Our district-wide Professional Learning Network, or PLN, launched back in October and we are looking forward to bigger and better things as we move into 2014! The power of social media is being harnessed to connect educators across our district and beyond. You are probably already using social media for personal use, but did you know you can use social media for professional purposes too? Technology and social media are making it easy for us to connect and learn from others. You are no longer limited to only learning from people within your team, school or department. This results in all of us growing as educators which aids in positively impacting student achievement.
Currently, our PLN consists of a Facebook Page, Twitter account, and blog. Our Facebook and Twitter pages contain links to excellent educator resources, in addition to information about district events, professional development opportunities, and news from the Teaching & Learning Services Department. You can interact with us by liking our Facebook page, commenting and sharing our posts, following us on Twitter, tweeting at us, and retweeting the information we are sharing.
Our blog, Teaching & Learning in CMS, highlights the fantastic work being done by educators across our district. So far, we have featured over a dozen guest bloggers, including elementary school teachers, middle school teachers, media specialists, and facilitators. Our guest bloggers have written about a wide variety of topics, including coding,blended learning, obtaining National Board Certification,and inclusive practices. Not only is blogging a great way for you to reflect, but it also provides you with a way to share your teaching practices with others so they can benefit too. You can interact with our blog by reading, commenting, and contributing your own posts to it. We also encourage you to share the posts with your colleagues.
Twitter is an especially powerful tool to help you collaborate with educators and build your PLN. Teachers and administrators across the globe are sharing relevant and interest content in 140 characters or less. It is not just a way to follow your favorite celebrities and products; it is full of top-notch educators who are eager to connect with others. It is a way for YOU to take charge of your own professional development and growth.
Are you Twitter phobic? Check out the tutorial by Ashley Hurley, Teacher Professional Development Specialist,below and you will be on your way to tweeting, following, and hashtagging in no time!
We are expanding our PLN to include a weekly Twitter chat for CMS educators, #cmsk12chat. Twitter chats are fast-paced and lively discussions that occur in real time. Prepare to be inspired AND inspire others! You can participate in the comfort of your own home or anywhere with an Internet connection.
The launch of our first Twitter chat will occur on Wednesday, January 15th from 8:00-9:00 pm. Mark your calendars, join colleagues near and far and come chat with us! Topics for weeks 1-8 will focus on eight specific conditions that positively impact our learners' sense of purpose, engagement in learning and cultivation of self worth. Topics for weeks 9 and beyond will be voted on by you and your colleagues! Please visit http://qisa.org/ and click on "Our Framework" if you would like to learn more about the 8 Conditions that Make a Difference prior to our chats.
If you miss a chat but still want to stay in the loop, all chats will be archived here. Just because the chat is over doesn't mean the learning ends, too!
You've mastered the Twitter basics now, but you're probably wondering, "How exactl;y does a Twitter chat work?" The video below will show you how you can participate in a Twitter chat.
We would love to hear your thoughts! How has the creation of this district-wide PLN helped you as an educator or what potential impact can it have on you? How do you plan on contributing in 2014? What ideas do you have to help us reach more educators in the district?
Lisa Pagano is currently an Academic Facilitator at Irwin Academic Center and works primarily with teachers and students in grades 3-5. This is Lisa's ninth year in CMS and she has also served as a classroom teacher and a Talent Development teacher. A lifelong learner, she is a National Board Certified Teacher, holds a Master's degree, and has earned her Academically Intellectually Gifted certification. In addition to her work at Irwin, she works in collaboration with the Teacher Professional Development Department and serves as our district's Networking Coordinator. She would love to be added to your PLN and welcomes you to connect with her on Twitter @edu_ms_pagano or through her website.