Saturday, April 30, 2011

Final PLP thinking

Today was the final face to face meeting for our Dublin-Dallas cohort during our year-long immersion in PLP thinking. I was fortunate to be on a team of five other very smart educators from my school, and it was a delight to spend this entire year learning alongside these ladies. We all grew a lot and more importantly, over this time, we have developed an action research plan for our building that addresses collaboration in our building - we looked at the structures already in place, and thought about how we could "grow" these structures in breadth and depth. We're all looking forward to putting the plan into action starting this summer.

Our Dublin-Dallas cohort has met multiple times throughout the year in Elluminate sessions online; each 2 hour session focused on certain topics to help push our thinking when it comes to connected learning. As nice as those sessions were, today's face to face session was incredibly powerful. It is a little ironic how much I valued this face to face time, when all year long I've been trying to stretch my connected learning.

I've really learned to push my own personal boundaries of learning as well as my students - this was the year we shared a blog with a class in Maine to talk about a book we were both reading aloud. Then, in celebration of all our thinking, we had a Skype book chat on the final day of the book. My goal has really been to break down the 4 walls of our classroom when we think about how we learn. This was a year that students started bringing electronics (iTouches and iPads) to school to enrich what was already going on in our classroom. I watched amazed recently during writing workshop at how students had multiple tabs opened on their laptops while working on their final project, and right beside the laptop lay their iTouch or iPad, ready with notes they had taken or videos they wanted to import. Another student had a flip video where he recorded himself at home explaining the touch screen of an iTouch. There is no longer a dividing line between what happens at school and what happens at home. The walls of our classroom truly are coming down.

But back to today - today consisted of all groups sharing their action research projects, then breaking apart to discuss topics of interest to us (iPads and project based learning were just two of the choices), we moved on to more breakout group conversations to discuss the roadblocks to implementing 21st century thinking (great discussions!), we talked about our digital footprints, and finally we came together to form action plans for the issues we identified as top priorities.

So much big thinking, and not enough space here to share it all. However, if you want to "poke the box" of your own learning (a phrase one of our co-leaders, Will Richardson used frequently), I am including my notes from today that I put on google doc. If you really want to stretch yourself, go the the PLP website and look at their offerings for the coming year.

A huge thanks to my GRE team, the other PLP cohorts, Will Richardson, and Sheryl Nussbaum Beach for making this year such an important one in my own learning.


  1. Karen,
    Thanks for sharing your learning journey. I've enjoyed following along with the great work your cohort is doing. Lots of interesting thinking on your notes page. I feel connected learning has made such a difference in my understanding of education, the learning taking place in my classroom, and my vision for change. These interactions have stretched my thinking. However, I struggle with how to bridge this into my interactions with colleagues in my school. I will looked forward to hearing more about the unfolding of your building's collaboration plan.

  2. Nice article, thanks for the information.