To begin my reflection about how important personal learning networks are, I would like to share the video Kid President’s Pep Talk to Teachers and Students. I find the video inspiring because it not only reaches out to educators, but also to students. The video says, “We gotta make the world awesome! Somebody’s learning from you!” It is incredibly true. It is important for teachers to connect and share their ideas in order for education to grow.
I think that it is important to reflect on how personal learning networks (PLNs) have changed throughout time. At first our PLNs were solely based on our relationships with those around us, whether it be family or friends, or people that you have worked with. Now it is interesting that our learning networks are much more advanced and rich because of the many different resources that are accessible to us. Social networking is a commonly used resource in our learning community. We can use networks such as Twitter, wikis, blogs, and much more. Once a teacher provides specific examples of how educators can use their PLNs in the classroom. This includes professional development, lesson plan ideas, and new technology and how to use technology successfully in the classroom.
I am appreciative that we are encouraged to develop a PLN for ourselves, because at the end of the day it is going to make us more comfortable with technology and the appropriate ways to use it in the classroom. I think that by the time we are all teachers technology is going to be way more advanced and common for our students, which should be a reason as to why we would want to be well acquainted with it. For example, I think that it is extremely useful that we are given the opportunity to blog during the lecture in our ECS 210 class. Sometimes I am confused about some of the material that we are covering, so I find it helpful being able to follow the #ecs210 posts to further my understanding. It is also interesting being able to see what other students are thinking about the content.
During ECS 300 specifically, I had found that blogging was incredibly useful. We were to blog about our teaching experiences throughout the semester. This had allowed me to connect with my other classmates to see how their time in the classroom had been going. Sometimes it was reassuring to see other students blog about improvements that they could have made, because it made me feel able to reach out and connect to other’s around me. I remember creating a blog post about a moment in the classroom that had not went very well, and a few of my peers commented on my post explaining what they may have done differently. The feedback was extremely helpful and had guided me to make some changes for the next lesson I taught.
On the other hand, the blogging and technology used in the ECS 3000 class was useful, but I did not get the opportunity to bring it forward in my teaching practice. It was slightly frustrating finding cool networks and connections to use for students, and then being placed in a technology-free school. We collaboratively came up with different technologies for different subjects and shared our resources with one another. I honestly had found many different ways to use technology in the classroom, so I am excited to implement these approaches in my future classrooms.
I think that the way we approach technology in the classroom is important, along with the way we as educators attempt to increase our knowledge base. If we expand our knowledge, then we can go into the classroom with new material that will keep students engaged and interested in the things that we have to say. Bringing dull, repetitive lessons to class is not going to encourage students to think outside of the box. Being connected with classmates that are of various different majors and minors is perfect because it allows me to ask them for opinions on how to approach certain subjects in ways that I would not have thought about on my own. I enjoy sharing my ideas with others and getting feedback, as well as viewing other’s lesson plans and constructing my ideas based off of theirs.