P to the L to the N

P to the L to the N This week I chose to focus on my PLN. Personal/Professional Learning Networks are a way of titling the people & things that you learn from. I chose to share my PLN to my blog both as a cathartic way of figuring out how all my webs of learning fit together, but also to share with you, my readers, how there are many opportunities and connections can be available. One of course being this blog.

Full disclosure – I have never thought of myself as a lonely educator…instead I feel like connections are what makes me THRIVE as an educator.

In doing this exercise on the nifty tool of Popplet –  a bit more intuitive to use than my previous mind-mapping website, mindmeister.com – I discovered three key things.

First my PLN is enormous! The orange represents the people who contribute to my PLN, the pink represents the social media that I access, the blue represents the education writers, and the gray some of the education advocacy groups I belong to. Here are some closer up screenshots of what I’m referring to:

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I give a lot of credit to the fact that I was born into and married into a fantastic group of educators so from the womb I have been surrounded by a great Personal Learning Network. That PLN has completely inspired and helped to create my Professional Learning Network.

Second, technology expands my PLN, but the largest group of contributors to it are the people behind the technology and the people I interact with through conversations, chats, emails, observations, and collaborative writing.

Third, as completely reflected in my expansive Popplet, I love to be involved. I have really worked this year on expanding my PLN to take advantage of the opportunities that are out there for educators. That’s why I blog for Big History Project, National Board and was accepted for an America Achieves Michigan Ed Voices fellowship. If I am not elevating the voice of educators, someone else will. This year, my goals are to  continue to use Twitter to expand my PLN as well as continue to seize opportunities to present my ideas on education.  What does your PLN look like?

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Learning what I’ve always wanted to do…

This week I spent wrestling with the next assignment I was given in my CEP Michigan State class. At first, the topic doesn’t sound daunting – choose to learn something you have always wanted to learn, but you can only use Youtube and internet forums for help. Actually, the second part of this assignment was not as challenging. For help I almost exclusively go to my computer & the internet. I feel as though this part of the assignment will feel very comfortable to me. It’s the first part that I spent all week thinking about. What exactly do I want to learn and document over four weeks?

I thought and discarded many ideas, from learning how to tie a tie (ummm, only a skill for my husband to learn, thank you very much), dribbling a basketball (nope, it’s January), or learning to French braid my daughter’s hair (not quite the most reliable toddler model out there).

 imgresThen I thought of what I haven’t had time for this school year and the answer became clear. My pictures! I have a Canon camera that I received after the birth of my first daughter. I have taken MANY pictures of my daughters and refuse to pay a professional, but for Christmas this year I decided I wanted to learn how to edit those photos and make them that much closer to a professional’s touch. I received Adobe Photoshop, but I haven’t been able to find the time or the motivation to start challenging myself to learn how to edit these photos so they reach my lofty ideals. From this thought, I realized I found my Networked Learning project. I will be documenting as I learn how to use Adobe Photoshop and other editing tools to make professional-like quality photos (I hope!).

I “pinned” a couple Photoshop help sites already and saved the Adobe Photoshop resource site. I can’t wait!

Back to school – always on the quest to learn!

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In 2015, I recommitted myself to blogging! Although a firm push is from the requirements for Michigan State’s CEP 810, I am relishing the opportunity to put my inspired thoughts about education out into the world.  I am challenging myself to sharpen my skills and knowledge about learning through educational technologies through this course, so for much of the first part of 2015 that will be my editorial focus.

The task this week was to create a blog (or in my case – start a new one) and write an essay about what learning is and how the learning processes of experts and novices differ. In this essay, found here: http://goo.gl/UnZZz7 I reflected on realizations I had from reading the text of Bransford, Brown, & Cocking’s (2000) How People Learn. Much of my reflection centered around how my current experience as a curriculum coordinator in a blended learning program relate to the assigned topic. I look forward to hearing thoughts, comments, and/or suggestions about my work!