Tag Archive | Professional development

Blogging and Twitter… But Wait! There’s More!

Lately, I’ve been loving the PD I’ve experienced through twitter and this blog. You can read my timely post about it here. In my ECMP 455 class, we had the opportunity to listen to Chad Lehman (@imcguy) as he spoke about free professional development that is all available online. Here I thought that I was rocking PD with twitter and my blog, but I can’t wait to expand my development with some of the great tools he introduced.

I’m not sure I can do all of these justice, but here are a few that really stuck with me:

Every year, K12Online holds a conference for teachers. Why is this so remarkable? Because it’s online, that’s why. They also archive all of their conference materials and presentations, so anyone can go back and find what they need to. The lovely blend of synchronous (for those that have a schedule that matches up, which I hope mine does for this year) and asynchronous (for those of us who can’t “make it” to the conference) makes it easy for anyone to experience professional development.

The next thing Chad spoke about was Classroom 2.0 Live, which is available on iTunes. I would never have guessed that I can get professional development on my iPod. Also available on iTunes is iTunesU. If anyone has any advice on these specific tools I would love to hear from you. From my understanding, they are resources that have many different podcasts and videos on different educational topics. They are all professionally done. Needless to say, I am excited to start exploring.

I’ve been watching TED talks for a while now, and I took TED breaks during marking while I was doing my internship. Now that TED is launching TED Ed, I am even more ecstatic. Aside from TED Ed (say that ten times fast!), TED has literally thousands of videos to watch. This can be daunting, but with some handy searching, finding some good talks isn’t all that hard. I’ve found some of the best TED Talks aren’t “on education,” but rather I can relate something they speak about to education or my life. Sometimes, taking that step back or going at it from a different angle puts things into perspective

iLearn Technology Blog was also given as a resource for us to use. You can never get your hands on enough info about technology. It’s an edublog that focuses on integrating technology into the classroom. It’s great because it doesn’t stay too focused on one thing — it really surveys all different technology available.

Similarly, FreeTech4Teachers.com has regular posts about different types of technology available. It focuses each post on a different technology, sort of giving it a review, with practical applications and how it can be used. I appreciate that it looks at some sites/technology that don’t necessarily directly market to education, then gives places/spaces to integrate them into the classroom/staffroom/school.

My eyes have been opened yet again. My PD is about to get a whole lot better. I’m finding that I’m also getting more efficient with my professional development. I know I should be using something like delicious, but between Google Reader and my browsers bookmarks, I’m keeping track of my favourite sites, as well as sites I know I’ll need to refer back to. I’ll be starting a “PD” tag in my bookmarks starting… now!

Thank you Chad for joining us on Monday!

UPDATE: Courtesy of Chad, I present to you his slides from Monday evening. He tweeted me the link, so I thought I better share it with everyone. Enjoy.

The New PD: In Awe of My Growing Professional Network

I am so grateful. I would personally like to thank Leonard Kleinrock for writing about “packet switching” in 1961. Why? Because he published the first conceptualization of the internet, according to WWW FAQs. Aside from being interested in trivia, I looked this up because I wanted to find out who I can thank for the great professional development I am getting on a daily basis.

I am constantly able to have this professional development — gone are the days of PD events being the only source of PD. I am a student and I am getting PD in the palm of my hand if I want, via my twitter app on my phone. I have a blog that I can post about anything that pops into my head and get feedback on it from anyone, anywhere. I can do a little clicking around and read the blogs of other educators to gain inspiration, read about success stories, read about lessons learned, and watch videos of real students in class doing real schoolwork.

“Whoa.” That is all I can say about this, for I am in such awe. Over the last month, I’ve been very focused on becoming the best teacher I can be. I’ve always worked really hard at school and my internship, but I haven’t taken the opportunity to look outside the classroom walls enough. Now I am doing just that, and the information I’m finding is magnificent. Yes, it takes a lot of time, but it is beyond worth it. I don’t have to set a time parameter either — some days it’s five minutes, other days it’s an hour or two. I get out what I put in.

That seems to resonate with me — I get out what I put in. This is the whole internal debate I’ve been having with myself about motivating learners. I want my future students to get out what they put in, and I want them to want to put in a lot. Learning how to learn again (i.e. motivated by learner rather than by grades and averages) has been a huge learning curve for me, and I’m so glad I’m doing it. I am no where near perfect, I have a lot of work to do, and I am loving it.

Why Good People Matter

I cannot believe how blessed I am to have a small core group of math majors here at the U of R. For the majority of us, we’ve known each other since first year, and taken EMTH (math major classes) together since second year. We’ve gain a few wonderful people along the way, but on the whole, we’ve remained a united core group.

The Group of Math Majors

The Core Group of Math Majors

Teaching has evolved to be a profession of sharing, communication, and collegial relationships. Getting to know other educators, whether its in the staff room, via twitter, or in an education class, is professional development at its finest. I’m so lucky to be learning with a group of marvelous minds. We have the freedom to bounce ideas off one another, laugh about the number of coffees required to complete a project, and collaborate on our work. This environment has definitely been the biggest and most positive influence on my education so far. No textbook or class can make up for the knowledge and experience I’ve gained in the last four years.

A funny thing happened last week: I had a huge mind shift over reading week. Initially when I got back to school after my internship, I was so antsy to get back into the classroom. I was completely unmotivated to work at all. I had no desire to work for the extra mile. I thought that the last semester was going to be a real downer. I don’t know exactly what cause the mental change, but I think a combination of attending WestCAST, alone time to be with my thoughts, building my twitter network, blogging more often, reading more blogs, reflecting for a lot of classes, spending time with non-education friends, and spending time with education friends lead to my mind-shift.

I want to learn. I want my students to learn. I want to be a better teacher. I’m not done learning how to be a better teacher. Learning to teach doesn’t just happen on the job. I have 14 fantastic resources every day at EMTH (13 peers and my professor), and I don’t want to waste a minute of it.

I came back from WestCAST absolutely jazzed about teaching. It’s not that I necessarily learned about a ground breaking teaching methods or some miracle classroom management technique. I learned about a lot of things, most of which were building on ideas I’d been pondering for a while now. However, I started to digest all of the ideas and concepts I ran into and decided to become my own teacher–I want to be the best for my students and for myself.

I could get into a whole other can of worms here with regards to assessment and evaluation, but I won’t. I will comment that this year, grades really aren’t important to me. This year, I want to learn because I can, not because I have to in order to keep up my average.

I know this epiphany wouldn’t have happened if I were just taking courses and not interacting with my core group of math majors. I can absolutely thank (or blame…) them for my epiphany and all my learning to date. EMTH 450 (Winter 2012) — if you are reading this, thank you. And Rick, if you are reading this, thank you.