Powerful Learning Practice

Year started: 2007
Audience(s): educators
Who Started It: Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach and Will Richardson
# Members: 7500
Email
Purpose:
Powerful Learning Practice is a long term, job embedded professional development company that uses a combination of online communities of practice and personal learning networks to build collective efficacy and capacity in teams of educators for change.
Strengths:

From PLP founder Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach: “Let me preface this by saying that we certainly have some weaknesses, but we never stop trying to learn and make it all work better. I’m comfortable, though, listing these things as PLP’s strengths:

  • Our heart is in the right place.
  • We really want to leave a legacy; PLP is our legacy project.
  • We’re not about creating an empire, but enabling educators to empower themselves and become self directed professionals and leaders who collaborate effectively on behalf of kids.
  • We have a vision and a clear message about what schools need to become and how they can be transformed by educators who see themselves as learners first, teachers second.
  • Will and myself and our staff and consultants are the poster children for the “learners first” concept. All of us see ourselves that way. And I don’t mean learners in the sense that we take a seat in a grad school class and listen to a lecture, but that we take charge of our own learning and actively seek out others who can help us. We try to figure things out. We’re collaborative. We walk the walk, not just talk the talk.
  • I think that as a company, the people who work with us are highly connected. We are truly “connected educators.” We’re out there networking and contributing in other communities of practice ourselves. We all belong to tribes.
  • I also think it’s a strength that Powerful Learning Practice has a strong focus on gender equity in the world of education technology and 21st century learning. The strong women who come to PLP and share their stories and model their teaching and leadership for other women who are involved in education—they are truly showing how you can bring your feminine value system into your work and merge it smoothly with the masculine values, the male voices, that are there. I think we help demonstrate the big positives that come when you have both genders involved in leadership. We want women as well as men to see themselves as leaders and as change agents in 21st century learning and the ed-tech world.
  • We also try to help everyone engaged in this work with us to understand that we are advocates for change on behalf of kids who can’t always advocate effectively for themselves in the adult world. We want everyone to do that from their place of strength, not their place of weakness. In that sense, we are a company that’s all about strengths-based appreciative education for kids and for adult educators.
  • We are willing to learn and evolve by listening closely to those who are participating with us. Every year we’re willing to reinvent ourselves. We are not steeped in a culture of tradition. We are kind of edgy, by design. We don’t want folks to choose to learn with us because we feel like a safe and familiar place. We are friendly and welcoming—we love to go on learning adventures with you. We’re just not cozy and old school. We’re definitely not that! We know that schools and learning systems are changing exponentially. It’s not about incremental change anymore. There’s a rapid, rapid pace of change now. We are a company that’s open, transparent, that shares what we know. We’re not hoarding our secrets for the highest bidder. We tell you everything we do.
  • We are a company that believes in the remix. When we say that all of us are smarter than any of us, we believe it and live it. We’re committed to open leadership, and when we can’t be open, we’ll be very open about that. We’re transparent about our work and we hope others will be, so we can all be better servant leaders.”
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Added on Dec 18, 2011
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Learn more about this community:

An Interview with Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach

"People make time for that which they value. So if folks are not coming to your community and they're not active and they're not participating, that tells me that whatever fire you're burning isn't hot enough or bright enough to draw people in from the periphery..."
Read the complete interview

27 Responses to Powerful Learning Practice

  1. Marsha Ratzel says:

    This community thinks deeply about Problem Based Learning, student centered learning, making the shift to being a connected teacher and inquiry learning. There are lots of practical ideas that someone can take away and immediately apply in the classroom. In a similar way, there are posts and articles about how to start thinking about these topics, so if you don’t know anything, it’s a good place to get started.

    Lastly there are such a variety of teachers, classrooms and types of schools represented, you can probably find someone who is very much like you and your classroom that is offering practical, tried in the classroom reports of how it went and what you can try.

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  2. This is a thoughtful community with lots of people from around the world who are doing very cool things. Members are generous with their time to help new members of the community and are transparent about the work they do, so it’s easy for new members to get up to speed. I’ve broadened my perspective a great deal from my work with PLP and I continue to learn on a daily basis from PLP.

