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Artifacts of Professional Learning

Written by Joe Dillon
January 18, 2013

Our Denver Writing Project LDC team met online the other night. We staged a Google Hangout to discuss the progress of our study teams and plan for a conference we will conduct this summer about the Common Core State Standards and writing instruction. The “hangouts” have become the way our team meets. Though we probably aren’t too busy to drive to a central location and talk face to face, we’re most comfortable meeting from home now. In just about every meeting someone comments on the efficiency and the convenience of logging in, instead of commuting to a meeting. Front and center at all of these meetings is our Google Doc agenda, which we all type into and revise while we talk. 

We think we’re pretty “21st Century” when we do this. We occasionally wear virtual party hats and fake digital mustaches, but mostly we just meet a little more efficiently than if we were at a coffee shop. 

Looking around the Internet, I see Google’s simple webinar software producing a growing digital footprint. By livestreaming and recording these sessions through the “Hangouts on Air” feature, educators create windows into professional discussion. Paul Allison’s “Teachers Teaching Teachers” Sessions have the same type of footprint as Elyse Eidman-Aadahl’s session about communities of practice for professional learning.  

Though I’m averse to celebrating tools, the prevalence of published hangouts opens access to informal but important conversations about teaching and learning. Simple recordings of teachers collaborating have the potential to inform conversations in education. 

At least that is my hope. Here is our Denver Writing Project LDC team’s latest step, a humble contribution to the trail of hangout footprints. At the end of our meetings, we log out and log back in to record a debrief one of our group’s recent experiences leading professional learning. In this way we endeavor to capture our learning and contribute to a larger conversation.

Here’s the interactive agenda from the NCTE session I debriefed with the team. 

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