Wednesday, November 16, 2016

How I Expanded My Personal Learning Network

At the beginning of the semester Dr. Zeitz had asked us to come up with a list of where we get our information from. All I could come up with was about a list of about seven things. But as the semester went on I was introduced to a world of different Personal Learning Networks. This is what they are:

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1. Zoom.

My first experience with Zoom was when we were working in groups to complete the WebQuest
Organizer. Here we met with our group members and Dr. Zeitz. This was such an amazing alternative to meeting face-to-face. It allowed me to stay in the comfort of my own home to take care of business. A plus side to this is that you only had to look professional from your shoulders and up! Anyone could have a business meeting while sitting in your favorite comfy chair and sweatpants! I could use this in so many situations in my professional life. Say a parent was far too busy to make time out of their schedule to have a face to face conference at the school, then I would recommend just a quick chat on Zoom to tell them all about my classroom and how their child is doing.

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2. TedTalks
In high school, I remember teachers putting on TedTalks that had subjects relating to the topic we were discussing in class, but never did I think to go online to watch videos for my own personal learning. I really love these videos because the speakers that they have are truly brilliant. They are experts in their topics and the whole fifteen minutes that they are speaking goes by so fast because they are such eloquent speakers and so easy to listen to. I went online and searched something I was interested in which is “social science.” I found a video of Diana Laufenberg called “How to Learn? From mistakes.” In the video she talks about three things she did in teaching she felt were mistakes and how to learn from it. While the topic of the video was not about the social sciences completely, I felt we had something in common. She is a secondary Social Studies teacher, which is something I aspire to be.

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3. Lynda

Not until I began taking the Educational Technology and Design class had I ever hear of Lynda before. So, needing to expand my personal learning network I decided to check it out. I went to the search bar and typed in “teaching.” That is where I found lists of videos about teaching. This one is about learning how to manage a classroom. I found it very interesting and useful. I will definitely be using it in the future.


4. Podcasts

I used a Podcast to expand my Personal Learning Network. One that I found was by a woman named Jennifer Gonzalez who also runs a blog of the same name, “Cult of Pedagogy” which was how I originally discovered Mrs. Gonzalez. One episode of her podcast which I found to be extremely interesting was “Episode 54: Is Your Lesson a Grecian Urn?” Where she gives a personal example from her own experience as a mentor for student teachers. She tells about how one of the teachers had a really fun interactive activity, but had served no educational purpose. This activity was a paper mache urn he wanted the students to do while learning about Ancient Greece. While the activity would have been cute and fun. It was pointless. I really enjoyed listening to Mrs. Gonzalez’s opinions and ideas on this topic. Podcasts are really great ways to learn. They are very accessible with the built in application on the iPhone. So if you can literally listen and learn on the go.


5. Twitter

Jennifer Gonzalez has expanded my Personal Learning Network tremendously. She allows all of her knowledge and information to be accessed in almost every platform. A way one can get in touch with her a little bit more directly would to be to get onto Twitter and tweet at her or send her a direct message. Twitter has been a really big part in my social life on social media but it is not until recently that I have been able to use it to expand my personal knowledge. Twitter can be a great tool for teachers to reach out to their students other than face to face in the classroom. When I was in high school I remember teachers only communicating outside of class through email, but now the teachers I still keep in contact with have twitter accounts for their classes and using their own #hashtags. Which I will talking more about later!


6. Hashtags 
(#IAedchat)Hashtags are a wonderful way to tag information and stay connected in one place. It is sort of like a link but specifically to social media. You can use hashtags on Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook, and many more different sites. A teacher can make their own special hashtags specifically to their classroom and even each individual class. For example, #UNIETD. This hashtag is what we use for the University of Northern Iowa’s Education Technology and Design class. Another really great hashtag to use especially for educators in Iowa is #IAEdChat. This is a hashtag educators all over the state use to communicate and interact with each other to share ideas.

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7. Pinterest Board
I use my Pinterest board titled “my classroom” as a Personal Learning Network, because here I conveniently save images and links of different websites and blogs from different educators. This is such a great way to get ideas that I would not normally think of myself. I have never specifically copied anything from Pinterest, but instead used the things that I have found as an inspiration for my own ideas. Really, if I wanted to, to make this platform a way to reach out to my students I could make a professional Pinterest account and have boards for each class I taught and link up my assignments onto their Pinterest boards!

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8. Blog

World History Teacher Blog is a wonderful blog I found while doing some research. This particular blog is full of different resources that fellow teachers can use if they’re studying a particular subject in history. Are you teaching your students about the Indus River Valley? There’s a link on this blog to another resource with more information! I think this is a really amazing idea for teachers of a particular subject to come together and share their ideas! Definitely one of my favorite Personal Learning Networks!

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9. YouTube- Crash Course

This is another thing that I use as a personal learning tool. YouTube has so many purposes now that isn’t just for pure entertainment. There are so many educational videos on YouTube and one of my favorites is Crash Course. When I was stuck on an assignment for class and running out of resources, I went to YouTube and discovered Crash Course! The creators of Crash Course are John and Hank Green. There are so many different subjects like math, science, and history. You could probably find a video for just about anything on Crash Course. This is definitely a very useful tool. 

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10. Symbaloo

Symbaloo is a “webmix.” For an example, you can enter the hashtag previously mentioned above, “#UNIETD” and it gathers and organizes all your information and bookmarks it on the web. A teacher can use this because it allows them to have access to everything in one place. So they can put up all their assignments and resources up and it gives their students access in one place.

Now my PLN looks something like this:

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