Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Journal #7: Personal Learning Network

A personal learning network (PLN) is a compiled network of people or digital resources that you interact with to gain and/or share knowledge. PLN's can range from family to teachers to Internet, with the most common being Internet. Examples of my PLN's include, but are not limited to: Facebook, Twitter, Blogger, PLN, School 2.0, and Diigo. As seen in these websites, PLN's have sections where you can write your own statuses, share links, comment on someone's page, and engage in instant messaging. These features will be very helpful to me as an educator; not only will they let me investigate and discover educational resources, they will also allow me to receive feedback on any educational ideas of my own. Furthermore, I find that they are great resources to get advice from when I feel like I need it

Although I do not use Twitter very often, I find that it will be a great tool when I enter the credential program and start my student teaching. I will be able to get support and advice from those I am currently following (my classmates and professor), as they will be going through the same credential program as me. Furthermore, I find that Twitter is a great way to start networking and making connections. In fact, I have recently started following Arne Duncan (US Secretary of Education), John T. Spencer (author of Journal 6 article), Discovery Education, US Department of Education, and Emil Ahangarzadeh (follower of Professor Heil). Each one of these people/groups are good to follow because they have already established themselves in the educational arena and are experts of the field. Furthermore, it will be great to hear different perspectives on education, especially when they are coming from those who are so well qualified.

On Weds, August 1st at 5 pm, I participated in the New Teacher Chat, and thought it was pretty cool. There were many different people participating, and tweets just kept coming and coming! The facilitator a few questions based on the topic of "designing your own classrooms." I did not participate in these questions because I was more interested in reading what others had to say. The responses came so quickly; it was pretty exciting reading everyone's responses! Everyone had such insightful answers. 

Diigo is a great networking resource, especially for education. By using Diigo, I am able to tag articles and resources that I find relevant to my life. However, I find that the greatest benefit of Diigo is being able to follow others. Following others lets me learn about different resources that I may have not been previously aware of; it lets me expand my knowledge, especially in the field of education. In fact, I am currently following Professor Heil and a few of his followers: Susan Glassett, Domenica Pearl, Joel Garcia, Steve Dembo, Tim Heck, and Tom Whitby. The reason I chose these people is because I am still new to the field and people of education; I do not have many connections, so I figured that the people my professor follows are probably pretty well established in their field. Furthermore, several of these people are professors or teachers or principles. Following people who work in the same field that I want to go into can be a great way for me to gain access to resources that I can probably use myself. Using Diigo, I tagged the following under the heading "PLN": School 2.0, The Educator's PLN, The Innovative Educator: 5 Things You Can Do to Begin Developing Your Personal Learning Network, and Creating a Personal Learning Network With Web 2.0 Tools, Everything ESL: The K-12 ESL Resource, Art Education 2.0: Using New Technology in Art Classrooms, and The Ultimate Guide to Using iPads in the Classroom. The first few were tagged as PLN because they are about how to use and build your PLN. These are all resources to help me expand and develop my PLN in the future. The next few tags were tagged as PLN because they are articles I found very interesting. Each one talks about a fairly controversial subject. In my opinion, it is always good to hear different perspectives, especially before I decide to develop my own opinion on the controversy.

I joined "The Educator's PLN" and watched "A Vision of K-12 Students Today". This short film featured children of all different ages. None of them spoke a word, but they each held up a sign with a message they wanted to say. The video was about how most teachers do not incorporate technology into learning, and yet students spend so much time a week on the computer, iPad, iPod, cell phone, internet, etc. Further into the video, it talked about how teachers need to use technology in the classroom because most students can relate to technology and feel relatively comfortable with it. In my opinion, this video is spot-on. Students nowadays are interested in different things then they were 5, 10, or 20 years ago; they are interested in technology. In my opinion, the best way for a teacher to effectively reach out to her students is by incorporating students' interests and familiarities into the classroom. Students who are having fun learning are more engaged in the material and will grasp the concepts better. 

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