Space that was safe to explore and learn: Stretching the affordances for networked professional learning in creativity for educators


  • Ross Anderson Creative Engagement Lab
  • Jen Katz-Buonincontro Drexel University
  • Tracy Bousselot Inflexion
  • Jessica Land Creative Engagement Lab
  • Mari Livie Creative Engagement Lab
  • Nathan Beard Creative Engagement Lab



networked learning, hybrid professional development, online training, creativity, creative engagement, psychological safety, mixed methods


What makes impactful online professional development for rural teachers learning creativity and arts integration? In this paper, we describe the results of a mixed method-study that tested a new hybrid online and in-person teacher training experience with K-12 teachers in the Northwestern region of the United States of America in 2019–2020. The study focused on the creative development of rural educators and their preparation to integrate creativity and the arts across the curriculum. Rural schools face challenges in providing ongoing professional learning opportunities to teachers, especially in complex areas, such as creativity and arts integration. However, professional learning opportunities in this area are either lacking or minimally available for many teachers due to a variety of barriers. The results reveal innovations about networked learning approaches to teaching complex topics and practices, such as creativity, which make online learning more experiential and connected for relevance and engagement. As others have found, networked learning can offer transformative experiences. In addition to detailed findings, this paper presents several expanded design principles and specific techniques to make online learning experiences creative and expansive.

Implications for practice or policy:

  • Networked learning for educators should be interactive, self-reflective and creative using diverse media and modalities.
  • Professional development developers should focus on instructional routines to help teachers build confidence in their skill building.
  • Professional development developers should consider the creative engagement framework as a guide for the design of teacher training.
  • Teacher outcomes in online professional development should be cohort-based to build peer-to-peer connection and encourage creative risk-taking and collaboration.


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How to Cite

Anderson, R., Katz-Buonincontro, J., Bousselot, T., Land, J., Livie, M., & Beard, N. . (2022). Space that was safe to explore and learn: Stretching the affordances for networked professional learning in creativity for educators. Australasian Journal of Educational Technology, 38(4), 55–75.