Professional Learning Communities

This week, I want to talk about PLN’s.

Being a part of a Professional Learning Community has been a very interesting experience for me. I have followed certain groups on Facebook for years, but never fully realized that they are considered PLN’s. Branching out in to the Twitter world and ISTE has expanded my view on so many areas, both in technology and early childhood education. Burt (2014) states that “developing a Personal Learning Network is an empowering, transformational process, which fundamentally transforms your professional learning and teaching approach.”

First, I want to talk about my experiences on Facebook since they are more substantial than the other two. I have been a member of several groups including Simply Kinder, Texas Kindergarten Teachers, and Kindergarten Teachers Unite. I don’t think I have posted myself, but I have participated in many discussions through other posts that have given me new ideas and directions for my classroom. One of those is Bloomz, which I am using as a parent communication tool in my classroom this year. It has allowed me to communicate with parents about all aspects of my classroom in an almost Facebook sort of way. I have read in my groups of parents using it as a platform to be rude to the teacher and be negative, but I have not had that problem at all. My partner teacher (who teaches math to both classes) also uses it and we have put each other as administrators to our classes so I can share the same information with her class also. Through the boards on Facebook, I also discovered a page called Free Technology for Teachers. It has given me so much information, and so many ideas of apps and programs that I want to try out. I have found that is very useful for me, since Facebook is my primary source of social media.

Twitter is a new area for me. Well, not new. I’ve always enjoyed reading tweets from celebrities and from my favorite shows and movies. But using it professionally is a new experience for sure. I have not really begun to tweet professionally myself, as I only have 10 followers and I really haven’t had much to tweet yet. But I am following several people. One that I enjoy reading is from Edutopia. They have had some great articles and videos that I have watched since starting Lamar that have to do with technology in the classroom. I have also been able to follow people that follow them such as Lucy Grey. She has some great tweets with articles, connections to individuals, events that are coming up such as Global Collaboration. She has become like a google of Twitter for me. I can bounce off her posts in so many directions and really enhance the amount of material I am consuming. I follow my district PISD Technology twitter, but they really haven’t been that active since our Technology Conference in August. I think they are really missing out on the chance to spread so much information to teachers in the district about cool new happenings in technology and sharing some really good articles. The ECE Webinars Twitter looks to be promising to me when I have more time to devote to webinars. It is difficult to find information out there that addresses the little ones that I teach.

I joined ISTE at the beginning of our class. I wish I had more time to really dive in and look at all aspects of this. I joined several PLN’s on ISTE but have found that I can only explore them one at a time or it can become so overwhelming. All of the PLN’s on ISTE have good articles to read about the particular subject they address, book studies that you can join, and discussion boards. I am most drawn to the discussion boards as I find that is where I learn the most. Hearing what other people are doing with technology in classrooms is, to me, the most exciting part of being a PLN. There are so many educators out there trying new apps and programs, sometimes even creating them. I find it nearly impossible to keep up with the changing technology but discussion boards are the easiest way for me to try. I have explored the general ISTE PLN, and also the Literacy Network and the Early Learning Network. I am still trying to wrap my head around the Game Network and the Online Learning Network. I have looked into the Teacher Education Network but was a little put off by the negativity that I saw that particular day. I will need to go back and revisit that one. Today I joined the Ed Tech Coach network and the Digital Citizenship network, based on my future goals for my career and recent discussion board postings that we have had.

Finally, I do follow some teachers and innovators out in the Instagram world. Although the discussion is limited to comments, I have seen some interesting ideas, heard of some conferences coming up, and have even heard of an online collaboration tool called Blab that I want to explore further. I would love to be able to have a four person chat with some of the most amazing teachers this country has to offer, just to pick their brains for ideas. That to me would be the most beneficial kind of learning.

I am very thankful that this class required us to go out and join more PLN’s. As a busy educator, that is not something I think I would have done on my own and I feel that this is just going to enhance my teaching in the classroom and my experiences at Lamar.

Facebook

These are some general kindergarten groups that I find helpful to bounce ideas off of.

