My Score: 90
While I like to think of myself as a leader and hold a leadership role in my professional life, in a group of relative strangers I tend to hang back and observe for a while before I’m comfortable enough to engage. Over this past summer I finally felt able to participate in class discussions in a way that brought something meaningful to the conversation. Having had foot surgery in June, I was off work from both jobs and had plenty of time to really dig into the courses, carefully consider my Professional Learning Plan and how it fit into the creation of Significant Learning Environments on my campus, and submit work I could be proud of. I did miss some zoom meetings due to other commitments, but the recordings were there to catch me up.
Moving into the fall semester proved challenging. Although I still engaged with my core group regularly and attended the first several zoom meetings for each course, there came a time about halfway through when my participation lagged. I found the zoom meetings to be mostly Q&A, which only serves to make me anxious about assignments I thought I had a good grasp of. I used the recordings as a tool to pick and choose the parts that were relevant to my learning and avoid the conversations that I felt I did not need in order to be successful. I also found myself falling behind on the last few discussion posts. I did complete them all, but some were too late to really be of use to my classmates’ learning. On the other hand, I read others’ posts and use their contributions on a daily basis in both this program and my career.
Designing learning experiences, whether for students or teachers, is one of the things I enjoy most about my job. The creativity and problem solving involved in the process hit two of my perceived strengths. My PL sessions are rarely sit-and-get events, more often a combination of workshop model and flipped learning. Unfortunately, participation in these events has waned of late as teachers’ plates get piled high with other responsibilities and learning about tech tools gets pushed aside. Through 5317, I was able to really dive into the problems faced by digital learning coaches while researching and writing my publication article on the lack of EdTech PD time. Since my Innovation Plan is about implementing project-based learning in our 4-H Clubs, and much professional learning will be necessary to make that happen, writing about creative ways to deliver quality PL seemed like the logical choice. In 5315, I decided to design a research plan to determine if Project-Based Learning affected student behavior. It may have connected better with 5317 had I chosen to research the effects of good professional learning on successful PBL programs, but the connections that did occur were more in process than content. I see opportunities to use the Action Research protocol to survey teachers for the purpose of planning future professional learning sessions. Conversely, I’ve also thought about designing and delivering PD on action research for teachers. This informal research is something that happens all the time, but with a bit of intentionality, the strategy could yield some interesting observations about what happens in our classrooms.
My core group, consisting of Robin Ballard, Danielle Pyle, Lindsay Hoerig-Cavanagh, Lindsey Wallace, Maria Rodman, and Avery Nihill maintained a Google slide deck to curate resources and share our work outside of the Blackboard platform as well as a GroupMe for real time communication. GroupMe continues to be a great source of support as well as inspiration. We continue to communicate daily to ask questions, discuss our different interpretations of videos and readings, and gather feedback on our work. In my opinion, the most powerful effect our group has had is encouraging each other to maintain a growth mindset and focus on learning rather than the final grade. This emotional support and encouragement has been vital in my own growth within the ADL program and I continue to look forward to working with these ladies as we continue into the home stretch.