Investigations are a convenient and engaging option for professional learning. Explore the format and learning design here!
Investigations begin by establishing the purpose and goals of the learning experience. Initial reflection prompts are also offered to spark your thinking.
You then move on to the core learning content in the Investigate section. Most Investigations offer 2-3 engagements in this section on specific aspects of the Investigation topic that each offer learning activities situated around resources that you view or read (i.e., professional readings, web seminars recordings, videos, etc.), Reflection questions guide you in documenting your learning. An online journal is offered as one option for responding to the reflection questions, but you can use any format that you like for responding to the questions. Since Investigations are self-paced and not facilitated you are not required to submit your reflections, but the process of reflecting and writing about your learning will promote active engagement in the learning process, resulting in changes in your practice and your students' learning, so we strongly urge you to not skip this step! Your reflections will also help you when you move to the next step in our learning design, Create.
The Create section is where you will synthesize your learning from throughout the Investigation and put that learning in practice in a way that is meaningful to you. We offer a variety of options (each requires different amounts of time), and you will be asked to select at least one that best matches your role and that you feel will best support your learning and the initiatives and practices already happening in your own system. Create activities include things like conducting an audit of current practices, creating tools or lesson plans based on ideas shared in the Investigation, conducting surveys, etc. While you will not be required to share your work in this section, we encourage you to do so with an administrator or chosen colleague in your district.
The final section in the learning design is Connect, where you revisit the purposes and goals of the Investigation, think about your learning throughout the Investigation, and start to develop a plan of action based upon the needs and context of your site. As a culminating activity, we encourage you to identify an authentic audience (i.e., your administrator, a colleague, etc.) with whom you will share highlights of your learning and/or suggestions for changes at your site based on your learning.
If you would like to receive a letter of completion from NCTE for your work in any Investigation, there is an option to submit a final reflection to us that documents your learning and how you put that learning into practice. NOTE that NCTE is not a credit-granting agency; however many districts will grant local continuing education credits for participation in NCTE professional learning activities. Check with your administrator to see if this is an option for you. Graduate continuing education credit is also available through the University of San Diego for an additional fee. There are additional requirements for this option.