Teacher-Led Professional Learning

The ISTE Teacher Standard 5 provides four benchmarks for teachers to continuously improve their professional practice, model lifelong learning, and exhibit leadership in their school and professional community by promoting and demonstrating the effective use of digital tools and resources? My focus areas were: “exhibit leadership by demonstrating a vision of technology infusion, participating in shared decision making and community building, and developing the leadership and technology skills of others” and to “contribute to the effectiveness, vitality, and self-renewal of the teaching profession and of [my] school and community” (ISTE 2016).

My Question

How can emerging digital education leaders influence the scope and sequence of on-site professional development at their schools to include teacher-led educational technology sessions (e.g. Ed Camp-style, post-conference share out, etc.)?

My Resolution

At my school, teachers rarely engage in professional development that does not occur during regularly scheduled in-house PD days. Furthermore, those in-house PD days often consist of presentations by “outside experts” about a topic that is deemed important by the school administration. A recent report by EdSurge featured an information and an infographic that encourages a move away from traditional professional development models, in which an outside presenter is brought in for a “one-time” lecture or workshop about a topic that school administration has decided needs to be addressed.


Copyright 2014 EdSurge

The EdSurge report goes on to promote greater teacher empowerment in choosing professional development for themselves and even being the facilitators of their colleagues’ learning. The bottom line is: “Whatever the concoction [Twitter, video libraries of best practice, social network for badging, in-person coaching and online courses, combined with video feedback tools], teachers should accept no less than personalized and empowered PD” (EdSurge 2014).

“We have to trust that teachers are professionals who use their classrooms as innovative laboratories and who are motivated to engage in authentic learning” (Swanson 2014).

Kristin Swanson’s article “Edcamp: Teachers Take Back Professional Development,” is all about EdCamps, from the what to the how-to. I love conferences and all of the online learning that I do, but I love EdCamps especially because of the level of active participation. EdCamps take “for teachers by teachers” to the next level by facilitating authentic learning around topics that are developed on the day of the conference by the people who are attending. Then, all session participants are invited equal “air time” to share their expertise, or to simply listen and learn. For me, this quote says it all: “We have to trust that teachers are professionals who use their classrooms as innovative laboratories and who are motivated to engage in authentic learning” (Swanson 2014). Digital Education Leaders need to engage with their administration in order to ensure teacher empowerment in professional development.

Works Cited

  1. EdSurge. (2014, June). How Teachers Are Learning: Professional Development Remix (EdSurge Guides). Retrieved June 3, 2016, from https://www.edsurge.com/research/guides/how-teachers-are-learning-professional-development-remix#%23A-Framework-for-PD
  2. Swanson, K. (2014). Edcamp: Teachers Take Back Professional Development. Educational Leadership, 71(8), 36-40. doi:http://www.ascd.org/publications/educational-leadership/may14/vol71/num08/Edcamp@-Teachers-Take-Back-Professional-Development.aspx

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