My personal learning network is not a new concept to me. Throughout the course of this class, I found myself communicating with more people, and discussing more critically the subject of social justice. It is amazing how many teaching resources are out in the world. Resources such as blogging, the CBC digital archives for teachers, Facebook, YouTube for teachers; the list goes on and on. I think one of my favorite sites to visit is Pinterest. Of all my Pinterest boards, the board with the most pins is a toss up between my recipes page, and my classroom page. In fact, I was looking at my Pinterest the other day and thought I should really take time to organize all of the teaching tools and educational ideas I have collected, and separate them into a less confusing filing system.
Talking, I would say, is the learning style of which I benefit the most. I find I learn more efficiently when I am given the opportunity to engage in discussion or give comments. While I am the type of person who has many of her own thoughts, opinions, and ideas; and is very grounded in how I think, I still enjoy hearing the perspectives of other people, whether they agree with me or not. To me talking with someone face to face has a lot more meaning behind it. I love bouncing ideas off of others, and getting their feedback. I am intrigued when certain social justice topics are mentioned because they bring up different points of view and allow me to see a plethora of possibilities for, and approaches to social justice. The discussions and even debates help me to better absorb and reflect on the material of the class.
Oh, Twitter. While Twitter was supposed to be a useful social media tool for class participation, as was blogging, I found myself not that in to it. I don’t think I will ever be a Twitter user, but never say never. I do not despise the use of Twitter, I just feel that for my own personal growth and development, it is a waste of time and an ineffective method to learning, therefore I doubt I will ever find myself keen on the hash tag system. I think when people use it properly it can be a great tool, but I also personally feel that it is just another way for people to complain about something or compliment other people, rather than tastefully address ongoing issues. In a world of technology, Twitter is a popular social media, and that is great if people find it a good communication tool, but I personally do not have an interest in reading forty tweets that all say the same thing, nor do I care to occupy my time with tweets that do no serve a productive purpose. I barely have time to critically think about my own thoughts verses reading about everyone else’s opinions on how well someone did at something. Say something critical, helpful or thought provoking. I am not saying that complaining and complimenting is the sole use of Twitter, but I am saying, the way in which it was used for the course was not helpful for me and so when I feel that I actually need to be apart of this social media, that it can and does serve a constructive academic purpose, I will be a part of it.
Hmm, blog posts. Well, I definitely think I could have participated more in blogging then I did. I am still proud of myself for being as engaged as I was. When I consider what a blog is suppose to be about, I think of it as a way to express how a person feels, or things they want to talk about. Blog posts can be on matters of personal reflection, or educational topics like a teachers blog. But when someone tells me that I must write about one particular thing and only that thing, to me it takes the meaning out of blogging. From an educator’s perspective, I understand and appreciate that there are questions of the week to prompt students to engage in their studies, and to ensure they demonstrate that they are thinking about the topics of the course. Blogging is good medium for provoking participation but I thought the questions were overly specific. I might have enjoyed the blogging experience better if the questions were more free and left more open ended. Perhaps there would have been the potential for more interesting conversations as well. When it came to responding to another person’s blog I found that difficult. I can post comments on other people’s blogs but if it is not being reciprocated then I find it hard to continue being motivated with my own commenting. I took time to read other people’s thoughts, and if a question would spark then I would ask it but on my own blog, I only received four comments; one from a classmate, one from my seminar leader, and two from an unknown person.
I have learned that my personal learning network will always grow and change. I have learned to embrace new technological ideas, however, only at my own discretion. Learning can evolve and take place through many different outlets. I would not be realistic if I said that technology could not be in the classroom, however, I do think that when it is being incorporated into the classroom we need to watch how we use it. If I think about my classroom, I do see technology being used to a certain degree, however, I also strongly believe that we can learn without always incorporating technology. More than ever I have come to value how I feel as an individual. My way of thinking is not appreciated by everyone but it does not have to be. I have developed my own personal learning network that fits me, so I can change it, modify it, or keep it the same. That is what is so great about it being my own.