I’m excited about all the new things going on with sharing, especially as it relates to personal learning for teachers. There are a lot of new groups forming around the idea of open professional development, connected learning for teachers, and online communities of practice.
I recently took part in a panel on “Building a Culture of Sharing” at SXSWedu and am also involved in a P2PU School of Ed group about “Empower Your Personal Learning,” both of which have gotten me thinking deeply about this.
Here’s my big concern — those of us involved in this are a very small minority of teachers. I could venture to say that well over 95% of teachers are not involved in using the power of social networks to advance their own personal learning.
When I raised this point, someone said to me (paraphrasing), “Well, what’s the problem? Sharing is as easy as breathing.”
I don’t think that’s true. There are many barriers to sharing and engaging in self-directed personal learning. Some relate to time constraints, priorities, and personality characteristics. Some are rooted in fear or lack of agency. More troubling are those based in institutional barriers to sharing.
I would hate to see this movement go down the road of ed tech, where there is a small minority of folks engaged and benefiting, while the vast majority of teachers continue in the way that they have done for decades. Our students are the ones who pay the ultimate price for this.
So what is to be done? How do we involve the other 99% of mainstream teachers in this?