How can I integrate technology into my classroom while utilizing a professional learning network?
#pacificutech, #blogblogblog, #thefuture, #idisliketwitter, #facebookiscool, #ialsodislikesnapchatandinstagramwithapassion
This is 2018. Technology is literally everywhere. Even if you don’t like technology, it remains a key aspect of daily life for the United States and much of the world. Technology is ever changing, becoming ever more advanced and the capabilities of technology are skyrocketing. Social media is no longer a fad, it is the future. This article by TeachThought discusses why.
I am personally reluctant to join many social media websites, mainly because I do not like the drama and seemingly endless politicking associated with them. I do utilize Facebook as a platform for promoting my nonprofit organization, Pacific Northwest Adventures 4 Kids (www.facebook.com/groups/pacificnw). I have harnessed the power of networking through Facebook many, many times to obtain grants and donations for the organization, so I can see sundry reasons for using it to network as an educator. I have joined Twitter because it is a requirement for my coursework at Pacific University, though I doubt I will ever truly embrace the platform. I actually swore I’d never be on Twitter, yet @BudOsborn4 is now live. I have no use whatsoever for Instagram or Snapchat, I do however recognize the usefulness and importance of having a Professional Learning Network.
In a time where things are changing constantly, it is powerful to have resources at the tip of your fingers which stay on top of current trends in education. By joining a vast network of teachers and those who create content to be used in the classroom, innovative ideas can be shared. There are nearly unlimited premade lesson plans out there for the taking, many of which can be modified to suit a specific classroom.
Which organizations can I rely on as a source of inspiration and a means to staying on top of my game as an educator?
Considering that I am the Title I teacher and already a member, the International Literacy Association is a shoe in for sure.
According to their website,”The International Literacy Association (ILA) is a global advocacy and membership organization of more than 300,000 literacy educators, researchers, and experts across 78 countries. With more than 60 years of experience, ILA has set the standard for how literacy is defined, taught, and evaluated.” Those who join have access to peer reviewed journals, lesson plan ideas, trends in curriculum, and access to professional development workshops. The organization strives to stay on top of the ever changing standards that educators must adhere to. This is a powerful tool.
Considering that I spend the vast majority of my time working with primary grade students, another go to organization for me would be the National Association for the Education of Young Children.
The website for NAEYC describes the organization as, “…a professional membership organization that works to promote high-quality early learning for all young children, birth through age 8, by connecting early childhood practice, policy, and research… The association comprises nearly 60,000 individual members of the early childhood community and more than 50 Affiliates, all committed to delivering on the promise of high-quality early learning.” While I have not used this resource previously, it appears to be a significant tool to incorporate into my own education and a great resource to draw from professionally as a teacher. The organization conducts conferences, hosts many professional development workshops online and in person, sponsors individual educators, hosts a large variety of topic relevant blogs, and connects educators of young children from across the globe.
Aside from the communities of professionals within the teaching universe, there are many technology based resources that have been meticulously created by very innovative content makers. These are magnificent tools that can directly aid a teacher in the classroom. Some are pretty darn impressive. One such resource, perhaps one of the best available at the present, is the virtual walkthrough of the Smithsonian Natural History Museum. The tour offers a 360 degree view of all portions of the iconic museum’s exhibits, those currently on display and those that have since been closed. Paired with a virtual reality headset, the experience becomes completely immersive, allowing students to look up and view 3D dinosaurs, wildlife from all over the planet, and exhibits for geology, astronomy, and botany in 4K resolution, three dimensional imagery.
Another great tool for educators of young kids is pbskids.org, which allows kids to explore multiple education related subjects. Kids get the impression that they are playing games when they are, in fact, learning. The games feature many popular characters from PBS programs. These center on literacy, math, social studies, science, and creativity. The resource adds games regularly. The activities are fun for kids in preschool through 3rd grade, though older kids would perhaps argue that they too ought to be able to play.