Thursday, November 03, 2011

Professional Development Protocol?

Protocol:  A code of correct conduct.

When I started my classroom social network several years ago, it was at-first a wild exchange of ideas. I found that I had to redirect often.  The following year, I added a simple protocol:
  • Use Polite Language
  • Post Polite Images.
  • No Violent images or language.
  • Report images, videos and/or language that are offensive.
    Now I rarely have to redirect or reteach related to our classroom NING.

    What are the proper protocols for professional development?  What behaviors and attitudes do we want to model for our students?  

    Recently, at tech conferences, the following protocols enhanced and inspired my learning:
    • Choose what you want to hear and/or see.
    • Contact the presenter prior to the presentation if you'd like.
    • Leave the presentation if it's not meeting your learning needs.
    • Use tech during the presentation to take notes, tweet out essential facts/questions, and multi-task.
    • Ask questions.
    • Gather emails and links for follow-up.
    • Find a comfortable place to engage.
    During the tech conferences, I always multi-task because the conferences are usually inspirational prompting me to let others know about what I'm learning as well as to integrate the new learning immediately into other venues such as classroom social networks, collegial emails and curriculum work.

    Recently, many educators from my PLN attended authorspeak11, and although I didn't attend the event I was able to gain inspiration and many follow-up links through their related tweets.  I must say it seemed like an awesome conference.

    Educators' professional development is not always like a tech conference.  In fact multi-tasking, tweeting and using tech is sometimes frowned upon and met with the response, "Is that good modeling for our students? Is that the way we want our students to behave?"  Which leaves one with the question: What are the best protocols for professional development endeavors in education?  Should a protocol be set prior to a professional development event?  Should we encourage educators to bring tech along or leave it at home?  What about multi-tasking and tweeting?  And ultimately, what are the behaviors we want to model in the 21st century for optimal learning and exchange?

    While the protocol debate continues, I want to encourage all educational facilitators to set a protocol in writing prior to pd events.  I suggest that the protocol is one that's open-ended and responsive to the pd event. You can tell I'm an advocate for protocols that inspire connectivity, communication and integration.  What does that look like at your grade-level, school or system-wide pd endeavors?

    I'm looking forward to any and all response to this post as it's an issue many educators are dealing with as we move towards productive protocols that will not only enhance teachers' learning, but student learning too.

    Update 4/8/16: As I read this old post, I recognized that we've come a long way since the day when I wrote this. Now the tech that was questioned when I wrote this post is fully accepted which is a welcome change.