Practitioner knowledge and networked inquiry


Happy wintery Sunday!

Building off the theme of learning in community, this week the focus will be on the role of practitioner knowledge and networked inquiry.

I’d suggest starting with a reading from Susan Lytle, a professor from UPenn and seminal scholar in the field of practitioner/teacher research (see Inquiry as Stance: Practitioner Research for the Next Generation and Inside/Outside Teacher Research and Knowledge both written with Marilyn Cochran-Smith for more). In this essay At Last: Practitioner Inquiry and the Practice of Teaching: Some Thoughts on Better, Susan picks up on the idea of inquiry across practice, building from Atul Gwande’s description of what it means to get “better” as a doctor and surgeon and thinking about this from an educator’s perspective.

From here I suggest you check out this collection at Digital Is called From Professional Development to Professional Practice curated by Stephanie West-Puckett of the Tar River Writing Project. Although Stephanie does not use the term “inquiry” explicitly, she is engaging with a group of teachers in a professional setting where the mantra is “make, share, connect, reflect, and repeat” (which you might recognize a little bit of in ED677 too). She provides some context for this work and then points to resources created by those educators as they engaged in this kind of inquiry process together.

Then we turn back to a book titled Reclaiming the Classroom: Teacher Research as an Agency for Change edited by Dixie Goswami and Peter Stillman. I will send you the chapter I’m suggesting.

Looking Forward …

Based on the idea then that we all have key questions that drive our practice, as well as important knowledge to contribute to the field, we want to tap into those questions to help us think about connected learning and equity. And I would like you to start identifying a specific inquiry question that will guide what you do the rest of the semester.

Building off the “10 Self/10 World mission” from, here’s one activity to try when thinking about the questions you really care in the context of connected learning and equity:

  1. Write 10 questions that you have about yourself as a connected learner and 10 questions that you have about connected learning and equity.
  2. Next, pick one question and write about it as though you are the expert. Write about why it is of interest to you and all that you already know about it. Write about what you would like to know about it that you don’t already know.
  3. Now find a focused sentence from this writing and do some freewriting. Use this freewriting to take you a bit deeper with your question (or surface a new one!)
    1. Note: You can keep going between #2/#3 to keep going more deeply with your questions and use that for blogging (See Freewriting, focused sentences, and generative themes: Finding your niche for more.)
  4. Next, search online for discussions that might relate to the same topic and pull together a set of things you might want to follow-up on and people and/or communities you might want to start to connect to.

… Looking Back

I’d like you also to take this week to do some looking back at your own work so far in this class.

  • What has your journey been so far?
  • How does this inform where you might be going and what you’d like to do ahead?
  • What does it make you think about related to connected learning and equity?

I’d like to you to do this for two reasons: 1) I’d like for you to practice assessing yourself and your own progress in this class; and 2) because our make this week is to Make a Map and your journey as a connected learner, so far, might be good material for this.

The week ahead:

Wednesday: We will gather via Google Hangout from 8-9pm ET. We will looking back and forward, tapping into our journeys and inquiries.

Our make this week: Make a Map!

  • I’d like to encourage you to start to map your learning and thinking so far … a map could show a path you’ve taken, places you’ve been and/or stopped along the way in your thinking/sharing/connecting.
  • And, while you continue your journey, I encourage you to mark spaces or spots where you run into questions/concerns about equity.
  • Like these educators from CLMOOC last summer, your map can be on paper, can be made with watercolor, it can be digital, it can be interactive, it can be textual, it can be chronological. It can even be a collage or a mash-up. Your map is up to you.

Blogging prompt idea: What do you notice about your journey so far? What inquiry question/s is motivating you forward?

Seek and Search on Saturday or Sunday: Seek 6/7 things you find within or outside our community that you feel will support your inquiry.

Tech tips:

Here is a very imperfect How-To use Twitter that I made. Note that this is just a few ways I use twitter … would love you to share tips and tricks you find useful too.


In learning and connecting solidarity,


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