Final Reflection: Social Network Learning — December 5, 2015

Final Reflection: Social Network Learning

https://www.flickr.com/photos/21986855@N07/7607705630

I really enjoyed all of the new tools and knowledge I gained from Ed Tech 543: Social Network learning.  Prior to this course, I saw social media tools as “taboo.”  I had used Twitter and Facebook throughout high school and college, but stopped posting once I began applying for jobs.  It wasn’t until this course that I realized the benefits of social networking tools for both my professional development and for my students.  I started off the course by creating a new Twitter strictly for professional use and am so happy I did so.  I started with a clean slate and am following people and resources that have some great insights into education.  I have found Twitter to be a great way to connect with educators across the country and the world.  I did not realize the importance of being a connected educator until this course.  Twitter helped me build my PLN, which will be important as I move through my master’s and potentially a doctorate program in the future.  The Twitter chats, although daunting at first, were a great way to build my PLN and validate some techniques I use in my classroom.  While on Twitter, I also found out about an opportunity to write a blog post for Imagine Easy and was able to publish my first post last week on Blended discussions in the Social Studies Classroom.  It was exciting to find more ways to share and receive feedback, outside of my school and district.

I also found Diigo to be a great tool.  I had never heard of social bookmarking until this course and had no idea how beneficial it could be.  I use it in my classroom regularly to have students share and annotate resources.  They can post helpful sources to our classroom page and comment on each other’s sticky notes.  It has sparked awesome conversations between my students.  I also set up a Diigo page for teachers at my school to share resources.  We are starting student led conferences this year and our Diigo group has been a great way to share resources to gain a better understanding of this process.  I recently ran a professional development session sharing how to use Diigo for teachers in my district.

Our content curation module was very interesting.  This was another new concept to me and helped me take a look at several new tools.  I tried out several different tools before stumbling upon PearlTrees.  I found it to be very user friendly and I was able to customize and annotate, which was a feature I was looking for.  I think that PearlTrees is a great way for me to curate materials for other educators to share on my blog and Twitter, or in PD sessions in my district.  During this unit, I thought of some ways for my students to curate materials.  We are coming up on our unit the Constitution, and I want the students to curate current events on the Constitution in Action.  During my Social Network mini unit, Courtney Kaul introduced me to LiveBinders and I think it will be great to use in this unit.  I am excited to have my students curate materials and collaborate with each other.  

I found our blog posts to be a great way to reflect on each module and synthesize all of the information we learned.  I was able to come to conclusions and think of ways to incorporate what we had learned into my professional development and my classroom.  I also plan to use my blog for more than just my coursework at Boise State.  I hope to use it as a place to share what I am doing in my classroom, gain valuable feedback, and collaborate with others.  

Overall, I found this course to be extremely beneficial.  I learned about awesome social networking tools that will benefit me as I move career forward and also will benefit my students!  This course helped me understand the importance of maintaining a positive digital footprint and provided me with the tools and resources to do so.  I am excited for the possibilities being a connected educator can lead me.  

Blog Assessment
I think that my blog posts were thorough and met the requirements for each assignment.  I was able to analyze and reflect on each module, as well as, make conclusions as to how I could use each module outside of Boise State.  I believe I can improve by organize each individual blog post better.  I included a lot of information in each blog post, but it might have helped my readers if there were sub-headings, links, etc. I also think that I should have sent my blog posts out via Twitter more often to receive more feedback on my posts.  After reviewing and reflecting on my blog posts for this course, I believe that I scored a 73 out of 75.

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Social Networking for Teaching and Learning — November 1, 2015

Social Networking for Teaching and Learning

Social media is a big part of our student’s lives.  They want to feel connected with the world and share everything that they are doing.  So why don’t teachers utilize social media in the classroom?  If this is central to our student’s lives outside of schools, it would be easy for them to transfer these skills to the classroom.  I have to admit, I was hesitant to incorporate social media and networking tools into my classroom.  I felt like it was a big responsibility as a new teacher to take this on and ensure student safety.  But incorporating digital citizenship lessons, encouraging internet safety, and  modeling proper social media use, I am now more confident in integrating these tools into my classroom.  I have started with blogs and Diigo, but through my research in this project I can see the power of Twitter, Facebook, Padlet, Skype, and more.  I also have found even more ideas for tools I am already using.

