Wednesday, October 23, 2013

The Individual Responsibility for Professional Development

Many teachers have some form of "personal learning network" or PLN. If you don't, then it isn't too late to start and, in fact, is pretty much essential to be a functioning participant in the environment of education we find ourselves these days. This is all because there is just so much happening that unless you are linked in somehow to "the network" the you are being left behind.

So, what does my PLN look like?

Well, I don't go far without my trusty RSS feeds from a few places that I couldn't do without.  I was gutted when Google killed off Google Reader earlier this year - but I've gotten over it slowly and I am now happy using InoReader as my aggregator and I prefer to read on my iPad using Feeddler Pro. Finding a few people to follow is not hard - the web is full of them. My feeds come from around 50 sources currently. No - I don't read them all - in fact I often have hundreds unread and so occasionally I purge the lot. But often I'll skim the headlines and go from there.

Twitter is another of those tools that I just couldn't do without. Not that I send a lot of tweets - but I send a few. But I do find the immediacy and shortness that 140 characters gives means that you get the message pretty quickly. Its also a great way to get a response to a question you have - just tweet your question and let the crowd respond. I also fond it useful to follow the hashtags for certain events - that way you get to see what others are talking about - related to the event.

The two of these tools work well with another favourite tool of mine - EverNote. EverNote is one of those tools that can be everywhere - I have it installed on my laptop, my iPad and my iPhone. It syncs with my RSS feeds via Feeddler Pro meaning I have access to all of my notes no matter what device I have. EverNote is far more than just a collection space though - you can share your notes and notebooks directly over the web and of course you can create audio and insert photos directkyminto your notes from an iPad - attach files etc, and clip pages from the web. I don't use anywhere near the number of features that it has, but being able to keep order to my RSS feeds that are worth keeping is great.

Of course, subject associations are a great place to learn. My subject has a useful website at NZACDITT, but of more value to me is the active discussion board they run via Google Groups. Most of these groups offer a range of automated updates via email - and I usually find one or two nuggets in each daily update - thanks to the contributions of others in the group!

Others that I use, but not as much as the above three, are LinkedIn, Symbaloo, Pinterest, NetVibes, Google+, 

In the end - it doesn't much matter what you are using. What does matter is that you are using something and you are keeping up with the growing importance of digital competencies in your subject areas of choice.

No comments:

Post a Comment