Nothing has promised so much and has been so frustrating wasteful for teachers and leaders as the thousands of workshops and conferences that led to no significant change in practice.
Great teachers help create great students, agreed? In fact, research shows that an inspiring and informed teacher is the single most important school-related factor influencing student achievement. So, what helps teachers become great? What equips them in helping students reach their highest potential? The easy to say professional development,but unfortunately we have all experienced what Micheal Fullen is speaking of.
When I think of my own teaching and learning, the most influential element of my professional development comes from my personal learning network (PLN). I read blogs, track them with RSS feeds, and use a variety of social networking tools to create my PLN, I then use what I have discovered to enhance my work with students and teachers. My PLN has become daily nutrition, influence, energy, and strength for my brain and my spirit.
When I talk to schools about this, I often hear the following:
- That's great, but we just do not have the time
- My teachers are not comfortable with technology
- I have my own "network" at school, why do I need to connect with someone I my never meet
- Why bother...the sites are blocked anyway
- I just don't get all that blogging and web stuff
- RSS - what????
As leaders, you can influence all of that! One of the most powerful things you can do for students, is create a culture of learning and collaboration with your teachers. Here's what's possible: