Professional Learning Communities…did your stomach churn when you read that phrase?
Like “21st Century Learning” (see my last post), PLC is one of those buzz words that has been used ad nauseum. And it implies that teachers sharing ideas with one another is a new thing…in fact, it is not a novel modern-day concept at all. Teachers have always depended on each other for support and new ideas. It’s how sharing occurs that is changing.
In Rethinking How Students Learn, Richard and Rebecca DuFour explore the role of PLCs in the evolution to a 21st century learning environment. One of the early charges the PLC gurus and the Partnership for 21st Century make is for educators to share knowledge in three ways:
- Via face-to-face interaction.
- Through “virtual” communications.
- By “blended” communications.
In this blog post, I would like to discuss the second method, virtual communications, because I know teachers here on our campus and all over the world already collaborate via face-to-face interaction.
As referenced by the DuFours, Ken Blanchard (2007) writes:
There is no reason that time and distance should keep people from interacting as a team. With proper management and the help of technology, virtual teams can be every bit as productive and rewarding as face-to-face teams.
So, what would a virtual team look like? It could be done locally, but through technology; the Charger Ning is a great example of local virtual sharing. Or your team could be a global group; are you part of the virtual team of educators using the “Twitterverse” to share resources, news, and ideas?
I also love this passage written by the DuFours, which references the ideas of Malcolm Gladwell:
The tipping point is reached when a few key people in the organization who are highly regarded by and connected to others (the Law of the Few) present a compelling argument in a memorable way (the Stickiness Factor) that leads to subtle changes in the conditions of the organizations (the Power of Context).
This has me excited about the possibilities that lie ahead for this team of pioneers and our colleagues. And, I can’t wait to witness the resulting explosion of educational transformation on our campus when crest the “tipping point”.
In fact, I think that’s the tipping point I see now on the virtual horizon…