I used PearlTrees to curate and annotate my materials, and separated my findings under their specific tool.

social-media-tools

Social Media Tools for the History Classroom – Key Learnings

BackChannels or chat rooms to use during a lecture, video, or discussion give voice to students.  I can see how backchannels can enhance a movie shown in class.  Students can carry on a student led discussion while watching a movie.  For example, students watch Cinderella Man to learn more about the Great Depression, they could discuss the historical elements they find using something like Today’s Meet.

Twitter is a great tool for the classroom that many students are already using outside the classroom.  I really like the idea of a Twitter essay.  This will force students to find the most central idea of a topic to share with their classmates.  I also think it is great that there is a “peer review” concept to this.  It not only gets the students sharing, but also using social media to collaborate and give feedback.

I found a variety of ways to use Facebook in the classroom.  The use of fan pages and event pages is a great interactive activity for students.  Using Facebook as a timeline and place to collaborate with experts and other schools is something that is interesting and exciting for students.  I also think creating fan pages and having a “virtual salon” is a great way for students to uses 21st century skills and immerse themselves in the content area.

Diigo has been a huge addition to my classroom.  I have had my students share articles and comment on each others annotations, starting discussions that dive deeper into the article and content.  What I learned from the article on found on Diigo, is the use of the forum within Diigo groups.  This is a feature I have not tried yet, but can see how students can start a discussion, share a thought, ask a question and more.

Skype is a tool I have not used in my two years of teaching, but would like to begin using more.  Skype allows for conversations with experts, students, authors, survivors, all over the world.  It provides students to connect and ask questions they would normally have left unanswered.  The articles I clipped on Skype explain the power connecting, once with a survivor of the Holocaust, and once with a similar class in a different country.  Both experiences offered different perspectives for the students, beyond the classroom walls.

Blogging is an important piece of digital literacy, which also allows for student connections and sharing.  The projects I found helped students connect with authors, teachers, parents, and classmates.  The authentic audience, beyond the teacher, motivated the students to write more effectively and ask deeper questions.  I also see blogging as a way for students who may be timid or nervous to share in class, to voice their ideas and ask questions.

All of these tools can have immediate impact in the classroom.  Viewing all of these great ideas has helped me plan my lessons for this week using blogs and Twitter.  It is important to make sure the tool is being used to enhance and optimize the classroom experience and motivate students to grow as learners, preparing them as 21st century learners.

My PLE Diagram — October 25, 2015

My PLE Diagram

Leone - PLE Diagram

I chose create my diagram on a baseball diamond.  I was looking for ways to make my diagram creative and unique, and decided to go with something that has always been an important part of my life.  I chose to use a baseball diamond, more particularly the bases and base path.  All of my online learning environments enrich my teaching career and help me grow as a teacher.  I am able to move around throughout my communities to explore, share, and collaborate.  For my diagram, I put Facebook, Twitter, Moodle, and LinekdIn as my “home base.”  These are the places I go to first when I head online.  I can use these communities to create my “brand” and be a platform or jumping off point for my online connections and work.  From my home base, I move to first base.  The first step in my online communities, the places I explore.  I use Pinterest, LiveBinders, and Youtube as great resources to learn new ideas, watch tutorials, and explore new topics/ideas. Once I gain momentum from exploring these environments, including Twitter and Facebook, I move on to second base.  This is where my learning environments allow me to share some of my ideas or resources I have collected.  I use Blogger, WordPress, Diigo, and Scoop.it. to share with the people I have connected with.  Blogger and WordPress allow me to share about things I am learning in the Ed Tech program and what is happening in my classroom at school.  I just started using Peartrees and Scoop.it for this class, but I can see how powerful it is to curate and share resources with other professionals.  Diigo has been a great addition to my online environments.  I introduced Diigo to the teachers at my school and we now use it to share resources we find online.  One of the greatest aspects of online learning environments is the ability to collaborate and receive feedback.  Third base is the collaborative space of my PLE.  I am able to use tools like Google Drive to work with other professionals, classmates in the Ed Tech program, and even my students to create projects, tutorials and more.  My curriculum partner and I use dropbox to work on text sets with out students, and this year we have introduced our students to have a stake in this collaboration as well.  They can now add to our class text sets.  Currently, I am using Padlet to create a space for an upcoming professional development session.  I am working with another 8th grade teacher to run a PD on Blogging.  Finally, I have recently joined several Google Plus communities.  In these settings, I am able to work through problems with other teachers and post lessons and receive feedback.  These experiences have been very beneficial.  By reaching all of these “bases” I am able to improve myself through professional learning, share new discoveries and useful information, and create meaningful materials through collaboration.

