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It is what it is. Right?


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Almost 2 weeks since my last post

Yeah, kind of busy!

The girls were home, I had surgery, ETEC orientation the next day, start of classes this week…  That’s my excuse. 

I was very excited about meeting my cohort!  I also got to meet Dr. Matt and Dr. Bert!  So nice to get to talk to people in person!  I got a lot of information, but some things I need clarification, so I will have to go make an appointment with Dr. Catherine.  

Had my first class last night!  ETEC 602 with Dr. Peter.  I must say that I have a very positive outlook right now.  I hope that this feeling stays with me through the whole program (fingers crossed).

I wonder how everyone else is doing?  If you happen to read this, post in comments about what you all are doing now.  Hate to be mushy, but I kind of miss you guys.

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What now?

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Woke up this morning and had the strangest feeling.  I couldn’t pinpoint it.  It’s like I was forgetting something.  I checked my calendar.  Nope, nothing scheduled.  Hmmm.  Did I have to register for my classes?  No, did that yesterday.  Asked my daughters, texted my hubby, “Did I need to do something for you today?”  All them answered no.  I started to get paranoid.  Maybe a bill needed to be paid?  Did I forget a lunch date?  No and no.  Start up my laptop, opened WordPress to check on the assignments – that’s when it hit me up.    I wasn’t missing anything, I am done.  WE ARE DONE!  Class is over.  There is no team assignment due, no reviews, no required weekly response.  I am really done.  WE are really done.  Wow!  These past 6 weeks were just so quick, fast, like a bullet.  Seriously!  Anyone else feel like it was just a blur?  

So why I am blogging?  It’s not required.  I don’t really have a topic.  So, why?  I’m not sure. When we were first assigned to sign up for a blog, I was really reluctant.  What do I write about?  Will anyone read it (besides those who are forced to)?  Will it be any good?  After a few times, I surprised myself and really got into it.  It’s almost cathartic.  

So, what now?  Will I keep up with this blog now that’s it’s not part of a grade?  You know what?  I think I will.  I think that I am lucky.  I met some awesome people in all different stages of the ETEC program.  I learned a lot.  With me just starting in ETEC, I can use this as a journal chronicling my journey.  I can measure how much I have learned and how far I have come.  At the beginning of this summer, I thought I knew, what’s the word I’m looking for, stuff.  After taking ETEC 442, then ETEC 642, I found that I didn’t know close to JACK!  Hopefully, I will be able to look back and go, “Wow!  Look at all the things I learned!  Look at the awsome PLN!  It’s HUGE now.”  

So, for those of you who were kind enough to read my thoughts and insights, I thank you.  Seriously.  And if you are still curious as to where my journey will lead me or just think I’m funny, I hope you continue to stay and watch where this takes me.


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LAST WEEK!!!!

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Last stretch, people!!!  Woohooo!

This class has been so…  I can’t even find the words.  The amount of knowledge that I have picked up is so vast that I am so glad that I have this blog to chronicle my journey!  I think the best way to learn is actually go out and do it!  This class pretty much was just that (at least for me).  

Before this summer, I thought I knew enough about social media.  After this class, I have to come to the conclusion that I didn’t know JACK!  But, hey!  I’m in school again to learn & learn, I will.  Can’t wait for the fall!!!  (I may have a different opinion in a few weeks.)


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The Week that PLN’s Took Over My Life

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Wow!  This final assignment is kicking my butt!  Week 4 was all about PLN (Personal Learning Network).  Nothing else took up my time.  I bet you all were in the same boat.  I literally was stuck on trying to figure out the differences between a PLN and a social media site.  It seriously seems to be the same to me!  I can follow and friend fellow educators on Facebook.  I can get their ideas from Twitter.  Maybe, get a lesson plan or two from their blog.  So what is the difference?  Is there a difference?

 

I had a tough time with my choice of presentation as well.  Maybe, I am just a perfectionist.  Maybe, I just need to say that I am doing good enough instead of spending hours agonizing over every little thing.  Sigh…

 

I honestly can’t remember anything else that was reviewed this week except for PLN.  Now that we have our breakout session coming up in class on Wednesday, I have to start looking into creating my own PLN.  I see that a lot of my classmates already have a PLN.  Coming into this program, I got nada.  I’m starting, though.

 

So, do I think having a PLN is worth it?  I can definitely see its advantages.  I can swap ideas with seasoned educators.  I can have connections that may possibly give me opportunities later down the line.  What’s not to like about this?  I think that I am at a disadvantage when it comes to having a PLN seeing as I am not a regular teacher at a school and that I basically really don’t know anyone in the ETEC program.  I am hoping that by this time, next year, I will have a PLN that I can be proud of.  What that will entail, I am not sure, yet.  But I am sure I will know when it gets to that point.

