The last of my resources involve building my personal learning network (PLN) and professional development opportunities.
Cube for Teachers
These are just some of the many online resources I found for developing my PLN and locating online opportunities for professional development. The perks of these online platforms is that they are available, 24/7, to be accessed at the most convenient time for teachers. PLN’s will allow me to gain classroom know-hows and connections that can advance my career and my classroom into 21st century styles.
After going through 4th year and learning about backwards design, and 21st century teachers, I can see how much effort teachers really put into their work. Backwards design is time consuming, and Project based learning takes time as well. Teacher’s no longer have time to go on long conferences. I can imagine how many opportunities there are on professional development days, when you only have the chance to visit one, you may feel like youre missing out. Online platforms allow busy teachers to connect with many different opportunities at different times, different discussions are happening all over the world, everyday, every hour.
You know, I’ve always had this inner debate in my head about children and technology. I didn’t have access to google as a child, I had dial up internet, I didn’t have a phone until I was in grade 11; yet I turned out fine, so why do parents let their children have access to this stuff at such an early age? But, then I remember, that our society is advancing, we are moving into this 21st century classroom right from entry into schools in junior kindergarten, and I can see the perks! I believe my unease comes from a moral panic of all the dangers of the internet.
Aviva wrote a blog back in February, called “Reading and Writing, Google Style“. When I reread this blog while thinking about this RPAT, I realized, hey! Google is a resource!
During this blog, Aviva taught her students how to conduct a google search, and they were only in grade 1! This really made me think critically about my own perspective of children as active researchers. I think the dominant discourse of age=competency may have influenced my opinion of children’s ability to use the internet for research at such a young age. Then I realized, how else are children able to gain the ability to research appropriately unless we teach them? Why can’t we start teaching them in grade 1? (Notice my reflective practice being conducted here 😉 – Aviva is a strong example of a reflective practitioner)
Research is such a big part of the inquiry process that drives the new story model. I think as a 21st century teacher it is important to teach students how to use online resources such as google, so they are able to recognize appropriate and more scholarly resources/websites, which as Aviva demonstrates, children can do at the young age of 6-7.
Another great resource I discovered through The Global Classroom Project was a combination of of two websites, one directed towards teachers, the other students. PBSLearningMedia is a website that was created for a similar purpose that this final RPAT is for.The PBSLearningMedia is a curation of digital, media resources in a variety of formats that are targeted towards specific grades, subjects and topics. This website also allows you to favourite and share websites, allowing you to start making connections and networking with other teachers.
As an expansion of this website, PBSLearningMedia has created a student friendly/centred website as well. Students have the ability to explore topics themselves, when they click on a task or topic they are interested, they are directed to an online library of a variety of sources that discuss that topic, from websites, to videos, to audio recordings to interactive activities. PBSLearningMedia is a great opportunity for students to direct their own learning and inquiry processes, while becoming more technological and media literate.Media “conditions us to habitual exposure patterns to the messages they want exposure for” (James Potter in Bullen, 2009), it becomes important that we teach our students the skills required to critically interpret the information they are constantly bombarded with on an everyday basis. As a future 21st century teacher, I would hope to use this website as a way to teach my student’s about media literacy. PBSLearningMedia, provides me some ease by placing a variety of media in one place for me to explore further. By starting with the teacher based website, I can control the media which the children are exposed to, teaching them to be critical of how media is constructed, but also how it can be used in education as a mode of extended learning.
While the teacher site may be a starting point, I would like continue with teh student site, and have the students direct their learning, because the children I teach will be digital natives, while I am a digital immigrants, they have grown up with the technology, I am just learning about. Providing them with such a wide variety of resources gives them a chance to grow and learn on at their own pace.