Build the capacity of educators, leaders and instructional teams to put the ISTE Standards into practice by facilitating active learning and providing meaningful feedback.
In the February 2022 post Meaningful Feedback in Online Professional Development I explore ways in which active learning and meaningful feedback can be accomplished in online professional learning environments. Perhaps one of the most effective ways to facilitate online interactions for professional development purposes is to create a Community of Practice (COP). Names for similar groupings that surface in the literature include Professional Learning Community (PLC) or a Community of Inquiry (COI). COP members gather around shared experiences and/or goals and create their own communication channels and behavioral norms. COPs facilitate the sharing of knowledge and tools and encourage critical discourse in a manner that is beneficial for professional growth for each of its members. COPs are inherently collaborative, and can often be formed around solving authentic, work-based problems. Though coaches, mentors, or experts may participate in COPs, peer interaction and collaboration are at the heart of a COP, and thus feedback is most often sourced from peers. COPs serve as a promising way to deliver timely, effective, relevant, and individualized support for adult learners while simultaneously decreasing the need for feedback coming solely from “experts.”
In the March 2022 post, What if Professional Development Could Be…Fun!? I discuss EdCamps as a way to help create COPs for the purposes of professional development. An EdCamp is an informal, peer-led, collaborative workshop (held either face-to-face or virtually) where educators gather to share stories, experiences, lesson plans, resources, and new ideas with each other, usually around a shared theme or learning objective.
Finally, through a peer-coaching project I also assisted an educator in putting the ISTE student standards and teacher standards into practice. Students were empowered to use technology to demonstrate their learning and to critically curate online resources for research purposes. These standards were not previously being met in the nonfiction reading/writing unit I collaborated on with my coaching partner, and both she and her grade level team were ultimately able to improve their teaching practice.