NC: New Participatory Models of Professional Development


Teachers play a monumental role in facilitating opportunities for students to become critical thinkers, proactive citizens, and creative contributors to the world. In our rapidly shifting digital and social landscape, unequal access to experiences that help build the skills and knowledge necessary to contribute in these evolving environments can prevent youth from meaningful participation in them. This “participation gap”, we believe, cannot be wholly addressed when teachers themselves are not afforded these same opportunities to grow and learn.

Our goal is to bring together a collective of professional development PreK-12 experts to discuss the needs of educators and explore approaches seen or taken to help educators become more proficient in adapting to today’s rich media landscape and acquire a new disposition to foster a participatory learning environment in their classroom.

Below are the panelists and a short synopsis of the topics.

1. Institute of PLAY!: Rebecca Rufo-Tepper will share Quest 2 Learn’s unique professional development program called Studio Q to support teachers in developing the knowledge, skills, and understandings needed to be effective teachers. This discussion will give an overview of the seven dimensions of teacher development at Q2L, describe the key structures they use, and provide specific examples of the work.

2. Fred Rogers Center: Michael Robb, Ph.D. of the Fred Rogers Center will share how they are building a powerful alternative for delivering and generating information, training, and other experiences for adult learning and professional development through the Early Learning Environment (ELE), a web-based platform for community building to fill the gap in media- and technology-based resources.

3. The Nueva School: Matt Levinson will focus on creating a culture of professional growth, risk-taking, and innovation in schools with technology. He will share innovative approaches that Nueva has utilized for professional development, such as teacher evaluation, teacher-led institutes and workshops, and peer visitations, as well as discuss the role of students as leaders in professional development for teachers with technology.

4. The Institute for Multimedia Literacy, School of Cinematic Arts at the University of Southern California: Holly Willis will talk about IML’s challenges and objectives in rethinking their program across new platforms when dramatic funding cuts require a radical re-imagining of what used to consist of intensive in-person workshops and seminars. She will share ways to improve teachers’ and students’ acquisition and fluency in the creation and critical analysis of media forms.

The panelists’ presentations will be followed by a moderated discussion and audience participation.