We are really impressed with the teachers who are actively initiating and engaged in their own development -- and who are not solely relying on the school for this area of professionalism, or the next formal degree or a development course every five years to "do the job" for them. When a teacher tells us they're spending some time taking a course on-line at Academic Earth, or trying a new way to do lesson plans, collaborating with other teachers on a project, or starting a new teaching blog, it puts them in a whole new league (instead of tying value to test scores, why is self-directed professional growth never a part of this conversation?).
This is an arena that is growing exponentially: teachers utilizing tools on the Web for their own personal/professional learning network. These "PLNs" provide a tremendous supportive and inspiring environment with resources, continual learning and networking opportunities. Plus, it tells us volumes about how dedicated and committed these teachers are to help students learn better. What a great thing.
So next time, ask a teacher, "How's your PLN?"
No PLN yet? Here's a great video below on how to get started or make the one you have even better.
For another related video, one of The Daily Riff's favorites, "Technology For Teachers. Now, Not Tomorrow", click HERE.