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  3. Becky Bair says:

    There are many different reasons why I am thankful to be part of the PLP community. As a PLPeep I have learned new tools that have allowed me to connect with educators throughout the country and the world. These connections helped me create a professional learning network that has taught me more than any professional development day or conference I have ever been a part of. Prior to being part of PLP I was not happy with the test-centered focus of my classroom and wanted to integrate technology more, but I wasn’t sure what to do to change things. PLP taught me how to make effective changes in my classroom so I can meet the requirements of the tests I give and still provide my students with learning opportunities that will prepare them for their future experiences.

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  4. I am truly grateful to be part of the PLP community. It has been a huge source of encouragement and inspiration. Through the seminars and interactive community I have learned to completely shift my classroom from an overfocus on prescribed content, to a student-centred, project-based, tech embedded classroom. It’s been an incredible journey, and I’ve received a lot of support from PLP. My favourite part is that it’s provided job embedded PD, which has changed my classroom more than any conference.

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  5. PLP is a fantastic community of passionate learners. There is enormous support within the community, and a strong leadership through Sheryl, Will, and the community leaders. “PLPeeps” are there for one another through Twitter and other social media, providing information and encouragement for teachers attempting to shift their classrooms, long after they have completed the program. PLP truly “gets” learning communities, and fosters leadership in these communities. PLP also helps members understand how to bring 21st century skills to their classrooms and schools through guided action research projects. There is a reason it’s called POWERFUL Learning Practice!

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  6. The PLP professional development model is so smart: It allows teachers to be true learners again. In our PLP work, we encounter new information, skills and concepts related to how technology is contributing to the shift and shape of education. We are challenged to make sense of our roles in this shift, and we are encouraged to develop a community of connected colleagues with whom we wrestle with the questions of how we can best help students learn and thrive with their knowledge and skills in the 21st Century.

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  7. Darren Kools says:

    Powerful Learning Practice is such a game changer. The process of discovery that I have embarked upon will help all of my students in the future. I try to share more, connect more and challenge myself to be better because of this program. My energy and excitement about teaching is at an all time high and it’s not coming down. If you have the chance, try it! Make the chance, be the change you want to see in the world, because most likely they will be doing PLP too!

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  8. Allison Robertson says:

    Dedicated, passionate people–many are right where I am in the process of learning to infuse technology into the classroom using an ever-changing landscape of tools.
    Best Quote: It is no longer what you know, nor who you know but rather
    “Do you know what who you know knows?
    This learning community has been a lifeline to connect with others for meaningful discussions and practical information on blending pedagogy, knowledge,and technology . Thank you for starting this community!

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  9. Patti Rodger says:

    This is my second year in the PLP community. It has been one of the best PD opportunities that I’ve been involved with. It has given me the tools to lead our teachers and students in embracing 21st C learning tools and processes. While we have a long way to go and a lot still to learn, Sheryl and Will’s leadership, as well as many others who have taken leadership roles, has been phenomenal. They are credible and practical and they help make sense of paradigm shifts.

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  10. Cary Harrod says:

    Without a doubt, this was the most life changing professional development experience of my 23+ years in teaching. I was fortunate enough to be a “fellow” for our district for three years. We have had over 40 of our district staff participate in PLP. This professional development embodies what we now know about professional learning: it must be job-embedded, long-term, community-driven, passion-based and leverage digital technologies to bridge the gaps of space and time. Sheryl Nussbaum Beach and Will Richardson have their feet firmly planted in the 21st Century; their understanding and knowledge of good teaching practices, coupled with a deep understanding of networked learning and digital technologies is the basis for this compelling PD. All professional development should be based off the PLP model.

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  11. Sister Geralyn says:

    PLP is am amazing community of educators that are committed to life long learning. It is a place in which one can collaborate about a girth of topics about education. I am a better person for being a member of PLP. It has taught me that we are better when we lean on others and when we collaborate with others. In short, we are better educators when we connect educational dots with others from across the county or across the world.

