I feel that I have had leaps and bounds in regards to Twitter use. I revived an old account that I had from 2010, to be more centered on Ed tech rather than just personal commentary or art images. To my surprise, I was fascinated by how much Twitter had evolved since the last time I signed in. I was able to explore a 24/7 resource for the topic of education technology. Slowly, I began to follow more “connected educators” and learn the ways of Twitter. My most engaging experience was my first Twitter chat via Teach like a Pirate, #TLAP. I was amazed at how fast time flies when engaging with fellow like minded educators.
Blogging to me come more natural. I love the ability that I am able to reflect and verbalize new information or resources I come across. Throughout the span of this course I have learned to feel more comfortable sharing my classroom experiences and curriculum with others. In the past I always had a hesitation to share pictures of my students or their work, mostly because middle school students can be very paranoid of their work being photographed. However, I know understand how sharing the daily activities within each of my classes not only highlights the amazing things we are learning about but also highlights my rockstar students.
How have you grown as a connected educator through building a website and social media?
In creating my website and becoming more active on Twitter I have learned the power of reach. This is what all “connected educators” have in common. The power to grow in acquiring new information, resources, and strategies to become better educators. As well as reach out to help fellow teachers grow and thus reach other students.This to me was my biggest Aha moment. In reaching out to others, I can grow to be the best educator I can be. Twitter has now become a means for me to personalize the educational information tailored to the content areas I teach. I am able to network with fellow colleagues and share ideas, obstacles and explore innovations within the content area. In terms of my website, I feel now it is able to work as a multifunctional resource for me to share who I am as an educator. My website allows others to better understand my beliefs, who I am as educator, what I teach and the methodology.
What were your major challenges - and what challenges do you expect moving forward?
Initially when I started my Creating on the Web class, I was very hesitant to put myself out there due to my introverted nature. I have never been one to brag about myself or my accomplishments therefore at first in all honesty I struggled with the class. From sharing personal information on our first assignment to connected with others via Twitter, I slowly had to warm up to others to come out of my shell. Therefore it was a bit of an adjustment to get into my groove of using Twitter, blogging and other social media tools. In the future, I know one of my biggest challenges will be taking time to balance my personal life, graduate school and my work life specifically the everyday tasks of grading, staying active on Twitter, as well as maintaining my website.
What specific action steps will you take to continue growing your PLN in the future?
One of the many ways I plan on continuing to grow my PLN is connected with other educators via conferences and local meetups. A colleague of mine who also teaches art and technology classes and I will be attending the July CUE Rockstar conference in Oxnard. This will enable me to network with other educators and continue to expand my knowledge in the area of education technology. I have also join a local group called Women Techmakers Fresno which gathers together women interested in different areas of technology use in our community.
As far as tools I plan on continuing to participate with twitter chats such as Teach like a Pirate or CV Tech Talk or Mid Leveled. This twitter chats are highly engaging and will help me stay current with new information as well as resources to grow as an educator.
What have you gained from your PLN? Specific things like lesson ideas, blog post ideas, things that have really made you think about education and the way you run your classroom, things to share with your staff and peers, etc.
My PLN has provided me with a personalized Professional Development resource. As I mentioned earlier as an elective teacher collaboration among colleagues is far and few. Therefore, when I am able to connect with other educators who teach the same grade level and content areas, I am able to learn from their experiences, gather new resources, provide insight from my own experiences as well as grow as a connected educator. For me some of the main highlights that have stuck out as great ideas is featuring student work and daily activities on my blog on my webpage. This enables other educators to learn from my experiences and offer feedback as well as input. In addition, I am very excited to start using Twitter in my Broadcasting class which provides the school with their daily school news. I love how other teachers and coaches can tweet us information and students can post pictures, sport schools, special schedule and video clips. All in all I feel I am definitely on my way to becoming a connected educator.