Three months ago I created a visual of my personal learning network (PLN), which is divided into four components: collect, reflect, connect and share (LaSota). Throughout the semester, the overall structure of my PLN has remained the same. A few additions are worth highlighting:
- Twitter: This PLN assignment gently forced me to become a regular Twitter user. Since September I have followed an additional 15 people and I have tweeted 19 items. I have not kept track of how much total time I’ve spent reading on Twitter, but I estimate at least an hour per week. I have found this platform to be a valuable source for new information. Not everything I read on Twitter is retweeted. The big question is if I will continue using Twitter after I graduate from the ONID program in the next few weeks. I’m guessing I will continue to build my Twitter footprint with @MisterKlott but eventually stop using @KevinKlott. @MisterKlott is used for education while @KevinKlott is for personal use.
- Canvas: I began migrating all of my curriculum from Google Drive to Canvas in December 2017. In a few weeks, I will have reached the one-year mark, which means I will have my entire 7th grade language arts curriculum posted in modules on Canvas. Throughout the process, I have collaborated with a science teacher who teaches next door to me. We have tackled Canvas together and consider our classrooms blended learning environments. Last month we led a professional development session at an Anchorage School District in-service. The session covered the basics of Canvas, such as why a teacher may want to use it, how it’s delivered in our classrooms, how it works with ASD Google, and how it integrates with the gradebook. We included a variety of sample tasks to look at, such as lesson plans for math, science, language arts, and social studies.
- Raindrop.io: I also began using Raindrop.io in September thanks to the PLN assignment. Raindrip.io is a website that allows users to share bookmarked pages/articles and categorize them with customizable tags. This site is very similar to Pocket, which is a resource I will continue to use mostly because it allows me to save articles, read recommended articles based on what I typically save and explore more articles. Pocket is my go-to app for reading these days, especially when I’m offline.
- Alaska Teachers United: I joined this Facebook group earlier this semester. The group was formed by a small group of teachers in the Anchorage Education Association (AEA) who seemed fed up with AEA leadership and wanted to build a closed-group forum for educators. Topics mostly involve working without a contract, clarification of district-wide news, questions regarding curriculum and much more. AK Teachers United gives me a reason to believe in the power of social media once more. I lost all hope after we all found out that Russian hackers used Facebook to influence the 2016 presidential race. I was seriously close to closing my account for good. With 1,723 members and growing, AK Teachers United gives all AEA members an opportunity to express concerns, pose questions and celebrate successes without using district email. This forum is not sponsored by AEA, which currently does not have a forum for educators, so to me this group is revolutionary in the Anchorage School District.
- Slack: This online messaging service allowed me to communicate effectively with Sean Holland, my instructor for ED 431 as well as my classmates. Honestly, I used it mostly to communicate with Sean and to let classmates know a blog post was ready to read. Only a few times did I engage in a conversation with my peers. Perhaps Slack could be used for discussion posts in future Web 2.0 classes? I don’t imagine using Slack in the future unless it’s for a class.
- Camtasia: Thanks to our Media Creation assignment, I can add Camtasia to my personal learning network. Camtasia is professional screencasting software that I purchased. When this class is finished, I plan to dive into Camtasia certification.
At the beginning of this semester, I analyzed my personal learning network for the first time since getting my Masters of Arts in Teaching at UAS nine years ago. So why do it again now? A teaching tip from UAF’s iTeachU helped me answer this question. “Staying current with your discipline’s trends, especially when information is so quickly available online is also important. Periodically examining your PLE can help with managing your learning process.” Basically, now is a critical time to keep all the parts of my PLE going strong. In addition, establishing a PLE is valuable because it provides “students with the skills and knowledge they need for their future professional lives” (Laakkonen, 2015).
This week I will officially complete my two-year journey with the ONID program, which means it will be up to me to hold myself accountable for keeping up with colleagues and learning about the latest trends in pedagogy and teaching with technology.
Here’s a rundown of my personal learning network that I plan to use throughout my teaching career:
LaSota, D. (n.d.) Personal Learning Environments: An organizational and practice based concept for evaluating and improving the way individuals learn. Retrieved from https://iteachu.uaf.edu/personal-learning-environments/
Moss, J. (2012, June 5) Personal learning environment: what does yours look like? Retrieved from: https://iteachu2.community.uaf.edu/files/2012/06/TT-PLE.pdf
Laakkonen, I. (2015). Doing what we teach: promoting digital literacies for professional development through personal learning environments and participation. In J. Jalkanen, E. Jokinen, & P. Taalas (Eds.), Voices of pedagogical development – Expanding, enhancing and exploring higher education language learning (pp. 171-195). Dublin: Research-publishing.net.
Camtasia Certification. (2018, January 1). Retrieved December 9, 2018, Retrieved from https://certification.techsmith.com/