PLNs "Friends Educating Each Other": Informal, Self-directed, and Social PD

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MOREnet M3 Annual Conference 2013.

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  • computers are not being utilized as education tools as expected.
  • I’ve attended numerous educational technology conferences
  • “It’s been 30 years since the advent of the personal computer and we’re still struggling to get teachers and administrators to integrate digital technologies into their daily work in ways that are substantive and meaningful.”
  • Literature review found little on the topic Those studies that were available were conducted on closed or managed networks constructed for research purposesLack of in-depth research available on topic of study
  • Though Freire’s work predates social media technologiesGiven that informal learning is dialogical rather than a curriculur formIt’s not hard to image that Freire would have encouraged the use of social media as a communication platform for educators to utilize in order to engage in discussions that encourage reflection and inspire action and reform, thereby improving and transforming their practice, student learning, and the educational system.
  • International Society for Technology in EducationDeveloped standards for students, teachers, administrators and now coachesNETS-S, NETS-T, NETS-A, NETS-C
  • Literature Review:Adult Learning TheoryProfessional DevelopmentPLN
  • Lindeman - Adult learning theory stresses the potential of informalsociallearning that focuses on discussion and collaboration as central elements. "Friends educating each other" was a theme Lindeman championed.
  • Knowles - ADL or andragogy is the art and science of helping adults learn in a self-directed manner in which the desire for control, flexibiity, and feedback are satisfied.
  • Mezirow - TLT promotes inclusion (giving voice) and empowerment (belongingness and equity as a member) and opportunities to negotiate between and across cultures. Social media facilitated.
  • Wenger - CoPs focus on people and social structures that enable adults to learn with and from each other.Learning is social
  • CoP – people and social structures that enable adults to learn with and from each otherConnectivism – Siemens and Downes: ...a construct for learning in the digital age, focuses on the amplification of learning, knowledge, and understanding through the extension of a personal network via social media.Friends educating each other
  • Guskey - Professional development should be self-directed, ongoing and job-embedded, not an event. Cross - ...having great connections to networks, which satisfy both the community concept (social media) and the knowledge aspect (access to information) of learning.Learning is social.
  • Guskey - Professional development should be self-directed, ongoing and job-embedded, not an event. Cross - ...having great connections to networks, which satisfy both the community concept (social media) and the knowledge aspect (access to information) of learning.Learning is social.
  • Richardson & Mancabelli a PLN is a set of connections to people and resources, both offline and online, who enrich our learning.
  • I propose that the PLN has resurrected the "friends educating each other” model of adult learning.
  • We need to take a step back and consider how things have changed.
  • Pre-Internet – teacher’s store, magazines, face-to-face: conventions, workshops, classes all input (one-way) no conversation
  • Networked teacher with access to Internet – social bookmarking, personal publishing platforms, aggregators; two-way interactions
  • The social networked teacher is now connected to everyone that each person they are connected to are connected to…learning is amplified
  • Literature suggests a new paradigm for staff development that should be:Self-directedDifferentiatedOngoingJob-embeddedIn addition,FlexibleEncourage self-analysis and personal reflectionSetting the stage for PLNs to be validated as a powerful professional development component
  • Q1a What motivates educators to participate in informal, online professional development networksQ1b What types of informal, online professional development networks do educators report they use to connect with other educators to enhance their practice?Q1c What specific informal, online professional development networks do educators report they find most useful in order to improve their practice?
  • Descriptive research study used a survey instrument which had both quantitative and qualitative components and was administered by Zoomerang (now SurveyMokey), an online third party vendor.
  • Findings
  • Q1Most common grade level was preK-5 and Least represented was higher educationQ2Most reported they were classroom teachersQ3 No differences found regarding subject – surprised researcher. Most indicated they were self-contained, which includes most subject areasQ4Most indicated their schools were set in the suburbs.Q5Most have been teaching for 1-10 years, but fairly distributed.
