Doug Peterson from 'Off the Record' suggested that his readers share their PLN experiences and, as he plays a big part in my PLN, here I go!
Firstly, what is a Personal/Professional Learning Network to me? I see my PLN as my way to develop professionally; to find out - and share - new, cool, interesting resources and ideas; to find out how other educators deal with similar issues and challenges; to - especially as an international teacher - network and link up with like-minded educators from around the world.
As suggested, I'll use Sylvia Duckworth's amazing Sketchnote skills as a visual since my artistic skills are limited to say the least :)
The following sites are my go-to links to keep me up to date and on the pulse of education, technology updates and life in general... On top of my teaching colleagues, my family & friends - and sometimes my Facebook feed, these guys are my lifeline! I connect with these experts using my 'TOR' account and 'Twitter' through my 'feeddler' app and save and store any of my finds to my Diigo ready to share with my colleagues...
In no particular order...:
A Media Specialist's Guide to the Internet: http://mediaspecialistsguide.blogspot.com
Ask a Tech Teacher: http://askatechteacher.com
Free Technology for Teachers: http://www.freetech4teachers.com
Hack Education: http://hackeducation.com
ICT For Educators: http://ictforeducators.com
Kathy Schrock's Kaffeeklatsch: http://blog.kathyschrock.net
Langwitches Blog: http://langwitches.org/blog
Larry Ferlazzo's Websites of the Day...: http://larryferlazzo.edublogs.org
Ozge Karaoglu's Blog: http://ozgekaraoglu.edublogs.org
Tech Transformation: http://www.maggiehosmcgrane.com
The Electric Educator: http://electriceducator.blogspot.com
The Nerdy Teacher: http://www.thenerdyteacher.com
The Whiteboard Blog: http://www.whiteboardblog.co.uk
Google Gooru: https://www.thegooru.com
Educational Technology Guy: http://educationaltechnologyguy.blogspot.com
Mr. Bass Online: http://blog.mrbassonline.com
doug --- off the record: https://dougpete.wordpress.com
Blogging About The Web 2.0 Connected Classroom: http://blog.web20classroom.org
Around the Corner-MGuhlin.org: http://www.mguhlin.org
Lisa Nielsen: The Innovative Educator: http://theinnovativeeducator.blogspot.com
iPad Academy: http://ipadacademy.com
Global Digital Citizen Foundation: https://globaldigitalcitizen.org
The Digital Human Library: http://digitalhumanlibrary.com
More Than A Tech: http://morethanatech.com
The Ed Tech Roundup: http://www.edtechroundup.org
Cycles of Learning: http://www.cyclesoflearning.com/learning--instruction
Shake Up Learning: http://www.shakeuplearning.com
Managebac Blog: http://blog.managebac.com
Ditch That Textbook: http://ditchthattextbook.com
Leigh Cassell recently posted this excellent Prezi below from Jana Scott Lindsay on the Digital Human Library Blog, "Learning with Technology". Two things from this; FIRST, follow the blog - it's great! SECOND, this Prezi is well worth a look... :)
Maintaining a positive Digital Footprint is an essential skill these days and although many of our students role models (celebrities, musicians & even politicians!) fail miserably, it is our duty as educators to support them and ensure that our students are able to make good choices...
This site, created in collaboration with Kimberley Leiske, a counselor from GWA Dubai, shares topical discussions, thought-provoking videos and useful links to other resources in order to support us all. Have a look!
We are surrounded by cellphones, TV's, laptops, tablets and gaming consoles. We are consuming that technology like never before - to stay connected, to keep in touch, to communicate and to socialise. We recognise that this is different from when we were young and therefore we are able to USUALLY (with exceptions - anyone played Candy Crush!?) separate ourselves and maintain some semblance of balance.
Our children are different. They know no different.
Their role models - including parents, peers and celebrities - are using using technology all the time and children see this as normal. Without boundaries and guidance these 'digital natives' will struggle to find a balance.
SO how do we - as good parents - manage this? Here are my suggestions - things that I strive (it's not easy!) to follow with my son & daughter:
1. SET EXPECTATIONS THAT APPLY TO THE WHOLE FAMILY
Different rules for different members of the family will not work. Any expectations have to be agreed upon by parents and siblings alike. They need to see you agreeing with the rules that you are setting them. Practice what you preach!
