180 days of learning

180 days of learning

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#INeLearn

January 11, 2013

ImageThe Indiana Department of Education has an outstanding Department of eLearning.  One of their many initiatives is to host twitter chats each Thursday night from 8:00p.m.-9:00p.m.  The chats kicked off last night under the hashtag #INeLearn and Plymouth tweeps far outnumbered the tweeps from anywhere else in Indiana!  I’d like to thank everyone who participated for helping to kick off the chats in a very positive way.  You can read an archive of the chat here (created with Storify by @allieLholland).  Look at the archive to find some great people to follow.

Twitter and Twitter chats have been the main means by which I have built my professional learning network (PLN).  I have been able to make great connections with people like @chrislehman @patrickmlarkin @gcouros @candicedodson @jbailey626 @Mr_Roseberry3b.  Some of these people are educators in similar roles, some are statewide leaders and all have contributed to my knowledge.  The benefits of these interactions have been numerous:

  1. I don’t have to go anywhere to interact with people that I would normally have to go to a conference to see.
  2. Connections we’ve made have allowed us to bring resources and knowledge to Plymouth that otherwise would not have happened.
  3. If I have a question, I get it answered by people who are able to see outside the box.  They aren’t familiar with Plymouth or even Indiana in many cases.  This provides a perspective that I wouldn’t get otherwise.

Things I’ve learned from my professional learning network:

  1. There is no silver bullet to improving student achievement.  Abundant amounts of reading, writing, and discussing are key and there are many eLearning strategies that facilitate this.
  2. As Will Richardson puts it, “we live in an age of abundance.”  Information is easily available.  I haven’t quite figured out what this will mean for us yet, but I see it changing things.
  3. I CAN reach out to some of the best minds in education.  I recently was struggling with strategies for preparing kids for a test and encouraging inquiry at the same time.  I reached out to @chrislehman who is the principal of a school famous for this.  I instantly got a reply with a link to a post explaining some of his school’s principals.
  4. Lastly and probably most importantly, I have to be a contributor.  People want to connect with people that they can share ideas with and with people who are willing to put their thoughts out there.  As soon as I started to contribute more within my professional learning network I felt as though I was also gaining more from it.

I’d like to encourage all of our PCSC educators to develop a professional learning network in 2013!  The IDOE’s twitter chats on #INeLearn is a great place to start (Thursday’s 8:00 p.m.-9:00 p.m.)  If you are someone who is interested in building a professional learning network and would like some help we have awesome eLearning coaches in Plymouth who can help!  @allieLholland @bbusseWDA @curtisJcurtis…and I’d love for everyone to connect with @danfunston!

by Dan Funston, Assistant Superintendent

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