  • Q16Educators used Twitter significantly more than Facebook, social bookmarking, wikis, blogs, RSS, and Nings and marginally more than cloud storage and sharing.Graph represents currently use
  • Twitter was designated by respondents as their favorite social media application
  • Open-ended QuotesTwitter – Community“It is the modern equivalent of the 18th century coffeehouse—a place teaming with ideas, opinions, research, discussion, collaboration, and bold vision.”
  • Open-ended QuotesTwitter – Informal learning“I have created a PLN that I feel meets my needs by providing resources, ideas, and challenges to improve learning for my students.”
  • Open-ended QuotesTwitter – Improve practice“I have developed more as a professional since participating in #edchat than I did in the last five years.”
  • Open-ended QuotesTwitter – Isolation reduction“The largest difference is that I no longer feel alone in the classroom. I think it is hard for those outside of education to realize how isolated teachers were before social media.”
  • Q11Most (96%) educators believed they learned how to make effective use of educational technology for instruction through informal/independent learning—”on my own” than other methods.
  • Q11Added strongly agree and agree = 96% informal
  • Conflict
  • Q12NO:Training in technology integration (lesson planning)Encourage participation in informal professional development networks (social media)YES:Training on technology tool useEncourage faculty to share ideas
  • Q13 Mixed findings.It met my personal goals: 46% strongly disagree or disagreeIt supported the goals/standards of my state/district/school: only 57% strongly agree or agreeI was able to choose or self-select what I wanted to learn: 46% strongly disagree or disagree
  • Consistent finding = perhaps use of SM would help them feel more confident. Get PD on own and don’t wait for employer.
  • Q7
  • Bottom line.
  • Social media for PD is relatively new, additional research would be valuable in expanding our understanding of these dynamic learning communities. Further research and practice useful to those responsible for planning PD.
  • In order to understand how this may be done and build upon the insights gained so as to develop a best-practice model to be used in schools, districts, and campuses.
  • Conduct research on each of the previously mentioned by demographic group:Current assignment (grade level, position, subject, school setting)Years in educationAge
  • DifferentiatedAllows for self-directionUnconference and edcamp models or cMOOCs
  • PLNs "Friends Educating Each Other": Informal, Self-directed, and Social PD

    1. 1. PLN’s “Friends Educating Each Other”: Informal, Self-directed, and Social PD Debbie Fucoloro, Ph.D. MOREnet M3 Annual Conference October 15, 2013
    2. 2. ABOUT ME • • • • • B.A. & M.A.T. Webster University Ph.D. Saint Louis University, 2012 19 total years in teaching Classroom teacher – 10 years + 9 years 3rd, 4th, 6th S.S., 7th Sci., and digital video to middle schoolers • Instructional Technology Specialist – 9 years • Currently Technology Coordinator
    3. 3. Computers are not being utilized as education tools as expected. Bauer and Kenton (2005), Toward Technology Integration in the Schools: Why It Isn’t Happening
    4. 4. Overriding sentiment: “It’s been 30 years since the advent of the personal computer and we’re still struggling to get teachers and administrators to integrate digital technologies into their daily work in ways that are substantive and meaningful.” ~ Scott McLeod (2011)
    5. 5. Purpose Investigate educators who use social media for informal professional learning. What motivates them: • to seek out and connect with other educators • to advance their professional learning • on their own time
    6. 6. Importance of the Research filling the gap in literature http://globaltoynews.typepad.com/.a/6a0133ec87bd6d970b014e86e58ea8970d-500wi
    7. 7. So What? - shed light on how to better support all educators professionally - nurture reluctant technology users - encouraging and mentoring their participation in these environments - increasing their ability to use best practices in technology integration in order to positively impact student learning
    8. 8. Conceptual Framework Evolution 1. How do we encourage and support educators to incorporate best practices in technology integration when planning lessons? 2. Can educator use of social media for informal professional development increase technology integration and, in turn, student learning? 3. However, first it is important to learn more about educators who currently use social media for informal professional development.
