We have all sat in hours-long professional development sessions. Sometimes we are energized and sometimes we are bored. We in this Thinkfinity Community have all connected with our colleagues, peers, and experts in education and technology. Almost 55,000 strong, do you think that social networking can replace traditional hours-long professional development.
I like getting together with my colleagues for professional development. We have a fun, relaxing day and go back to the classroom energized.
That being said, I also think educators have multiple styles of learning. I have friends who jump in and and learn a new technology on their own, some of my friends buy a book and read first, and others need the structure of a class setting.
What I like about social networking, and in particular, Thinkfinity Community, is I can get my questions answered and not be made to feel I'm stupid. Thank you all.
Social networking, i.e. Twitter, is already replacing long professional development.
#SSchat is the group I am associated with. They meet every Monday from 7-8 EST. Great group of highly motivated social studies teachers who discuss content, pedagogy, and technology, as well as other issues.
They are also online all rest of the week. If you have a question, or a problem, follow them on Twitter.
#engchat meets Tuesday from 7-8 EST.
#APUSHchat also meets Tuesday 7-8 EST
Apparently, teachers are looking for social networks that protect their published comments and are dedicated to their own profession. Check out the article--"Social Networks For Teachers On The Rise As Popular Social Media Raise Concerns"--published under Education in The Huffington Post, January 10, 2013.
Do you agree with the writer's comments that teachers are looking for social networks that cater to their own professional interests?
If that is the case, then can social networks impact the way teachers acquire professional development opportunities?
It's long been the case that people want their comments protected. Back when we old folks used email discussion lists and chatted real-time with MOOs, we always had to make it clear when transcripts would be open and online for everyone and anyone to read. The problem is always that someone can say something that later is found and read by colleagues at the local school or district.
I think it's obvious too that teachers want to connect with educators who have similar interests. I teach writing and literature. I may gain something from talking with a calculus teacher, but I'm going to gain more by talking to other teachers of writing and literature if we're discussing very specific matters.
All teachers though can talk about classroom management and pedagogical techniques that work across the content areas. Recently I've spent time learning more about Connected Learning. Since the conversations focus more on the strategy than the discipline, educators from a variety of content areas can have useful discussions together. Honestly, I think that's why the Online Tools for Educators does so well here. The focus is on strategies and tools so it supersedes specific disciplines.
For me I think it's similar to the students in a classroom, there is no one size that fits all. The empowerment that technology allows through speed and multiple avenues provides the "just in time support" many of us need. Additionally you can discuss and collaborate both online and in person and its equally powerful. I think the true benefit is the many professional development oppportunities are at our fingertips not matter which style suites you best.
Yes, yes, yes! More webinars are coming for you to schedule into your personal learning plan. Watch the Webinar Index
Thinkfinity Community Manager
I saw your comment to Jane and thought I would answer your question. Absolutely, we would be happy for you to share the Webinar Index with your Literacy Program Coordinator. I encourage you to have her join the Thinkfinity Community if she has not already become a member. We want educators to participate in the webinars and use the Community resources in their work. You also may want to suggest that she participate in discussions and share her expertise.
Members who actively engage with other Community participants are our best form of marketing to have colleagues join our Community. We appreciate your interest in Thinkfinity and continued support of the resources available.
Thanks for encouraging others to join the webinars.