Administration is always encouraging us think about taking the opportunity to present. Last year I did a session on Web 2.0 tools for art education. For that session it was me presenting to a small group of art educators. This year I decided to tackle a much broader topic dealing with the benefits of having a PLN. Over the past year I have been amazed at how much I have been able to learn and grown as an educator through the use of social media sites. I called my session,“PLN: Pinterest, Twitter and Blogs…Oh My!” and hoped to get more educators on board.
Since the workshop was located in a lab with 25 computers, I didn’t expect to have a crowd any larger than that. Wow, was I wrong! There were people pulling in chairs from the room next door, others sitting on the floor and even more that would have attended but there was no more space in the room. It was amazing to see so many people interested in PLNs, and yet completely overwhelming to me at the same time.
Some of you in my PLN have been asking how things went and were hoping I would share my presentation. Overall, it was a good learning experience. Due to the number of people at the session things got pretty hectic. As we all know, teachers make the worst students. Everyone was excited to try things out and the noise level in the room was really high, which was fine execpt that it made it somewhat tough to actually present the information. In hindsight, I should have adjusted my strategy for the presentation when I saw the room filling up, but I did the best I could under the circumstances. As I said, I learned a lot and if I were to do it again I would definitely change some things up and share some different information.
Thanks for all of you that have given me support on this these past few weeks! I really appreciate it and am so thankful for having such a wonderful online PLN! Here are a few highlights from the session…
Why should you use Twitter for your PLN?
-It’s like a backyard BBQ. Lots of conversations are going on at one time. You can roam around and get involved in the conversations that are interesting to you.
-It's free professional development, anywhere and anytime you want to use it.
-There are thousands of other educators on Twitter that are interested in collaborating, sharing resources and discussing ideas. Together we can accomplish much more than we can alone.
-It's fast. You are limited to 140 characters. Scan quickly to discover new information in a matter of minutes.
You don’t need a lot of time to get involved with Twitter. Check in wherever you can to gain a little more knowledge!
Some people I recommend following from Tech Ed/General Ed:
@Web20Classroom :Educator, Speaker, Blogger, #Edchat Co-Creator…
@tomwhitby :Prof of Education. Founder:#Edchat,The EDU PLN Ning…
@rmbyrne : Teacher. Speaker. Writer. Google Certified Teacher.
@willrich45:Parent, author, speaker, blogger about social Web tools and their effect…
@coolcatteacher : Best teacher blog award winner, co-founder of Flat Classroom…
@NMHS_Principal: Principal of New Milford HS w/ an interest in EdTech +…
@bhsprincipal :Principal of Burlington HS (MA): NASSP National Digital…
Using hashtags will help you find the conversations that you are interested in. Including them in your tweets help others discover you as well! The following list was compiled from several Google searches...
#artsed- Art Education
#edchat – Education in general.
#edtech –Technology in education
#engchat – English
#ipaded – Using the iPad in the classroom
#kinderchat –Kindergarten-aged children
#mathchat – Math
#mlearning– Using mobile devices in your classroom
#musedchat – Music
#PhysicsEd – Physics
#scichat – Science
#sped- Special education
#SSChat – Social studies
Why should you use Pinterest for your PLN?
-It's one of the fastest growing social media sites in the world right now. So popular and so FUN! Addicting actually.
-There are so many inspiring ideas that other educators have already pinned from lesson plans, classroom management ideas, technology integration to bulletin board ideas.
-It’s an easy way to organize and collect information. Make a specific board for a lesson you want to teach and keep all of your resources together in one place. I use it in class to show students lesson materials.
-It’s perfect for the visual learner (especially all us art teachers!)
Here is an overview video on Pinterest created by Theresa McGee, an art educator in my PLN!
The key to using Pinterest for your PLN is to find other educators in your content area to follow. Their new pins will appear each time you log on. Once you find a few people you are interested in following see who they follow, and then follow those people too. Build your network this way. You can select to follow all of the boards from a person or select certain boards that interest you.
A few suggestions of people to follow:
TES Teaching Resources
As for blogs, I ran out of steam both at the presentation and on this blog post. If you don't have a Google reader, you should set one up now. It's an amazing way to stay current with what's happening in education and stay connected to others in your field. Follow this video to do that!
Two of my favorite art ed blogs are:
Thanks for all of your interest! You can follow me on Twitter here and on Pinterest here. Please share who you recommend following on Pinterest, Twitter and Blogs too!