Where am I as a connected educator?
After just one week of our class, I already feel like I have learned a lot more about what it means to be connected. Before taking the class, I thought personal learning networks (PLN) were mostly on Twitter and that they looked like a lot of work to maintain, and that it was mostly for professionals. After just our first twitter chat, I am starting to see the true value of a PLN. These communities give teachers an opportunity to grow in the number of resources, connections, and authentic learning for students.
For my self assessment, I would say I am just in the beginning phase of being connected. I do feel I have grown from just my first year teaching to this year. I now tend to share a lot of what students create on twitter. I follow other teachers who are very talented and I love seeing the work they share. I have also just started to make some community connections this year and worked a little with experts for students to get experience in working with. I know there is a lot more I could be doing, and I know this class will help me gain the confidence and knowledge on how to improve and utilize my PLN.
My goal is to eventually make it so that it is second nature to join a twitter chat, reach out to other teachers in my field, and even collaborate for a project across schools! Before I do that, I hope to reach out within my own school building more than I am now. It can become a bit hectic during the school year, and it is sometimes very difficult for me to even branch out from my room. But I do see value in connection and I know working with different subjects and teams of teachers can really benefit all of our students.
Another goal of my is for my students to start becoming connected. Just from reading the first chapter in Personal Learning Networks, by Will Richardson and Rob Mancabelli, I am seeing that we, as educators, need to rethink how students are going to be successful in the 21st Century. They don't need to do well on tests and get good grades to be a success. They need to know how to make connections in the "real world" and know how and what to do with those connections. I think this makes sense to me, because being a young teacher, I feel like I am pretty "with it" in terms of social media, but these middle school kids have me beat! If students today use social media like Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat as much as they breathe, I really want to challenge myself to bring that into the classroom.