Start off the new year with these recommended reads for teachers and instructional coaches.
Professional learning communities increase innovation, student outcomes
PLC’s help teachers to determine a common language for learning and assessments. They also provide a conducive space for innovation as teachers in PLC’s will try out new strategies.
Ultimately, effective PLC’s will embrace a blend of innovation and establishing clear goals for the teachers to work towards.
A learning team constantly engages in a cycle of learning: analyzing data, setting goals, and learning individually and collaboratively, as well as implementing and adjusting practices to meet the needs of all learners. This process allows teachers to try new teaching practices and discover what’s working and what isn’t.
Read more on Edutopia: Creating Effective Professional Learning Communities
Design challenges are good for teachers (and students)
At the recent FETC conference in Miami, three educators shared how a design thinking professional development model can lead to more authentic integration of technology into lesson plans.
Educators in the training are then asked to think about how they would take a traditionally designed lesson and enhance it with tech based on the SAMR model. They might, for example, give students more choice in the topic or the final medium of the presentation, based on interests and talents.
Once they get into the design thinking portion of the session, the really deep work begins.
See more of this training session on EducationDive: Better PD Through Design Thinking
Micro-credentials allow teachers to personalize professional learning
The Kentucky Valley Educational Cooperative (KVEC) uses micro-credentials to benefit its educators in small remote schools throughout southeastern Kentucky. Rural schools often have a difficult time creating effective professional development to support teacher training, so micro-credentials can be used as a means of providing teachers a personalized form of competency-based professional learning.
Credentials earned by teachers at the beginning of their careers are often referred to as certifications, awarded in a particular area of instruction. Micro-credentials represent smaller, bite-size learning, mastery of skills, and are awarded for the demonstration of very specific competencies. A micro-credential is not represented by a certificate or a diploma—instead, badges are awarded for demonstrating mastery. Badges can be displayed on social media accounts, in a digital portfolio or “backpack,” or even in an email signature.
Read more on eSchool News: This District Uses Micro-Credentials to Boost Professional Learning