Thursday, 27 October 2016

Day27 - Professional Development - Is There Another Way?

The Senior Leadership Team at St Francis of Assisi Catholic School has been aware for awhile that we needed to rethink the structure of Professional Development.

Having been  influenced by George Couros and his book “The Innovator’s Mindset” as well as Michael Fullan’s thoughts on Leadership and Professional Development, we have discussed the need to differentiate and personalise learning for staff, just as we would for our students.

Screen Shot 2016-10-25 at 11.25.19 PM.pngWe want to offer a variety of options - whole school, small group, flipped meetings, 1-1 depending on the topic and depending on the need, and above all we want to create a professional culture where sharing our practice is the norm.

Michael Fullan speaking on a panel at ULearn this year discussed the need for educators to share quality practice and how educators’ practice is improved when they are exposed to good practice more often.

One platform we knew could be used to develop a Personal Learning Network (PLN), in which our teachers could be exposed to others’ practice and share their own, was Twitter. This knowledge inspired a Term 4 goal, to get everyone active on Twitter and to have staff share this understanding of how Twitter could benefit their practice.

Using Twitter would be new learning for some, and Couros (2015) states that to truly integrate new learning we need to give staff time to explore, collaborate and reflect. With this in mind we prepared a session for staff where they would have to do just that.

After sharing the goal with staff and offering technical help for those who needed it to set up an a account we were ready for action in Week 2.
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We decided on a staff challenge, Twitter Bingo. A series of tasks staff would tick off in order to get them active on Twitter, as educators. We also decided we would make it competitive, as we know from experience that a little healthy competition, with some perhaps not so healthy prizes, would motivate teachers to get onboard.

We introduced Twitter Bingo after a very short session on the nuts and bolts of Twitter. The engagement was even better than expected. After explaining the rules of the game the staff room was a hive of activity.

It was great to see staff exploring the app, collaborating and problem solving in a race against time to complete their Bingo card.  

Already we have had huge buy in from our staff and we are excited to see the sharing that is taking place.

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We are looking forward to increased professional engagement from our staff.

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Jo Earl @JoEarl2 & Whitney Hansen @whitn3yhans3n

References & Attributions

Michael Fullan @MichaelFullan1

We would like to say a special thank you too, to Alex Le Long @ariaporo22, for the amazing Twitter cheat sheet she created.

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