My Professional Learning Network
There are a number of reasons teachers need a professional learning network, 10 according to this article by TeachThought.
But why do I need one? As a new teacher, I will need Professional Learning Networks for the same reasons TeachThought identifies in their article: round-the-clock inspiration, news on the latest trends in education, support from other teachers and like-minded people, and ideas on lesson plans, projects, and new things to try with my students.
So who will be my people? Though there are many excellent organizations out there, I narrowed my list down to two that I found relevant and inspiring: the National Writing Project and the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages. Information on these organizations is listed below, along with links to social media and other resources.
The National Writing Project is a network of sites which serves teachers of all disciplines. Each site provides educational and collaborative opportunities for teachers “to improve the teaching of writing and learning in schools and communities” (www.nwp.org). Pacific University recently became a NWP site and will be offering programs in the coming months. As a Pacific student, I am excited to be part of this organization and to have the opportunity to learn from other teachers and leaders in education.
According to their website, the ACTFL “is dedicated to the improvement and expansion of the teaching and learning of all languages at all levels of instruction” (www.actfl.org). The improvement of teaching and learning stems from the education of teachers through professional development classes, workshops, online courses, scholarships and grants. As an aspiring bilingual teacher, I am excited about opportunities available through membership to this organization. I am currently applying for a Spanish scholarship to help fund my language studies this summer. I will be practicing Spanish in order to be ready for student teaching in the fall at one of Eugene’s Spanish-English immersion schools.
NWP and ACTFL on Social Media
A tour of the ACTFL and NWP facebook pages bring up a number of good articles on technology and education. On the ACTFL facebook page, there are links to upcoming workshops, conferences, and other educational opportunities for teachers. The National Writing Project facebook page has links to interesting and relevant articles, such as The Pleasures and Perils of Working in Underserved Schools, Educating for Democracy, and Pedagogy Meets Digital Media. The last article is an interesting study on the “tangle” of introducing new technology in traditional classroom settings. The article references the TPACK (Technological, Pedagogical, and Content Knowledge) Framework, which looks at how educators are working together to solve “authentic technology design problems.”
Dangerously Irrelevant — blog by Scott McLeod that covers technology, leadership and the future of schools. His blog posts are short and highlight important voices in the field of education.
The Innovative Educator — blog by Lisa Nielsen. She shares ideas to make school more interesting and relevant to students.