Photo Credit CC: http://www.flickr.com/photos/koiquest10/9880428234/
This title came to me on Tuesday night as I watched the class get together via Blackboard Collaborate. Although I greatly appreciate Alec and Katia’s attempt to include those of us from far away the experience was much like I imagine being in a fishbowl is. You might think that is a negative but really it was not. As I sat there and reflected on the term I began to see that the beginning of the course had made me feel much the same. My view of my ed tech ability was very much in the fishbowl. At the beginning of the course I saw myself as a teacher using tech successfully in my classroom with my students. I saw myself as a teacher who could help her peers with tech in both their classroom and for other professional reasons. I did what I knew how to do, I was comfortable. I though I was using it well but then as the class progressed I saw my own knowledge as being in a fishbowl with a great big tech world around me I was under utilizing. So I guess this course helped me expand my knowledge as well as my PLN (Professional Learning Network) through what Alec titled Networked Professional Learning.
My Networked Professional Learning for this course included using and sharing through social media, examples Blogging, Tweeting, and Google+ Community. Here are my views on my growth in these areas that helped me get out of my fishbowl by December.
When I first started this blog I was not a fan of blogging. I didn’t really get the concept of writing on the internet and I sort of did not really get the point of it all. The expectation was two posts a week, in the beginning I was luck to write one after our session with Sue Waters though my view began to change. She shared so much about the benefits of writing and reading good educational blogs. I was also really interested in her view and tips on classroom blogs. I began to feel more connected to my blog and began to fancy it up a bit. I decided I needed to better organize my blog space. I added a simple about me page, organized my posts by category, and began to play around with the use of tags. I also added a Twitter widget to try and connect some of my online spaces. I also began to read others blogs more frequently both through our EC&I hub and some I found on my own. This motivated me to make my writing more interesting and connected by adding video and links within my posts. I even began to understand the concept of a ping back and thought it was pretty cool when I linked to a blog then went to check on that blog and could see my blog in the list at the bottom of links! I also tried to be a good reader of my fellow classmates blogs commenting where I thought it was appropriate or where I had something valuable to say.
My biggest takeaway learning from blogging was the importance of readership. As I felt more comfortable blogging and putting myself out there I began to get comments and followers. This motivated to be better in my post creation as I knew someone was actually reading what I had to say. It is important for a blogger to know someone is reading their blog. In fact just a few days ago I got a message from one of my colleagues who recently moved to a new province. She had found my blog though Twitter, as I always tweeted a link to my new posts, and had started reading it. She then started her own blog and wanted to tell me I had motivated her to try blogging and she wanted me to give her some feedback about her new blog. WOW, you would not have asked me for feedback back in September that is for sure, but I felt really happy that my little blog had brought someone else into this form of social interaction for educators.
Where am I going to go with blogging after this course?
I had originally thought I would delete my blog after the course but now have decided to keep it up for at least awhile to see if I can grow my readership and encourage others in my division to begin the process. I do feel now is is a beneficial resource for educators to use both in their classrooms and out.
I did have a Twitter account prior to this course that I used for mostly personal and some professional interaction. The first thing I did with Twitter in this course was improve my personal profile. I added photographs, a link to my blog, and a short about me description. In this course I learned how to use Twitter to expand my PLN. I am happy to say I now have 78 followers and follow 121 others. Definitely a step up from where I started.
In this course I learned to use a # (hashtag) appropriately to categorize tweets. I learned how to do a proper re-tweet quote, giving credit to original tweeters. I also learned about Tweetdeck. A great site for organizing your Twitter account and following #’s, a great thing to do if participating in a Twitter Chat. If you haven’t already check out my Twitter widget to follow me on Twitter.
Where am I going with Twitter after this course?
I am going to continue to use Twitter to strengthen my PLN. I will continue to use Twitter as a teaching resource and hopefully encourage others in my division to give Twitter a try.
I had used Google+ a bit with my division prior to this course but had never fully participated in a community. I found it to be a good meeting place for myself and my classmates to ask questions, share our blog posts as well as share valuable teaching resources. I personally posted questions on the “Questions and Answers” board as well as helped answer some fellow students questions. I posted in the “Discussion” space links to my blog posts as well as on occasion resources/video I thought might be useful. I responded to fellow classmates posts where I thought appropriate and on occasion responded to blog posts via Google+ when I couldn’t get comments to post on their sites.
Where am I going to go with Google+ after this course?
I’m hope my division begins to embrace it more as I see us embracing Google Apps for Education. I see it as great way to collaborate and share at a distance therefore saving time and money for professional development within our division. I have also personally joined two other communities (RemixEd and EdTech Saskatchewan) and want to try to engage more within those communities.
As this is my last official post as an EC&I 831 student I just wanted to take the opportunity to thank Alec Couros and Katia Hildebrandt for a great course and very educational semester. You got me leaping out of my fishbowl! I also want to say thank you to my fellow classmates for sharing their time, thoughts,and expertise. Last but not least thank you to any additional readers I have picked up over the last few months I hope I have been able to share something useful.
Throughout the course I’ve learned there is always room for growth, always something to learn. See you back after the holiday break on the blog!