Monday, July 19, 2010

Professional Learning Opportunities: Always Available

As recently as three years ago, I was the person who checked email every three days, read books for information, and went to conferences to learn and talk to other teachers.

Little by little, that all began to change.

It started with email. I went from once every three days to once a day.

Then, I got a blackberry.

Now, I check email every ten minutes (or so).

As far as books go, I still read books. I love books. But now, some of them come via Amazon on my Kindle and…I have discovered I can get information—good information---on the Internet.

I joined Diigo.(search litbuilder)

I joined Twitter.

(I have yet to join Facebook).

And now, I have a constant stream of cutting edge information coming across my desk at every hour of every day.

Some days, I feel like I can’t keep up. The things to see and do and learn online are endlessly fascinating. I start clicking at five in the morning and I look up and it’s noon and I’m still in my pajamas. I’m smarter, but man, when will I have time to do the work I’m paid to do?

As a staff developer, I am often caught in the crossfire between teachers who want more professional development and administrators whose hands are tied because of dollars. I have watched ‘not enough training’ become an excuse for abandoning new ideas and approaches in the classroom on countless occasions. In an age when I am wondering how to scale back my learning because it seems to consume too much of my time, I wonder how it is possible that educators feel like there isn’t enough information to do the job well.

As I mull over my thoughts about this school year, I am thinking about building personal learning networks and harnessing technology for professional growth and development. I have done some of my best learning at home in front of my computer in the company of thousands of like-minded educators. The question now is, how can we help ALL teachers recognize that professional learning opportunities abound, you just need to know how to access them?


Julie Niles Petersen said...


I am a new reader to your blog and I have to say, you took the words right out of my mouth. I cannot speak about my PLN highly enough. I am on Twitter as @TWRCtankcom and am going to follow you right after I post this. I'm also on Facebook and love it! There are so many great educational pages and Facebook has some extra features that Twitter doesn't. I'm guessing you also participate in the many different Nings around the Internet, too. Life is grand these days for people who just can't quench their thirst for knowledge, isn't it?


P.S. I loved your bio!

Kim Yaris said...

I don't know whether to laugh or cry. You've just upped the urgency level to get on Facebook!