Friday, October 19, 2012

Modeling Life-Long Learning This Week

We all make the proper noises about life-long learning, but this week, I have really been walking the walk and not just talking the talk!  I spent practically all of yesterday plugged in to the FETC Virtual Conference.  I heard some really great sessions, including one by Sheryl Nussbaum Beach who pointed out, "We are stronger together than apart! None of us is as smart, creative, good or interesting as all of us" She also advocates for "free-range learning," an atmosphere where learners are allowed to "roam around" and decide what they want to learn, thereby being invested in the learning experience.
 
Now, granted, it would be rather difficult to let schools run that way, although the Montessori movement has had success with a similar approach.  However, when it comes to professional development, that's not such a bad idea!  I would be much more tuned in to what I'm learning if I chose to learn it in the first place!  Coincidentally, this is pretty close to the concept behind the development of our Course Catalog for technology PD this year.  The technology survey at the end of the year last year had indicated that the district's elementary and middle grades teachers did not feel that they were receiving the training support they needed to be successful using technology, while the high school teachers felt they were being force fed too much training!

So we started the year this year with a survey asking teachers what training they wanted!  I know.  Novel concept!  But then we took the skill set the technology facilitators had and developed the course catalog around what our teachers wanted!  Now it's just a matter of the district's teachers getting used to the idea that they can request a training session at their convenience and we're expecting those requests to start pouring in any day now.

Meanwhile, back at Bridgers, I'll spend what time I have taking advantage of learning opportunities like the FETC Virtual Conference so I can share my new TechKnowledge with you!

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