Simply Kinder -Kinder teachers ask input on anything kindergarten related https://www.facebook.com/groups/975566595791892/

Kindergarten Teachers Unite – Kinder teachers ask input on anything kinder related https://www.facebook.com/groups/2221987454/

Texas Kindergarten Teachers Kinder teachers in Texas discuss Texas issues and how to address them https://www.facebook.com/groups/900312986681314/

This is a blog/website that  posts great stuff daily

Free Technology for Teachers  https://www.facebook.com/FreeTech4Teachers?fref=ts

Twitter

Edutopia – Education posts and articles  @edutopia

Tilisia Thibodeaux – Professor for Digital learning and leading at Lamar  @TechieTilisa   

Tech Learning – resources for K-12 digital technologies to transform education   @techlearning

ECE Webinars – free webinars by Early Childhood experts  @ECEWebinars

PISD Technology – my school district technology department  @PISDTechnology

Jonna Mcgaughy – kindergarten teacher, 1:1 classroom, Seesaw ambassador  @drmcgaughy

Common Sense Media – parenting advice and resources for tech issues  @CommonSense

NetSmartz Workshop – online safety education  @NetSmartz

Dr. Tim Clark – technology tools and digital content @BYOTNetwork

Steven Anderson – educator, speaker, blogger  @web2.0classroom

Ed Tech K-12 Magazine – tech issues facing K-12 leaders @EdTech_k12

eschool news – K-12 educators using technology in the classroom  @eschoolnews

Edudemic  – connecting education and technology @Edudemic

Early Childhood Tech – developmentally appropriate educational technology, apps, interactive websites  @ECTech

ISTE

Digital Citizenship Network – The Digital Citizenship Network supports educators in ensuring the appropriate, safe and responsible use of technology. The Digital Citizenship Network offers perspective and structure for learning with technology, providing examples of how educators can use technology appropriately and responsibly to help students become more creative, resourceful and interactive with peers around the world.

Early Learning Network – The Early Learning and Technology Network is an advocate for developmentally appropriate technology use in early learning settings. The Early Learning and Technology Network promotes and facilitates the advancement of meaningful technology integration in teaching and learning experiences for young children. The Early Learning and Technology Network connects the early learning community with one another to explore and implement developmentally appropriate, high-quality, balanced and relevant use of technologies with young children in all early learning and educational settings (birth to age eight).

Games and Simulations Network – The Games and Simulations Network is dedicated to understanding and advancing the use, integration, design, development and evaluation of games, simulations and virtual environments for learning and teaching.

Literacy Network – The Literacy Network is devoted to the topic of reading and literacy and works to help educators find information about the types of technology that can assist in teaching reading skills and the programs that can enhance literacy instruction.

Online Learning Network – The Online Learning Network is a network of educators involved with computer-based communications—either stand-alone stations or in combination with other media. Members are able to share experiences and learn from each other through various professional development and networking activities, including webinars, online resource databases and ISTE Conference and Expo events.

Teacher Education Network – The Teacher Education Network members include higher education faculty teaching in graduate and undergraduate programs, graduate students, K–12 teachers, administrators, information technology specialists and curriculum specialists teaching and conducting research in teacher preparation and instructional technology.

Ed Tech Coaches Network – The Educational Technology Coaches Network promotes the development and collaboration of educational technology coaches who support the professional growth of teachers as they use technology to enhance learning.

**ISTE descriptions are taken from www.iste.org

Instagram

I follow many teachers and former teachers on instagram to get a wealth of good ideas.

Bright Concepts for Teachers A second grade teacher/blogger who shares ideas and collaboration for the early grades  https://instagram.com/brightconcepts4teachers/

The Kindergarden – teacher who shares pics of ideas from her classroom and her TPT store  https://instagram.com/thekindergarden/

Crayons and Whimsey – kindergarten teacher/blogger who shares great ideas https://instagram.com/crayonsandwhimsy/

Mrs.Prices Kindergators- kindergarten teacher/blogger who shares great ideas  https://instagram.com/mrspriceskindergators/

Teachersworkstation – Texas teacher creating elementary teacher resources  https://instagram.com/teachersworkstation/

Learning With Mrs. Langley – first grade teacher/blogger  https://instagram.com/learningwithmrslangley/

Hello Jen Jones – reading specialist, staff development provider/blogger https://instagram.com/hellojenjones/

Mrs. West Knows Best – Canadian teacher in Scotland  https://instagram.com/mrs.west.knows.best/

First Grade Fairy Tales – first grade teacher/seller on TPT  https://instagram.com/firstgradefairytales/

Totally Elementary – kindergarten teacher/seller on TPT  https://instagram.com/totallyelementary/

Burt, R. (2014). Step 1: What is a PLN? Retrieved from http://teacherchallenge.edublogs.org/pln-challenge-1-what-the-heck-is-a-pln/

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Posted in EDLD 5302 - Concepts of Educational Technology
One comment on “Professional Learning Communities
  1. […] to be throughout the program, what projects we were interested in, and what format to present our work in.  I was immediately overwhelmed with the assignments, the structure, the posting on discussion […]

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