    9. 9. Foundation of Conceptual Framework • Paulo Freire – learning is a social act and dialogue is the heart of education
    10. 10. Foundation of Conceptual Framework
    11. 11. Literature Review • Adult Learning Theory • Professional Development • Personal Learning Network
    12. 12. Adult Learning Theories “Friends educating each other” Basil Yeaxlee, 1925
    13. 13. Self-directed learning, desire for control, flexibility, and feedback
    14. 14. • Inclusion (giving voice) • Empowerment (belongingness) • Opportunities to negotiate between and across cultures
    15. 15. Adult Learning CoPs enable adults to learn with and from each other
    16. 16. Adult Learning Connectivism focuses on the amplification of learning, knowledge, and understanding through the extension of a personal network via social media
    17. 17. Professional Development
    18. 18. Professional Development • the community concept (social media) and • the knowledge aspect (access to information) of learning
    19. 19. Personal Learning Networks PLN = connections to people and resources, both offline and online, who enrich our learning
    20. 20. PLN = “friends educating each other” revived
    21. 21. Typical Teacher Network by Alec Couros
    22. 22. The Networked Teacher
    23. 23. Socially Networked Teacher
    24. 24. New Paradigm Suggested • • • • • • Self-directed Differentiated Ongoing Job embedded Flexible Encourages self-analysis and personal reflection
    25. 25. New Paradigm • PLNs should be validated as a powerful professional development component • Not: Traditional vs Informal • But a mix of: traditional & emerging, formal & informal
    26. 26. Research Questions Q1 What are educators’ perceptions and reported behaviors associated with participation in informal, online professional development networks?
    27. 27. Research Sub-Questions Q1a motivation Q1b types Q1c specific
    28. 28. Research Questions Q2 Do educator’s perceptions and reported behaviors differ based on: • current assignment • years in education • age
    29. 29. Methodology “Unless researchers first generate an accurate description of an educational phenomenon as it exists, they lack a firm basis for explaining or changing it.” ~ Gall, Gall & Borg
    30. 30. Instrumentation • 1st Demographics • 2nd Traditional Professional Development and Technology Integration • 3rd Using Social Media/Networks to Meet Professional Development Needs
    31. 31. • establish a baseline description of knowledge regarding educators who use social media for professional development • lay the groundwork for further in-depth studies based on the findings
    32. 32. Variables 1. Current assignment – grade level, position, subject area, and school setting 2. Years in education--categories included 1-10 years, 11-20 years, and 21+ years 3. Respondent’s age included a drop-down box for exact age
    33. 33. Population Sample • Pre-K through higher education • Teachers, administrators, librarians and media specialists, specialists (Art, Music, P.E., Foreign Language) • Instructional support personnel (Technology Specialists, Special Ed., Counselors, Gifted Ed., Language acquisition) • Education industry (retirees, consultants, bloggers, authors)
    34. 34. Population • Snowball sampling method to access approximately 16,900 educators via Twitter and Nings • 1,000 Twitter followers • 10,000 members of Educator’s PLN Ning • 6,000 members of ISET Community Ning
    35. 35. Sample “…return rates for Internet surveys are lower than mail surveys and sometimes abysmal.” ~ Cox & Cox, 2008 Hoped to get at least 100 participants.
    36. 36. Findings
    37. 37. Demographic Sample • 4,950 visited survey • 147 began • 14 dropped out before end of demographic info and were excluded • 133 participants
    38. 38. Key Descriptive Findings
    39. 39. Respondent Demographics Average Age 43 years-old
    40. 40. Findings Favorite social media application to use for informal professional development: http://bettergraphic.com/free-and-paid-fonts-used-in-logos-of-popular-brands/
    41. 41. Open-ended Themes - Why Twitter? Community & Convenience “It is the modern equivalent of the 18th century coffeehouse—a place teaming with ideas, opinions, research, discussion, collaboration, and bold vision.” http://blog.songcastmusic.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/twitter-community-600.jpg
    42. 42. Open-ended Themes – Why Twitter? Informal Learning & Sharing “I have created a PLN that I feel meets my needs by providing resources, ideas, and challenges to improve learning for my students.” http://images.wisegeek.com/people-independently-working-in-a-cafe.jpg
    43. 43. Open-ended Themes – Why Twitter? Professional Improvement “I have developed more as a professional since participating in #edchat than I did in the last five years.” http://appliedsimplicity.org/files/u2/group_3w.jpg
    44. 44. Open-ended Themes – Why Twitter? Isolation Reduction* “The largest difference is that I no longer feel alone in the classroom. I think it is hard for those outside of education to realize how isolated teachers were before social media.”
