Professional Learning Communities

My journey of integrating technology in my classroom has been a long one.  When I started out as a teacher I was eager to use technology in the classroom.  It started off very small by having students use the classroom Promethean Board, using the computer to complete Accelerated Reading quizzes to having students create their own videos on showing others how to solve problems.  I would not have been able to get better at integrating technology in the classroom if it wasn’t for the support team within my school and my outside communities.  The following are some of the communities that have helped me in my digital learning journey.

Twitter Community

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I have had a professional Twitter account for about two years.  In my first year I did not add any content.  I would only use my account to search for other professionals integrating technology and how they did it.  I would also follow fellow colleagues from my district and across the country.  I would also follow the feed of the applications I would be using in the classroom.  This helped me find out the latest updates, tips and tricks for using the application, and to communicate with them if something is wrong with the application.  It was very daunting to me to post anything on twitter, so I stayed away from actually tweeting.    I always asked myself, “Can I tweet this? Is this okay? Would parents be okay with this?”  I was also upfront with my students’ parents making sure they knew what I was doing in the classroom when it concerned technology.  After my first year I made a goal for myself that the next school year, which was last year,  I would be a more active tweeter.  I gave my students’ parents my Twitter handle and made a point to tweet at least once a week.  My Twitter community became larger.  I have more followers and I have a bigger community that I can follow for inspiration and collaboration.  As I go through my journey I will be looking to my Twitter community for support, ideas, and to show my contribution of technology in my classroom.

Sheldon ISD Digital Learning Cohort

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This community was design by Sheldon ISD through a partnership with November Learning.  They asked for volunteers from the five elementary campus.  When the school year began, the teachers and a representative from November Learning met and discussed what digital learning in the classroom meant to them and how we can integrate it to help students become critical thinkers.  In the cohort we created a Wikispaces blog.  This blog was created to show our reflection in our digital learning journey, to share our technology lessons and our collaboration with other colleagues.  Throughout the school year we met once a month to talk about how we can better serve our students in their own digital learning journey, to create lessons, and to talk to fellow teachers about collaborating on lessons.  At first, all this work was very overwhelming, and I was not sure what I got myself into.  As the year went on I came to realize the value of this community.  I had a community that consisted of over 20 teachers with coaches at my disposal not to mention digital learning lesson plans.  I have used this as a reference to help me in the classroom and meet with other teachers who I can start to collaborate with so later on I can go out of my circle and collaborate with other teachers.

South by Southwest Edu (SXSWedu) Community

I was unaware of this SXSWedu community up up until a  year ago when I saw a fellow colleague tweet about them.  SXSWedu is a roughly new component of the South by Southwest festival.  The conference consists of four days of presentations, workshops and many other education related activities.  I have not had the pleasure of attending this conference, but from what I hear my colleague attended the show of  new innovations for usage of technology.  I would have a wider selection for collaboration and ways to connect with other colleagues. I have subscribed to their newsletter and am keeping up to date with the information they put out.  One day, I would like to attend this conference and I have set a goal to present at this event as well.

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