P.K. Yonge expanding educator outreach by Swivl and Twitter and streaming—oh my!

Striving to make an impact on education locally, statewide and beyond,  UF’s K-12 lab school, P.K. Yonge Developmental Research School, has been hosting more than 300 K-12 visiting educators annually as part of its Research in Action program, offering classroom observations, teacher-to-teacher mini-workshops, debriefing conversations and action planning exercises. Now, the UF laboratory school is using new technology such as live video streaming, social media and Swivl audio-visual equipment (which works easily with iPads and iPhone) to expand the reach of its on-campus professional learning programs to national and even international audiences.

PKY English Language Arts teachers Cody Miller (from left), Jen Chevalier, Eric Lemstrom and Kate Yurko served as instructors at the school's recent Research in Action  Day for 60 visiting educators.

PKY English Language Arts teachers Cody Miller (from left), Eric Lemstrom, Jen Chevalier and Kate Yurko were among the presenters at the school’s recent Research in Action Day for 60 visiting educators.

Professional Learning is key to P.K. Yonge’s mission as a developmental research school: to design, develop and disseminate best practices in K12 education. Teachers from within Florida and growing numbers from abroad participate in P.K. Yonge professional learning activities throughout the summer and during every year. In 2014-15, experiments with tools to disseminate best practices and connect with teachers are showing promise in reaching far beyond the constraints of the workday and the campus.

In February, the Literacy Design Collaborative (LDC) and the National Literacy Project Research in Action day held on the P.K. Yonge campus was attended by 60 educators. With attendance limited by physical space constraints, live streaming technology extended the reach of this event immeasurably. While group activities take place on campus, audiences across the nation and in other countries were able to participate and learn at the same time.

Other recent technologies and tools are enhancing professional learning by streamlining the capture and presentation of exemplars from classrooms and simplifying the content capture process. While recording lessons is not new, new technology allows lessons to be captured easily by teachers and support staff, allowing fresh examples of real world classroom teaching to be presented and analyzed for each professional learning activity.

For the February Research in Action event, lessons taught just a few days prior were presented and analyzed — keeping workshop content current and up to the minute. Tools such as Swivl means that recorded sample lessons critical to connecting theory with real-world classroom practice can be captured and included with relative ease.

The February RIA event has now extended beyond live streaming and Swivl lesson capture with follow-up conversation and sharing moving into the realm of social media. P.K. Yonge faculty member and program development coordinator Christy Gabbard participated in an LDC Twitter chat following the on-campus, live-streamed event.

The future is bright! Visit the P.K. Yonge Research in Action page — at — to see and archive the live-streamed event and follow us on Twitter (@pkyongedrs).