Marzano’s Culture (Personal Learning Network)

Perhaps one of the most critical attributes for 21st learning and leading is an Institutional culture, or the shared values, beliefs ob_06cd7f_blog-bg-imageo2tijscultureand feelings of a learning community. We can have the best teachers, learners, curriculum, infrastructure and more, but without a clear alignment of what we all believe is important, and therefore make a priority, we may be less than successful. Generally, we all agree on student-centeredness, hands-on, learn by doing and other catch-phrases, but more importantly, has the institution identified ways to bring these attributes alive and encourage ownership. Empowering everyone in the community to feel like they are both part of the system and part of the solution can increase both student achievement as well as the intangible benefits of belonging, which sustains a community beyond graduation.
One way to build a healthy culture is through meaningful and relevant professional development (PD) opportunities, especially in the form of longitudinal professional/personal learning networks web-2-tools-300x220(PLN). Historically, PLNs were created within department and/or schools to share and connect educators with updated best practice teaching methods and perhaps action research. Today, there are many more ways to connect through the use of technology. There are social networks, such as Facebook, which can be integrated into a PLN; Twitter, microblogging, which educators can share and/or connect to world leaders in their specific discipline and simply follow or engage in sustained dialogue; YouTube video’s to either passively learn and/or create and share your own best practices; Skype for synchronous webinars or broadcasting your departmental ideas; and Diigo for curation of material. Educational Technology and Mobile Learning has a great summary of how to integrate technology into your PLN on their website at www.educatorstechnology.com.
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