Posts Tagged ‘web 2.0’


Tweets from the Library

May 28, 2012

As Linda shares below, I discovered her while doing my research to write a Literary Review about using Web 2.0 to build your PLN. At the time, Linda’s article was the only one I could find that mentioned Twitter for Educators. Many teachers were talking about Twitter on blogs but there was hardly anything to be found in University data bases. I decided to follow Linda and last week end she wrote back. She also agreed to write about her experience here. Thank you Linda. 

I first experienced the world of web 2.0 and the power of social networking for professional development when I participated in the PLN 2008, a 12 week online course run by the School Library Association of Victoria I moved from Melbourne to Singapore in 2009, and was inspired to share the PLN with a group of colleagues there when it was run again in 2010. That course is a supported step into the unknown for the uninitiated, but as I undertook this for the second time myself , with the new tools that had come online since the first time, I gained greater confidence in establishing an online network of peers whom I could connect with for professional growth. I wrote about that experience in the FYI journal of SLAV, and that’s how Clare found me!

My professional  journey with colleagues at AIS and my PLN continues. This year we have our third PLN group at AIS, undertaking the PLN 2012. It is a small group, one of about 15 Teacher Inquiry Groups introduced in our school  this year. I am blogging about it here.  Leading this group compelled me to dust off a blog with a single post I started last December! One requirement of the group is that they start a blog, so of course I must too!

I have seen my own confidence and that of my library and teaching colleagues flourish as a result of  exposure to  the Vic PLN course; a lack of confidence, some degree of cynicism become replaced with  a willingness to take risks, try new things and greater trust of social media; a sensitising to the power of Personal Learning Networks.

My own network continues to grow. I took another look at Twitter after a colleague at AIS told me how valuable she finds it for professional learning. I have found groups I like to follow – #tlchat; #vicpln; #ozteachers; #edchat; #edtech,  to name a few.  As my Twitter use grew, I was compelled to set up Tweetdeck on my ipad. One of the teachers I follow here in Singapore – @robinthailand established a new social group here and we met for the first time on Friday – #profsocial. I met several people I had only previously known online!

New networks and tools have emerged since I wrote Staying connected.  Or at least my awareness of them is new. LinkedIn has really taken off as a professional network. I connect with groups like ALIA, and with library professional like Karen Bonnano whose posts I like to read. Library 2.0 is another great network and my library colleague and I participated in a number of sessions in their online conference last year. Through my subscription I get regular alerts to new webinars. has emerged as a great curation tool to follow. My favourites are School Library Advocacy curated by Karen Bonnano, and Social Networking For Information Professionals curated by Judy O’Connell.

Social networking for teachers is a powerful professional development tool that allows us to connect with inspirational and like-minded colleagues anywhere anytime. It’s the way I keep up to date and importantly, the way I stay motivated to learn and inspired to try new things.

Linda Twitchett. Head of Library and Information Services. Australian International School Singapore.



The Evolution of Professional Learning

April 3, 2012

Today’s post is written by Rowena Dudgeon, Director of Academic Care and Learning in a school on Sydney’s North Shore. You can follow Row on Twitter. I found her by stalking my friend’s list of people she followed and later had the privilege of meeting Row at a ‘PD’ day. Her Twitter handle (as we say) is @rdudgeon

Please enjoy reading and feel free to add your comments to this post.

When I first started teaching in 1994, I recall my first forays into what was then termed ‘Professional Development’ or PD as it was known. PD came at the beginning of every term on a pupil free day or on a day at the end of each term. These days consisted of some department time where I tidied my desk and glanced over some programs for the following term. The highlight (apart from the free lunch provided by the school!) was listening to a keynote speaker who spoke at the staff for 2 hours about a new fandangled way to engage students in the classroom. There would always be some excited discussion about what we had heard, but then we all took off for the holidays, never to remember or implement any of the key strategies we heard. I loved PD day!

Professional Development also took the form of outsourced PD via external organisations. I recall staff joking that they chose their PD course on what was on offer for lunch. Fridays were also great days to attend external PD courses, because you could always duck out early for Friday night drinks!

Outsourced PD consisted of a staff member applying to attend a course in an area that they needed further training in such as ICT, or in a curriculum area that would provide teaching strategies to improve the delivery of content to students. Often staff were routinely sent to the Annual Conferences or General Meetings of their teaching associations and this would be their allocated hours of PD for the year. On return to school, staff would give a brief synopsis of their PD course to other colleagues in their department at a scheduled department meeting in the hope that the information would be diffused to their colleagues and to be used in their classrooms and somehow this would improve the learning outcomes of their students. There was never any accountability or links to an overall teaching and learning goal – PD was ad hoc and poorly managed.

This all might sound funny and looking back it was laughable, but the cost to the school of this PD was enormous and for very little benefit to staff or students. At its heart, this type of PD never developed a culture of learning in schools, and in fact was completely opposed to good models of teaching and learning.

Professional Development has come a long way since then and even the term Professional Development has evolved to be known as Professional Learning (PL).

Professional Learning in many schools continues to follow the old models of outsourcing and staff being spoken at by someone in the know up the front. However, there is increasingly a shift from this type of PL to a more collaborative and personalised PL that is driven by technology and the uprising of teacher centered PL. Teachers are now connecting, collaborating and doing it for themselves via social media.

Twitter and web 2.0 tools such as blogging, and other types of discussion forums such as Edmodo and even Facebook, are changing the PL landscape. Teachers themselves are taking control of their own professional learning and are learning from each other, beyond the school gate and beyond the constraints of articulated, formalized training. Teachers are finding a voice and are leading learning for themselves and among themselves.

The rise across Australia of ‘Teachmeet’, a grassroots, viral, teacher centered and driven, collaborative, Professional Learning Network was born via Twitter. Teachmeet has become an avenue for teachers to explore the rapid change technology is having on classroom practice and pedagogy. Often these teachers are far ahead of their schools (and executive) in exploring new uses of technology in the classroom and strategies to engage their students. I call these teachers ‘lighthouse’ teachers and they often lead the way in generating and diffusing innovation in schools. They become leaders of learning and Principals would be wise to foster the energy and passion of these teachers, as they foster a culture of learning among staff.

PL can no longer be static, but must embrace and respond to the rapidly changing educational landscape. PL cannot operate in isolation and must branch out beyond individual school communities – collaboration both online and face-to-face is key. PL should also not just happen at the beginning and the end of a school term, it should be ongoing and available on a needs basis, hence why a vehicle like Twitter encourages a culture of learning in schools.

How do you see the future of PL? Are you learning more via social media than what your school provides in the way of PL? What social media PL are you involved in and how does it help your ongoing PL? Share your stories of changes you have seen in PL at your school.