Two collaborative continuing professional development phenomenon are currently sweeping the teaching profession. Both twitter and teachmeets are providing teachers with a wider, more accessible and usable set of teaching and learning ideas. If CPD’s sole purpose is to move a practitioner from the point they are just now (point A) to a better place (Point B) then does teachmeet and twitter do this.
In essence CPD is there to improve the level of competence of staff according to http://www.cpduk.co.uk/aboutcpd/whatiscpd.htm . That is itself seems draconian, imposed from above and not a whole lot of fun. Regardless CPD does need to be linked to some grander plan to overall improvement and development strategy (or maybe even maintaining and sharing of effective and emerging practice). Both twitter and teachmeet seem to be achieving this aim of moving practitioners from point A to point B in a fun, engaging and wholly addictive way.
However there is something missing…..
Whilst there is a buzz of activity in our classroom (and that is the real judge of success… “is it happening in our classrooms”)is this activity limited to “the spoffs”?!
Just as perhaps our biggest challenge in teaching is to access and improve “grey area students” then the same can be said of CPD. I am delighted to be part of perhaps the most positive, thriving teacher community I have come across via the two online forums. However, I am concerned that we are not taking the bulk of practitioners with us.
How would we engage this massive untapped group with these two new sharing and improvement phenomenon?
Would they engage in the first place?
To include all I have decided that answers to these two questions should be posted on a postcard rather than tweeting, blogging or facebooking!
So, for fairness, can you please print this page and give it to those who might not be able to engage otherwise. Oh… and also explain what facebook, twitter and teachmeet actually are! After all, if I have said those three words at a teacher CPD event three years ago I may as well have put a pair of pants on my head, two pencils up my nose and said “wooble.”
After all, “that’s what they all used to do in the Sudan.”