Progress Report: Setting Up #PEPLC
I just wanted to give everyone a progress update with how setting up #PEPLC is going. The response so far has been excellent, lots of educators from various backgrounds and from within different roles have expressed an interest in being a part of a PD network such as this. At this point there are 104 teachers who work in 25 different countries signed up. Once the learning gets rolling, look out! It is going to be great.
I ask for your patience as we work through the logistical issues with setting up these different learning groups. In order to ensure a solid infrastructure is in place, we need to work through the best ways to set up these learning groups. We are currently reflecting on parameters and on both a vision and mission statement for #PEPLC. There is no doubt that this is going to be a wonderful professional development opportunity for all those involved. I will endeavour to answer all of the questions posed by teachers who have signed up. The main questions that have been asked so far are below. Here we go:
Will we have access to the other discussion groups also?
Absolutely yes! The plan is that hopefully most groups will use google hangout for the professional dialogue that will be taking place. These google hangout meetings can be streamed on to You Tube and watched live or watched at a later date. The idea is to have a whole bank of knowledge, ideas, and good teaching practice sharing taking place in each of the learning groups and that other groups definitely have access to it.
Do you need a Google + account to participate in the PLC?
Yes, there must be a way for people to do multi-person video meetings and, at this point, google hangout seems to be the best option. As well, other tools can be used such as google forms, google docs etc.
Are we going to be able to ensure the groups can be facilitated effectively to avoid a lot of "this is what I do" conversations?
Fantastic question here. Before we kick start this project, we will absolutely have specific parameters in place and a suggested structure for meetings. People sharing what they do will be a part of this, but the more complete picture will be about the group sharing learning goals and strategies. Hopefully participants can share different reading and research that they have come across that will assist teachers on their journeys toward meeting or achieving the goals that they have set for themselves. So, to answer this question, we definitely want these meetings to be facilitated effectively and will strive to ensure that this happens.
How are you planning on organising meetings of teachers from various countries (esp in different time zones)?
At this point, learning groups will be put together based on common themes selected bearing time zones in mind. For example, Australia/Asia together, North America together, so it won't be one specific time zone as we want to keep it flexible. However, having said this, if somebody who teaches in Melbourne, for example, wants to pop in on a google hangout taking place in North America, they should be able to do so provided that there is space available in the google hangout (max up to 10 per video meeting). Keeping this flexibility allows for multiple options for educators to choose from.
What is the general expectation in regard to contribution to the project (i.e. amount of time, etc.)
Another good question here. How often the group meets is really up to its members. There will be times that group members cannot make it for various reasons. However, as these meetings will be streamed on to You Tube, group members that miss a meeting can easily catch up on the discussion. We have discussed the idea of each group making some form of presentation during the process to show where their learning has taken them. This is very valuable info for other groups to have access to. I personally see it as groups meeting a couple of times a month, but that is just my own opinion.
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KAUST Faculty, Pedagogical Coach. Presenter & Workshop Leader.IB Educator. #RunYourLife podcast host.