As I finish my Social Network Learning class this week, I have so much to reflect. Prior to this class, my thoughts on social media were fairly positive and I enjoyed using social media on a limited basis to share personal events with friends and families. However, I have learned so much more about social media! I have learned that social media allows endless opportunities for people to connect, share, and learn. As an educational technologist, I am now a firm believer that social media is and should be a tool that educators use to develop themselves professionally. I have especially grown quite fond of Twitter mainly because I can cater my professional development to my own needs. With twitter, I am able to connect with learning networks of professionals on any topic at any time. As a professional educator who takes my field seriously, I know where I need to develop my skills and twitter allows me to join networks and chats that will help me grow. Previously to this course, I had almost zero experience with twitter. Now, I almost feel that it should be a requirement for teachers because it is so invaluable.
Another part of the course that I really connected with was joining my Personal Learning Network. I really enjoyed working together with my PLN on a couple of assignments and have even formed a new friendship with PLN member Andrew Macrae. Andrew and I have taken our PLN to another level by working together on learning activities for our own students and even have begun planning on some opportunities for our students to connect virtually. The power of multiple minds working together for commonality only helps us to become better professionals which in the end, positively impacts our learners.
Learning about content curation was extremely helpful to me this year. I started a new position teaching technology to elementary students and using curation tools to find quality ideas and resources for my professional needs was awesome. After trying multiple curation tools, I decided that Scoop.it worked best for me because its UI was simple and it had easy integration with Twitter. I transferred this new learning to my classroom by purchasing an Educator Scoop.it subscription which allows me to scoop 20 different topics. Because there is an over-abundance of information on the web curation tools like Scoop.it allow me to sift through topics to locate quality and relevant information.
Finally, I found that sharing learning through a blog is an important part of the overall educational experience because it allows students an opportunity for reflection. For me as a teacher, I decided that student blogging should begin as early as possible because quality reflections take time for young learners to master. All of my 3rd and 4th graders have started Tech Class learning blogs. As I have learned in this class, student blogging also helps students archive their learning, work on typing skills and writing skills, especially on student voice.
So much of what I have learned in this course, I have put into practice in my daily teaching. I am confident that the skills I have learned in this class will not only benefit me professionally, but also have a positive impact on my students’ learning.