Professional Learning Library connects K-12 educational resource sites
With the iTeachAZ program in more than 35 school districts across the state, it shares a common problem with many other education programs: one central online site to collect and share resources among their faculty, students and educational partners.
And they are not alone. The Teacher Preparation program in the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College has sections of many courses taught at all four Arizona State University campuses by as many as 20 different people. Actually, across ASU, more than 60 departments have K-12 educational content on their individual websites with little to no connection between them, not to mention community colleges and school districts around the state with their own resource pages.
To connect all these resources to one location, the ASU NEXT/Teacher Quality Partnership Grant at the Teachers College has launched the Professional Learning Library (PLL) at pll.asu.edu. This online venue allows pre-service and in-service educators to connect, collaborate, share and learn. A search engine makes the content easy to find, with secure communities for members to participate in inter- and intra-institution collaboration.
“As the iTeachAZ program has developed, we have resources that have been placed all over the place, online, through email, different databases,” said Robert Morse, an iTeachAZ program specialist. “What the PLL has allowed us to do is take all those resources and put them in one place, and more importantly made those resources so now they’re searchable.”
Currently, more than 1,200 educational resources, including presentations, learning modules, course materials, videos and professional learning trainings are posted on the PLL. New content is constantly being added by partners, such as: Teachers College, ASU NEXT Grant, Arizona Ready-for-Rigor Project , Ecology Explorers, Eight – ASSET Educational Outreach, Embodied Games for Learning, Inside the Academy, Learning Forever, ASU Mars Education Program, Sanford Inspire Program, Teaching Foundations Project, and Technology Infusion.
“The Professional Learning Library is bringing all this content to one place for a searchable database,” said Heidi Blair, technology director for the NEXT Grant. “We’re not replacing the other sites, but linking them together by providing a discovery tool that allows users to search by standards, topics, providers, resource type, grade levels and other criteria. This allows the stewardship of content to remain within the producing unit.”
The PLL includes both a free public-facing site and a secure login area for members to access additional role-restricted materials and learning opportunities. Members may create communities for collaboration of ideas and materials and participate in private discussion forums amongst invited users.
“Some of the resources we restrict access to the teacher candidates enrolled in our Teachers College while other resources we post and allow anyone to have access to them,” said Ryen Borden, executive director of the Sanford Inspire Program. “So we have flexibility in making those decisions about access during the process of posting our resources online.”
The majority of the content is available to the public. And it’s not just useful for teachers, but for students and parents, as well. iTeachAZ senior Laniray Pomeroy is excited about the opportunities the PLL will provide him as he completes his teacher candidate studies, and later when he plans to be managing his own classroom.
“When it comes to designing lessons and building on your lesson plans, you really don’t know where to start,” Pomeroy said. “With the PLL, I have a great resource to build on what I think is right already and it helps me grow that knowledge. It’s a great community where lesson plans are already built in. It’s a great way to flow from there.”
Being able to serve teacher candidates as well as in-service teachers throughout their careers is part of the PLL’s plan to provide long-term benefits to ASU and the greater education community. As a repository for a number of projects, the site provides a place to disseminate information and useful resources.
“As the director of a grant, I think about sustainability a lot,” Borden said. “The PLL is a great resource to us. It’s a place where we can create resources and then store them there so people will be able to access them long after the grant has ended. So I see that being a benefit not only to my grant, but to the university overall.”
While the PLL continues to add new content, it’s also evolving to meet the demands of its users.
“I found that working with the PLL team they’ve been very responsive to my needs,” said LeeAnn Lindsey, technology infusion and professional development coordinator at the Teachers College. “Pretty much anything I’ve asked them to help me with or gone to them and said, ‘This is what I’d really like the PLL to do, can it do this?’ They’ve really helped me find a way to make the PLL work to meet my needs.”
The PLL team is providing training workshops for users as well as content providers. If you would like to learn more about the PLL, request a membership or have content that might be appropriate for the PLL, please send a message to email@example.com. Additionally, stay updated by liking the “Professional Learning Library” Facebook page, or following “asupll” on Twitter as the PLL continues to grow.
“As a grant funded project, the PLL serves the needs of the grant both now and in the future,” Blair said. “With an eye to the future, the PLL supports ASU-wide efforts to connect with the PreK-12 education sector with the research and work being done in this Level 1 research institution.”