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  12. The PLP community pushes the boundaries. Actually, that’s not quite accurate. We, as individuals and as colleagues, are encouraged and supported to push our own boundaries – to become ‘natural’ learners similar to what we were like as children before formalized school. PLP is a community where we can follow our passions, engage in questioning our understandings of education and learning, challenge others and be challenged by ‘critical friends’. It encourages us to be transparent about our learning – our wonderings, frustrations, ahas, questions, ‘thinking aloud’, revelations, and classroom practice. The Powerful Learning Practice community is daunting in its wealth of information – both ‘stuff’ and people resources – but, in that way, it is not unlike the ‘real’ world. The real world is rich with complexity and we struggle all our lives to make sense within it. PLP is similar.

    One learns to be in the community with ‘intention’, with purpose and passion. This allows ‘ideas to find us’ as Eleanor Duckworth might say.

    It’s not always comfortable – but then ‘cognitive & emotional dissonance’ are at the heart of learning.

    If you want to learn how to best meet the needs of students in this era, this differentiated environment affords the best opportunity I know.

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  13. PLP has pushed our independent school educators to think about professional development in ways that alight with 21st century values and ideas. The community continues to grow and we find invaluable resources in each other. If you’re just starting to develop your own online presence and looking for a place to team up with others like you as you navigate the web and strive to connect with a diverse group of educators, I recommend PLP.

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  14. The life of a Technology Coordinator can be a pretty lonely experience. I speak a language only a small number of people understand; few people want to buy what I’m selling. At least it seems so much of the time. That’s why the Powerful Learning Practice has become so important to me both personally and professionally. Contrary to the popular myth that the internet has weakened social connections, I have found my professional family with the individuals I have met through this organization. I share, I learn, and I grow with with teachers from all over the world. This year my Year Two PLP Cohort is exploring Passion-based learning and it is having a real impact in our classrooms. I’m grateful to the good people at the Powerful Learning Practice, especially Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach and Will Richardson, for providing me and others with the support and space to make this happen.

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  15. Being part of the PLP community has pushed my thinking and helped me to be more reflective about what I do in my classroom. I love the fact that it is a year-long experience and that it is job-embedded. Change does not happen overnight. The asynchronous/synchronous model of PLP allows those involved to learn at their own pace and at a time that works for them,while still bringing participants together to learn. I am a better teacher because of my involvement with these educators.

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  16. Members of the Powerful Learning Practice community, affectionately dubbed PLPeeps, collaborate together to effect systemic change in education. As learners first, they aspire for a more accomplished collective practice. From NE Ohio I’ve connected with educators in Australia where it was our tomorrow, with passionate teachers in Texas, in PA, in Ohio, in Kansas, in NY, and across Canada. Their diverse perspectives have added a special synergy to our learning. Relationships, both personal and professional have become long lasting. The world has become a better place for the action research they have conducted and for the PBL units they have designed. My interactions with others in this community have had a profound impact on my life and my beliefs around learning.

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  17. Trish Dower says:

    I participated in PLP community in 2011 in Victoria as part of the DEECD (Education department Victoria). I was a wonderful opportunity to build a community of like minded individuals and to network to develop and challenge ideas, understandings and approaches to how we can best engage and support learning in 2012. I met amazing people both face to face and during online workshops and was inspired to ’embrace change in my teaching practice’ and to promote problem based learning as the key to engage learners in our school.
    Sheryl, Will and all the gang involved were supportive and really encouraged you to think deeply, asking questions that promoted thinking and problem solving at a deeper level. Our wrap up ‘show case’ day was fantastic. It was inspiring to see the growth and development of the community of PLPpeep’s across Victoria.
    If you have a chance to get involved, I’d say, “Go for it!” I’m glad I did.

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  18. Kathleen Tsakiris says:

    I am a year 2 PLP member and this is the best opportunity to learn how our students already and will continue to learn in the future. This community models how I want my classroom to look. Everyone participating – all moving forward with their learning – endless support – the permission to make mistakes and ask any question – time to slow down or move ahead as needed – all levels of expertise addressed- all effort celebrated! The perfect combination of self-directed and collaborative learning with endless resources to facilitate both.

