I wonder if reading as an academic is worthwhile if the audience for most of my learning is me? I have spent enough time saying 'I'll blog next when I have time and when I have something to say" but I don't think that that is the point. I have just co-authored a chapter on 'writing' and we use blogging as an informal way of sharing ideas and structuring thoughts and ideas into a clear and concise message. To do this we have suggested an exact word count (200 words) as this reinforces the need for clarity. So here goes...
I have been reading in three main areas over the last few months: 1) professional development 2) ICT in Physical Education, and 3) the site of the social (i.e. the places -both physically and metaphorically - we work and interact which in turn forms our meta-practices. These themes have been the focus of three main academic papers yet they appear to overlap in so many ways: ways I will now make a first attempt to articulate.
The bottom line is practices in physical education are somewhat staid. Furthermore the ways in which we seek to continually educate and empower teachers are also staid and predominately use a model of "one size fits all" rather than creating individual learning outcomes for each participant (much like our teaching itself). Additionally we live in a technological revolution where innovation is measured in months not years. So how do we use technology in our teaching when, as a body, we lack the drive to change the status quo, the tools to re-educate ourselves and the time to keep up with every innovation?
Yet professionally do we have the time not to find ways?
Solution? We could form our own professional learning communities...
Two hundred works later and I could have stopped but I am not sure that serves my purpose...for those who read a blog on Physical Education and Practitioner Research perhaps they already know this and probably have created networked learning opportunities of their own. As a result they are probably already ahead of the game as my reading of research in this area suggests that these are the best ways that educators can engage in professional learning. For those who might be new to online, unstructured, informal, friendly and meaningful collaboration then you are on the right lines.
Because we learn best when rank and file isn't an issue i.e. When all participants have an equal say and can make the contribution that they want. We learn when obedience and compliance are not expected and when we can ask questions and answer questions without fear of rebut or ridicule. When we can share ideas that have been tempered in the 'heat' of the classroom - ours or someone else's it doesn't matter.
You could argue that these conversations do occur in the 'gaps' between the formalised learning that is supposed to occur on official professional development courses. But these are impromptu meetings that occur by chance. It seems more obvious to me to deliberately and purposefully seek your colleagues. It therefore seems obvious that the best professional development occurs in physical education when we use ICT to create our own sites of the social with colleagues from around the world.
Once this is done then we have the opportunity to influence how we develop each of these components in the maelstrom of our own institutions and our own classroom.