Reflecting on my PLE helped me to reflect on how it has grown in just the few months since this course began.  I was able to see how they all work together to help me grow.  Using social networking and online learning environments was something I had not really explored until taking this course.  Twitter has been a huge part of my PLE and has helped me to discover some of the other learning environments I mentioned in this diagram.

It was very interesting to look at classmates diagrams to see what tools they value most and how they would categorize them.

Courtney Kaul’s diagram caught my eye because of her daughter’s artwork.  When looking at her diagram I noticed she used the categories collaboration, communication, and professional development.  We had similar collaboration tools, with Dropbox and Google Drive.  I had not thought of Gmail as part of my learning environment, however, once seeing Courtney’s diagram I recall collaborating with an educator I met on Twitter through email.  I like the title of professional development.  I agree with all of the tools Courtney has there as resources for PD, I might have also included YouTube in that area.  Courtney and I share 9 communities.  Courtney and I are also a part of a literacy PLN for this course.

Jill Miller’s diagram was very large and interconnected.  While it seems “busy” it gives a great portrayal of the connections and importance of each tool.  She broke her PLE down to personal, professional, volunteer, and educational.  I had not thought of this approach, since expanding my PLE through this course I have focused mostly on professional and educational purposes.   I noticed a lot of crossover between those four areas.  I wonder if there can be times when it is hard to keep all four separate.  Four example, I worry about using Twitter for personal reasons, so I have decided to keep it strictly professional.  Jill and I share 8 communities.

Kelsey Ramirez and I shared the sports connection!  Kelsey had a “create”  and a “share” section in her PLE.  I had WordPress and Blogger in a “share” category, but can see how they are also places to create.  Possibly making a section as “Create and share” would help show the power of these tools.  Kelsey and I had 8 similar communities in our PLE diagrams.

Hannah Clark used an image of herself as the center of her diagram.  This helps symbolize that she is at the center of her connections, learning, and collaboration.  I notice that she shared Instagram in her connection section.  I did not include Instagram in my PLE because I don;t find myself using it to “connect” as much, but seeing this has made me realize I should explore how to better utilize this tool.  Hannah and I have 11 similar communities in our diagrams.  Hannah is also a part of my PLN for this course.

Dalia Juran broke her PLE into Personal, Spiritual, and Professional, similar to Jill.  There were a few crossovers between her three categories.  I noticed that her Professional PLE was the largest and was similar to mine, other than WebEx.  Dalia and I had 8 similar communities.  I noticed that she has Second Life in her personal category.  Second Life is not something I have explore a lot but I did notice it in a few of my classmates communities.

David Mato’s diagram shared two categories I had in my diagram: explore and collaborate.  We both had Google Drive and Dropbox in our collaborate section. His explore section differed by having flickr and Diigo.  I had placed Diigo in my “share” section,  but it is also a place to discover and explore.  David and I had 12 similar communities.

