As part of the TeachThought January Blog Challenge today’s prompt is:
How am I going to update myself professionally? Specify support resources.
I am glad to supply resources which have helped me develop myself. I recognize the importance of addition personalized development as a way in which to distinguish yourself among those with whom you work; how can you rise to the top when everyone has the same training, skills, and mindset? Maybe this post helps you develop your own approach.
Twitter is a little intimidating at first with its abbreviations and hashtags, but no industry will be as revolutionized through it as education. That is not an overstatement. Find a fellow educator already on Twitter and ask them to help you get started with twitter. It is a fine source of consumption, but once you break through to participatory learning with other like-minded educators you may forever mourn your disconnected career past. It is a fire hose of authentic professional wisdom; a fire hose which you can sip from selectively.
EdCamps are affiliated with an EdTech crowd, but the mode of professional learning from peers feels comfortingly authentic. I would encourage you to browse current EdCamp offerings. It is worth traveling to one to experience the empowerment of learning what you want, and walking away from sessions which might not meet your needs.
I am not a writer. I used to tell my principal if he moved me to a Language Arts classroom I would have that certification removed from my certificate. So let’s not pretend that is an excuse for anyone to not try blogging.
I use my blog to explore behind my knee-jerk reaction to education events and try to articulate my underlying position. I am not sure that I have done that unless I was in school as a student and that is a shame because it is a source of personal growth for me, as I believe it could be for many educators. I sometimes find I am challenged by defending my initial positions in writing. And while that alarms me, perhaps I am perpetuating habits for reason, I am also pleased that I have a place to sort that out for myself. I derive great satisfaction when I am able to express my thoughts. And I have ceased to be alarmed when I change my own mind.
As a teacher who has moved a good deal I also see the value a blog might present when interviewing with potential employers.
Massive Open Online Courses, or MOOCs, offer content in an entirely self-guided format. Sometimes that is not good, as in when you forget to login and get behind. However, sometimes you find valuable content, experiences, and/or peers within these courses which deeply impact your career. Again, this is a source of differentiation for your skill set. This can also lead to unknown opportunities since this is such a new way of connecting. Common platforms are Coursera, Canvas Network, EdX. All offer educational MOOCs continually. My personal successes have been with K12 Blended and Online Learning (Coursera), eTeacher TOOL (WordPress/blog), and #BlendKit2014 Becoming a Blended Learning Designer (Canvas Network). The course opens up again mid-January 2015, the #eTeacherTOOL is ongoing, and I predict there will be a 2015 reiteration of the BlendKit from Educause and UCF. Please know that I had to drop out of many more MOOCs to find these gems. Are they gems for you? Possibly not, but when you start looking you will find something(s) which speak to your passions.
If there is anything I can do to help you better explore these ways to professionally develop yourself please reach out to me. I am so pleased to have been helped and would gladly do the same for you!