We had a PD day today at our school, and we spent some time engaging in self-directed learning. Our VP @scottjohnsonVP gave teachers an opportunity to engage in whatever learning they wanted to. We are piloting a new digital tool called Edsby at our school this semester, and myself and a few other teachers were charged with running a session on getting teachers introduced to it and up and running with their classes. He also asked each of us to report back to him about what we learned over the morning in whatever it was we chose to do. (This was met with an interesting chorus of groans from some teachers… 🙂 )
My hope was that we’d not do a presentation, but rather that the teachers would just dive in and play in Edsby to learn and figure it out. Interestingly, many were expecting a ‘show me how’ type session. In the end, we pulled Edsby up on a projector and basically did a Q&A for an hour about how to access and use different aspects of the tools. I also sent the VP my reflection for the day which is pasted below. Wondering if others have experienced similar things, and how to best approach the idea of giving teachers autonomy to self-direct their learning. Any comments or experiences to share?
In the introduction to Edsby session, I learned that teachers sometimes need a kick start to learn a new digital tool, but once you cut them loose in the right direction they dive right in, and ask questions and help each other learn in ways that make sense to them. For people who are comfortable with digital tools, they have a shorter learning curve, but still benefit from having someone who can maybe work with them to find answers, even if they don’t know the answers themselves. In the effort to help students become more self-directed learners it is important to recognize that many of us are still used to other ‘experts’ tell us how to do things, and that if we’re going to become better at helping students become self-directed that we may first have to start with helping teachers learn how to self-direct their own learning processes.