My evaluations of classmates PLE Diagrams helped me see how so many of these tools can be used for multiple purposes.  All of these communities allow us to connect, share, create, collaborate, and more.  It was interesting to see how differently we interpret our PLE and how chose to organize our diagrams.

Real Time and Live Virtual Professional Development — October 19, 2015

Real Time and Live Virtual Professional Development

Teachers are always looking for new ideas or places to share their own.  Often these opportunities only present themselves a few times a year during professional development days or at faculty meetings.  Technology and the internet allow for this to happen everyday, at any hour.  By using Twitter, blogs, Google Communities and more, teachers are now able to connect instantly for real time feedback and professional development.  In the past 3 weeks I have participated in 4 Twitter chats and 4 live webinars.  I was able to learn, share, and collaborate on multiple different topics.  I participated on topics I had never used in my classroom and ones that I use regularly.  It was a bit intimidating at first, especially in the Twitter chats which move very quickly.

Twitter Chats –

‪#‎engsschat‬ – This chat usually involves secondary english and social studies teachers.  The conversation the night I joined, revolved around using genius hour in the classroom. I have always wanted to provide students time to share their interests and show their personality, but have not incorporated something like genius hour into my classroom yet. The educators involved in this chat provided great insights into what a genius hour project might look like, as well as, help people new to this idea problem solve. One participant mentioned how she uses a genius hour model every Friday with her students. Another educator explained how she has students share their genius hour projects in a talk show format. I have already began creating my next unit building off of her idea! I was able to participate myself by sharing ideas for how I could use genius hour in my curriculum, as well as sharing some of my reservations for this idea. I was happy to see I was not alone in wondering how to fit such a great idea into the curriculum and welcomed all of the suggestions from those who have used it. This was a great chat that helped further my interest in online PD and also helped me build my PLN. I am looking forward to participating again this week.

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‪#‎gafechat‬ – This chat is for Google Apps for Education and this particular week was on Blogging! I was excited to be a part of this chat because I have recently introduced my students to blogger. Since I am in the beginning stages with this integration, I was eager to hear ideas to use. A great question was about the kids who may not find writing as their best avenue for expressing ideas. Even though I allow choice for student projects, I hadn’t thought about “choice” in the format students were blogging. This was a great idea that helped spark some new ideas for my classroom. Overall, it was a great chat and I was able to connect with many educators who are also using blogs in their classroom. My hope is to find a class to “share” my kids blogs with! Great for authentic audience.

#gafechat

‪#‎edtechchat‬  – This chat discussed digital citizenship. I was excited to be a part of this conversation since my school is trying to set up some standards for this. There was a great conversation about having digital citizenship as a its own class, or making it weave into our current curriculum. In addition, people wondered about how it could be assessed. There were great ideas about incorporating digital citizenship standards into already created rubrics.  Since this chat, I was a part of a tech summit at my school.  I was able to share some ideas from the chat and begin the discussion around how different classes incorporate technology.  My hope is to help my school begin incorporating digital citizenship into our regular classroom routines.

#edtechchat

#inquirychat – This chat was on innovation.  It was a great chat with a lot of ideas.  Teachers explained ideas on how they innovate in their class and provided specific examples.  I was able to connect with a teacher about a new resources, Aurasma.  She sent me an email with her latest presentation to help me learn more about the tool and how she uses it in history class.  I left the chat with some great ideas that I have already incorporated into my current unit.

inquirychat

Webinars –

Primary Sources –  This was put on by Ed Web. This webinar shared some great ways to have students “unpack” difficult primary sources, which is a something many of my 8th graders have a tough time doing. I was happy to walk away with some great strategies I could use right away. I got a great idea of using putting a primary source into a Wordle and seeing which words are used the most. This could help the students generate questions or come to conclusion prior to reading the difficult texts. It could also identify important vocab terms to look up before reading. I already used this strategy and my kids took a lot of great ideas away.

