Analyzing the Big Rocks of EDER 679, especially following our presentations, I realized the imperative need for teachers to continually learn new technology: online mind mapping, web based computing, interactive apps, and multiple types of software. Overwhelmingly though, these technologies are not the most important learning need for teachers but how to use these technologies to help students achieve learning outcomes.
What does this look like for educators in the 21st century? Essentially, professional development has to change. Fullan (2007) argues,“the problem (is that) there is almost no opportunity for teachers to engage in continuous and sustained learning about their practice in the settings in which they actually work”. Some teachers have started to develop successful professional development methods whilst maintaining appropriate teacher work hours. Tools such as Twitter have encouraged collaboration and idea sharing; PLCs have developed school dialogue for answering key questions such as “what are the students going to learn?”, “what do we do when students don’t understand?” and what do we do with students that do understand the learning outcomes?.
Leading into the future, I strongly want wish to promote creative, new, and unique ideas for professional development for teachers. EDcamps, microblogging, and professional learning communities are just a start. With new opportunities available for collaboration through Google Hangout, Skype, and Meeting Online, teachers have effective, financially responsible, and efficient ways to develop 21st century learning, leading, and teaching opportunities. Teachers that have a lot of support (through PLCs) have a fountain of resources, learning, and engagement opportunities through professional conversation, collaborative and creative mindsets, and a shared joy for educating for life.
Fullan, Michael (2007). Change The Terms for Teacher Learning. National Staff Development Council Journal. Vol. 28 No. 3. http://www.michaelfullan.ca/media/13396074650.pdf