Today I spent the day at PLAY! As part of a working group (affiliated with PLAY! — Participatory Learning and You!), I had the great fortune to contribute to a diverse gathering of educators researching, designing, and implementing participatory professional development. Some of the people in the group are widely published thought leaders, and others are dedicated practitioners, yet even in our own group, we worked hard to define our most basic terms, asking key questions like, “What does participation mean?”  These questions led us in fascinating and important directions, as we debated if a lecture could be participatory, confronted the danger of top-down language, and determined that we do not, in fact, all need to share the same definition of participatory, as long as we unpack our own definitions via our work.

Anyone who has worked with me previously will appreciate how much I enjoyed discussing the necessity for participatory design for participatory professional development; it’s something I’ve advocated for over the years.

Full of reading, writing, thinking, brainstorming, wondering, talking and working, today was brain candy. I am fascinated by the way educators learn, and in turn how they then are best empowered to create learning experiences for others.

I have a passion for designing professional development, but today I was the one developing professionally, and in a very transparent, organic, participatory way. What could be better?