Personal Learning Networks
I joined two new PLNs for this week's assignment and discussion and will elaborate on those as well as one I already belonged to.
The first one I joined is a Google+ community for New Google Sites, because I am creating my ePortfolio on New Google Sites and would like some tips and ideas on its use. I am actually very familiar with Classic Google Sites having used it for my teacher and content area site, but I disliked the dated look of the pages and the cluttered and confusing user interface, so I decided to go with the new version for my ePortfolio. What I didn’t really like about the new version, is that even though it looks great and is extremely user friendly, there are much fewer customizable elements. I was especially missing the ability to add gadgets or widgets from other websites and services, so was definitely looking for a workaround from the community. I actually did find an article posted there about how to achieve this using Google Script Editor; I was able to solve my problem and learning some new coding skills!
The second was education themed threads on Reddit. I found an article, How to Use Reddit to Pump Up Your STEM Classroom and PLN, that provides a whole list of subreddits (which are basically categories) that a Reddit user can subscribe to. Reddit does make a good PLN, because the subreddits cover diverse topics in education, are searchable and often feature experts in the field. Any user can also create a new subreddit or thread to discuss a specific topic. I subscribed to Physics and Science Teachers from that list, and looked up and subscribed to a subreddit called DigitalLearning. I have browsed some of the threads and participated in discussions on educational topics, asked questions to users about activities they have shared from their classroom, and took a research survey for someone developing a platform to teach data science to secondary students.
I have been a member of Google for Education Certified Trainers group since this past summer, when I applied to and was accepted as a GECT. I posted a screenshot below to share what the group page looks like because it is a private group that is accessible only to trainers. This PLN serves to help trainers network, communicate and share resources. I find that is a great place to learn more about the training field and the kind of work trainers are doing, and to search the discussion boards archives if I need information on a topic. There are also many resources available on core and non-core Google Apps and hardware arranged by topic.
I have also recently joined Twitter and find that if you follow the right people you can be exposed to a wealth of knowledge and resources, as well as interact directly with people who are experts in my field. One thing that is frustrating about Twitter is that here is no way to bookmark or categorize posts that you want to save for future reference, beyond just clicking on ❤️. I am also just learning about Twitter chats, so I will make it a point to try out an education related one soon.
I am definitely consuming more than I am contributing at this point; I don’t consider myself to be an expert yet in any field, but I do want to see what experts have to say and share. However, I am coming around to the idea that you don’t have to be an expert to have good ideas and have a voice. Using my voice to share my knowledge and resources and to initiate discussions, will also give me a source of feedback, so I will definitely continue using the resources above to further my professional growth.
Becker, W. (2015, February 13). How to Use Reddit to Pump Up Your STEM Classroom and PLN. It’s About Time. Retrieved from http://blog.iat.com/2015/02/13/how-to-use-reddit-to-pump-up-your-stem-classroom-and-pln/
Crowley, B. (2014, December 31). 3 Steps for Building a Professional Learning Network. Education Week Teacher. Retrieved from https://www.edweek.org/tm/articles/2014/12/31/3-steps-for-building-a-professional-learning.html
Hawksey, M. (2017, October 24). Embedding almost anything like a Twitter Search widget in new Google Sites with Google Apps Script. MASHe. Retrieved rom https://mashe.hawksey.info/2017/10/embedding-almost-anything-like-a-twitter-search-widget-in-new-google-sites-with-google-apps-script/