Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Journal #7: Personal Learning Network

A PLN is a Personal Learning Network, which is a network of individuals who are all learning collaboratively together.  Many PLN's have tools through which the group connects and for me it has been via Twitter and Diigo.  Twitter, a micro blogging website, allows for information to flow quickly between members of a PLN in the form of links, organized chats, quick posts etc.  As a tool, Twitter has helped me gain new contacts in the fiend of education and have a place to reflect with other educators on experiences in the classroom.  My other tool that I have been working with is Diigo, which allows its users to bookmark web pages, share them with others, and search for resources on the web put together by the users personal network created through the site.  Currently on Diigo I am connected with various educators who I can track to see what they feel is relevant with regards to education.  As a teacher, this has helped me build a variety of web pages as resources, track what other educators find to be applicable information, and organize ideas with the wider community with the intention of putting our experiences into action!
'Updated PLN Wordle' photo (c) 2008, Sue Waters - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/
For my network with Twitter, I am following some educators and other mathematicians.  The educators I have chosen post a variety of useful information which I know I can use as a new teacher.  It would be helpful to be able to learn from the experiences of others and regularly check in on their new learnings and experiences.  The mathematicians are there for me to keep track of new exciting developments in the math community.  The way we teach math is in a constant state of evolution and being able to see the new applications, especially with the higher forms of math, would be helpful in engaging students.  During the edchat discussion on TweetChat about technology in the classroom, July 31st at 9:00am, there was so much information going by so fast that I had a hard time keeping track of what we were talking about.  At times the discussion went to keeping students engaged in the classroom, while other times people were asking about how technology was advancing.  For me, it was hard to put together the various posts because things moved so quickly that I was having a hard time making sense of it but I think that's simply because of my inexperience in Twitter.  In time I hope to better follow the conversation and contribute more relevantly.

Diigo has allowed me to follow educators who have been doing work in various educational fields.  Edward B. works as a math teacher who seems to tag resources I will be able to use as a new teacher but also takes part in intriguing groups and discussions which also caught my interest.  Megan B. is a part of various educational groups but also she sounds like she is a new teacher so it would be awesome to see what she has found to be important in her studies.  All other followings through Diigo are in similar situations, they are all those working in education who share useful websites through the multiple educational groups they are a part of.  For my tags in Diigo I tagged a site which focuses on what's new in education.  I feel this will be a useful tool in keeping up to date on new strategies and developments in the field.  Another site I felt was important to keep track of is called Deep Thinking.  This site seems to discuss the formalities a little more when it comes to education.  It has posts regarding student teaching which I look forward to reading but the blog hasn't been updated since 2008 so I may try to find alternative sources of the archives of this site seem outdated.  And finally I found a blog which refers to education as an artichoke, "Looking at the hearts, leaves and thistles of teaching and learning."  With such a great tagline how can someone interested in education not want to see what people on the site have to say!


The post I reflected on was a search for reliable math videos to be used for education.  In my experience with various Internet based learning sites, instructional videos can make a powerful influence on the learning of the individual.  One of the video sites I've used has been Khan Academy which has always helped my students become more independent learners.  Other users suggested sites like http://mathtrain.tv/ and http://teacher.tenmarks.com.  I was impressed with the helpfulness of the network of people.  Looking at this post, as well as others, I felt like no matter what resources were needed, people were willing to show their support and share useful information.  I am definitely going to keep this as resource for the future when I have need to look for additional resources.

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