Paul Sanfrancesco, CIO Advisor
You've been there, in an auditorium packed with every teacher in your school or district, listening to a speaker lecturing for two hours, with some boring PowerPoint and a voice like Charlie Brown’s teacher. When it’s all done, you hear teachers relieved that it is over. We all read and talk about how the teacher’s role is to become a facilitator of learning—let the students collaborate and live the learning. Yet some of us don’t get that in our own school-provided PD.
How do we change the culture? We need to create PLNs but not force or model one way of a PLN. It's like those students in your class who don’t like to raise their hands or be called on, but are totally into participation once you put them on a system like Edmodo. Some educators use Twitter to contribute; others use it to follow and get ideas but never contribute; and some people have become "Twitter experts" because they tweet and retweet all day. All of these methods are fine as long as you follow people you do not agree with as well as those you do. Don’t pack your feed with people that are just like you!
Everyone learns differently, especially educators. When are we going to model what we are trying to do in our classrooms? I know many of you are doing this, but too many districts are not. Let’s try to help everyone learn what PD model works for them. Find those leaders in our buildings and get it started from the ground up!
Paul Sanfrancesco is director of technology for Garnet Valley School District in Pennsylvania.