Pinteresting Educational Technology

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Over the winter break, I became engrossed in Pinterest to collect recipe ideas for new holiday dishes. As I navigated through green bean casseroles and sweet potato pies, I noticed similarities between cultivating my recipe collection and my professional cultivation. I collect lesson plans, assessment ideas, teaching philosophies, and professional advice as I collect directions for dishes and baked goods! Therefore, I began a new board “Tech Tid Bits” on my Pinterest account (Follow be @Lbeeham on Pinterest!)

One of my favorites is from the author of Educational Technology.com, Med Kharbach. He has a terrific list of 21st Century Learning tools for teachers, include web tools for lesson planning, assessment, group work, rubrics, etc.

I shared the list of 10 new web tools with our teachers at LHS and utilized several to create tech-based assessment.

Personal Learning Networks

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I have been reading tweets from David Hopkins, @hopkinsdavid, a learning technologist (I have yet to pin down that job description!) While scanning his tweets, I ran across an article which highlights of building a PLN through social media. The article describes levels of participation building a PLN; from Inactives and Spectators to Conversationalists and Creators, the article notes that a PLN is only as effective as your participation level!

The need for a Professional Learning Network

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I began my teaching career in a private, bilingual, IB school in the in the city of Puebla, located in the center of Mexico.

Here, I taught alongside a Spanish-speaking teaching partner for the first semester to teach fifth grade students. During the second semester I rotated grade levels, from first through sixth grades. This experience was a “school of hard knocks” lesson in classroom management and curriculum development. However, the most significant lesson I learned was the need for a professional learning network. Until this point, I was a “lone educator”. I preferred to work alone in developing lessons, managing students, and communicating with parents. I rarely asked questions as a student teacher. I was afraid to expose what I didn’t know as a developing teachers. In Mexico, I was forced to communicate, as I was not only developing as a teacher, but also as a Spanish-speaker! I became reliant on my language tutor, the school’s counselor, for not only linguistics, but also for culture tips. I would seek her out when dealing with classroom management issues, parent communication, and struggles in designing a dynamic curriculum in school full of work books. My companions, the school’s American teachers, and I develop a professional intimacy I had never known. We shared lessons, time management tips, and consoled one another when situations were sticky. These colleagues became my best friends, and were even bridesmaids in my wedding!

A professional learning network, whether it be digital or physical, must have one characteristic – vulnerability! Not only the willingness to admit you don’t have all the answers, but also the desire to learn from others in your profession.

Educators and Social Media

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Our district is implementing new standards in using social media in and outside of the classroom to allow educators to communicate with parents and students.

In preparation for this transition, I developed a guide for our staff to utilize to assist them in creating a professional presence on Facebook:

Facebook for Educators

Tweeting

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Follow me on Twitter!

@EdTechLHS

 

Why should educators use a social networking site?

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To build a Personal Learning Network:

http://www.centerdigitaled.com/workforce/5-Reasons-Why-Educators-Should-Network.html

1. Learn with others: Realize you are not alone in the your classroom!

2. To serve your students: Access new resources and ideas to incorporate into your curriculum in hopes of reaching all learners

3.  To access a dynamic resource: The ability to gain knowledge and insight in a fluid world; we no longer by texts that assist in teaching, we lean on one another

4.  Extend your learning base: Professional development from multiple resources

5. To stay engaged in education: To maintain that spark, that passion for reaching/teaching others

Professional Networking

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As an educator, I have always relied heavily on my colleagues for curriculum, assessment, reflection, and contemplation. However, the demands on an educator increase daily with additional evaluation requirements (both for themselves and their students), extensive curriculum to cover, and an increase in students on your roster. With the educator’s job description expanding, two questions remain: when do you find the time and how do you prioritize?

I realize this is the same dilemma faced by our students. Between their school load, activities, social commitments, when do you find the time? Then you add the bombardment of information we all face when utilizing technology – a constant influx of social networking, researching, news, media, e-mails, Skypes, etc…  how do you apply a filter?

By following my colleagues blogs and then reflecting in my own, I’m hoping gain a healthy approach to educational technology and informational literacy.