Professional Development

PD is not optional in the age of Authentic Learning. But, it is no longer a singular sensation, a one-time shot in the arm whose findings fail to hold as true in practice as the do in theory. Rather, professional development must continue to create A Ripe Environment; it must continue to work toward the creation of personal learning networks that are just-in-time, yet sustaining. In order for the environment to be ripe for collaboration, educators and learners must:

  1. Have a genuine need to be heard by others and, in one way or another, receive feedback for contributions.
  2. See living examples of collaboration (not case studies or projects from a few years ago) that they can become a part of.
  3. Have the time to connect more than two dots together. (Rather than connecting: “My students need to know this” with “here is the information” they need to have time to connect “My student needs to know this” with “my students need to evaluate this for validity” with “my students need to know how to use this resource to find the information” with “my students need to create new information for others to use.”)
  4. See collaboration as an extension of their natural instincts as a teacher (opening possibilities for learning).
  5. Find the backchannels relevant to them (these backchannels must be encouraged and honored as vital sources of learning).
  6. Know that their products and ideas are valuable.
  7. Understand the marks of successful collaboration. (They have to know what it looks like.)
  8. Accept that questions are both for interdependent and independent learning. (All questions are serious points of inquiry in The Ripe Environment.)
  9. Believe that personal and professional change can never be institutionalized. (Individuals create change, not schools or districts.)
  10. Know that powerful learning can take place anywhere, not just in singular meetings, conferences, and workshops.

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