Realism, Relevance, Retention in CPD.

April 1, 2009 § Leave a comment

So it’s been a very relaxing evening. I have listened to the game (England vs Ukraine) and read widely. My PLN has delivered to me a diet of learning landscapes, Moodle (skoogle) videos, shared RSS and a handful of tweets. Across a number of articles, there was a theme promoting PLNs in favour of CPD training. Is this an unbiased review? Afterall, most of those articles we written by the advocates? More importantly how do we best develop our staff? CPD training vs PLNs?

I agree that to be effective teachers we need to  learn how to develop learning frameworks that constructively align outcomes (what do we want them to learn), activities (how to be create motivating classrooms and engage learner) and assessment (how to we know they did what we wanted them to and even more perhaps?). Traditional and central to most education environments world wide, however the learning landscape for our students is evolving.

The industrialist 3Rs of Reading, Writing and Arithmetic, are being displaced by the ‘digitial’ 3Rs – ‘Realism, Relevance and Retention.’ Content now firmly straddles both the traditional and digital and with every year we move closer towards the digital, but are our teachers ready to develop within a futures context? Are our teachers best develop through tradition 3Rs CPD (in which they learnt) or best served when encouraged to explore and construct their own PLNs. I am undecided. Further to that point, I am not saying the digital learning is inhibiting or displacing gifted creative ‘traditional’ teachers or creative teaching, far from it, but are widening their scope influence of those willing to engage with forums, chat, blog, wikis, polls, surveys’, quizzes and so forth…. So to refocus on the statement, how do we best develop our staff? CPD vs PLNs? I am undecided.

So I took this concept one step further and thought about my current role and how the question positions itself. How best to enthuse staff to take up/on/explore our embryonic Moodle (Skoogle)? Will we, the school, staff and students, gain the full impact of our Moodle, the potential is clearly outlined by Tomaz Lasic. Would staff benefit more from traditional 3Rs training /CPD or through developing a PLN where they can connect with other Moodle teachers and explore the potential benefits of a VLE? What would be the more realistic and relevant? Support is swaying…

The industrialist 3Rs Reading, Writing and Arithmetic, are in conflict with the ‘digitial’ 3Rs – ‘Realism, Relevance and Retention.’ Digital learning opportunities are not inhibiting or deplacing gifted creative teachers, far from it, but are widening their influence but I am not 100% convinced that staff are ready to learn themselves through this mode.

Realism is not rarely present in traditional CPD, afterall where are the students? (PS well done to Hamble College for regularly including the student voice). Relevance? Is it really relevant, do we go back to our classrooms and fully implement staff training? Rarely, therefore it can not be relevant but I know I regaulrly use the recommendation I receive from my PLN. Retention, access to powerful professional learning is not a defining feature of traditional CPD, rarely do I hear staff brimming with enthusiasm about the next CPD session. INSET is almost a dirty word. Yet, I am not convinced a PLN alone is the answer.

CPD training vs PLNs? I think the PLN is a clear winner for 2012 Olympics of learning, but its not the champion yet.

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