Tonight just proved that it pays to plug in…
Angela Maiers, whom I dearly admire, asked me to be a part of her graduate course that she is facilitating via Skype tonight. I was more than happy to oblige. We worked out technology configurations to assure that the class could hear me, as well as see me, and then we were in business.
I was asked how getting involved in the online education world has transformed my life and my teaching life. Well, how do you respond to that? It has done so much for me. I am new to the 2.0 education world. I finally realized there even was such a thing upon hearing Angela speak at an Omaha Public Schools engagement in July 2009. I quickly started my immersion in this world by searching for fellow educators, investigating new uses of technology in the classroom, and setting up multiple accounts on multiple sites. All of these things helped me see beyond my own school building, district, and city. I was connecting with educators not only across the country, but all around the world. I have been able to take my constant learning from these people with me in my personal life and more importantly, my professional life.
So just what have I plugged into…
– A blog on WordPress
– 2 Twitter accounts (I have an account set up for my students @Peters2ndgrade)
– Google Reader for RSS Feeds of all the blogs that I subscribe to
– Elluminate Live sessions
– Bought a Flip Mino and have uploaded video of my students to Vimeo account
I’m sure there are many more things that I’ve signed up for, joined, used, tried, or at least looked at that I can’t remember at this point (it has been a long day, after all).
“So what” you might say…”I do even more than that”. True, there are many people who do in fact do more, interact more, and reflect more. I’m simply saying that these are things that I have played around with, like to use, and feel proficient at. It takes some time to get used to these new technologies. That’s why I spend many nights, when not in class, immersing myself in web 2.0 tools.
But what does all of this mean in regards to my teaching. The world! I wouldn’t be half the teacher I am today without this network that constantly supports me. I am trying to transform my teaching to engage the 21st Century learners that walk through my classroom doors everyday. Of course, this is a move that goes against the grain…and that leads to isolation and being ostracized. In the past, that would have been devastating. But now, I look to my PLN to get the nerve to keep going on, and it works. I am empowered and ready to keep blazing trails!
So, you see…it pays to be plugged in because it not only gets you connected with someone like Angela Maiers, but it can change your life!