The commonality of the tools we have been reviewing is sharing.
The 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 (Bubbl.us) 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!