Refreshing your PLN – This was put on by PBS Learning and the hosts provided a lot of great information on ways to connect. One teacher suggested a Google Community where teachers across her district shared technology successes (and even failures). This allowed the teachers to learn from each other and gain valuable feedback. It helps keep teachers in different schools connected.

Primary Sources and PLN

Build Some Content!  Virtual Worlds – This webinar was provided by ISTE Mobile Learning Network.  I have no real experience with virtual worlds, so this was my first exposure to the topic.  Carolyn Lowe shared her personal virtual space and explained how she has set it up for teachers and students to use.  You could essentially rent virtual classroom spaces.  These classrooms were in space, in the forest, underwater, etc.  Carolyn also explained how students could give their presentations in these spaces as well.  She provided many resources and ideas for getting started.

virtualwebinar1

The Mindset of a Maker Education – This webinar was also provided by ISTE Mobile Learning Network.  Our professor, Jackie Gerstein led the webinar.  This was the most interactive webinar I had participated in.  It gave a chance to reflect on my current practices and really envision how I can incorporate a maker mindset in my classroom.  The visuals and ThingLinks were helpful in gaining a better understanding of how students can be “makers.”  The science teacher on my team and I work very closely and I was excited to share all of the resources with her.  We have had several discussions on how we can give the students more time to create and lead their learning, as well as, make it relevant to both of our courses.

maker1

maker2

All of these chats and webinars were informative and have helped me grow as a teacher.  I am in only my second year as a teacher and I am always looking for new ideas and ways to improve my classroom.  Participants were very welcoming and supportive.  I was encouraged to continue participating and asked clarifying questions.  I was excited after each chat and webinar to see my PLN grow and even begin collaborating with them outside of chats.  Currently, I am participating in the TEAM beginning teacher program in Connecticut.  It requires me to set goals, attend pd, review resources, and implement changes in my classroom.  I plan on finding webinars and Twitter chats to help me in this process.

 

 

 

Curating Resources – Blogging in the Classroom — October 10, 2015

Curating Resources – Blogging in the Classroom

PearlTrees was a great tool for curating my resources on Blogging in the Classroom.  I was able to create a board titled: Blog About It!  Using Blogs to Motivate Students.  This will be the topic of a professional development session I will be running in November.  I looked for resources that would help get the teachers started, motivated, and excited about using blogs.  I plan to use these curated resources to spark conversation and be guides for teachers once they leave the PD session.  PearlTrees allowed me to break the board down into sections.  I wanted it to be easy for the teachers to navigate through during and after the PD.  I was also able to annotate the resources.  This would help the teachers pick and choose which resources might be most important to them at the time.  To help me through curating these resources, I used my PLN’s curation criteria.

Click here to view my Blogging in the Classroom curated resources.

Blog About It

You can view my curation evaluation using my PLN’s criteria here.

 

Curation Criteria — October 4, 2015

Curation Criteria

This week I learned about content curation and how to be an effective curator.  Curation is the process of collecting resources and adding meaning to them, in a place where all interested in the topic can view.  Before when I thought of curation, I consider the digital text sets I have created for my students or resources I have shared with my colleagues on different educational topics.  But these examples were more “collections” of resources, rather than curated materials.  Adding meaning plays a large role in becoming a curator rather than a collector.  To assist people in curating material, my PLN members and I created a Curation Criteria Checklist.  We collaborated throughout the week using Google Docs and email to complete our checklist.  Our ideas blended together well and our final product has given me a great checklist to use when curating materials.

I am excited to use the concept of curation in both my professional growth and in my classroom.  Curating materials for professional growth will help me to gain a better understanding of a topic, but putting in a place for for others to view will benefit all in my PLN.  I can also see the benefits in my classroom.  I would love to have my students grow as “curators” of resources.  Many of the resources provided in this module suggested having students curate materials on a topic, rather than have the resources always come from the teacher.  I think this is a great way to have students study a topic, gain ownership in their learning, and practice 21st century skills.