    45. 45. Findings • Educators (99%) believed they should take personal responsibility for continued professional growth and improvement.
    46. 46. Findings How well did each of the following prepare you to make effective use of technology for instruction?
    47. 47. Key Comparative Findings
    48. 48. Administrators vs Classroom Teachers http://leadershipfreak.files.wordpress.com/2010/08/disagreeement.jpg
    49. 49. Current Assignment - Position • Administrators perceived that employers used more methods to support technology integration than classroom teachers. • Administrators had a more positive view of the effectiveness of PD in educational technology provided by school, district, or campus than classroom teachers.
    50. 50.  { No  Yes 
    51. 51. As age increased: • confidence using technology decreased • PD activities made respondents feel more prepared • use of social media decreased
    52. 52. Other Relevant Findings
    53. 53. ?
    54. 54. Key Recommendations & Implications • Researchers • Educational leaders • Teachers
    55. 55. Key Recommendations to Future Researchers 1. Examine successful programs currently supporting the use of, and giving credit to and recognizing educators for participation in informal, online professional development networks.
    56. 56. Key Recommendations to Future Researchers 2. Is there a correlation between participation in informal, online professional development and: - Improved practice - Increased student learning - Increased technology integration - Increased confidence in tech integration and lesson planning - Increased feeling of belongingness—less isolation - Increased satisfaction with personal professional development
    57. 57. Key Recommendations to Future Researchers 3. Conduct longitudinal studies to investigate: - quality of teacher education programs - employer-provided professional development on the integration of technology for instruction
    58. 58. Key Implications for Education Leaders 1. Make technology integration a priority. Focus on sound pedagogy and lesson planning rather than just tools and application use.
    59. 59. http://www.flickr.com/photos/kjarrett/4138613146/
    60. 60. Key Implications for Education Leaders 2. Allow educators input regarding professional development: - differentiated - self-directed - example – unconference and edcamp models, or cMOOCs
    61. 61. Key Implications for Education Leaders 3. Provide professional development that is ongoing and job embedded. 4. Encourage (don’t demand) participation in informal professional development networks and support development of PLNs.
    62. 62. Key Implications for Education Leaders 5. Explore ways that would support, honor, and give credit for time spent in informal, online professional development. 6. Administrators need to lead by example by modeling effective use of technology—for example, in communicating with students, parents, and staff.
    63. 63. Key Implications for Education Leaders 7. Teacher education programs should focus on teaching pedagogical aspects of effective technology integration.
    64. 64. Implications for Educators 1. Participate in informal, online professional development by starting your own PLN built on your needs and passions—start small, find mentors, be patient. 1. Take responsibility for your own professional growth and improvement.
    65. 65. Implications for Educators 3. Advocate for the legitimacy and recognition of time spent participating in informal, online professional development networks. 4. Advocate for professional development that is self-directed, differentiated, ongoing, and job embedded.
    66. 66. Implications for Educators 5. Be bold and share what you learn in these environments and encourage others to join in the conversation. 6. Model lifelong learning by staying as up to date as possible regarding technology integration.
    67. 67. The next best thing to being wise oneself is to live in a circle of those who are. ~ C. S. Lewis The next best thing to being wise oneself is to live in a circle of those who are. ~ C. S. Lewis
    68. 68. http://sociability.ca/blog/thanks-21st-century/
    69. 69. Find me at: Twitter: @debbiefuco Blog: The Educators’ Café Email: debbie.fucoloro@gmail.com

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