As mentioned in my previous post, last week I had the opportunity to work with colleagues from my own school. Today, on Twitter, I saw a wonderful post called “You’re a Connected Educator, Now What?” by @TheNerdyTeacher . I was eager to share that with the teachers.
We are using a Google site to reflect on our journey. With their permission, I’m sharing some of their comments and astute thoughts here:I couldn’t agree more that professional development for teachers is the keystone of education reform. Research in the field of education about learning and teaching is exploding, and has been for the past 30 years. Research in brain development, engagement, motivation, choice, change, pedagogy, reading, writing, problem solving, science inquiry, project based learning, use of technology to enhance learning, learning differences, gender differences, etc, etc, has made it critical that we as educators do our best to keep up and apply what we are learning in our teaching. The only price this comes with is PACE, OVERLOAD, and a horrible feeling of “Slow down, I can’t keep up!” That’s why having three days to dig deeply into becoming a connected educator, sharing ideas and perspectives, can only help us move forward in our development as teachers.
Funny, Bonnie just made a comment about some sort of techy thing, I think it must have been Pinterest. I confess I was only half listening because I was busy navigating through the 34 tabs I have open from today. What she said was, “It wasn’t how I chose to spend my time.” This statement is so apt for me at this time of day in the midst of this course. With all we have at our fingertips, at the click of a mouse and on these keyboards, what is the most important thing we can decide to do for our students? And how do we discern?I can really see the benefit of connecting with educators all over the place and I am looking forward to being part of this community and seeing what other people are doing in kindergarten. I feel like so much of our focus the last couple years has been reaching out to parents through blogs, wikis, etc that it feels good to honor my own professional learning rather than learning a tool to use for parents and families. I made an effort this year to involve the kindergarten students in our class blog so they were aware of the community we were “posting” to, and aware that our families and others wanted to know what we are learning about and see what’s happening in our classroom. Seeing the impact on them being involved makes me excited about making connections with other classes and involving the students in these connections. I can only imagine saying to the children “Here are some paintings children in Hawaii made after reading Eric Carle’s books. let’s write to them and tell them what we think of their paintings, and ask them to look at how we were inspired by Eric Carle!”
I love watching the flow of ideas of coming on the Twitter feed. The #edchat was really cool. I also really like the way you can just click through and see awesome things from other educators. I love that I found more cool websites in one half day than hours at home surfing. I need to find who the trusted people are and follow more of their links. I also note that a lot of links are to blogs where someone is reflecting on his/her teaching practice. Wow, that is like a pipe dream, to think about my own teaching enough to make meaningful change. Also, being able to get input from others in the process in the form of comments, tremendous. In reality special educators are a lot like Twitter, we get tiny bits of info about oodles of things, and we’re tasked to cull out the most relevant material for our kiddos. Maybe I just need to find the right hash tag!Today I just loved having the time to fiddle and do things. At 8:00 I couldn’t remember how to tweet. By 9:00 it was coming back to me. By the afternoon, I was diigo-ing up a storm. It surprised to see that some people I don’t know are following me, and they don’t even look like psychopaths. I feel like I’m making progress.
Education is always changing, evolving, transforming, etc.: “That was so 42 seconds ago.” It is our job to keep up with the changes, step out of our comfort zone and continue to grow as educators. This requires having access to resources, communicating and collaborating with other educators, support from other educators, and learning what it means to be a “connected educator.” It also requires the willingness and dedication to continue the path of being a learner. I feel lucky to be working in school district. Not only does our school encourage me to be an avid learner, but our school is always promoting professional development, providing support and encouragement along with giving us the opportunity to work and collaborate with other educators who have a wealth of knowledge to share that will allow us to grow and learn in our profession.
I thought back to our Getting Connected Course with Bonnie and how I genuinely felt that I was learning new technology and it was “just in time” learning. Although I had moments of being a overwhelmed with the technology, I was really energized to be learning a new skill. How to keep integrating this into my everyday working life is a skill that does overwhelm me right now. However the energized feeling of finding good resources to motivate my students has my attention. Staying current and connected and “seeing/hearing” folks positive about education has a profound positive impact.Twitter may be more like a lobster trap. Set it up, and check it often to see if you’ve gotten anything good. I need to get into the habit of checking the trap regularly. image: Creative Commons/flickr http://flic.kr/p/53L1UA by Melody Campbell