Building My Personal Learning Network

On my journey to become a teacher it is very important that I develop a personal learning network. A personal learning network is a group of people where I can learn and share ideas from, as well as voicing different opinions on my journey to become a anti-oppressive educator. The growth of my PLN in the past year has had a great influence on my pre-service teaching. Online sources such as Twitter, blogs, Pinterest, and Wikispaces have all become a part of my journey in education.

Twitter is my favourite part of my PLN. This is because Twitter allows for anyone to chat and share resources specific to what you are looking for. For example, in my EMTH217 class with Dr. Rick Seaman encouraged me to find out creative ways to teach area and perimeter. I used Twitter and discovered the popular Minecraft game as an excellent tool through @minecraftedu. I used Minecraft as a way to teach area and volume in my EMTH217 class.

In ECS210, during the Olympic games I followed the LBGT rights in Russia on Twitter and on the news. I tweeted a picture of the German coats as they had very similar to the colours of the Gay Pride flag.  I was very proud of this post as it caught the attention of many.  LBGT rights were a major topic studied throughout the ECS210 course.  I shared and retweeted many topics that other teachers had found that I could discuss in my classroom regarding this social justice issue.  I retweeted the Michael Sam coming out as gay, and being the first to do so as a NFL draft pick and NFL player. Through Twitter I was able to find and share a lesson plan that teachers would be able to implement to discuss LBGT issues through the Olympics in Russia.  Just recently I have began to voice my opinion on the issue of having a anti-gay speaker come to speak in my hometown, Weyburn.  As a result I have directly voiced my opinion towards the speaker himself Peter LaBarbera.  All these resources are authentic, real world learning possibilities I can use in my classroom.  Through twitter I was able to collaborate with others, listen and respect others’ opinions, as well as voicing my own opinion on controversial social justice issues.

I have learned various views on masculinity in the teaching profession through my Twitter comment, Why do you think there’s a gender split in the elementary teaching profession? Female teachers outnumber male teachers 9:1″.  This discussion took place between Katia, Mike Cappelo, and Kayla Lamport.  In the lecture on Monday, March 31st I made one tweet in class “The mistake of “Leave ‘the street’ outside the classroom” similar to leaving your culture outside of school in residential schools”.  I heard from other students that the tweet I shared had a viewpoint that the other students in the class had missed.  Twitter is great for sharing different opinions, and ideas.

Blogs is something I have just started to expand on in the past semester.  I feel as blogs are great for expanding my PLN because many great teachers blog and share amazing ideas.  Dan Meyer, a math teacher who is currently studying math education at Stanford University shows how to make math fun and engaging to students with the use of technology.  I was introduced to him in my EMTH217 class.  Blogging in class was also a fun experience because it allowed us as students to engage and ask each other questions and think critically on what others opinions.  I really enjoyed reading other peoples opinions on my blog posts.  I feel as it is important that we blog about the activities we do in class.  I feel as we should be blogging about content that is relevant to our teaching in the future, as well as answering important relevant questions dealing with our learning.  For example the use of standardized testing in Saskatchewan,  this is important because it could affect us as teachers in the future.  Another example of having relevant blog posts includes one of my best posts is about the anti-gay speaker that is coming to my hometown of Weyburn on April 11th and 12th, 2014. This I found was an issue that speaks to many in our community.  Blogs are a great voice for opinions, ideas, and experiences.

I need to continue to push myself to keep updated on my blog. I need to try harder and set aside part of the day to blog and put comments on others blogs. I could have added more comments and responded to more comments this semester.   As a goal, I have decided to keep my blog updated and as well as adding different resources and teaching ideas over the summer.

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Pinterest is a great resource for teachers because of all the great ideas that are shared on education topics. One thing that I have discovered on Pinterest this year was an online binder filled with resources and lessons for inclusive education. This was a great resource that we could use for my group’s inquiry project on inclusive education in ECS210. I have followed many other teacher’s Pinterest boards as well as creating  my own Pinterest board.  I have placed  pins that are going to be relevant to my teaching practices.

I discovered the wonders of Wikispaces in my fourth semester here at the University of Regina. Already I have already created two excellent resources focusing on inclusive education, and healthy living and physical education. These are resources that I will be able to use on day in my own classroom.  We have created lesson plans, as well as placed a variety of ideas, strategies, and resources to aid in the different grades and subject areas. Furthermore, I have joined a Wikispaces page that a fellow colleague has created where we will combine all our lesson plans on one page. This will enable us to put a variety of lesson plans on the site so when we leave the university we could potentially be leaving with up to a few hundred lesson plans.

Overall the use of technology has guided me in a very positive way in my journey to become a teacher. I am able to connect with a variety of people and learn from the experts through twitter. I am able to research many different blog postings, and comment on blogs asking insightful, critical questions to aid in not only my personal learning network, but also others’ personal learning networks. Pinterest is something I am very new at, but I see the great potential it has for classroom ideas, strategies, lessons, etc. Pinterest has thousands of resources anyone will be able to use. Wikispaces are very similar to blogs, but to me I see Wikispaces as a place to go and gather information and resources.  A blog is a place to show one’s journey to become a teacher, featuring personal ideas, and information about oneself. Creating a personal learning network is exciting for me as I have a love for technology and I cannot wait to use it in my classroom one day.

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One thought on “Building My Personal Learning Network

  1. Curtis, Amazing work on Twitter all semester! Love this quote: “Through twitter I was able to collaborate with others, listen and respect others’ opinions, as well as voicing my own opinion on controversial social justice issues.” I’ll add…through Twitter you truly are a social activist in action! You are always professional, well-informed but you willing to research, think about, comment on and challenge controversial topics. You are one educator that many should follow!

    Good luck with your summer goal – keeping a blog updated is challenging but perhaps your voice will be heard by many more via Twitter. Your blog may be an ePortfolio which will amazing in itself.

    Well done and see you on Twitter! 🙂

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