Saturday, October 26, 2013

The Power of Self Directed Professional Learning & Social Networking Services

I just finished spending two days at the Educational Computing Organization of Ontario's (ECOO) "Bring IT Together" Conference in Niagara Falls. This wonderful opportunity was provided by the Ministry of Education as part of my 2013-2014 Teacher Learning and Leadership project.

The organizers did a fantastic job of bringing together a variety of people (mostly educators) who put on great presentations. The amount of choice was staggering but very apt for people who are interested in directing their learning. My self directed professional learning lead me on the following journey:

- #ecoo13 Thursday Keynote"Relentless Adaptation"+Amber Mac

Amber Mac in the middle of her keynote at #ecoo13
- Google Blends with Anything! Blended Learning with Google in the Classroom  - +Julie Millan

- Google Chromebook Implementation and Use - A View from 4 Levels: Board CIO, Principal, Teacher and Student Perspective - +Mark W. Carbone+Andrew Bieronski, +Ed Doadt

- Supporting the Development of 21st Century Competencies: Letting Technology do the Dirty Work - +Steve Joordens

- How Technology Can Break Down The Walls of School - Andrew Campbell+Jennifer Chan

- Leadership in the 21st Century - A Model for Change - Scott Johnson

- Professional Learning and Expression - Aaron Puley, Lisa Neale

Feel free to select any of the links above to learn more about the presentations. The sessions were all very engaging, informative, and motivating. They will prove to be helpful in one way or another to my practice moving forward. With respect to my portion of the TLLP, blended learning using the Chromebook, I am building my capacity in terms of how the device works and its Google Apps for Education (gafe) capabilities. Furthermore, I am deepening my learning about 21st Century teaching/learning and the use of technology to assist. There is nothing better than learning opportunities that motivate me and allow me to immerse myself fully.

Aside from the formal learning opportunities I referred to above, I had the privilege of meeting face-to-face with some of the people who are part of my professional learning networks (PLNs) on Twitter and Google+. I also added many new people to my networks who I met at #ecoo13.

Aviva Dunsiger (@avivaloca), Adele Stanfield (@adeletweets), Andrew Campbell (@acampbell99), and Jennifer Chan (@jennzia) sharing a laugh at lunch time at #ecoo13
My PLN's via Twitter and Google+ have proven to be valuable resources. These people engage in discussion about a variety of educational topics/issues, they provide support/guidance for each other, and are always willing to share. They are excellent communicators, collaborators, and life long learners. The four people pictured above have provided me with support at one point or another and I am grateful for their time, energy, and expertise. The great thing about the two social media sites I refer to are that they allow ME to choose when, where, and how I engage others around my learning and/or their learning. It has connected me to many gifted people. They say it takes a village to raise a child. I am fortunate to be part of a huge villages called Twitter and Google+!

If you are not on Twitter or Google+ I urge you to consider joining one or, even better, both sites. They are very powerful tools that will allow you to learn, share, and network with people locally and globally. As one of my teachers once said, these social networking services are

"...akin to a river. The water never stops flowing and you choose when to come to the river and how much water you will take away." - +Anthony Carabache 

If you are interested but have questions or reservations, please feel free to ask me. If I don't have the answers we can search them out together! I look forward to hearing from you soon and seeing you on Twitter and Google+.

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