Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The PLP Experience

Just about a year ago I attended an ISAS Technology Directors conference at Trinity Valley School in Fort Worth. The speaker was Will Richardson. I have to confess that I had never heard of him (in what planet did I live on, really?). His presentation was like lightning!

As soon as I got back home I googled PLP and filled the form requesting more information. I invited some colleagues to attend a virtual session with Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach, and at that moment we knew that we really wanted to join .

We formed a school team with Michelle from Upper Elementary, Emma and Sherie from Middle School, and Dave from Upper School. At our first face-to-face meeting we registered as members of a Ning and created our profiles. When we came back to school after the kick-off event, we were inspired to make the most of our PLP adventure.

Truth is, there was a little catch in our decision to join PLP. A year ago we had an accreditation visit, and the first item in the report concerning technology said, "The School should look into providing leadership for academic technology. This leadership can explore ways to develop and implement a school wide vision for academic technology, investigate professional development opportunities for both academic technology and all other classroom teachers." As a first step, I was appointed Academic Technology Coordinator to lead the school in addressing the accreditation report. Big task! I started gathering resources to create a LoTI survey that was completed by faculty in all divisions. After analyzing the data I knew I was going to need more guidance than just relying on my searching abilities!

PLP has opened my eyes to a world of possibilities.  All of a sudden I am supported not only by the top leaders in education, but also by a group of colleagues that are walking the same path and have the same expectations and concerns that I have.
My professional growth has been amazing to me. Through virtual sessions and ongoing conversations I now have a deeper understanding of  21st century teaching and learning. I have learned how to use several digital tools and, most importantly, I have expanded my learning network. On July 1st I joined Twitter, and as of this morning, I have over 300 followers. By the end of September I had created this blog, and in November all of my Honors Physics students had their own active blogs!

The professional development plan that I originally crafted back in November has been transformed into a well-defined program that already has had a tremendous impact in the school. All we had to do was to dig deeper into the myriad of resources received through PLP.
With creativity, passion and collegiality our team and technology instructors have been very successful in motivating and supporting our colleagues as they implement changes. After the culminating event this past Monday, we have renewed our commitment to move our school not only to address all of the accreditation report recommendations but much, much farther!

As I reflect on these past months, I'm reminded of Newton(*) when he wrote "If I have seen further it is only by standing on the shoulders of giants." I say this because one thing is clear: we wouldn't be where we are, without having joined PLP!

Here is our PLP Project Presentation:


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(*) Quote originally attributed to Bernard de Chartres

3 comments:

Susan Davis said...

You have taken the lead, Dolores, in being a true leader in education (not just educational technology). You and your team deserve lots of kudos! I look forward to continuing to work with you in the future. (And sharing lively dinner conversation when you are in town!)

Michelle Barker said...

Thank you, Dolores, for leading the Parish PLP Team down this path. You did an outstanding job in many ways. As a co-conspirator along this journey, I appreciate all that we have learned and all that we will continue to learn throughout our professional careers. Technology integration will be an ever-evolving component of how we teach and why we teach it.

Mr Dunk said...

Even though your name wasn't "asterisked", I wanted to comment and say how lucky I am to have met you on twitter. You are an inspiration to me at a time when I was beginning to consider moving on to other things. Your insight and fresh ideas have given me new excitement for teaching physics. Thank you for that! Keep up the great work!

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