportunities, but this shouldn't be the only way educators grow and learn.  There is so much out there!  Unfortunately, the first question asked is "Will I get CEUs for this??". This question makes me, personally, say UGH! CEUs should not be the reason why you want to attend something, the reason should be what new information you will get from the session. CEUs are my soapbox topic, but I won't jump on it today! I think this is one reason why teachers shy away from things not offered by a district or educational group. Twitter is a great example!  I learn more during a one hour Twitter Chat than I do in a one hour conference session sometimes. I don't earn CEUs for Twitter though! I don't earn them for reading edtech books, either but that doesn't stop me! I use Twitter and edtech books to grow in my profession!

Creating a PL session takes time to put together, I know, I am working on two right now! (one on digital tools and one on Twitter use - YAY!!) There are other ways to offer and provide PL for teachers.  A book study is a great idea!  Teachers are able to read a book of interest, on their own time, and talk with others about it through the reading process.  How great is this!  Schools do book studies often, but why not do district-wide book studies or better yet, find (or start) a book study via social media. Google Hangouts and Skype also provide great avenues for PL. Bring experts to you for an hour. There are several edtech minds I would love to question from Twitter, and GHO/Skype give me the opportunity to do just that! You can't get more personalized than that!

Is technology always the answer -- NOPE! Technology is there to enhance the PL. Think about edcamps -- These are a PERFECT way to talk and share ideas with other educators.

Last week's Twitter chat topic goes perfectly with the book I am currently reading - Leading Professional Learning: Tools to Connect and Empower Teachers by Thomas C. Murray and Jeff J. Zoul. You can also read the archive from last week's chat here.

So what do you do for PL?


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