Archive for January, 2014

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.