Though I am retired from public education, keeping my Alabama administrative licensure alive is a priority. To fulfill the requirements, I am participating in several technology-related online courses. This latest is entitled “Developing and Growing Personal Learning Networks.” The final project for the course is to answer this question on my blog, allowing classmates to comment, while I in turn comment on their responses:
Reflect on how your personal learning network has changed and grown during the course of this workshop. Discuss your plans for how you plan to continue to grow your learning network and how you hope to contribute to the professional learning of your administrative colleagues.
The change in my personal learning network can be summed up in one word…growth. More people are following me on Twitter, I am following more people, more have visited my blog, and I have subscribed to additional blogs. The larger the network, the more valuable the network becomes for all of its members. My recent post on the value of the first fax machine illustrates that concept.
Like a snowball rolling downhill, a PLN gathers momentum and volume. Just before beginning this post, I started following @RickWormeli (and if you have ever heard Rick speak, you know what a leader in the field he is.) How did I even know he was on Twitter? Fellow author and friend @BarbBlackburn retweeted @ToddWhitaker who was letting everyone know about @RickWormeli. So I started following both @RickWormeli and @ToddWhitaker. I look forward to the insight I can gain from both of these giants, and learn while sitting comfortably at home, waiting in line at the grocery store, or awaiting boarding at the airport. Learning can now happen anywhere.
The course has caused me to focus on why I do what I do. In the forum, I have found myself talking about why I blog and why I use Twitter. I also found myself expanding those thoughts into blog posts earlier this month. March has pretty much been social networking month on this blog!
Eye on Education picked up on this thread and posted a reference to three of my blog posts related to Twitter. A retweet of “How Can I View Twitter? Four ways to view/compose content on #Twitter” was one of Eye on Education’s 5 most popular tweets of the week.
Perhaps the most significant new concept for me is a very practical application of QR codes. You will see an example on the right-hand column of this blog…that black and white square that probably makes no sense. What is it? What does it do? Stick around. Those are other posts for other times, but they are coming…
Where do I go from here? Stay the course. Continue to play in the bigger game and do my best to say things worth hearing and hear the things too significant to miss. Come join me!
pagnewMarch 19, 2011 5:14 pm
I enjoyed your final synopsis of the course. And you are right, the key word is growth! I have grown through this course both personally and professionally. More importantly, my classroom has grown through the course. Though the dimensions of my classroom are the same as they were 6 months ago, there are now windows (metaphorically) that can see out the world. And, even more exciting, those windows open so that ideas can be shared. I am excited about the learning opportunities that are now going to be available to my students… and to me!
Would you agree that our next big hurdle is helping school administrators, parents, and community stakeholders overcome their fears and skepticism about the use of social networking tools? How can we help convince these people that social networking opens up learning opportunities that are unimaginable, but truly enriching and meaningful?
Dr. Frank BuckMarch 19, 2011 5:40 pm
I think you are on target, especially in terms of overcoming skepticism. Like so many other things, we use them and benefit from them even though others have the notion they are useless at best and evil at worst.
Then one day, someone looks over our shoulder and says, “Wow! How do you do that?” and the windows you speak of opens wide. It is at that moment that someone else sees the how life could be a little easier and more enjoyable.
Shawna NormanMarch 21, 2011 11:11 am
I think that you have hit the nail on the head. I think that most of us have experienced growth in one way or another. Some of us more that others. I hope to continue my growth by introducing more of my colleagues to what I have learned so our whole school can begin to grow together. Great post.
Mrs. PullenMarch 21, 2011 12:46 pm
I agree that a big hurdle is overcoming fears and skepticism. As educators, we are strongly discouraged from having a social networking site, yet, there are so many benefits. Through this course, I have seen many ways that these tools can be used positively!
Dr. Frank BuckMarch 21, 2011 2:09 pm
Shawna and Cynthia,
Thanks for stopping by and leaving your feedback! I have enjoyed being in this course with you.
Nutrition NewsMarch 22, 2011 9:56 am
You have been a big help to me during this course. You have gone “the extra mile,” even offering your e-mail address and personal assistance. Thank you! I have never been afraid of trying anything until now. I can’t explain it. The many new sources of information just seem to run together. I HAVE also grown tremendously and now I look forward to sorting through this information and using it, perhaps at a little slower rate of speed, in order to tailor it to my needs.
Dr. Frank BuckMarch 22, 2011 5:19 pm
Thank you for the kind words! Good luck with your blog. You have a great vision for what you want to do with it. With a little practice, the mechanics will become easy. Keep in touch.
Brenda Jolly, PhD.March 24, 2011 9:39 pm
I could tell from your first post that you were way ahead of the game.
You say you are retired, but I suspect you spend quiet a bit of time on your PLN’s. There is no retirement provided one stays in the game. Busy is busy and you are busy for “good.” Your comments have been helpful and I have learned from you.
Dr. Frank BuckMarch 25, 2011 9:01 am
You are much too kind! You pegged it, “retirement” is not really an accurate description of what life is like for me.
Brenda Jolly, PhD.March 25, 2011 3:39 pm
I am going to try to keep my blog current. If you would like to check in from time to time I would be interested in your thoughts.