#NotABookStudy – A 21st Century Professional Learning Opportunity

 This post is from Jamie Cable’s blog – linked to the title. 

What a time to be an educator. Seriously, I mean that.

I feel so privileged to live in a time where we can conduct meaningful collaborative professional development from the comfort of our own couch, hundreds of kilometres away from some of our colleagues, learning at our own pace, on our own schedules, through whichever medium we prefer. Sounds pretty awesome, doesn’t it?

As a part of this Northeastern Ontario Mathematics Leadership Network’s (MLN) learning opportunity, we’re embarking on a virtual learning journey, better known as #NotABookStudy, as we take a deeper dive into Cathy Fosnot’s book, Young Mathematicians at Work: Constructing Multiplication and Division.

While we have only packed our bags and begun this trek, so to speak, we’ve already had the opportunity to learn and share alongside some of Ontario’s brilliant math leaders, not to mention, Cathy Fosnot herself, who shares her wisdom and experiences with us in a weekly live radio broadcast through VoicEd, as we unpack a new chapter each week.

This style of PD is certainly something new for me, as the differentiated learning opportunities are only limited by your own imagination. Want to go deeper into a particular idea? Toss out a comment on Facebook and see who bites. Have a burning question related to a particular idea from the latest chapter? Tweet it out with the hashtag #notabookstudy and wait for the flood of reponses. Even if Twitter and Facebook aren’t your thing, you’ve still got options, as there’s always an avenue for you to enrich your experience. The weekly podcast alone, is enough to whet anyone’s appetite for more, and if you can’t catch it live, it’s archived for listening at your own convenience (which may have been the case for me during Week 1, as I couldn’t pass up my tickets to the Blue Jays home opener!)

Thus far, we’ve explored the first few chapters, which has only scratched the surface of the landscape of mathematical ideas, the role of context, and developing mathematical communities. At this point, that landscape still seems a bit fuzzy, and maybe even daunting, as it appears to be a long journey towards the horizon. But like all great adventures, with the right tools, resources, and companions, it will be an exhilarating ride to be sure.

As a mathematics leader in our system, I’m wondering about how we can create more opportunities such as this, as I know there would be a great deal of interest in this innovative style of professional learning. In the meantime, bring on chapter 3!

Featured image by NeONBrand on Unsplash
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