Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Take Control of Your Learning

~ Gandhi

Today, in my district and many across the country, students enjoyed a day of no school in honor of President's Day while staff attended Professional Development. For many educators the day consisted of "sitting and getting" information and training over state mandated assessments and/or district initiatives, and possibly time for collaboration and planning. While these are often necessary and even more often they are required, I still hear the low roar of the teachers who want more meaningful and relevant training. Is that true for you? Do you want professional development in which you learn from other educators in areas that matter to you? Would you like to learn something new and be able to apply it immediately in your classroom, on your campus, or in your district? Do you want to hear from like-minded educators who have struggles similar to your situation? If you answered "Yes!" to any, or maybe even all of the above questions, then I have a three-step solution for you.

Take control of your learning! While attending mandated PD sessions is out of your control, you can be in control of what you learn, when you learn, and how you learn it.
  1. Start by creating an account on Twitter. 
  2. Begin building your own Personal Learning Network (PLN) on this social platform.  
    • What is a PLN? Essentially, it's connecting with others to share, collaborate, and learn together about topics of interest to you. 
    • Search Twitter for published educational resources, such as Edutopia.
    • Here's a great list of suggested educators to follow on Twitter. 
  3. Take action! Don't just follow other educational gurus; share your passion, frustrations, experiences, give feedback and ask questions. In other words be a participant in your PLN!
    • One easy way to grow your PLN is to participate in Twitter Chats. Check out the Twitter Chat schedule to find one that interests you. 
    • My 3 favorites: TLAP, TX Ed, and Gueria11Ed!
    • With the right PLN, a little time and minimal effort, you can learn anytime, anywhere!
Earlier tonight I participated in a #TLAP Twitter chat with an international group who read the book Teach Like a Pirate by Dave Burgess. Tonight's topic focused on PD, obviously a topic dear to my heart. Through this chat I "met" other educators who have similar philosophies, gained a TON of ideas to ramp up my own PD sessions, and even incurred many resources to plan future PD opportunities. Why was this chat so beneficial? I CHOSE to participate; it was a topic of INTEREST to me; and I gained ideas and resources that I CAN USE in the very near future! Not to mention, I was at home on my couch in my comfy clothes! 

"Be the CHANGE you wish to see in the world!" Create or add to your PLN and find a Twitter chat to get connected. You'll be so glad you did!

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