This week I will be curating materials related to my content area.  I am planning to use Scoopit for this assignment and am looking forward to seeing the benefits of a new digital tool!

Maintaining a Positive Digital Presence — September 27, 2015
Digital Footprint — September 20, 2015

Digital Footprint

digitalworldYour digital footprint is the path you weave whenever you interact online. It is inevitable to avoid leaving a footprint, however,  in most cases you are in control of what information you share.  Becoming educated on what a digital footprint is will be very important.  This is something that I already teach to my students since we use blogs, Diigo, and other networking sites.  However, I feel that many adults should pay closer attention to their digital footprint.  The Internet Society provides some good insight into digital footprints and the ways we can leave them.  It is interesting to realize that you are contributing to your footprint more than you think.  It is not just when you post or comment, but also when you visit various sites, make purchases and more.  I have found that it is important to remember that digitally, your personal and professional lives can weave together.  Something that is posted on a “personal account” can still be found when someone is searching for your professional information.

In contrast, your digital footprint can be a positive thing!  It can help you advance professionally and help you network.  You can share resources you have created or your annotations on a resource.  This can be viewed as an example of your work and help connect you to others in your profession.

Keeping a professional mindset and thinking before your post/comment/share/favorite/etc. will help you maintain a positive digital footprint.

Danielle Leone is a fairly popular name, so searching for digital footprint proved difficult.  On the first page of results, the only link that leads to me is of the St. John Fisher College Softball Roster.  This site contains an image of me, my hometown, high school, and softball statistics.  As I went through the next couple of pages I found a YouTube video done by MHS TV News, on my first season as head softball coach.  I also found a link to my Pinterest Page.  The amount of “Danielle Leone’s” found online made it hard to find information that was specific to me.  It made me wonder that if someone was searching for me, could they stumble upon someone else and confuse their information, opinions, etc. as my own?

About 10 pages in I found a site titled Twicsy.com.  This site contains your twitter pictures.   My old Twitter account was private, yet all of my pictures can be seen on this site.

I decided to search more specifically for “Danielle Leone CT” which yielded more specific results.  Much of my digital footprint is made up of softball stories from college.  I also came across my name in Ellington Public School database, as well as, my Boise State Ed Tech blog.

Searching for my digital footprint was interesting!  It gave me a chance to see what someone might find when searching for me.  I was happy to see that all of the information online was positive and I had monitored my digital footprint fairly well!  One thing I did note, is that I have not made my professional presence known in the digital world.  This course has opened my eyes to the impact social media can have on sharing resources and participating in professional development.  I hope to use this course to improve my digital footprint by adding more professional information, resources, experiences, feedback and more.

Twitter for Professional Development — September 14, 2015

Twitter for Professional Development

Twitter_icon

Twitter is a great resource.  It can be accessed from many devices and anywhere with a connection to the internet.  This makes it a great tool for professional development.  It provides ease of access, continuous enrichment, instant feedback, and inspiring ideas.  In just the few weeks I have found myself back on Twitter, I have already found a wealth of resources to begin using in my classroom.

By following #sschat, I am able to learn about different ideas to use in the social studies classroom.   For example, the most recent chat centered on upcoming Constitution Day.  As an American history teacher, this was extremely relevant and helpful!  Professionals in the discussion shared ideas for investigating how current events relate to the Constitution, or exploring the Constitution from different points of views to learn more about political parties.

While scrolling through my #edtech column, I came across a great resource on getting students to innovate.  Mia MacMeekin made an infographic with 27 ways to inspire students to innovate.   I plan to use this to help my students understand what it means to innovate and challenge them to use these ideas throughout our next unit.

#gafe led me to a great resources on GAFE-friendly tools for evidence based writing in social studies.  The author discusses the Imagine Easy Scholar extension that helps students through their research process!  I also found out about a chat tomorrow on Creating Digital Awareness.  Looking forward to learning more about technology integration and tools!

