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.
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.
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.
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……
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/