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WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation

Informal Professional Development and Personal Learning Networks.

Informal Professional Development and Personal Learning Networks.

Related Tags: School Leadership
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28 Replies 1590 Views
What purpose do informal Professional Development and Personal Learning Networks play in today's educational system?

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Deb Selanders's picture
Deb Selanders
Second grade teacher from Globe, Arizona

I have never gone to Twitter. We are Web Sensed in my school district, so I am not able to get into Twitter or Facebook.

I currently don't own a computer, but will invest in one with my tax refund. I would enjoy having my very own computer at home.

Will you please send me information about Twitter?

Deb Selanders's picture
Deb Selanders
Second grade teacher from Globe, Arizona

Donelle,
I would be very pleased if you would send me a list of some people. I am not able to get into Twitter because I have access only to my school computer.

I will buy a computer of my own when my tax refund arrives. Could you tell me what computer I should buy? I'm fairly ignorant on such matters. Is Dell the best route to go, or a different brand? What sort of programs would I want installed?

I don't want to go to a store and buy blindly. I would appreciate your input a great deal.

Erika Saunders's picture
Erika Saunders
6th-8th Special Ed, LS & Mentally Gifted teacher

Computer purchases can be one of those purchases that depends on your personal preference! I always used PC's (personal computers). But then, when I moved into teaching, my school used Mac's. I didn't want to convert - I was definitely a PC girl! - but now I wouldn't want anything but a Mac!

It probably wouldn't hurt to talk to people in stores to help you decide what computer is best for you. Think about what you will use it for: work, internet use, fun & games, does it need to be portable - like a laptop, your budget, etc. That will help you think through what kind of system and software you'll want.

I find Mac people to be very helpful and friendly. (Of course, I'm a bit biased!) You can go to an Apple store near you and talk to them about what you'd use a computer for and what they suggest. You can also go to an electronics store and talk to them about PC's.

I would also talk to friends and see what they have and what they like to use. Do you like the system at your school? That could help in your decision.

Good luck! It can be a really fun purchase!!!

Deb Selanders's picture
Deb Selanders
Second grade teacher from Globe, Arizona

Erika,
Thanks so much for your helpful and most useful information.

I do like the system we have here. We use HP,and it works quite well.

I appreciate all you've done. I look forward to hearing from you again.

Erika Saunders's picture
Erika Saunders
6th-8th Special Ed, LS & Mentally Gifted teacher

[quote]Erika,

Thanks so much for your helpful and most useful information.

I do like the system we have here. We use HP,and it works quite well.

I appreciate all you've done. I look forward to hearing from you again.[/quote]

Glad I could help!

Bill Fitzgerald's picture
Bill Fitzgerald
Open Source Geek. Educator, Web developer.

[quote]Twitter's the most effective way I've seen for educators to network.[/quote]

In my experience, Twitter is a good place to possibly start a professional network, and a good place to continue those relationships between face to face meetings.

However, it doesn't replace the value of face to face, in person communication, or the idea that the most effective professional development occurs over time, with exposure to new ideas interspersed with application of those ideas, followed by reflection about what worked and what didn't.

Twitter is a great firehose, but it can leave you thirsty.

Cheers,

Bill

Deb Selanders's picture
Deb Selanders
Second grade teacher from Globe, Arizona

Hello Bill. Thank you so much for your insight about Twitter.

You are correct of course. It sure doesn't replace the value of face to face.
Cheers to you to.
Deb,

Keith Heggart's picture
Keith Heggart
High School Teacher from Sydney, Australia

I've been teaching a while now, and I find myself growing increasingly frustrated by formal professional development that takes place in schools. In my opinion, these kind of sessions - whether they are staff meetings, staff development days or courses.

These events seem to lack cohesion - or even interest - especially when the whole school has to attend one session. One of the benefits of things like PLNs is that they allow a great deal of differentiation - for example, if I decide I need a little help with classroom management, I could talk to an expert about that. Same goes for using technology.

The secret is finding the right person to talk to!

Deb Selanders's picture
Deb Selanders
Second grade teacher from Globe, Arizona

Hello Keith. I would like to visit Australia one day. I imagine that it's very beautiful.

Our professional development days occur every Friday, but once a month, we are allowed to choose something of interest to us. There are 5 sessions to choose from. I chose to attend a Google PFD last Friday.

I do appreciate having co-workers that I can feel free to speak with when I have questions.

As a rule, our regular Friday meetings are right on target with what we need to know as far as what's going on in our district.

There is another second grade teacher who is a computer whiz, so I go to her with most of my technology problems. Sometimes I have to call or e-mail our tech man. He's so busy that I hate to bother him, but he's a nice and knowledgeable guy.

I hope to hear from you again.

Keith Heggart's picture
Keith Heggart
High School Teacher from Sydney, Australia

Hi Deb,
Sounds like you're in a pretty good situation there. Can you give me a little more information, if possible?
1) So you have a PF Day every Friday? What's the time frame? What kind of things do you normally cover?
2) What other sessions were there to choose from on the days you get to choose? Who runs these sessions? Is there any follow up after these meetings?
3) Which do you think are more useful - the PF Days or the informal chats you have with coworkers?

Looking forward to hearing your answers.

And you're right, Australia is a beautiful country. You should all come down here! :)

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