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3. In the excerpt, Huber addresses a much broader issue concerning professional learning. As she describes, daily demands can pose barriers or disincentives for teachers to engage with new information that might enhance their practice. Particularly in struggling schools, teach-ers’ immediate concerns may be more about raising test scores than exploring novel ways of
Section 8.7 Taking the Digital Plungethinking about curriculum and practice. More generally, how can schools create an environ-ment that is conducive to professional learning? How might Internet-based technologies be used in combination with PLCs or educational reform networks in doing so?8.7 Taking the Digital Plunge, by Bill FerriterIntroductionBill Ferriter is national board-certified teacher who teaches sixth graders in Raleigh, North Car-olina. An advocate for PLCs and an expert in integrating technology into the classroom, Ferriter has worked with the Center for Teaching Quality and the Teacher Leaders Network to elevate the voice of practicing teachers for almost a decade. Ferriter is a regular contributor to Edu-cational Leadershipmagazine, coauthor of Building a Professional Learning Community at Work,and author of Teaching the iGeneration.In the following excerpt, Ferriter argues that in order to prepare students to use new technolo-gies for continual learning, K–12 teachers must use digital tools to create learning opportunities for themselves. As Ferriter describes, creating or joining Internet-based learning networks is an ideal way to do so. He describes different types of digital networks that teachers can access, which can help them enhance their skills and knowledge—all of which he uses himself. Like Huber, Ferriter believes that the use of digital networks is vital for engaging in professional learning, for better understanding the competencies that young people need in the 21st century, and for modeling meaningful uses of new technologies for students.ExcerptThe following is an excerpt from Ferriter, B. (2009). Taking the digital plunge. Educational Leadership, 67(1), 85–86.For those who don’t know me, I’m a teacher and digital junkie. I’m the Twit-ter groupie in the back of the teachers workroom who’s constantly com-plaining about the district firewall and who’s booked the computer lab for 16 straight weeks.But I make no apologies for my computer obsession. With little more than a high-speed Internet connection and a bit of moxie, I’ve built a network of innovative colearners with whom I collaborate regularly, although I’ve never met any of them in person. I consider experimenting fearlessly with digital connections to be part of my job as a teacher.One powerful aspect of 21st century learning is the fact that anyone with an Internet connection can find like-minded peers to learn from using such free tools as blogs and RSS feeds. What I like the best about my digital learning net-work is that it’s spread across continents. Clay Burell is Korea’s best kept secret, asking provocative questions about the changing nature of schooling. Jenny Luca is an Aussie dynamo, encouraging teachers to create meaningful service