Designing Open + Connected Professional Development for Teachers

8180586632_4f01f547cf_oI’m looking forward to participating in the Design Research connected course over at the just-launched DML Commons.  I’ll be helping facilitate Unit 2: Co-design and Collaboration in design based research, but mostly I’m looking forward to diving more deeply into design research methodology.  My most recent research project focused on co-designing professional development with teachers. In my work with teachers, I am often struck at how “voiceless” many teachers feel when it comes to their own professional development.  In fact, when I began my study, I asked one of the teachers at the school what areas she would be interested in learning more about, or what she wanted help with. She told me, “You know, I’ll have to think about that. I’ve been teaching 10 years, and no one has ever asked me that question.”  I think her experience is not an isolated one.  Professional development is often treated as a top-down affair; the topics and speakers are often chosen by the principal, or district-level administrators. Very rarely, do teachers get a voice in what and how they develop their professional practice. Of course, there are some alternative models–the National Writing Project, for example, provides a much different approach to the development of teachers. But, by and large, I think we need to reimagine what professional development looks like in the 21st century.  As part of my work and thinking for the Design Research DOCC, I hope to explore some alternate models for teacher PD.

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