Recently, our Professional Development (PD) team spent some time discussing the future of PD classes in our district. Given the declining enrollment in traditional offerings, our conversations focused on how to create learning environments that provide relevant content to all staff. Society has changed in regards to the demands placed on individual time constraints before and after work; however, the need to continue training in new pedagogies continues. Just how does a PD team meet these demands?
More and more teachers are discovering the benefits of life long learning through the creation of a personal learning network (PLN.) And though the validity of these PLN's are understood, the documentation of learning through these PLN's remains somewhat a mystery to most.
A dilemna arises regarding the documentation of credit from a school district when an individual begins to submit credit for their learning via their PLN on blogs, twitter, and other social networking sites. It's much easier for a school district to accept learning credits when an accredited university, college, or school district is doing the documenting despite the nature of the class or the learning. And though this dilemna is worth discussing and in need of change, it currently creates problems for school districts when these credits are being submitted for teacher relicensure requirements.
Awareness and understanding of what 21st Century Learning looks like needs to be understood and practiced by all before this chain of thought is going to change. Just as we must change our pedagogy to adapt to teaching in the 21st Century we must also adapt our learning in the 21st Century. As a result, professional development teams and the systems that document learning must also change. Change by becoming more versed in understanding how to assess 21st Century learning. Change by spending more time in PLN's so we understand what educators are doing when they speak of their own PLN. And finally, change by embracing all aspects of 21st Century learning.
How to Create a Lifelong Learning Network: Continuing Education is Based on Need to Adapt to Societal Changes