In+Out=PLN

My current school is in the planning stages of going 1:1 so I along with the technology director for my school I attended Jeff Utecht’s Earcos session focused on school going 1:1. We were looking to glean some insight into what makes a 1:1 school successful.

Is this what we're in for?

Although not the focus of this post if you’d like to know Jeff’s stance on 1:1 you can take a look at why Jeff thinks schools should be 1:1. On May 13, 2009 Jeff wrote a blog entitled “What’s the Purpose of Going 1:1?” He starts off by saying he feels that “every high school student should have a laptop”. Pop on over and give his post a read, it’s well worth it.

Not only can you find justification for going 1:1 on “The Thinking Stick“, Jeff’s blog, but you can also find posts related to the “how to” questions and other 1:1 related posts.¬†¬†This is extremely helpful for smaller somewhat isolated schools such as the one that I work at.

One thing that I really appreciated about both Kim and Jeff was how open to sharing they were. The benefit of documentation really hit me in this particular session.

Ah ha moment!

My mind made a shift away from how can this benefit my school to how can this benefit my community. The “community” I am talking about is what many refer to as a PLN or Personal Learning Network. My PLN is made up of a hodgepodge of educators spanning the globe and educational spectrum.

I can actually trace this way of thinking back to the 21st Century Learning conference in Hong Kong this past February. Lucky for me there were a little over a dozen people that I have worked with in the past who were attending the conference as well. We were all very excited to meet up and catch up. As the conference progressed and more content was discussed we all realized that each one of us was doing something cool and interesting with technology in our particular grade/content area/setting. Now historically it’s not that we haven’t shared what we are doing in the classroom with each other it’s just that often when we would spend time with each other outside of school we would make it a point to not “talk shop”. Being an educator can be an intense mental exercise and like everyone we need a break to recharge the batteries.

At one point during the 21st Century Learning Conference my colleague and friend Shwa turned to everyone and said “Man we should do this more often”. While he enjoys socializing with everyone as we all do what he meant was getting together to share ideas on a professional level. He realized, as everyone else did, that here was group of people that we know firsthand who have a wealth of knowledge and ideas and that we should be sharing these ideas with each other. We all realized that we needed to share these cool cutting edge ideas and practices with each other. I think we all have access to the ideas but seeing these ideas put into practice is what is less common. And this bring me back to my “epiphany” of sorts in Jeff’s session. This is why we need to document the things that we do. So that others can gleam from not only our knowledge but those of our community as well. The more we push out there the more people will be able to access all this incredible real world stuff that’s happening in classrooms all over the world.

Take my particular situation. I sometimes find it hard to locate ways that technology is being used effectively in the early years classroom. But I haven’t taken the time to document what I have been doing and put it out there for people just like me who are looking for stuff to do. I need to start putting it “out” there and in an essence I guess I need to start putting myself “out” there as well.

I know that’s not groundbreaking or new but what was new for me is that I need to make a shift from being merely a consumer of this knowledge but to a producer and contributer to this community I belong to.

About Benjamin J Sheridan

Instructional designer at the University of Kentucky.
This entry was posted in EARCOS 2011 and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to In+Out=PLN

  1. Kim Cofino says:

    I totally agree with you about the need to share and reflect. That’s one of the reasons I enjoy blogging as well – not only to share and reflect, but also to document what I’m doing so that I can remember and more easily share with others in the future. The more you share about what you’re doing, the deeper you can connect with others who have similar interests. It’s amazing how well you can get to know people through what they share online. I hope you’ll be using this blog to share the work you’re doing too!

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