140 Characters at a Time

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As I sat in many a classroom desk and listened to lecture after lecture and took many notes (and drew lots of doodles) over the years, I never imagined that, one day, I would learn more in 140 characters than I did in many of those classroom lectures.

Please don’t take offense Sid Homan, Dr. Kaufman or Mark Smith. Your classes were engaging because of your teaching style. You added humor, hands on activity and/or memorable visuals to your 60 minute lectures. You engaged me and my mind.

As I look at how I learn now, I have noticed that the classroom is no longer the single venue for learning. With a web enabled device, I can learn anywhere and anytime and the best part is I can learn from hundreds of people around the globe.

The one tool I have found to be a valuable resource is Twitter. No, I’m not talking about the “I am sitting on the porch.” type tweeter. I refer to those in the Twitterverse that share similar interests in the same areas I do and provide links to valuable information.

For some more information on Twitter and how to use it to build your PLN, take a look at these tutorials by Josh Stumpenhorst. The first is an introduction to Twitter and the second is Twitter 102 focusing on Tweetdeck as a more efficient way to participate in the ongoing Twitter conversation.

Put your toe in the water. Lurk around the conversation for a while. Find some like minded individuals to follow and eventually tweet with. You’ll be glad you did.

A Time for Teaching, A Time For Learning

Through out the course of our day, there are six 55 minute blocks for teaching, five 6 minute passing periods and a 29 minute lunch period. On most days, one of those 55 minute blocks is a planning period. Unless of course, your planning period is non-existent that day due to the rotating schedule. Then you have a six period day and no break, save for lunch.

At 3 P.M. we head home to a life of leisure to prepare dinner, have a glass of wine and watch our favorite show on the tube with our feet propped up on the coffee table. Well, not quite. We all know it is then time to grade papers, prepare lessons for the next day, return parent phone calls and enter grades from the comfort of our homes in the online gradebook. Continue reading »

Get WordPressed!

“Website? I don’t need a website! I’ve got a whiteboard and projector in my room, That’s good enough!”

“I don’t know how to make a web page.”

“HTML? URL? Code? What are those?”

“I write all my assignments on the board.”

“The kids all have planners and a place to write down their assignments.”

“It’s extra work for me.”

We’ve all heard these words or similar expressed by educators that are wary of  using a web site.

Continue reading »

Building Your PLN

“A rolling stone gathers no moss.”

It’s just an old proverb. But, what does it mean? Apparently, this proverb is so meaningful that even the Mythbusters felt the need to determine if it were true.

As an educator in an increasingly technological world, this proverb means that if I’m still teaching like I did just 5 years ago, I’ve stagnated.

But, what if I were still teaching like I did 20 years ago when I first entered the profession? In addition to some moss, I might just have some grass and weeds and perhaps a tree root or two beginning to grow around the stone.

My students are connected to their world in more ways than ever. As an educator, I feel I need to be connected too.

One of the ways I have done this is by becoming involved in and building a Professional Learning Network. Sometimes these are also referred to as Personal Learning Networks or Professional/Personal Learning Communities.

There are many resources available to me that provide feedback and thought provoking moments that help me connect in new ways with my students. I can make my areas of expertise more meaningful to my students beyond the tidbits of information they have to know for the test. When I make these connections, I see a difference in my students’ excitement levels and enthusiasm for learning.

One way I have made these connections is by going outside the walls of my classroom and opening up dialogue with other professionals through a variety of online media. It all started with Twitter and continues today in the use of blogs, Facebook and online conferences. Tom Whitby offers an explanation of the concept in this video.

If you are interested in building a PLN, begin today by subscribing to the email feed for TheTechEducator.

You’ll receive email notifications when new posts are written. In these posts we can share our experiences in the classroom using interactive white boards, BriteLink projectors, blogs, social media, video and whatever else is out there in our attempts to create a connected classroom environment.

Just like a rolling stone, we’ll keep moving forward to make sure you find some satisfaction as we provide you with quality information to help build your PLN and in supplying technology tips, tricks and tidbits to help out in your connected classroom.

Keep rolling along!