This week we had to create a Personal learning map! I'm notorious with my struggles surrounding navigation so when it was time to create a map, I thought, "Oh no! That can be so overwhelming!". Now, I knew I wasn't creating a map for people to follow navigational directions, but I'm not a visual thinker and making a map out of things like social media was tough for me to wrap my head around.
I decided to stick with a simple input/output based model. I did not want to list all 528 contacts I follow on Twitter; that could get to be a bit much, however, I did pick a few hash tags and Twitter handles that I have gained resources from. Through this project I realized the vast amount of resources that I already pull from in regards to social media. I was able to recognize that my weakest resources are podcasts. I used to listen to podcasts more often, probably before we got Netflix! I really want to get back into Podcasts and find some high quality podcasts for my areas of interest.
I created my PLN using the ActivInspire software we use with our Promethean boards in the Waterloo Community School District. I love how this software makes plugging in images, text, and shapes easy, quick and fun. I listed @WCSDtechboy, Ron Morlan, as one of my resources. Ron is one of the technology people working for Waterloo Schools. He's created many tutorials for teachers of the ActivInspire software which has really helped make my flipcharts less like PowerPoint and more like a tool for creating and sustaining student engagement. Ron has also given me feedback for a grant I'm writing! PLNs are huge for times when you are writing grants!
I usually use ClassFlow to search for and download flipcharts I want to use in my classroom. I've created many flipcharts of my own for my preschool students. One of my next steps is to upload a few of the flipcharts I've created onto the ClassFlow website. I think this will expand my PLN and digital footprint. Additionally, I want to take some time to dive in and search through available podcasts. A third way I want to expand my PLN is at the Iowa Technology Education Conference! I'm hoping to follow more people on Twitter from this conference and increase my network of educators passionate about technology!
I enjoyed this project because creating this map of my PLN reinforced that I am not teaching in isolation. People are watching what I'm doing, creating, writing, and teaching via Twitter, Facebook, Blogger, the Bloomz app and so much more! I don't have to figure out how to reinvent the wheels, I only have to figure out who has already created a wheel I can add to my teaching sports car (#I Wish!). The encouragement of connecting with other passionate educators is something everyone can wrap their heads around!
So how about YOU?! How deep and wide is your PLN? Add me to yours and I'll add you to mine!
Thanks for reading! Peters out!