Sunday, November 13, 2016

Personal Learning Network

My First Personal Learning Network Map

Expanding my Personal Learning Network
1.   Zoom
The first way I expanded my PLN was doing a Zoom meeting with my group members and Dr. Z. I didn’t know I was expanding my PLN at the time, but I ended up with a really great resource. I have used Skype or FaceTime in the past, and I have had technological issues with them. Sometimes the connection is slow, the screen freezes, others can hear, etc. With Zoom, multiple people are talking, and there is no time lag. Everything is in real time, and nothing is blurry. I was really impressed with Zoom, and I actually plan on using it next semester with my student organization officer meeting. In my future classroom, I can use this as a way for students to contact me with questions or to meet with parents. What a great tool!


2.  Following a Pinterest Education Board
One of the first ways I expanded my PLN was through Pinterest. I enjoy scrolling through pins in my spare time, so why not follow education boards? I am a Social-Science Teaching major, so I wanted to find a board that was about social studies and different resources I could use in my future classroom. This board, Social Studies Education, was exactly what I was looking for. The pins are graphics or visuals of historical information. I can show my future students these pins to help them learn about topics like the Holocaust, Bill of Rights, Immigration, and so much more. I spent an hour going through their pins because I thought it was so interesting!


3.  Liking an Education Facebook Page
I liked TheImagination Tree on Facebook. This organization posts about creative, learning crafts to do with children. They also share heartwarming education videos. This is a very positive, inspiring page. I can use this source as a teacher for more hands-on activities. I hope to teach older students, and this organization shares crafts for that age level, too. I’m really impressed with this page, and I’m glad I added it to my Facebook newsfeed.


4.  Following a Twitter Page on Education  
I followed Education Week on Twitter. This is a resource that tweets about politics and education, or “American education’s newspaper.” I follow politics, but sometimes I do not pay attention to issues of education as much as social issues like women’s rights or racism. This twitter page is a great resource to connect current news with education. For example, one of their recent tweets was an article discussing the Trump presidency and his impact on education. I believe that it’s important for everyone, including teachers, to be aware of politics. This is an excellent tool for me in my current life and in my future classroom. I can use this to discuss current news in my Social Studies classes.   


5.  Found a blog!
This is the CoolCatTeacher Blog by Vicki Davis. I read her blog post titled, “How Do We Teach Politics to Kids during an R-Rated Election?” She did an excellent job of breaking down the roles of teachers in elections and some of the challenges. I enjoyed hearing Vicki’s input and others’ comments. Overall, this is a pretty COOL blog! She blogs about interesting, unique topics in education. As a future teacher, I feel like I can use this blog to stay connected in the community of teachers. CoolCatTeacher Blog is a space to brainstorm ideas, learn about different problems, and express opinions.


6.  Symbaloo and Poll Everywhere 
I was looking at #unietd's Symbaloo, and I found Poll Everywhere. This resource is really easy and simple to use! I created my own poll to see how to make polls. There is no signup, and it is free. Teachers can create polls or quizzes that students respond to through texts. As a future teacher, I could use this to make decisions in the classroom. If students are split on a decision, I can create a poll to make a decision. This way students’ opinions remain anonymous. This could also be a cool way to do a review session before a test. The options are endless with Poll Everywhere, and I will definitely use this tool here at UNI in my student organizations and in my future classroom.


7.  Kahoot! 
In my class Living Like a Student, we used a Kahoot! as a review for the last day. This resource is like Poll Everywhere, except Kahoot! is more like game. The educator puts their screen on a projector or smart board (this is where the questions and answers will be). The students open to the class link to Kahoot! On the students’ screens, they see four different colored squares. When the question comes on the board, the students pick the corresponding square with their answer. Once everyone has answered, we see the results (how many voted for each option). The teacher discusses the right answer. Students gain and lose points based on their answers. Kahoot! is a really cool, interactive tool to use in the classroom. It sparks a competitive, fun learning environment. I will be using this in the near future!


8.  Twitter Chat
On Sunday, November 6 at 8:00 PM, I joined the #iaedchat on Twitter. Our topic that night was parent-teacher conferences. I introduced myself as an education major from Iowa. Others welcomed me, and I liked their tweets. I saw someone who is in another Education and Technology class here at UNI. Also, I knew teachers from my high school on the chat. I answered some questions and read others thoughts. It was very interesting to see other educators’ thoughts on parent-teacher conferences. I believe in my future, this would be a great resource for me to gain ideas and opinions on Iowa’s education system.


9.  Snapchat
      I used Snapchat to expand my PLN. I was sitting in the library and saw this sign advertising for the A-Team. I took a picture on Snapchat and sent it to my friend who needed this information. Also, I posted it to my story so my other friends could hear about this resource at UNI. After doing this, I realized that I was using technology with education, and this would fit into my Personal Learning Network. In my future classroom, I could have a Snapchat to remind students about upcoming due dates or events. This is a great tool for student, teachers, and parents to get quick reminders.


10.  Podcast - TEDTalks Education – "Let’s teach for mastery, not test scores" by Sal Khan
      The last thing I watched to expand my PLN was a podcast by TEDTalks Education. In this talk, Sal talks about how we need to change our education system to not be test-focused. He thinks we should teach students to master topics, not just to test well. Sal said that our education system is failing students by keeping all students at the same pace. It was an interesting discussion that I think many educators can observe in their own classrooms. I took time to reflect on myself after watching this podcast. I want to keep my future classroom learning-based, not test-focused. I want to adapt to individual student needs and change the pace of my teaching based on classroom needs.



After expanding my PLN, I took time to reflect on changes to my map. This is my adjusted Personal Learning Network map. 


As the modern world keeps progressing and advancing technology, I need to keep pace in my classroom. I must be aware of my students' use of technology, and how to incorporate new technology in my classroom. A great educator knows how to use technology to help students learn. For now, I will continue to grow my Personal Learning Network. There are so many great resources out there, I just need to go find them! 

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