When I started thinking about this post, I was kicking around the question “Can one be a ‘digital age teacher’ if s/he is not a ‘digital age learner’ first?” Then, thinking of the shift from teaching to learning, I rephrased it to “Can a teacher support ‘digital age learning’ if s/he is not a ‘digital age learner’?” Then, I thought about the terminology I was using and went back through a series of PDFs I have collected in the past decade or so and found the terms “digital age” teaching/learning/teacher/learner used in quite a few of them. Somehow, though, the crux of what I was thinking wasn’t supported by the words I was finding.
So, I went to the National Education Technology Plan for language where I found an interesting graphic labeled “Figure 3. Connected Teaching Builds New Competencies and Expertise”. While I believe the declaration that “Connected Teaching Builds New Competencies and Expertise,” this graphic doesn’t quite represent the meat behind the declaration.
So, I kept looking. I found another graphic that is equally interesting. That’s the graphic that goes with the caption “Figure 1. A Model of Learning, Powered by Technology”. In this graphic, the student is in the center, not the teacher. What is missing is the graphic that shows the true amplification we all experience by being contributing members of a learning network. Truth be told, there is no such thing as “a learning network” because of the networking across networks.
And, if this amplification exists for students and teachers, what about administrators? Is it true that “Connected Leading Builds New Competencies and Expertise”? What about “disconnected leading”? Is that even possible or is it an oxymoron?
I have a hypothesis that the best way to ensure “transfer in to practice” for “new competencies and expertise” is to ensure the safety and power of a network. If this hypothesis is true, what implications are there for “professional development”?