Guest Post via @wmjackson: The Value of Social Learning Networks for Educators

EdCamp Leadership 2017 in Baker County Florida

The Value of Social Learning Networks for Educators
by William Jackson
Educator in elementary and higher education

The infusion of technology in education requires that educators rely on each other to create opportunities for instant and relevant professional development.
Creating PLN’s – Professional Learning Networks that share information from tech to classroom management, to how to deal with hovering parents, to addressing school budgets and other issues that are unique to the classroom and school culture.

Diversity has always been an action word in education, but when that diversity extends from the family structure to addressing the challenges of learning diversity, cognitive agility, behavioral awareness and the changes in the family structure.

Educators have a myriad of situations and circumstances that can influence the
classroom stability and culture.

Students have access to online sites that encourage connections of interactivity and engagement. This begs to insist that teachers also need instant access to information. Teachers cannot run away from technology and cannot ignore its invasion, integration and even intrusion because it is right in the face of educators.

Digital PLC’s – Professional Learning Communities have grown so that every conceivable subject that references the field of education is discussed, diagnosed, dissected, and even how differentiated instruction can be applied. Looking at Pinterest alone you can see the magnitude of information that can be shared for classrooms of any instructional discipline.

The culture of the school is influenced by digital access because instead of seeing a particular culture sitting together in the cafeteria, digitally they are interacting online, through Apps and in digital areas where learning may not be going on. The truth maybe there is an effort to disrupt the educational environment through bullying, harassment or other forms.

Educators are building communities that are pract ically throwing learning tools, guides, ideas and lesson plans across the Internet. The only thing educators have to do is adapt them to their classroom culture and learning structure. Students are accessing content that allows and encourages them to learn on levels unheard of just 5 years ago, that learning may not collaborate with classroom instruction so teachers must
consistently share the relevancy of why students need to learn what is being presented to them.

Teachers can no longer tell student they have to learn the concepts because it is in the curriculum, they must be creative in justifying how the curriculum will help them in life. Participation in online programs allows for engagement in project based
learning that can be modified to meet the learning modalities of diverse students. Combining and integrating cross curricular learning may at first be challenging, but look at the video games youth, teens and young adults are playing. How can
teachers engage the students’ minds that challenge them to think and apply that thinking?

The challenge is to achieve a goal, educators need to reinforce the goal of subject area instruction. Taking learning to relevancy may seem alien, but look at it from the students
perspective, “how am I going to use this stuff in life?”

Looking at the model of museums, libraries and even after school programs, there are sounds, music, engagement on multiple levels and even the openness to fail so that failure is a conduit to challenging multidisciplinary thinking. Applying past learning to new learning to achieve a goal. How do teachers harness this power and integrate it into their classrooms?

Assisting teachers are PLN’s and PLC’s that encourage teachers to talk to each other, share information and resources. To provide digital hands that guide teachers to digital sources that make integration easier and relevant. The brain fires its synapses that contains energy that is a thought, teachers collectively sharing their
synaptic thought to bring about real change in their classrooms.

Joining a digital network only requires having a Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr or another social networking account. Doing some research and connecting. The article “Teaching with Technology,” Should Teachers Have a Social Learning Network? Jakub Piwnik shows that value of participating in digital communities for educators.
Can be found at:
http://diversityined.uberflip.com/i/397327-diversity-in-ed-magazine-fall-2014-issue/40

Professional development has changed because learning by teachers has changed. The days of just large scale and district PD is still necessary, but the value is shifting to more personal, connected and transformative PD in the form of  EdCamps held at local schools nation-wide and online learning  communities like #Fledchat found on Twitter lead by Tammy G. Neil @TG_Neil and supported by a host of dedicated educators from multiple fields and years of experience. There is also #EduMatch also on Twitter led by Sarah Thomas. #EduMatch @edu_match is also supported by national and even international educators.

Digital events that are global can create changes in the classroom instantly. Events like the EdChange Global @EdChangeGlobal is a 24 Hour Online Global Learning Event.
#ECG2017 EdChange Global for educators! July 28 http://tiny.cc/ecg2017

Teachers have options in learning, connecting, collaboration, cooperation, and integration. I just need connecting with other educators and not being afraid to integrate technology to develop a teacher’s PLC and PLN that builds PLF – Professonal Learning Families.


Resources
Sarah Thomas @sarahdateechur
#EduMatch @edu_match
Connecting educators with similar interests.
Goal: to foster collaboration. Learning together.
Education for educators, by educators.
@edumatchbooks #edumatch
Sundays weekly http://edumatch.org

Tammy Neil @FLedChat
http://fledchat.wordpress.com
#FLedchat is a virtual meeting place using Twitter.
Educators across the state of Florida come
together on Wednesdays at 8 pm est to discuss
the topics of the week.
https://fledchat.org/

EdChange Global @EdChangeGlobal
The 24 Hour Online Global Learning Events.
#ECG2017 EdChange Global for educators!
July 28
http://tiny.cc/ecg2017
Worldwide Events
http://tiny.cc/edchangeglobal

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