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  19. Lisa noble says:

    PLP has been an incredible growth experience for me. Here, I find people to bounce ideas off, to challenge the way I think, to push me to do more, go further, think deeper, try again and again and yes, again, to figure out the best way to help my colleagues and students and me make the shift to 21st century learning. I am not the same learner I was before I began this journey, and I know I have much farther to go.

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  20. Sharon Raquet says:

    i am in my second year with this wonderful group . support, ideas, latest trends, a caring community of educators

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  21. This is my second year as a member of the PLP community, and during these two years I have found myself on a learning adventure unlike any other. Through the course of the journey, I have grown as an educator in ways that I could never have envisioned, and I have met some of the most amazing people who stretch my thinking with each encounter. I am grateful for the journey because of where it has taken me and because of where I know it will lead me in the future. My outlook as a teacher and a learner has been forever strengthened because of my place in the PLP community.

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  22. Susan Davis says:

    This community has helped me grow enormously. Whenever I need advice or an idea, I know I now have a huge group of wise and thoughtful educators to turn to. I also have learned from PLP how to work with students and teachers in ways that will help them grow as well. I don’t know what I would do without PLP and have a hard time imagining my professional life before my colleagues there came along. PLP is such an important resource for me — it is a key place where I learn and expect to learn for the rest of my professional life.

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  23. Michele Redding says:

    The benefits of being part of a global community and having so many dedicated educators who share ideas openly has inspired me to continue to grow as an educator. I am thankful for foresight of Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach and Will Richardson to create an online community that fosters lifelong learning,

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  24. Lyn Hilt says:

    Powerful Learning Practice is more than a company that provides professional development – it is a true learning community. Participants are encouraged to share their voices and ideas in collaborative spaces, the discussions in which challenge traditional thinking and help educators grow as professionals. Through appreciative inquiry, a network of critical friends, and action research, educators are pushed to shift their thinking about teaching and learning in 21st century schools, and they are supported in embarking on innovative endeavors in their classrooms and schools.
    Last year, I participated in Year 1 of the program, and experienced with a team of my teachers how PLP challenged us to grow in so many ways. This year I continue to learn with Year 2 participants, where we are engaged in PBL work and continued reflective practice. I am also privileged enough to serve as a community leader for one of the cohorts, and contribute to PLP’s fantastic group blog – Voices from the Learning Revolution.
    PLP is constantly looking to inspire its participants, challenge their assumptions, and support them through the change process. By putting the emphasis on teachers as learners, first and foremost, PLP helps strengthen the way in which learning organizations serve students.

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  25. Larry Kahn says:

    Powerful Learning Practice is all about learning and sharing. It is a learning environment where educators learn about the shifts taking place in how people learn. They learn how to work in a virtual space and share deep discussions. Also, they take part in Action Research that benefits them and their schools. Many teachers from my school who have gone through the Powerful Learning Practice program have changed their teaching practice for the better. Their kids are more engaged learners, and the teachers are happier in their practice.

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  26. Stephanie Bader says:

    Powerful Learning Practice has impressed upon me the importance of being a learner first. Since joining the community in September, my PLN has grown exponentially. I have connected with educators across the globe, educators who have knowledge to share and aren’t keeping it to themselves. I have learned more from these intelligent men and women in the last few months than I have in my many years of formal education. The barriers between what I thought I was capable of accomplishing and what PLP has taught me that I CAN accomplish have been broken down; my fears of questioning or putting my thoughts out there to the community have been diminished. PLP is helping me to grow as a learner and a teacher and does so with unfailing encouragement and positive feedback along with a healthy dose of supportive, yet critical pushback that serves to challenge, extend, reform, and revolutionize my thinking. I am grateful to be a part of it!

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  27. Ravinder Kumar says:

    I like Powerful Learning Practice because i can learn new things and share my views to others

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