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Virtual Education Specials: Seven Steps for Creating PLCS Teachers Want to Use

Virtual Education Specials: Seven Steps for Creating PLCS Teachers Want to Use

Using professional learning communities, commonly known to teachers as PLCs, can have its benefits. PLCs can save schools and districts time, money, and offer students more digital opportunities.

So says Michele Eaton, virtual education specialist and Professional Development Chair for the ISTE Online Learning Network. In her article on eschoolnews.com, Eaton offers administrators and teachers seven suggestions to creating PLCs that teachers will want to use.

While my experiences with online professional development came out of a need to reach several teachers while working within a limited time frame, the additional benefits and improved learning that happened because of it were a pleasant surprise," Eaton said. "It is important to note that if done correctly, creating a PLC is not about simply moving traditional professional development to an online format. A true PLC is a community of learners, all contributing and collaborating toward a common goal. When you create and nurture this culture of sharing, you benefit from the collective intelligence of the group. It also gives a voice to every staff member. By creating learner-centered PD, the learning is more meaningful and mirrors the type of learning you hope to see in the classroom.

One suggestion Eaton provides is to use PLC "for informal learning."

"After creating the online space, your online community can be used for lots of different types of professional development," she said. "It is a wonderful place for informal learning to happen. Teachers can share ideas, post questions, and collaborate through this online environment in many of the same ways that they might share through social networks."

Another suggestion provided in the article is for teachers to "go slow;it's not a race."

"Keep in mind that an environment and culture of sharing and collaboration is not developed overnight," Eaton said. "You cannot simply create a group, place teachers in, and expect magic to happen. Most of our students have never experienced a world that they could not contribute to digitally. That is not the case for our staff, however. Sharing in online communities will be very new for most teachers, so it is imperative that collaboration is intentionally taught and continually encouraged."

Read the full story and comment below. 

Article by Kassondra Granata, Educaiton World Contributor

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