Learner : Educators continually improve their practice by learning from and with others and exploring proven and promising practices that leverage technology to improve student learning. Educators:
1a. Set professional learning goals to explore and apply pedagogical approaches made possible by technology and reflect on their effectiveness.
1b. Pursue professional interests by creating and actively participating in local and global learning networks.
1c. Stay current with research that supports improved student learning outcomes, including findings from the learning sciences.
Leader: Educators seek out opportunities for leadership to support student empowerment and success and to improve teaching and learning. Educators:
2a. Shape, advance and accelerate a shared vision for empowered learning with technology by engaging with education stakeholders.
2b. Advocate for equitable access to educational technology, digital content and learning opportunities to meet the diverse needs of all students.
2c. Model for colleagues the identification, exploration, evaluation, curation and adoption of new digital resources and tools for learning.
Teacher as a creative profession, need to seek lifelong learning to catch up with the current trend of education. Emerging digital technology brings educational transformation which indicates the significant changes in teaching and learning. Facing the changes, teachers need to be inspired to take the risk to have a deep dive in seeking new ways suitable for the 21st century’s needs to prepare our students for the digital era. In my last blog, I discussed social media as a powerful tool can build a broad network (PLN) connecting worldwide educators to enhance collaboration and inspiration among them. Educators can create their PLN or join PLNs to learn from and learn with others to make the network stronger and more influential. Teachers will always act actively and feel satisfaction when they get empowered in PD relevant to their interests and specific classroom context. Social media and PLNs also provide an alternative platform that provokes them to take the lead in the digital world to contribute their experiences and expertise. Also, enable teachers to spend majority time in informal sustained PD to gain growth and flame their passion on the profession but still have some challenges that need to be focused on.
The Obstacle of Starting out
We always talked about the power of social media and PLNs. However, it always being the pain for some teachers who might ask the questions “What is the next step I can do after creating a twitter account? ”, “How can I find like-minded educators in the PLNs?”. For some reason, these teachers are too nervous about using technologies and will get overwhelmed soon if they cannot gain positive energy from other technology enthusiasts. The percentage of this group of teachers should be high. They need more help and direction to reduce the daunting of technologies before they integrate any technology tools into their classes effectively to benefit student learning.
Being Mindful of the Reliability Online
Because of the few gatekeepers and the low costs of participation of social media, anyone can share experiences regardless of qualification or motive. When the educators join a PLN to seek help and collaboration, they will not know the reliability of the members and the resources which needs to be mindful. Some who are holding extreme partisan attitude on educational technologies may or may not have real experiences in teaching practice.
Edcamp is Like the Soil Nourished Teacher-Powered PD to be Stronger and Healthier
Edcamp is recognized as one model of effective PDs which subverts traditional top-down form, supports teachers openly exchange ideas and provides opportunities for collaboration and leadership. It is a grass-roots approach gathering educators together who are holding enthusiasm on teaching and learning in the digital world to pursue new instruction methods to foster student’s skills suitable for the 21st century and the ability to deal with the potential ambiguities and varieties for the future. It has a teacher-driven, inquiry-based structure with which teachers get totally empowered, their ideas are matter, and their voices are heard. In the Edcamp, every teacher will be considered as an equal collaborator to learn from and learn with other educators who have rich experiences or have similar interests and needs. Because of the voluntary nature and face-to-face unconference form of Edcamp, every participant is welcoming and willing to help which shapes a healthy and reliable platform for global educators to interact and inspire each other. Edcamp provides a seedbed for the effective and invigorated PLNs created and shone on teacher’s professional growth. Social media can be used to highlight and continue the work to extend the influence of Edcamp among teachers.
As the Edcamps can provide a reliable and healthy platform for teacher’s growth, policymakers should consider how to encourage and harness teacher-powered learning instead of setting constrainers on the shapes of PD. If the policymakers can embrace teacher-driven and self-identified PD, teachers will be more active and seek more opportunities for leadership to lead development and revolution in education.
As we always talk about the new requirements for students for the 21st century, who need to foster abilities to leverage technology to support their autonomous learning, facilitate the issues of technology, and select and use digital tools to plan and manage meaningful learning. As educators in the digital era, we always are the learners while getting professional growth. While we are paving the way for cultivating abilities for our students, the abilities also are necessary for us, the life-long learners.
Wake, D., & Mills, M. (2018). Edcamp: Listening to the Voices of Teachers. Issues in Teacher Education, 27(3), 90–106. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com.ezproxy.spu.edu/login.aspx?direct=true&AuthType=ip&db=eric&AN=EJ1193769&site=ehost-live
Carpenter, J. P. (2016). Teachers at the Wheel. Educational Leadership, 73(8), 30–35. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com.ezproxy.spu.edu/login.aspx?direct=true&AuthType=ip&db=eric&AN=EJ1100630&site=ehost-live
The EdCamp Experience: Guest Post. (2019). Retrieved from http://www.edcamptampabay.com/blog/the-edcamp-experience-guest-post
Buteau, C. (2019). My Experience at Edcamp – ESL Blogs. Retrieved from http://blogdev.learnquebec.ca/eslcommunity/archives/687
Carpenter, J. P., & Linton, J. N. (2016). Edcamp unconferences: Educators perspectives on an untraditional professional learning experience. Teaching and Teacher Education,57, 97-108. doi:10.1016/j.tate.2016.03.004