I learned so much from these tools and forms of technology this semester that I don't think one blog could cover it. I have constructed my own Personal Learning Network and I think out of everything, this will be the one thing I take with me forever. I really enjoyed some of the other things, but this was something that I didn't think was necessary and was pleasantly surprised by how important and helpful having one can be. I realized that I could use this whether I was in school or not and could continue learning. I realized that throughout life, we will not always be surrounded by school or personal learning, even if we are educators, and it is so important to create your own network at which you can continue to learn and be up-to-date with current issues. It also creates a solid ground for teachers to collaborate on, regardless of race, religion, ethnicity, culture, etc. This is not something I would have given the digital world credit for, before this class.
The blog posts (one's I read and one's I posted) were also very influential. They were the medium in which I reflected on things I experienced or learned. I have never been able to keep up with a diary but I am very consistent with checking my blog posts, responding to comments, and reading other posts in order to respond in comment or blog post form. Comments4kids was a good example of this. We were just posting comments for new to the web teachers and students in hopes it would reinforce their efforts to become more technologically literate, since in theory that is what we were trying to do all semester. I became more interested in a blog by a three year old named Kaia in Qatar. She was so little and with the help of her dad, she was blogging about things she was learning as she was growing. This was awesome, because that is one of the rubies of teaching-watching children grow, learn, and succeed. I just became connected to the little girl and her family and I interacted through videocast/podcast. It was exciting because I can't wait to have a classroom full of little girls and boys who are learning and growing as well.
YouTube, Delicious, Skype, and ALEX all became parts of my PLN. I felt they were each useful in their own way. On the other hand, I did not take to Twitter, Wiki's or Foliotek as well. I admit, if I had more practice with Twitter and a mobile device to support it, I think I would have liked it more, but I just couldn't pick it up in the time we had to learn it. The Wiki's were useful for only a few specific things, and all though I learned that historical information was close to accurate, I still didn't feel comfortable using it as a direct source of information, and I didn't feel good about the fact that anyone could change one. Foliotek. What can I say? By the way it is set up, you would infer that a bunch of tech-gurus in a cubicle office came up with it in two days and sent the package past the editor straight to our University staff who missed out on their coffee, thus forgetting to survey the package and blindly installed it into every professor's home page with a quota of $35 from anyone who wants to get a degree or help students to graduate college.
I also learned a lot from the Google tools. I really enjoyed the Google Presentation and so much so that I went on to pick up a Mac for the first time, learn to use iMovies in a few days, and create a more than one video for projects concerning technology in education. This was another one of my favorite projects, and as I did in the credits, I made sure to give Dr. Strange credit and show my gratitude for his willingness to new ideas and creative freedom. Thanks again! I also learned something that I didn't realize before. As I became more intimate with the Mac, I learned that although it is not created for data, spreadsheets, and word processing, Google offered the online use of these same programs for free. I didn't have to worry about not being able to write a paper on my Mac, I could write it on my Google Documents, save it, and transfer the information to another computer and printer in seconds.
I have expressed how I believe this knowledge will help me in the modern age (in previous posts), especially within the school system, but let me reiterate. Students and adults as well, don't go anywhere without a cell phone or some form of technology that keeps them in constant communication it others. We will have to use this fact to motivate our students and find new creative ways to include technology into classrooms. Yes, the entire academic system needs a renovation, but the system doesn't work for us, we work for it. What does work for us, if so many teachers would open their minds to, is technology. It was created for us, and is constantly being improved-for us! We have to use it to our advantage, as well as to our students advantage, or else we are selling ourselves and our students short.
I think I have learned to become a more technologically literate person and I feel as if I have gained box seats to the ever changing phenomenon of education. I think I can do so much more as a teacher, and most importantly, I have learned not to be afraid to ask, fail, or try something new. I have learned, that is what learning is- Learning is Technology.
My PLN has been created during Dr. Strange's EDM 31o class and I am always working on improving and adding to it. There are several different things that make up my PLN and ways in which I have aquired them-mostly through assignments given by Dr. Strange (ah-thank you!). As I have began to watch the videos by Michael Wesch, read the posts by W. Chamberlain and Mr. McClung, and following a blog by a three year old in Qatar named Kaia, I have pieced together a foundation for a digital learning network that I can always update and collaborate on.
By registering for Delicious, I have an online bookmarking database that not only keeps track of the websites that I want to remember, but can also generate other websites that are related to the ones I have saved. This is so useful, I have already gone onto my Delicious account in order to reference websites for information, projects, answers to questions, and suggestions for fellow students.
I have created two separate blogs at www.blogger.com one being my EDM 310 class blog which you are reading right now, the other being my professional blog at
I use these blogs for different reasons. The class blog is less formal and more for research, collaboration, community growth, and virtual exploration/review. I can post videos I've seen that are useful in the educational community or for my personal interest. I can also post reactions to websites, reviews, articles, blogs, comments, and any other sources online.
The professional blog is more formal and is also for online collaboration between other educators. This blog is more like a digital RESUME for my profession as a teacher and my philosophy as an educator. It is centered around my idea of what a classroom should be like and includes resources I will use as a teacher. You can learn to create a professional blog the way I learned by viewing this video by Dr. Strange at How To Create A Professional Blog.
I have become a member of the Twitter network and am still learning to Tweet but I have been able to read and subscribe to others' Twitter networks and it is a great networking tool for the teaching community.