My district has a partnership with Teachers College Reading and Writing Project.  We attend several PD’s each year and have a consultant visit our schools.  Using #tcrwp allows me to stay up to date with TC’s latest ideas, and also connect with other educators who use their protocols and ideas.  Scrolling through my TweetDeck led me to find some great ideas for mentor texts in the middle school writing workshop.

I have been working towards a flipped classroom and leading students to drive their learning by using technology.  I added the #elearning column to my TweetDeck.  I was happy to find some great ideas right away.  One article discussed the use of story telling when explaining new concepts.  This is something that I have gotten away from in the past couple of years, but am now inspired to begin adding this back to my classroom.  I am thinking that adding short animated stories as part of the flip videos my students can access will be a great addition.

In just a few short weeks, Twitter has transformed my classroom.  I have found great new resources and ideas that I have already began using.  While I have not participated in a chat yet, I am looking forward to participating and receiving instant feedback from professionals all over the world.  I think that Twitter is a great way to participate in professional development.  Whether it is through an organized chat, by discovering new resources, or by getting feedback on a resource you shared, Twitter allows for “just-in-time” pd that can transform the classroom!

EDTECH 543: Creative Expression — September 12, 2015

EDTECH 543: Creative Expression

This module helped me understand the importance and effectiveness of being a connected educator. Since graduating college, I have been leery of social networks, fearing that students may find me online, or job prospects may disagree with a post.  But this module’s resources showed me that my growth as an educator is dependent on my ability to stay connected and continuously learn.  I no longer need to wait for my districts next professional development day to learn new ideas and design new learning experiences for my students.

I used Piktochart for my Creative Expression.  My image includes four parts:  Personal Learning Networks, Communities of Practice, Connectivism, and the educator/user.  Each of these parts are separate pieces that come together to create new opportunities, new learning, and new resources.  The “puzzled educator” would represent someone who may be new to connected learning, or someone who is searching for answers or feedback.  It is up to them to become a connected educator.

For the Personal Learning Network puzzle piece, I used some social media icons to represent ways to form your PLN and as places to guide your new learning.  They surround a wireless symbol showing how they are all connected.  Daniel Mackley describes PLNs as “deliberately formed networks of people and resources capable of guiding our independent learning goals and professional development needs.”  Using resources, such as Twitter, Blogger, Google Plus, etc., educators and all professionals can form connections with people from all over.  Those connections can be used to gain ideas, feedback, and spark conversations.

Another aspect of connected learning, are Communities of Practice.  These allow for more specific focuses and interests.  My image is of people connected surrounding a light bulb.  This represents COPs which are groups of people who share similar interests or passions who come together to share ideas.  They join together and build relationships to learn from each other.  The COPs share experiences, ideas, tools, and feedback to furher their own knowledge and expand their practice.  These communities can be formed in person, but can also be formed through your social media sources.  For example, my district has an “Ellington Teachers” group on Twitter.  We are able to share ideas, share our students’ experiences, and build off of others ideas, even though we are not all in the same schools.

The final puzzle piece, displays Connectivism.  I used the image of a world with an Ethernet cable connection in it exemplifying how connections can be made throughout the world.  Connectivism is based on the idea that knowledge and resources are constantly changing.  Staying connected is essential in the digital age of learning.  George Siemens explains learning as being connected to information sources and “continually acquiring new information.”  Being able to connect with people and resources around the world are essential to concept of connectivism

Putting the pieces together, allows educators or any professional to participate in continuous learning.  The ability to stay “up to date” and gain instant feedback can be essential in professional development.  We no longer need to wait for our next professional development day, we can learn on our couch, while traveling, at any time or in any place!


Putting the Pieces Together

References

Mackley, D. (2014, May 13). What is a Personal Learning Network/Environment? Retrieved from https://blog.yorksj.ac.uk/moodle/2014/05/13/what-is-a-personal-learning-network/

Siemens, G. (2004, December 12). Connectivism: A Learning Theory for the Digital Age. Retrieved from http://www.elearnspace.org/Articles/connectivism.htm

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