Last Wednesday I taught my first two high school classes of the year: two groups of 14-year-old post-elementary level students. I always start my first lessons with an introductory getting-to-know-you type of activity and a survey to let them know that their ideas matter and that I’ll do my best to meet their specific needs and interests. Last year, for example, I asked one of my classes (pre-intermediate level) to answer their surveys individually and then I collected them and created a Wordle with the results and brought a printout to the classroom for them to discuss and analyze.
This year – probably inspired by the PD 2.0 experience – I wanted them to work on the surveys in groups and on paper. Each group prepared a poster to tell the class what they liked and didn’t like about learning English, what they’d like to do this year and how they think they learn best. With both groups I noticed that they were somehow taken aback by the proposal and in some cases it was very difficult for them to think of ideas for each category during the previous brainstorming. In other cases, they produced what they regarded as teacher-expected answers and only after I asked them to take risks and imagine more, were they able to contribute some original ideas.
It strikes me that they are not used to being asked for their opinions about their own learning so often and that they are used to “playing school” and complaining about it. 😉 Of course, it was only our first class, but it is clear right from the start that we’ll have to work on building a different learning culture in class based on active participation, collaboration and creativity.
I was really surprised this morning when I received an e-mail from SlideShare saying:
“Professional development 2” is being talked about on Facebook more than anything else on SlideShare right now. So we’ve put it on the homepage of SlideShare.net (in the “Hot on Facebook” section).
– SlideShare Team
A couple of hours later I received a similar one saying that it was also in the “Hot on Twitter” section.
I’d really like to thank all of you for spreading the word on this presentation. It has been a great way of expanding my PLN and finding more like-minded colleagues to share and learn from.
I’d also like to invite you all to join the open group on Facebook: Professional Development 2.0
I’m pleasantly exhausted after a very hectic morning at the Professional Development 2.0 workshop I facilitated, which was organized by APrIR and SBS. First, we dealt with some core concepts and compelling ideas related to open professional development and PLNs. Then, we modeled and experienced some types of social interactions and practices that will allow for a proper context for learning to take place. Although I feared some colleagues might be reluctant to engage in some of the activities, I was delighted (and relieved!) to see that they were eager to participate and learn from each other. Finally, we shared some useful tools and sites we can use to do online research and to keep a record of our learning experiences.
I strongly believe the Web 2.0 is not just about the tools, it’s about the learning, about the people we connect to. Therefore, it’s sparking that 2.0 attitude what matters, be it web or paper-based.
Ongoing, distributed, self-driven, empowering!… are just some of the ways to describe Open Online Professional Development. The Web 2.0 is unveiling the potential of a new learning culture that spreads across classrooms, schools and countries to give rise to a world-wide community of educators willing to reflect upon and share their experience and expertise, allowing us to finely tune our professional development to our needs, interests and possibilities.