PLC’s (Professional Learning Communities) have become a hot topic in EDU. Seems like everyone these days are creating there own form of PLC’s. The concept of creating one is a great idea, however managing the content and people to truly make that PLC group effective can be challenging if not using the proper productivity tools.
Recently the Microsoft in Education Team Blogged a great article around how to create a PLC in 3 easy steps using Office 365 in Education. Below are the simple three ways on how to start creating your PLC in Office 365.
1. Create a PLC group in Office 365
Log into your Office 365 portal and click on the Outlook tile from the portal page or app launcher.
There are two quick ways to start a PLC group.
a. Drop down the New button and choose Groups, or click the “+” button beside Groups within the Outlook Web App (OWA).
b. Select the Professional Learning Community option on the right to create a PLC group.
You will be prompted to choose a name for your PLC group, and you can add a group description. PLC groups are designated as private by default, meaning that only PLC group members have access to any information or data you might share.
Once you’ve established your PLC, you’ll find pre-populated content and templates. You may modify these elements as appropriate for your group.
2. Use a OneNote Notebook for plan and do
Every PLC group gets its own OneNote Notebook, prepopulated with content and templates from real PLC groups so you don’t have to start from scratch! This is the place to plan your program of study, bring in articles and web resources, keep notes as you meet, post contributions and new ideas to implement in your classroom, and ensure that all who are in the group are progressing well on their learning path. No more trying to keep up with printed resources and ring binders. Have a look at this great blog post by Cal Armstrong listing all the many ways OneNote has become embedded in his district. Pay special attention to number nine, PLC groups.
3. Use a Planner for checking in on tasks and owners
Planner is also a great tool in PLC groups for keeping the PLC on track with benchmarks, tasks, and targets to meet along a timeline. With Planner, teams can create new plans; organize, assign and collaborate on tasks; set due dates; update statuses and share files, while visual dashboards and email notifications keep everyone informed on progress.
4. Use Connectors, Conversations as group messaging
Meeting regularly to connect as a PLC is one thing. However, the conversations, connections, and work to bring new learning into enriched classroom practice involves educators sharing from one PLC meeting to the next. Whether you are tracking a Twitter feed or monitoring the latest education blog or headlines with Bing—Office 365 Connectors surfaces all the information you care about in the Office 365 Groups shared inbox, so you can easily collaborate with others and interact with the updates as they happen, inside or outside your school.
For immediate conversations, in PLC groups you can also use the Skype “meet now” functionality. Imagine continuing an academic conversation during planning time with another in your PLC cohort without leaving your own classroom.
SOURCE: Microsoft in Education Blog