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WNY-Powerful Learning Practice Culminating Celebration

Posted Jan 07 2009 6:27pm

What does music, film, live performances, laughter, passion, reculturation and blogging for charity have in common?-- Western NY's Powerful Learning Practice's culminating celebration!

Holland's team performing a remake of "This Land is my Land" into a Web 2.0 Song

May 22, 2008- 20 school teams in the Western New York region came together to celebrate their learning journey that took place over the last 6 months through a job-embedded professional development opportunity called Powerful Learning Practice. Schools met as teams to master the following outcomes over the course of the year:

Knowledge: An understanding of the transformative potential of Web 2.0 tools in a global perspective and context and how those potentials can be realized in schools

An understanding of the shifting learning literacies that the 21st Century demands and how those literacies inform teacher practice.

The development of sustained professional learning networks for team members to begin experimenting and sharing with other team members and online colleagues from around the world.

The creation of long term plans to move the vision forward in participating districts at the end of the program.

Capacity: An increase in the abilities and resources of individuals, teams and the community to manage change.

The culminating celebration is one of the two face-to-face meetings that take place in PLP. It is a time when the schools teams come together and share what they have learned with each other through learning displays, presentations, informal sharing in groups, and a facilitated process that results in bulleted action plans.

PRESENTATIONS While all the schools teams had an opportunity to share their team projects and what they had learned from being involved in PLP this year, three projects were asked to share more fully from the stage. It was very difficult to decide who should present because most of the projects were just incredible. Those that presented were: Webster Teams, Holland Team, and Niagara Academy. But the presentation that stole the show was given by Laura, the 5th grader who authors the blog: Twenty Five Days to Make a Difference.

Will writes about her presentation,

She talked about how she started her quest to get donations for charities by finding sponsors for her daily good works, how surprised she is that over 30,000 people have visited her blog since last December, and how she’s been able to donate over $1,600, 50 pairs of pajamas, and over 400 books to charities in her area. It’s a great story and example, one that I’ve shared with Tess on a number of occasions."

Another PLP participant Mike Maloy adds,

I’ve written on the group’s Ning and in comments on various blogs about how my learning has been completely transformed. I’ve written on my own blog about how inspiring and “human” the web can be. I’ve been awed by Jill Bolte’s “My Stroke of Insight” and Randy Pausch’s “Last Lecture”.

I can honestly say that Laura’s presentation was one of the coolest, most enlightening experiences of all my years in education. Since her presentation I’ve been wondering…If Laura can do what she is doing as a fifth grader, what will she be able to do in the future? If Laura can do what she is doing as a fifth grader, why the heck can’t I be doing more? Will my daughter be inspired do something so special.

I was also incredibly impressed with the creativity in Western NY. For example, Holland's team opened with a Web 2.0 remake of This Land is My Land and closed with Eric Lawton singing an original song he wrote entitled, You've Got to Learn Web 2 Point Oh. You can listen to 2 minutes of that here--> Download youve_got_to_learn_web_2_point_oh.mp3 What a hoot! Not to be outdone Holland's superintendent followed in "American Idol" style with a song he sang A cappella to Will and I. All in all it was as touching as it was entertaining.

Reflecting on how PLP has impacted participants
When asked how has PLP impacted or changed your professional or personal practice those who attended the WNY celebration give many reasons. Here are a few of their responses.

  • The resources shared and the connections with the community...I have started to build my network outside of my building.
  • Broadened exposure to web 2.0 tools beyond personal use.
  • Facilitated collaboration with colleagues within my district (but outside my building) that was little-to-none prior to this.
  • It gathered all of the teachers using tech together to work on one common goal. Otherwise, we would have just kept working independently on our own path. It really pushed our district to start a plan to implement and educate others in our district.
  • It gave importance to technology and gave those of us with a passion and knowledge around technology a voice with our schools.
  • Working with other members from my district that I usually don't get to see. Their ideas and perspectives during this learning process were greatly valued.
  • I am no longer embarrassed about what I don't know and I am excited about learning and moving forward.
  • I am using tools I didn't even know existed before this year. I modeled in a regular meeting and taught other staff through the process enough for them to say they will go back and use it in their classrooms. I want to learn more and use it to help teachers in the district support one another to excellence.
  • The level of support that is available in this network is comforting. There is a lot of knowledge among the PLP community.
  • Thanks for the opportunity. It has been an excellent, life changing learning experience. I hope we can sustain and spread our learning. If I can inspire one other person like I have been I would consider it a great accomplishment
  • You've opend my eyes to the potential of 2.0 and have created a more technologically literate individual! I felt both Sheryl and Will's support was awesome very encouraging and empathetic.

 Wnyplpbeginning_3Kickoff Meeting

Culminating Meeting


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