2. MAKE THE AGREEMENTS TOGETHER
If you involve your children in the discussion they are much more likely to agree to the consequences. They will have ownership on the decisions made especially if it was them that suggested it in the first place. It's a team effort!
3. SET LIMITS
Whether you limit the time or the frequency, boundaries need to be in place. No matter what, you are still the parents and consequently, still should be making the decisions that are best for your kids. This should be a given. No means no!
4. EXPLORE THE ALTERNATIVES
There are so many other exciting, fun, interesting things to do as a family that do not require technology. Trust me - there is - you just have to search it out. Whether it's a trip to the park or the zoo, or quality family time building, making or playing something, you'll soon realise that technology is not the only option...
5. THINK ABOUT THE 'WHERE'
Access to technology needs to be monitored. When it is accessed behind closed doors, you - the parent - are no longer in control. Cellphone, laptop and iPad use should be limited to public areas of your home where a quick glance is sufficient to ensure the appropriateness of the site or game that they are playing.
6. THINK ABOUT THE WHERE... AND THEN THINK AGAIN
I see kids on iPads in cars, restaurants, parks - all over the place. The iPad is seen as the new babysitter. And it's a damn good one too! However, we should still be in control - technology isn't the only answer; a novel, a toy, a game, a sketchbook are all great alternatives as is conversation. Real time, two way, verbal communication that doesn't involve thumbs, electronic devices or a wifi signal :)
Ultimately, we are teaching our children what is right and what is wrong. We are teaching them how to behave and how to make good choices and even better decisions. This is not about technology this is about basic parenting. Did YOUR parents tell you that you had enough TV, that you weren't allowed out to play until you had done your chores, that you had to put the comic down until after you had eaten? I bet they did - and I bet YOU did as you were told...!
What do YOU think? What have I missed? And what do you agree/disagree with...?
Here is the presentation (my first Haiku Deck - great stuff!) I made to introduce this to parents from our school:
We have a 'Bring Your Own Educational Device' Program at our school and get a lot of questions from students and parents. One of the (many - see here for our FAQ's) most popular questions is 'What device will be best?' This changes every day, and depends on the student, the subject, the usage and MANY other factors. Basically WE tell them that it is really down to personal preference - what works best for them...
However, here is an article from TechRadar (thank you Dan Grabham!) which I believe could be VERY useful for those students/teachers/parents who are out looking for their next device.
Let me know if you find it useful - and which one you chose!
I get really frustrated when it presentations take longer to prepare for than they do to actually present. With the following tools, that no longer needs to be the case - these LITERALLY take MINUTES to create professional looking, high quality products... the only slow part is uploading the photos - but remember you can resize them first...!
With a Computer
Accessible from your browser, www.fotor.com is a 'no registration required' photo presenting tool. It is VERY easy to use and there are lots of features to keep you busy. Throwing together these photos took less than 60 seconds.
With an iPad
A colleague in school showed me this yesterday. Since then I have probably already made TEN collages and none of them took more than 60 seconds! Pic Collage (also available on Android) is the easiest - and most effective photo presenting app I have ever used.
Teach100 seems to do a great job to collate the very best of Education blogs. Selecting posts from some of this great blogs could be a great way for you to keep on top of current trends, resources and conversations in education... What do you think?
Over previous years, I have experimented with several different blog/website platforms and used all of them to a varying degree. There is no question that Weebly has become my favourite but for those who are interested in the reasons behind this, here are the arguments for & against the various platforms that I have trialed/tested/used over the past few years.
Please note that these are my personal reflections based on my experiences...:
**Please note: There are rumours that 'Posterous Spaces' will not be around for much longer...**
Hello, I am Tony Potts, Primary Assistant Principal at the American International School of Lusaka, Zambia. Please feel free to ask me ANY questions...
I was previously a tech integration specialist, ManageBac Coordinator, iPad Coach & ICT/MYP Design Teacher in the same school and before this I was the PK-12 Director of Digital Learning, ICT Coordinator, teacher and technology integration specialist at GEMS World Academy, Dubai.
Here are some of the sites that I have been involved in creating:
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