Saturday, September 18, 2010

PLNs....not just for teachers.

To state the obvious, Web 2.0 has paved the way for more professional development than I could have ever imagined back when I was starting out as an educator. (Did I just date myself or what?) I'm self-motivated, I'm applying and synthesizing my knowledge, and I have complete control of how my involvement is progressing and in what direction I want to take. I don't get any of the traditional rewards (cold hard cash, pretty grade letters near the beginning o the alphabet), yet that isn't a consideration at all. I have numerous opportunities for self-reflection and collaboration. Meanwhile, I'm writing more than ever before, I'm feeling more comfortable about sharing my writing, and I've learned how to use a heap of web 2.0 tools.

After that jargon filled, cliche ridden, Bloom's taxonomy flavored introduction, you must see where I'm going with this.
Woman Computer Scientist/Kobieta informatykIllustration : Anna Borska, « Woman Computer Scientist/Kobieta Informatyk », 18.7.2009, Flickr (licence Creative Commons).

Note all words that make a student cringe are identified in quotations.
What if my highschool English students were given the opportunity to pursue a passion of theirs as a "unit" of study? What if the "assignment" were simply to pursue their passion? Take a topic and research it, compile information about it, reflect on it, create on it, share it, act on it. What would the "criteria" be. How would it be "assessed"?

Would this cause them, as I am now, to write a blog post on a Saturday night and peruse their RSS feed for hours while simultaneously taking part in a free online course instead of watching the movie they'd rented earlier? I'm getting silly, but you get my drift (and for the record, I don't do this every Saturday night).