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Thursday, April 14, 2011

Social Networking: An Educator's key to Cultivating Learning

     Social networking has made a huge impact in my classrooms. As a traveling teacher, I am between two middle schools and what works in one classroom might not always be successful in another. On the up side, I can “practice” a new activity and make improvements before implementing it again with another group of students. As a third year teacher, I feel there is great value in seeking knowledge from fellow colleagues. However, there are only three ESL secondary teachers in our district. In order to branch out and network with other ESL middle school teachers, I have found that social networking has allowed me to gain access to tons of information such as lesson plans, websites, interactive whiteboard presentations, games, and most importantly other teachers. Social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter have allowed me to find credible teachers who not only share valuable information to aid me on my quest to be a stellar ESL teacher, but they can answer questions that I have in seconds. Technology is beautiful!
     In order to continue developing my personal learning network (PLN), I plan on maintaining my blog on Blogger. I think it is very important to document my journey in education as well reach out and or give back to the community. My hope is that others can learn by my mistakes and achievements in the classroom. Also, I have intentions on devising a personal blog which will include my newfound passion of running thanks to be husband, Jason Phipps.
     Before I took a class in social networking, I had never heard the term “PLN,” before or knew about Ted Talks, or how to tweet for that matter. I foresee educators globally building their online educational community just for the simple fact that it is inexpensive and at their fingertips. When we leave our classroom, we do not leave our PLNs behind because we carry them with us via our cell phones. Smart phone technology has enabled so many of us to check email wherever we go, answer tweets, and tap into our social networks in seconds. Future educators will expect answers in minutes and if they do not know, then having a strong PLN will be the key to unlocking those challenges ahead. 

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