I have learned to Skype and am currently teaching my parents and long distance family members how to Skype as an approach to staying connected. I have done research on Skype and have had the opportunity through my class to speak with someone all the way across the world who teaches. This is real-time communication and learning and I have already begun to think of ways I can successfully incorporate it into a classroom setting. The possibilities are endless!
I have created videos on my Mac computer and posted them to a website I have been following
Dear Kaia in which I read a book to a three year old little girl named Kaia from Qatar. She has responded, with the support from her parents, by reading a book to me and posting the video to her blog. I have established written, verbal, and video representation of a PLN in these ways and have learned so much from it.
Having a PLN as a teacher in this Century is mandatory. It is the foundation to becoming technologically literate. It should not be an option. It is the equivalent to having an Educational Network through school but this way has much more options, less time constraints, and more possibilities. Like I said, The possibilities are endless!
I have been posting comments for the specified websites required by my teacher, Dr. Strange for this EDM 310 class and I have to say it has been a wonderful experience. I have been able to add to different teacher's newly created websites while creating virtual interaction for students to learn from. The wonderful thing about this is that you can comment on a teacher's post or on a student's individual post and this virtual interaction gives them the courage and self-assurance they need to continue keeping their classrooms technological tempo up to par! I have been able to learn about some of the lessons that teachers are using to incorporate technology with and have added some to my PLN.
The last comment I did was for an 8th grade teacher at Woodland Jr. High in Fayetteville, Arkansas named Mr. McClung. He posted a video on the Protestant Reformation which he incorporates into his class. I watched the video, which was very interesting, and posted my comment. You can view this posting and/or video at
Overall, I think posting for Comments4Kids has been really helpful for me and for the teachers/students which I have been commenting to. I really think this is a useful and collaborative effort and hope to continue posting comments.
I read the article by Doug Johnson called Seven Stupid Mistakes Teachers Make With Technology and it seemed very matter of fact to me. I completely agreed with his point which was, don't abuse your privilege to have a school computer and make sure you are taking the proper precautions you would take with your own personal computer. In short, he says, "back up your data, use the computer for school related things, supervise students using the computers, be aware that online communication is not ever private, adapt teaching styles for better use of new technology, don't ignore kid's motivation by technology-use it to your advantage, and don't think technology will go away" Doug Johnson. He also wrote an article called Seven Brilliant Things Teachers Do With Technology which states the positive things that he notices in schools. He mentions, "putting kids in touch with the real world at real-time, using kids own devices to motivate and teach them, creatively find new resources, and empower not only yourself but the students with this technology" Doug Johnson.
I also read a new list of Classroom Rules and the two most important ones I could pick out were:
Know what you are supposed to be learning, why, and what you will do with the knowledge, and Be polite, courteous, and respectful at all times in both physical and virtual space.
I picked these rules because I think they convey the same general rules we would use for a classroom without technology, but appropriately adapted for a generation of classrooms with technology. Students should always be polite, courteous, and respectful and they should understand that just because they are not being directly viewed online or on a computer, they should still maintain the same idea of proper behavior- virtual space is not a place where one can be unkind, disrespectful, and/or impolite. These skills will be needed in the future when he/she may be using this feature for a job and they need to understand how to "get along" or collaborate effectively with others online. I also liked the idea that students know what they are learning because I think it is important that they can recognize the importance of each lesson and how it will come into play in their individual lives. Relating lessons and knowledge to oneself is a big step in metacognition and that is what we are always working towards for our students.
I checked out the website At the Teachers Desk and I love it. It is a great example of a collaborative professional blog. It has all of the requirements of a professional blog: A title and subtitle explaining the purpose of the blog, informative resources such as a map of worldwide visitors allowing viewers to see where other viewers are coming from, contributors to the blog and a link to their pages, other related blogs, a rating of the most active commenter's, a live feed of who is currently viewing the page, a list of followers, Comments4kids, and several labels including the names of each post.
What I find the most interesting about this blog is that it does not have the name and picture of the author at the top or anywhere, it focuses on topics to be discussed. I like this because you get straight to the point when navigating the page. I read several of the posts and each were so interesting. Some of my favorites were Using Technology for Effective Communication, discussing how we (as teachers) can use our current technology to keep parents and students more tuned into the classroom. Examples were using mobile devices at all times, and Facebook regularly. I also liked the posts, How do I Know I'm Not Being Selfish, It Is Imperative We Help our Students Create a Positive Digital Portfolio, Teachers Need to Become Social Networking Experts, and How to Get (and Keep) More Visitors. This last blog sets up a great foundation for adapting your blog to becoming more efficient and popular.
I added this site to my PLN, because I think this is a great way to keep oneself updated with -what we need to keep ourselves updated with! It is a wonderful tool for collaboration because not only do the posts touch on extremely important and current topics, but anyone can comment and several conversations/debates are recorded. On top of that, if you are really moved by a topic, you can comment and create a discussion via comments while gaining more inside information on the subject once the responses begin to post. Overall, I think this is a great site not only for collaboration, but also for personal growth as a technologically literate teacher.
We had an assignment to create a presentation using new media (video, audio, text, etc.) and my group- Jamie Lynn, Autumn Wiggins, and I- decided to make another video. It's called Apples are for Teachers.