Last week I attended a workshop which ran a small demonstration about personal learning networks. Personal learning networks are a tool to help teachers think outside of the box and to gain new ideas about teaching and learning beyond the confines of their school. For more information have a read of this post by Kim Cofino about First Steps Towards Becoming a 21st Century Educator
I made an effort last year to develop a personal learning network, in part it involved developing this blog (surprisingly easy once you get into the swing of things) and set up a twitter account (much to my wife’s amusement… “isn’t that just for Justin Beiber types”). As an eLearning Coordinator I think it is important to seek fresh ideas and inspiration from other people in the same field and also important to reflect on what you are doing.
In the eLearning realm, blogging and twitter are ubiquitous, but in individual teaching subjects they are as rare as a good coffee in Singapore. Therefore it is a difficult job to ask teachers to find people to follow as I think this concept is a natural process of gradually finding people who are leaders in your field. In part this is why this blog has an economics slant to help economics teachers in 1:1 environments. I guess overtime more teachers will develop an online presence and be willing to share subject specific advice and provide inspiration.
(update: this is a good place to start looking to develop a subject specific network, Dr Scott McLeod – Education Blogs By Discipline. Thanks Keri-Lee 🙂
Some of my regular eLearning reads are the following. If you happen to be in the same professional thinking space as me I highly recommend each of them. For ideas on establishing a professional development network in Economics check out Geoff Riley’s comprehensive post on Tutor2u –Teacher Enrichment – Developing Your Own PLN
Steven Pearce – IT Integrator and School Administrator, Nexus International School, Malaysia
Steven’s blog posts are always thoughtful, reflective and well researched and focused on the 1:1 intiative at his school. He seems to write posts that evoke similar feelings and thoughts from me and always encourage me to click on a do a little more research. His latest post about Reverse Instruction and 1 to 1 Laptop Schemes is a good read and associated links to Dan Pink’s work useful.
Keri-Lee Beasley – Digital Literacy Coach – United World College, South East Asia, Singapore
This is one of the first eLearning blogs I followed. Keri-Lee writes prolifically about the use of technology in the Elementary school classroom and is always sharing new practical ideas. Along with her colleagues she is experimenting with the use of iTouch’s in the classroom. This is a good post about using games in the classroom – Games What Exactly Are Kids Using and there are lots of ideas on apps which can be used in the classroom.
Andrew Churches – eLearning Coordinator – Kirsten School, New Zealand
This is a eLearning Coordinator who I enjoy following. Each week he will produce a post entitled “On the Wire” which contains a raft of subject specific links. I have used his resources in the last month for Delicious, Chemistry and Google Earth. I could spend hours clicking away on either the blog or his wiki edorigami.wikispaces.com and exploring resources and is this is always where I begin to find some inspiration. Our school uses some of his research and excellent work about Blooms Digital Taxonomy to inform our professional development programme. A summary of this is here –Blooms and ICT Tools
Kim Cofino – Technology Facilitator – Yokohama International School, Japan
Finally, Kim’s blog is a very reflective and informative site a bit like Steven’s blog. Kim is in the process of establishing a 1:1 laptop initiative at her international school in Japan. She has written some excellent post lately about the model of professional development that her and the staff YIS are trying to develop. It is great to see such forward and strategic thinking…. failure to plan, is planning to fail. Her latest post, Planning a year of Technology PD is a good outline of what professional development could look like.