Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Curriculum 21 in ACTION: PD in PJ's

This blog post is a collaborative piece by Andrea Hernandez (@edtechworkshop) and Mike Fisher (@fisher1000) and represents the conversational style of PD that we participated in this weekend. We took advantage of available technology to develop meaningful work that represents 21st Century Learning and Teaching, 21st Century Curriculum Design and Practice, and all that Curriculum 21 embodies in terms of upgrading and replacement of the current curriculum.

Andrea Hernandez: I’ve always gravitated toward collaboration at work. Even in the 20th century, I tended to seek out other teachers for collaborating and team-teaching situations. I think that I am at a point now where I am unable to work alone. So, when I sat down at my desk Sunday morning to think about getting started with a poetry unit for 4th grade, it seemed like a natural first step to tweet it out and hope that someone would share a promising link or idea.

Mike Fisher: Previous to Twitter and 21st Century interactions, this is something that might happen in a professional development workshop. It’s something that might develop over time, or necessitate an instructional coaching arc. But, this weekend, it happened in a online collaborative environment--an environment that breeds quick ideas and solutions, and offers opportunities for multiple perspectives and contributions.

Mike: The original tweet prompted this one:

Andrea: I didn’t think of starting the google doc myself, even though I have seen some examples of this type of twitter-collaboration. Sometimes, I guess you just don’t think to do something until you have actually done it yourself and seen, firsthand, the benefits. Sometimes it takes a while for a new idea to actually become a new personal habit. So I was excited that Mike started the Google Doc and was willing to generously spend some of his Sunday morning lesson planning with me, a virtual colleague. As soon as I opened the doc and saw the ideas that were already shared, my own ideas started to flow.

Mike: In the space of just a few minutes, the Google Doc was created, tweeted out, and open to all contributions. A plethora of ideas bloomed over the course of about 15 minutes. You can see the document, in its current state, by CLICKING HERE. By clicking on the Revision History in the Google Doc, you can see the number of edits that happened in the first 15 minutes. Andrea and I both were impressed with the quick contributions, and how the ideas grew from just one quick tweet!

Andrea: I tried to explain to a colleague this morning, using the analogy of exercise. When you first start moving, you’re a little stiff. It takes some time to warm up and get into the groove. Collaborating helps me warm up. It helps me break through the blank page staring back at me, and it helps me approach the task with a little more of a light heart. There is something about sharing ideas in a Google Doc especially- you can almost watch the thoughts hatch and develop.

Mike: What was fun too is that we actually were doing “PD in PJ’s!” It really is a whole new world of educational opportunities when you can get what you need at the moment you need it. The web is allowing us to do anywhere, anytime, any topic Professional Development that is personally meaningful and perfectly situated. This is what Curriculum 21 is all about!

Andrea: How wonderful to have access to educators all over the world who are so passionate about teaching and learning that they choose to work on a Sunday morning with someone they’ve never personally met. Though we’ve not yet met in person, we’re hardly strangers. We are colleagues.

Mike: In the Global classroom, we are ALL colleagues!

If you are interested in joining the conversation, you can interact with your own PLN and develop collaborative events like this one. You can contribute to the GOOGLE DOC we created. You can visit the Curriculum 21 Website or you can come to the Curriculum 21 Institute this summer in Saratoga Springs. Additionally, Curriculum 21, the book, is available through ASCD’s website.

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