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!
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
Wenger-Trayner, E., & Wenger-Trayner, B. (2015, April 15).Introduction to communities of practice. Retrieved from http://wenger-trayner.com/introduction-to-communities-of-practice/