Many of us network with colleagues around the world. This week's 2019 article, entitled "Bridging Distances: Professional Development for Higher Education Faculty Through Technology-Facilitated Lesson Study" shares how we can capitalize on those networks to enhance and expand our teaching. The authors Soto, Gupta, Dick and Appelgate highlight several methods, which they used to create a sustainable virtual Community of Practice (vCoP). The authors state, "Through the use of synchronous and asynchronous communication technology, we formulated goals, planned a common lesson, conducted research on our students’ learning, and reflected on our own teaching practice."
Through their research question, "how does technology-facilitated lesson study support PD?" they identified several bridging strategies. These included:
Using Google Suite of Documents (version history), Slides and Hangouts (with screen sharing; and audio-recording) to meet weekly online;
Each taught the same lesson, then met to debrief, shared the struggles and concerns;
Videotaped their lessons, audio recorded students group-based conversations and photographed in-class work (shared on Dropbox) - viewed files and made comments - used as guides for subsequent virtual meetings;
Review, comment video-taped lessons; and
Google Hangout used to watch a lesson in real time, each providing feedback to the instructor live.
In conclusion, "Through this process, we grew into a vCoP focused on our teaching. We reflected on our teaching practice, gained understanding of our students thinking, learned strategies to develop their thinking and grew as early-career faculty. We continue to hold weekly virtual meetings and engage in research.
Soto, M., Gupta, D., Dick, L., & Appelgate, M. (2019). Bridging distances: Professional development for higher education faculty through technology-facilitated lesson study, Journal of University Teaching & Learning Practice, 16(3). Available at: https://ro.uow.edu.au/jutlp/vol16/iss3/7