Professional Learning Networks are invaluable forums for learning and leading in fields of study. Aided by technology, these networks can be among peers within a building or educators with similar interests throughout the world.
I would characterize my involvement in online professional learning networks heretofore as being much more of a consumer than producer. My experience has been to absorb and benefit from the insight and expertise of the contributors of the PLNs I follow.
Here you will find an annotated list of the PLNs most helpful to me and my learning:
Texas Computer Education Association) is a global, nonprofit, member-based organization. We support the use of technology in education. Founded in 1980, TCEA has been playing a vital role in increasing technology funding and access for PreK-16 schools for 38 years. Our 13,000-member association is led by a grassroots board of directors—all professional educators. TCEA’s resources support educators in the field who are enhancing curriculum with digital tools. The Technology Coordinators Special Interest Group (TEC-SIG) is a fantastic forum for sharing information.
From its website, https://www.iste.org/standards: ISTE is home to a passionate community of global educators who believe in the power of technology to transform teaching and learning, accelerate innovation and solve tough problems in education. ISTE inspires the creation of solutions and connections that improve opportunities for all learners by delivering: practical guidance, evidence-based professional learning, virtual networks, thought-provoking events and the ISTE Standards.
I manage two accounts: one personal–@dwthurman–which I very rarely post to, and Houston ISD’s Career Readiness feed–@HoustonCCR. The Career Readiness feed is mostly used to hi-light events and accomplishments of the campus CTE programs around the district. Through my membership in TCEA, I found and have been keen to follow two individuals from the Ed Tech community: Kathy Schrock @KathySchrock and Miguel Guhlin @mguhlin.
Through my involvement in the Digital Learning and Leading masters program at Lamar University, I am a member of the Digital Learning and Leading Facebook group. From the About page: Digital Learning and Leading (DLL) Facebook Group is the place were students in the Lamar University Masters of Digital Learning and Leading program can connect and collaborate as they work toward using technology to enhance learning. The DLL Facebook Group is also the place where students and graduates of the DLL program can work together to help create significant learning environments (CSLE) that give learners choice, ownership and voice through authentic (COVA) learning opportunities.
MS Teams is included in my district’s Office 365 adoption. It is an excellent tool for collaborating. You can have conversations in a FB-type format, you can exchange links and files, and you can conduct a video broadcast of a training. The system allows you to tag people so that relevant info in a large team finds the appropriate person. My department is using MS Teams as a tool for organizing and disseminating content specific to the different career clusters at our beginning-of-the-year professional development. My hope is that teachers who teach the same course but who are on different campuses can use this tool to collaborate throughout the year. If anyone in the DLL program has access to this MS Teams and would like an introduction to using it, you can link to my getting started guide here.
Within Career and Technical Education department I work in, we take part in book studies to improve our practice. A book we read recently was The Smartest Kids In The World by Amanda Ripley.