 

 

Below is my PLN mindmap:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Final Project, Assignment #2

Personal Learning Networks, what are they?  Before this class, I knew of one, only because my school had made all the teachers join (see below).  Social networks?  I know what those are!  I’ve been using them for a while.  I’m a pro at Facebook!  Before I started the ETEC program, it didn’t dawn on me to use social media for educational reasons.  But what a great idea!  So what makes Personal Learning Networks different from social media sites?

To see if they are different, we need to define each.  Social media is defined by Merriam-Webster as, “forms of electronic communication (as Web sites for social networking and microblogging) through which users create online communities to share information, ideas, personal messages, and other content (as videos).”  In short, it’s a way for us to stay in touch with each other through various mediums on the Internet.  Social media sites like Facebook and Google+ are predominantly used for personal reasons.  People who want to stay in touch with grandma in Ohio or college roomies making plans for the weekend, are the mainstay of the Facebook users.

For me, a Personal Learning Network is a bunch of sources (people, webtools, social media sites) that you can utilize to continuously learn and expand professionally.  This is a wonderful resource for me because I can tap into other teachers for their opinions and ideas.  This also creates opportunities to collaborate with peers on papers or lessons that can be used toward professional development.  I was introduced to http://www.successfulpractices.org/spn/ a few years ago.  The staff at my school called it Facebook for teachers.  When we went through the training, I saw similarities to Facebook, but there were more differences.  This was no place to put your vacation photos.  This was a smorgasbord of ideas, lesson plans, research stats, and more!  So, a PLN has collaborating, learning, teaching, through a social media.

To state what we have now learned, there is no difference between the social media and a PLN.  A PLN needs a social media to just exist.  I have issues with this conclusion.  For me, a PLN seems to be a social media site just used for educational purposes.  Anyone else agree?  Let’s take a look at Edmodo, a popular PLN.  It looks almost exactly like Facebook.  There are times when my daughter is on it; I start yelling because I think she is not doing her homework.  Haha, joke’s on you, mom.  (I didn’t think it’s funny.)

In an effort to see if I could find more about PLN’s, I decided to check out edcanvas and Pinterest.

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Edcanvas (http://www.edcanvas.com) is a way to weave a series of videos and pictures together to tell a story.  By story, I don’t mean like Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.  I mean it is a visual way to get your message across.  You just have to type in your subject matter, and edcanvas searches YouTube for related videos and Google for images.  What a way to get your students sucked in!  But it’s not just for your students; it can be for professional development, as well.  I found a canvas that had tutorial videos for Powerpoint alternatives (http://www.edcanvas.com/lessons/CL4rHqwiFUPd8A/powerpoint-alternatives).  Yes, I could have found all these videos at their individual websites, but someone was nice enough to put them in one place for me to view.  Teachers can post their videos and pictures to support lessons that were taught in class.  Other teachers can post their canvases and get feedback.  Brilliant!  (Rating 5/5)

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Pinterest (http://pinterest.com) is not just for recipes and ways to get your body into shape!  You can come here to get so many ideas for your classroom!  Classroom management, language arts lesson plans, science experiments, blogs to follow, edtech tools you can use for your students…  I could go on and on and on.  Pinterest has to be one of the biggest idea vaults for you tap into.  You can start your own board and pin articles, videos, and pictures.  You can share your board with others who have the same interests.  People can follow you and you can follow them.  The resource seems to have no end!  I wanted to spend hours and hours on here.  Too bad real life got in the way!  (Rating 5/5)

It seems like after this research, a PLN doesn’t seem to be that big of a mystery to me.  As I stated previously, social media got me ready for a PLN.  Now if I can harness all the various resources out there on the internet for educators, it looks like I may have a chance at putting together a solid PLN for myself.

Please check out my Voicethread presentation.

Resources:

“Edcanvas | The Best Way to Teach with Digital Content.” Edcanvas. N.p., n.d. Web. 06 Aug. 2013.

Fernholz, Scott. “PowerPoint Alternatives.” Edcanvas. N.p., n.d. Web. 06 Aug. 2013.

“Pinterest.” Pinterest. N.p., n.d. Web. 06 Aug. 2013.

“Social MediaAbout Our Definitions: All Forms of a Word (noun, Verb, Etc.) Are Now Displayed on One Page.” Merriam-Webster. Merriam-Webster, n.d. Web. 06 Aug. 2013.