Network coordinators: Chris Brown and Cindy Poortman
For us, the term Professional Learning Networks (PLNs) represents any group who engages in collaborative learning with others outside of their everyday community of practice; with the ultimate aim of improving outcomes for children (Brown & Poortman, 2018). Our interest in this area stems from the increased focus on school improvement to better prepare children and young people for the demands of the 21st century. One implication of this focus is that teachers need to be high-level knowledge workers who constantly develop their own knowledge and that of the profession. Achieving this goal depends on high quality, continuing professional development. Networks of educators, (from different schools) such as teacher design teams, research learning networks, data teams and lesson study teams appear to provide such promising forms of teacher development. What’s more, as well as teachers and school leaders, policymakers and researchers may also be involved as facilitators and/or participants, enabling all parties to benefit from a wide pool of knowledge and expertise.
Although teachers working and learning together in PLNs is considered one way to support teachers, at scale, to rethink their own practice, there is still a lot to learn about this process of professional collaboration and the conditions that influence and sustain it. The network Professional Learning Networks, aims to bring together scholars, practitioners and policymakers with the common goal of better understanding and supporting networks for learning of educators with the ultimate goals of improving student learning.
Brown, C. and Poortman, C. (Eds.) (2018). Networks for learning: effective collaboration for teacher, school and system improvement. London: Routledge.
Collaborations and activities
Our networks was launched in 2017 at ICSEI in Ottawa. One of the first outcomes of the network was the collaborative edited book Networks for learning, published in the beginning of 2018 (Foreword by ICSEI past president Andy Hargreaves). Following our launch we now take the opportunity at each ICSEI conference to help organize the welcoming session for (new) members as well as our network business meeting at. We are an active network: for instance we regularly work together with members on ICSEI sessions and have also started the new Emerald Professional Learning Networks Book Series. We also recently secured funding from AERA for our own mini conference in this area in order to advance the state of the art. As a network we endeavor to ensure we continuously work on book and journal publications and other means of collaboration to advance the field of PLNs.
Within our network we work together with our members towards (international) symposia and (innovative) sessions and workshops to collectively share our research and practice findings about PLNs, both at ICSEI and other international conferences. A selection:
- Leadership for Sustainability in Professional Learning Networks Learning walkthrough session
- The Evolution of a Professional Learning Network over Time: Exam- ining a Regional Math Network across Feeder School Districts
- Professional Learning Networks Masterclass
- Professional Learning Networks Innovate! session
- The role of school leadership for school improvement in Professional Learning Networks.
- Networks for learning: effective collaboration for teacher, school and system improvement
- Understanding and using social networks for school, district and school system transformation
- Developing professional capital in Professional learning networks
- Professional learning networks for system and school improvement
Don’t hesitate to contact us for more information about collaboration opportunities or presented sessions at ICSEI!
Please do not hesitate to contact us with your Professional Learning Networks questions, ideas for collaboration for congress sessions or publication, further research, and so on. Also let us know if you’d like us to include your ICSEI PLN session slides or abstracts included on this page!