Posts Tagged ‘Professional learning community’

Post #6 on the 30-Day Blogging Challenge asks: What do a good mentor ‘do’?


Here are some thoughts, in no particular order.

A good mentor:

  • Is supportive
  • Takes the time to build a relationship with youshadow
  • Challenges your thinking
  • Makes time for you
  • Connects
  • Provides constructive feedback
  • Observes
  • Listens
  • Guides
  • Trusts
  • Has your back
  • Helps you construct balance between personal and professional lives
  • Sets an example
  • Helps you reflect

I have been a mentor to a newer teacher and wish I knew then what I know now. My mentee is still teaching; I suppose that’s a good sign. As I reflect, I would say that I’ve been an unofficial mentor to others rising in the field of education as well – student interns, support staff, new teachers with whom I’ve connected.

I’ve also had the great fortune to have many people in my professional life I consider mentors, none of whom were officially assigned to me in that capacity, but nonetheless, served that role for me. You know who you are, I won’t name names. I’ll save that for tomorrow’s post.

image: creative commons licensed (BY) flickr photo by dvs: http://flickr.com/photos/dvs/15495574

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Already this summer, I’ve had many opportunities to learn. I should have been blogging about all of these things, but that didn’t happen.

I was fortunate to attend ISTE in San Antonio. It was wonderful to connect with members of my PLN, get inspired, and learn from others. That learning will always continue through those connections and Twitter.

Recently I taught, with an amazing group, a course for educators about Google tools. I learned while working with all of them- the other facilitators and the participants.

One special highlight took place last week. My friend Lucie deLaBruere (@techsavvygirl) put together a course called Making Mobile Media Camp for Educators. One of the best things about it was that it was an opportunity for technology integrators, library-media specialists, teachers, and others to get hands-on learning time. Lucie brought others in from near and far to help lead various sessions. We were creators, not consumers.

I had the pleasure of working with Jessica Pack (@packwoman208) for most of the week. Here are some of the things I explored:

  • Creating an iTunesU course
  • Creating a Powtoon as one component of my course. (a new tool for me!)
  • Learning about iBooks Author and starting the creation of a book.

The topic I chose for all components of my work was Digital Citizenship. My hope/dream is to complete the book and the course (ha!) in time for a day-long iPad training being held in our school in a few weeks. Ideally, teachers would explore the course, including the book, to get familiar with topics under the umbrella of digital citizenship. Then they’d use the same materials with their students as part of an introduction to iPads. Time is a huge factor – is it realistic for me to assume I can get this done and still enjoy my summer ‘time off’!?

In the process of doing all of these things, I learned so much about working with digital photos, editing video, structuring time, teaching, and much more.

We worked hard and learned a lot Monday through Thursday. My head is still spinning from the ideas, the tools, the techniques, and examples shared by Jessica. Friday was a bonus day during which we had a digital film challenge. Jessica led the way again, demonstrating how such challenges align with the Common Core and how much students learn from creating videos. We worked in small groups to simulate the film challenge in an abbreviated amount of time. For the challenge, each group had to make a film (using only iPads) that was suspenseful, including a fictitious name and the line “call me maybe”. It was a blast and there were many laughs while putting together our movie.

The week was perfect. I loved being a learner in that setting. I loved gathering ideas for how I might work with teachers and with students in an engaging, motivating manner. Thank you Lucie, and thank you Jessica for your patience, your resources, and so much more. I can’t wait to continue my learning!

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I just finished reading The Connected Educator: Learning and Leading in a Digital Age. This book resonated for me for many reasons. I have been working to build my own Personal Learning Network (PLN) over the past few years. The book helped solidify my understanding of PLNs and how they relate to professional learning communities. I feel better prepared to reach out and take the risks necessary to establish my digital footprint, build trust, and ultimately build community.

For the reader, this book is structured in a meaningful way. There are chapters that help differentiate between Personal Learning Networks, Communities of Practice and Professional Learning Communities. There are chapters that describe useful tools in building your PLN and connecting with others, along with examples of where to start and with whom. There are chapters that illustrate WHY this is important for educators in today’s world. Most importantly, it’s shared in a format that makes sense. The chapters begin with short scenarios illustrating the ideas and end with activities for the reader. These short activities (Get Connected!) are suggestions for how to create accounts, collaborate, and connect with others. Do these- they’re worth it! It’s hard to imagine that someone reading this book won’t be a connected educator when they’re finished. The book guides the reader through every step of the process smoothly.

I highly recommend this book. Educators world-wide are connecting, enriching their work with knowledge and experiences from one another, and building collaborative cultures. Don’t miss out on this journey.

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