Tuesday, May 31, 2011

If You Want to Get Something Done, Ask a Student!

Or ask your own child. Don't you wish you had the fearlessness of a child?

I know I do especially when dealing with technology because I often think I will destroy my pc long before I can understand the new technology I'm trying to install and use. Students just get on their pc and do it. No worries and no fear! They have grown up with technology and it's just a normal, everday life occurrence for them.

As I have talked to teachers this spring, I get the impression that a few are tech savvy, a few hate technology and almost refuse to consider implementing it within their classroom, and the majority want to use technology, but just don't know how or where to start (it seems overwhelming and time consuming to them). However, my greatest fear is that students will perceive us to be antiquated and out-of-touch with their everyday life and their minds will tune us out as irrelevant even before we get started.

I know it seems overwhelming because their is so much out there and it's not only finding the right technology, but then it's learning to use it, and then their is the question of how to incorporate the technology into your classroom.

These are all very valid concerns but I would like to challenge each of you to use the summer months to identify ten new technologies (basically one a week) and to determine how they could be implemented within your classroom.

I strongly suggest developing a personal learning network (PLN) to help with this initiative. According to Wikipedia, a PLN "consists of the people a learner interacts with and derives knowledge from." As simple as this sounds, I would suggest beginning a PLN with your co-workers, peers from your own district, county, or state, your own kids, and even your students who are typically up-to-date on most new technologies anyway. Thanks to technology, your PLN can now go global as we are no longer restricted by geographical boundaries.

Also subscribe to blogs (CareerTech Testing Center), wikis, and other sources such as Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. This will allow you to increase the size of your PLN and don't forget that PLN's works in both directions.  Not only can you learn from others, but they want to learn from you, so please share your best practices and opinions with others! I'm always amazed at how willing people are to share their knowledge and to help with any question you have and you will be amazed that this help may come from countries across the globe.

I'll be making posts throughout the summer and you can also check the labels and archives for previous blog posts you may have missed that will help you with this challenge. Please share this blog or any of the posts with your PLN as we have created the blog as a free resource for you. Our intent is to search the web and find things of interest for you that will make your professional life easier yet better.  Please share with us when you find anything new and interesting that we can learn from as well.

As the title of this post states, I think we can include students as a part of our PLN because learning should happen in both directions and I truly believe the every person is brilliant in some way and has something to offer the rest of us that we can learn from.

I encourage each of you to become a part of my PLN so I can learn from each of you!

Other related posts:
What Twitter Has Done for Me
The People We Meet

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