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"The things taught in schools and colleges are not an education, but the means to an education." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

PLCs and Technology

Our district is jumping into the world of PLCs and working to try and get each school to create in itself a PLC and then expand those beyond the walls of building.  As we work to join the movement that started over a decade ago, it makes me wonder how we will be able to push ourselves into that world more quickly using technology and Web 2.0 tools.  We are struggling to find our own digital footprint as a district and to determine what we are going to be on the web and how we are going to leverage the power of the web to help our students demonstrate mastery learning.  We are currently, probably like many districts, inching our towards it.  It is my hope that we can begin to really push.  Our school has been trying to create blended learning classrooms for our students with very limited infrastructure, training, support, or financial backing and have seen tremendous gains in the achievement of our students through our efforts. 

Not only is the blended learning helping to personalize the work for kids, it has begun the process of helping to make our instruction public.  One of the key tenets of the PLC work by Eaker and Dufour,etc. is to talk about instruction and learning as a public enterprise that involves several professionals working in conjunction to meet all the needs of the students in our community.  It is about being public with the work we ask of students, the teaching moves we make, the questions we plan to ask, and the ways that we make decisions in class to maximize learning for our students.   The blended learning model we put in place has made teacher-developers out of our staff as they are creating all the content for their classes.  In order to tackle the overwhelming task of creating content, they have been forced to collaborate in new ways and been forced to review each other's work.  We are looking at the work we are asking kids to engage in, but we are not yet at the point where we truly working collaboratively to meet all the needs of each of our kids.

It is exciting and engaging work that requires a lot of change, a lot of paradigm shifting, and a lot of loss of the old ways of doing things for our staff and faculty.  But it is the right work and the right shift and it will ultimately be the way that we meet the needs of our students and push them to be able to demonstrate mastery in all their work.

Come along.

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