Teachers discuss tailored professional learning to enhance literacy e-learning needs using a blended model.
So for our professional development, traditionally what would happen is a facilitator would come in and take staff meetings. The discussions would happen when the facilitator was there face-to-face. We’d perhaps get some readings, which we’d go away and read, and then come back and discuss the next time the staff meeting was scheduled. So we have a lot more ongoing discussions. PD doesn’t happen just when our facilitator arrives, it’s continual. We’ve got forums like cluster networks within the VLN. We have workshops that are being run, which people can go to, to upskill themselves. We have Skype meetings with our facilitator, so as leaders we can discuss where we’re going and keep things moving. It’s a lot more collaborative; we have Google Docs that we use extensively. With other schools, as well as with our facilitator, but for our school they’ve become an integral part of our practice.
So for me going on, and asking questions, and writing up comments, makes me quite a bit nervous about what I’m going to say, whether I’m going to word it properly, or say the right things. So I’ve been going on to sort of have a look at what is on there, looking at what other people are asking, and then looking at the discussions that come from that, to gain knowledge for my teacher inquiry. Also having the – Wednesday afternoon we have a session with schools involved in the cluster, and they then put all of the references, all of the resources, everything up onto VLN for us in the peer group. So it’s a good place to go back and remind ourselves of what we’ve learnt, and also go back and find out what we haven’t, you know, what things we haven’t seen at the courses.
So for me for working online, in the way of using the VLN, it’s national, it’s international, it’s not only teachers, it’s educators, people who are professionals in the area of educating our students, our kids. So I can go on there and get a really broad range of information. You know, there’s facilitators on there who are very high in their field, know a lot about what they are talking about, know a lot about what they know. So it’s almost like going to a course but not having to go and see that facilitator.
We’ve been able to focus on and use the e-Learning Planning Framework to identify where we’re at. We’ve done that as a staff collaboratively. We’ve positioned ourselves on the five dimensions, and then we’ve prioritised which dimensions we are going to focus on. Through that we’ve identified strategic planning and leadership, and teacher knowledge as the key areas. So we have used it as an opportunity to model how we would want to, practice that we would like to see in our classrooms.