Monday, February 15, 2016

professional learning is everywhere - just have to know where to look

I continually go back to Brad Currie's blog post, 100 Minutes a Week. The post talks about how you can spend just 20 minutes a day on professional learning.  Take a moment and read the post! I frequently have to remind myself it just takes 20 minutes.

Read a book, follow a hashtag, watch a webinar, read a blog post, and listen to a podcast.  Five simply ways you can gain personalized professional learning!

Lets look at each one and some go-to resources for each.  Of course, take some time and read (or reread Brad Currie's blog post above).

(1) Read a Book
New books are published everyday and just like textbooks, some are outdated the moment it hits the shelves.  I have come across a great series of books published by Corwin Press.  These are the Connected Educator series.  The books are quick reads, but full of useful information. I started with The Relevant Educator and find myself going back to it often as a reference.  Check out the Connected Educator's Series by Corwin Press.

(2) Follow a Hashtag
I have been on Twitter since 2009 and I haven't looked back!  I am able to connect with edtech gurus 24/7 and gain endless amounts of personalized learning.  A hashtag on Twitter is like a divider in a notebook.  Everything related to science goes behind the science divider in my notebook.  Think of hashtags like dividers.  There are hashtags for EVERYTHING and there are new ones created everyday.  One great place to check out is hashtag list on Cybrary Man's website. Don't let the list scare you, find your interest and go from there!

(3) Watch a Webinar
Webinars are great. I can watch from anywhere and if it is pre-recorded, I can pause and rewind. You can find webinars on sites like SimpleK12 and edWeb. Educational companies will also host webinars related to the product. These are helpful if you are thinking of making a purchase.

(4) Read a Blog Post
Blogs are great. Blogs are a way educators can share their failures, successes, and "verbalize" ideas. You can find classroom arrangement ideas, themed units, and thought provoking topics on blogs.  Some blogs, like Fifth in the Middle, provides lists of blogs by state.  You can also find some great blog suggestions here. (shameless plug for my Pinterest board) If you find yourself starting to follow a variety of blogs, take a look at Feedly. Feedly puts all of your followed blog posts in one location.

(5) Listen to a Podcast
Podcasts are my go-to resource when I have to drive alone. It is a great way to learn new ideas and forget about the fact you are driving somewhere for three hours!  Now, don't forget that you ARE DRIVING and if you need to write something down, pull over! I have the Podcast app on my phone and I am currently listening to Edchat Podcast, Edtechchat Podcast, Satchat Podcast, and Every Classroom Matters. A great list of Podcasts can be found on the BamRadioNetwork website.

That is a lot to digest!  I had a participant ask me during this year's MECA (MS Educational Computing Association) Conference how do you not feel overwhelmed.  If you go 100% on each suggestion, you will start to feel overwhelmed and want to through your hands up.  Find one or two that really click for you.  This is what is so great about personalized learning.  You pick the learning avenue!  If Twitter is your thing, then drive into Twitter.  If you are a visual learner, podcasts might not be for you.  You get to decide!

Did I miss a great resource?  Please share!



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