Tag Archives: plp

EdTech 543- Thoughts on Twitter for Just in Time PD

I can’t say that I am totally new to twitter.  I have been on Twitter for about three years now (I am sure that is considered “new” by many.)   I have bunch of followers and I follow my share of people.  to be honest, I am not exactly sure what an average number of followers is, but I’m sure that Justin Bieber skews that number anyways with his 28+ million followers.  So, yes, my Twitterverse is a small one.  However, as I get to learn more and more about twitter, I am finding it a wonderful place to learn.  For this module in Social network learning, I have set up Tweetdeck and incorporated a number of hashtags.  Because I teach science, I wanted some to reflect that discipline.  I also wanted to include one more related to technology.  As such, I have added columns with the following hashtags:

  • #scichat– This hashtag is dedicated to science teachers sharing ideas, resources and other science related material
  • #edchat– A general education chat that is quite popular.  There are many planned discussions using this hashtag.
  • #edtech– This hashtag has a blend of both education and technology.  There are resources geared more towards education, those geared more towards technology and ones that blend the two together.
  • #plpnetwork– This hashtag helps bring together those who are in Powerful learning Practices (PLP), those who guide the learning and for PLPeeps (those who have been through PLP).  A great combination of resources and thought provoking blogs/articles.
  • #edsci– Presumably a hashtag for discussing science education.  Unfortunately, it seems to be fairly quiet.

Here they are in all their glory via Tweetdeck

Some sample of resources I have connected to through these hashtags are:

I first heard of the idea of “Just In Time” learning in the introductory conference as I began my 8-month journey with Powerful learning Practice (PLP).  Will Richardson drew all of us in with his idea of how learning is happening in the lives of teenagers (and many others, but teens were his focus) everywhere (except in school.)  The world has changed is huge ways and the amount of information that is easily available if simply incomprehensible.   I recall reading something once about how it used to be if a question like “How old is Julia Roberts?” came up in conversation, it might never be answered.  Now, you simply have to reach into your pocket for your phone and BOOM, there it is.  (Here it is if you were wondering.)

Now, not all the information is trivia (or trivial).  A person can learn a foreign language, learn the properties of Neon gas or just about anything else you can think of.  The fact is, all of this potential learning has to impact what schools look like.  I teach Science and often ask students to learn things like the parts of a cell or the prefixes used in the metric system.  The question is ‘why?’  Most of this information can easily be looked up.  So, should I have my students spend their time and energy learning these facts or should I get them working on work that requires deeper thought and assumes that the facts are easily available.  To be honest, I am still somewhat on the fence.  There is a necessary balance if we want our students to be truly ‘educated.’  Having some facts at the ready is helpful when in a conversation.  How could smooth conversation happen otherwise?  However, the easy access also allows the deeper conversations to happen when an otherwise unknown fact or idea is easy sought out.

In the end, I want my doctor to know what my thyroid glands do without heading to his smartphone and my students to know enough to carry on an intelligent conversation without having to Google anything.  However, I also want my doctor and my students to use the resources the world has made available to them.  The idea that my doctor is conferring with his network on my case is comforting.  And knowing that my students can learn what they want, when they want it is downright cool.

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My goals for the Ed Tech program

As I sit here, this is the first day of my graduate work at Boise State and I couldn’t be more excited…and also nervous.  Looking back the biggest event that has brought me to this point was my participation in a long-term professional development program called Powerful Learning Practices (PLP). In this program, educators are exposed to the great many technologies that are available in the world (and are continually being added to the list) and, more importantly, how these technologies are changing the face of learning in this still young century.  I can still remember the first day of the PLP program when I had to assess my use and understanding of web 2.0 tools.  It was an easy assessment.  I had no idea what that term even meant.  Once the web 2.0 door was opened to me, I quickly understood that this was much more than a way to add flashy technology to my Biology class, but rather it was a new world of education in which each student’s individual learning takes center stage and the teacher’s role becomes more of a coach and guide.

Since concluding the PLP program, I have been working to incorporate as many of the ideas into my teaching as I could.  It has been a struggle though.  A combination of my inexperience, the traditional mindset of my students and the overwhelming tasks on my normal plate as a teacher kept me from getting as in depth as I wanted to.  Through Twitter, I managed to link up with many talented teachers and educational technology specialists around the world.  I have incorporated Voicethread lessons in my classes and have even gone so far as to create and produce video lectures so that I could “flip” my Pre-Algebra class.  I have found very useful sites such as Classroom 2.0 and the The Flipped Class Network.  Over the past year, I have done my best to share these ideas with colleagues and have talked with the school’s Headmaster about expanding my role to that of a guide for my colleagues into this world of educational technology.  The only real problem that I saw was that while I had a plethora of enthusiasm, I lacked any substantive experience and training in the field.

So, here I am.  The first day of graduate school at Boise State University as I pursue a Masters in Educational Technology.  My very clear short term goal is to learn as much as I can about Educational Technology.  I want to become a voice at my school and a source of inspiration and support for my colleagues as they learn the potential benefits that technology can bring to their student’s learning.  The long term is a little less clear.  While I certainly want to embrace any professional opportunities a Masters in Ed Tech may bring me, I am hesitant to leave the classroom entirely.  Ideally, I will end up with one foot in each world.  I will have an opportunity to support and teach colleagues while also having a classroom that gives me a space to use all that I hope to learn.