Personal Learning Networks
This past week has helped shed a lot of light on the student afterlife. So, once we can check the Master’s Degree, Certification and Student Teaching off our to-do list, we’re done with all the books, theories, technologies and discussing our (future) trade with our peers. Right?
Nope. I think I’ve heard somewhere in this class that learning never stops. We are supposed to be professional learners and in fact, model learning for our students. Furthermore, teachers in New York State need over 125 hours of professional development in the span of 5 years. How are we supposed to do that? Conferences? Workshops? Twitter?!?!?!
That’s right. Technology can facilitate the learning of educators as well. Think about this. If one teacher goes to a conference, they can tweet out different events, exercises, new technologies, or even instructional strategies they learn about. Then, their technicapable colleagues can search out the designated hashtag, and they transcend time and space to benefit from the conference almost as if they were physically present. Furthermore, personal learning communities can be created utilizing other Web 2.o applications that we have studied and utilized in our graduate classroom. Want to share an idea with your peers, but want more than 160 characters to do so? Try creating a Ning for your school. Don’t worry, it doesn’t cost instructors a dime, but the school district might have to pick up a small tab for yearly usage. This fee is likely still much smaller than the total bill for sending educators to these conferences or workshops. Technology allows us to work smarter, not harder, by exponentially increasing the wealth of knowledge available to instructors and making it accessible anytime, anywhere.