Last Friday I had the absolute pleasure of attending the culminating session of the ‘Teaching and Learning in the 21st Century’ Professional Learning course. This DEECD (Dept. of Education and Early Childhood) sponsored event has effectively been running for 5 months and has included 2 face to face days, 6 hour long webinars and ongoing social media interaction by participants and their teams via G+, Hangouts, and Twitter. So you could say somewhat intense!
The final session reminded me of quite a few things and also had me thinking about quite a lot of others, these others i’ll cover in my next post.
What made last Friday so great was that the 80+ educators that were in attendance were all there to hear from each other and to share their amazing stories and the journeys that they had been on. That after working closely within their designated teams and alongside their coaches for quite a while it was now time to celebrate the successes that were had.
To have the opportunity as a teacher to share, discuss, network, brainstorm and most of all celebrate what it is you have been doing for months on end places you in a great scenario. I feel as though i perhaps witnessed more sharing and celebrating of teacher wins and successes in a day that I believe most schools would see within a year.
As a structured professional learning course that aimed to do the following…
“provide practical examples of how primary and secondary teachers are enhancing their curriculum delivery and student learning through authentic and effective use of ICT, virtual communities and Web 2.0 tools.
The course aims to provide participants with:
a practical overview of how teachers are seamlessly using ICT in their teaching to enhance student learning
a better understanding of the tools, resources, learning communities and collaborative possibilities other teachers are exploring through ICT
clear, practical examples of how to use readily available software, Web 2.0 tools and learning communities to add value to teaching and learning at school
an opportunity to participate with other Victorian educators in an inquiry-based learning project designed to assist participants and their schools. Projects are guided by a coaching team of experienced educators.”
… I feel that the course succeeded and surpassed expectations.
From here I need to add that I’d advocate that the above points are what should be happening in schools anyway. That having to take a ‘course’ to facilitate such great opportunities for teachers to build capacity and network should not be needed. The resourcing to ensure that this happens statewide by all schools should be prioritised to a much greater extent. Would this not be some of the greatest professional learning that teachers could engage in? Unlike the example below that was shared last Friday by Keynote presenter, John Pearce.
At the end of the day those in attendance were asked to list their greatest/biggest takeaway from the course and I have listed a few of their responses below which sums up perfectly just what participants actually did ‘take away’ from the course.
– “My biggest takeaway from the PD series was the way I found depth in the way to apply ICT throughout the school (both teaching and learning).”
– “Fantastic professional learning and learnt so much. Biggest thing I got out of it was connecting to others and building my PLN.”
– “My big takeaway from #TL21C is how teachers are happy to help anyone learn. I have been able to extend my PLN many times over as well as learning about a raft of learning opportunities for my Students. Thanks to all involved.”
– “Biggest takeaway from #TL21C 2014 – The importance of connecting and sharing with other educators.”
– “The biggest thing I have taken from this is adventure is setting up my Professional Learning Community. The networks that are out there and how to use them. eg twitter, pinterest etc”
Having been involved in this course now for a third time, and thank you to John Thomas for this, I have seen many Victorian DEECD teachers come and go, all however with a heightened sense of how to improve pedagogy and student learning through 21st century teaching and learning practice.
The challenge is now for all the teachers who completed this course, and I know that some certainly already are and have been, is to inspire, lead and encourage their new learnings amongst staff at their own settings. This in turn will only have positive repercussions for schools as a whole and the teachers and students within them.
For those wishing to know more about the course itself, please head over to the Blog, also linked above. For an even more insightful glance, visit John’s Storify on the culminating session which sums up the final day very nicely!
I am hoping that this course can run for a while to come, or at least until all schools and the ed. system invest in coordinating the same collaboration, networking and sharing within their own settings and focus on this as a priority! 😉 In the end, why would you not want teachers driving their own professional learning, networking with other educators and learning from one another all for the betterment of student’s education and teacher improvement. Yes, I know… Madness! 😉