Tag Archives: PLNs

My Takeaway From Our Inquiry

I have enjoyed delving into all the topics we have looked at in this inquiry phase of the course.  Though some I had already covered in previous courses, such as creating a reading culture and developing leadership skills in the area of professional development, I still expanded my knowledge with my own continued research or through insight from others’ posts.  Researching libraries in the developing world and learning how mobile technology can play an important role in their construction and use has helped expand my world view, beyond my own District.  However, I think my main takeaway from this inquiry is how to develop a personal learning network through current information and communication technology.  In other words, how I can use social media to expand my professional development opportunities.

I took this course because I wanted to learn more ways of using digital technology in my practice as a teacher-librarian because my knowledge is lacking in this area.  I know other digital immigrants have embraced social media in both their personal and professional lives, but I have yet to feel comfortable doing that.  I am not sure what is holding me back.

people-texting1

1. We are being social.

Maybe it is the bias I have against being inundated with the minutiae of people’s day, or the ease of mobile devices in creating social interactions online instead of face to face.

social-media-overwhelm2

2. It’s too much!

 

 

Or it might be that I am often overwhelmed by the shear mass of information I receive with the few subscriptions to social media sites I have.

The-Four-Headed-Monster-The-Anti-Social-Media

3. The Four Headed Monster

 

 

Or maybe it is because I am a very private person and am not yet comfortable “sharing” my ideas with others in cyberspace.

 

 

This inquiry has helped me see the positive aspects of using social media and how important its use is for teachers and teacher-librarians to collaborate, share, and stay informed about educational issues.  After all, I tell my students that technology can be used as a tool to help them become more successful in school, so I should be modelling this behaviour, showing how I can use technology in my teaching practice to extend my knowledge and learning.

The ideas in Lia’s blog post, Expanding My Personal Learning Network, inspired me.  In it, she lists ways she uses social media, like bookmarking, pinning, and networking, in her teaching practice along with further goals for using these technologies.   Though I do get inspired by others’ ideas, as a TOC I have few opportunities to directly implement many of them in my own teaching practice.  So my collection of digital resources sit in my computer bookmarks or Evernote notebooks, awaiting the day I can use them in my own classroom or library.  However, I have come to realize through this inquiry that establishing a personal learning network online offers more than just resources.  It provides access to a group of professionals that will be there when I need them for ideas, answering questions, collaboration or simply an understanding of the problems I may face as a teacher-librarian.  By utilizing digital technology, I will be able to take more control of my professional development.  So a logical place to start is with Twitter; learning how to use it more effectively as part of my personal learning network.  I have been following the #libe477 tweets, and added a couple of my own, but I haven’t really explored this tool to its fullest.  I know that once I embrace the value of using Twitter professionally, it will be easier to branch out into other social media platforms to widen my PLN.  I am hopeful that soon I can move my comfort zone from……

vintage-social-networking

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wordlezimmer

 

 

Image Citations:

1. When is the best time to post on social media (2014) http://theagencyonline.co.uk/2014/03/when-is-the-best-time-to-post-on-social-media/

2. Tips to effectively manage your social media sites. (2014) http://meetadrianacasanova.com/tips-effectively-manage-social-media-sites/

3.There is no such thing as privacy on social networks (2011)  http://theantisocialmedia.com/there-is-no-such-thing-as-privacy-on-social-networks/

Vintage Social Networking – University of Leeds (2014) Social Media http://www.sddu.leeds.ac.uk/sddu-social-media.html

21st-Century Teacher Tools Wordle – A guide for newbie social educators (2011) http://judyoconnell.com/2011/01/17/a-guide-for-newbie-social-educators/

 

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Developing PLNs with ICTs

PLN Wordle

 

Creating a personal learning network is important for teachers-librarians, and using available information and communication technologies makes it easier than ever.  Teacher-librarians are usually in a unique position in their schools so though they can share and learn from colleagues, they often have unique challenges that only other teacher-librarians would understand.  Though I don’t have a teaching position yet, there are a few things I have in place right now that will help create learning opportunities for myself when I eventually get my own library.

1. LM-NET: In a previous course, I was required to subscribe to the Library Media Network.  LM-NET is an international network of teacher-librarians in which members can pose questions, share ideas and offer support to each other.  The site’s archives can also be searched by date or particular topic.  Though I am not participating within the network right now, I still receive emails about current posts and I often glance through the topics finding helpful information that I bookmark for future reference.

2. My courses: I have found many useful blogs and websites by educators through the courses I have taken for my Teacher-Librarian’s Diploma.  I use Evernote to help keep them organized. I have a teacher-librarian resources notebook in which I add links to online resources that I find helpful.  As well, I have most of my coursework organized in separate notebooks.  When I am finished my diploma, I will go through these notebooks and better organize the resources by topic.  I find Evernote to be a great organization tool, as it is available on whatever device or computer I may be using at the moment.

3. When I had a temporary contract in a high school library a couple of years ago, I was automatically added to our district’s teacher-librarian email list. This was very helpful if I needed help or advice and gave me the ability to keep in the loop about what other teacher-librarians were doing in the district.  I know that once I have my own library, I will have this built-in network if I need it.

Those are a few things I have started, but I know I need to do more, especially in terms of social media.  I have resisted using social media because until recently I hadn’t really seen it as a potential professional resource.  I have used Diigo in the past, (Diigo: A Bookmarking Tool), but didn’t take advantage of its social aspect.  I am on Facebook and, more recently, Twitter but do not utilize them.  One problem I think is that I do not have a mobile device I carry with me all the time and often social media works best on these devices.  So right now I am forced to use my computer at home on which I do not like, with a family and kids, to take the time to wade through all the information coming at me.  However, knowing now how social media can be invaluable in helping to establish a personal learning network, I will definitely try to utilize these resources in the future.

In this age of cutbacks, it is important for teacher-librarians to reinvent themselves to keep their school libraries relevant for 21st Century learning.  Right now, our education system is working under a 150 year old model (Richardson, 2012) so educators need to go outside the curriculum learning resources to find ways to teach the digital natives in our classrooms.  Creating a personal learning network of educators, both local and international, can offer new ideas in collaboration, sharing and teaching to help make teacher-librarians an indispensable part of their schools.

Works Consulted

Richardson, W. (2012) Why school? How education must change when learning and information are everywhere. Ebook. Kindle Version.  http://www.amazon.ca/dp/B00998J5YQ

Image Citation:

Bucky, C. (2008) PLN 1. Flickr. Retrieved from http://www.flickr.com/photos/cobannon/2983755525/

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