The commonality of the tools we have been reviewing is sharing.

tag2The penultimate week of this program (SLAV Personal Learning Network PD) has us reviewing more presentation and cloud computing tools – Slideshare, DocStoc, Scribd and even Google Lit Trips are all highlighting the potential we now have to create, store and share information or information products on-line.

This has been the recurrent theme throughout the past 11 weeks of this program.  The change in thinking that our work, whether it be teacher preparation or research or student writing, is now open to sharing in so many ways.  We have investigated site after site that allow us to share in a number of ways – whether pictorially (Flickr, Wordle, Tagxedo, Animoto etc),  in diagrams ( or in words (Google forms etc)

Teachers are supporting each other by sharing great blogs or sites on Twitter and children are teaching each other by commenting on other children’s blogs.  It is all about changing the mindset from the inward looking to outward bound.

The benefits of the broadening of scope are unfathomable and of course require management.   Whilst we consider that we have the worldwide audience we tailor our input for that fact.  We create a positive on-line presence and enjoy the benefits of that activity.  We consider the relevance of what we read, the authenticity of the information, the reliability of the sources and we decide what material we deem worth sharing.

We learn from diverse cultural exposure – we see that schools in other parts of the world are tackling the same issues that we are.  In some cases they have tackled an issue already and we can use that knowledge instead of re-inventing the wheel.    We can affirm great work by other students or teachers in a way not possible before the advent of these tools.

I will certainly be looking at all the PD offered to staff at school in a different light from now on.  This process has opened the door to such scope of experience.

The ability to self regulate the information, listen to a podcast that interests me, when I am ready, ask questions to people I know will try and help.  This form of professional development interests me more than formal training opportunities that come across the staff room table (although I suppose they still have their place).  I think I will be reading Twitter, browsing and pondering blogs, enjoying Elluminate sessions, attending the Reform Symposium and continuing to find out what is going on in the great big world out there.   All this, so I bring some insights back into my teaching and we all benefit – hopefully!

Another amazing PD opportunity – without leaving home

ag2We are coming to the end of the current SLAV PD Personal Learning Networks for Victorian schools program. It has been amazing. Our first task, many weeks ago was to create a blog to record our reflections and demonstrate our learnings. I have taken to blogging like a duck to water – I love it – writing is a great way to sort out your knowledge and often it makes you justify your stance on an issue.  Blogging then brings an entirely different dimension to your writing as others may read it and hopefully add to your thinking by commenting.

I was already a keen Web 2.0 user but this program has provided me with the opportunity to re-consider the applications I knew and get to know many more. I have been thrilled that some fellow staff members have joined this project and the results are tangible within our school. The level of awareness has dramatically increased and we are now all on the same playing field.

This type of learning – on-line, self-paced, interactive and individualised, seems to be the way of the future for professional development.    Twitter has announced (or at least that is where I found out about it) another wonderful PD opportunity – the 2010 International Reform Symposium.  As WhatEdSaid states

Now you can learn from great educators in other parts of the world, without ever getting off the couch. What you miss will be recorded so you can even learn in your own time…….. The presenters are absolutely inspirational educators!

There will be the obvious time difference issues as the timetable is based in the US, however due to the wonders of technology – recording will be made and we can view the content at more respectable hours. The content described so far on the website include :

  • Using Word Clouds to integrate reading and writing
  • Introducing Web 2.0 into your classroom
  • EduBlogging
  • It’s not the tool- It’s how you use it
  • Effective Leadership in schools
  • Only in 140 characters?
  • This Ain’t Your Mother’s Classroom: Why You Need to Use Social Media in Your Classroom

People  will be tweeting their findings and ideas and queries using the #rscon10 hash tag.   So the learning will go on ……….

For more info see iLearnTechnology and 2010 International Reform Symposium.