Friday, April 8, 2011

Keeping up with blogs and tweets

For over two years, I have been constructing my PLN (personal learning network) happily advancing in my self-directed professional growth. It seems like a long time has passed since I thoroughly read complete tech magazines to  keep up with new trends and technologies that could be used in my lessons. Now 
I’m not even sure those printed magazines and newsletters are still sold. I’ve totally replaced that past learning task by participating in a community of learners that share knowledge and experiences through blogs and tweets.  Luckily, reading digitally is something I certainly enjoy since it introduces me to new web 2.0 tools, allows me to test these tools on the spot, and instantly social-bookmark them for later use through my diigo account.

At times, it has been quite hard to keep up! There have been days when schoolwork has piled up and there has been no time to read through tweets, and even less time to sit and be absorbed in blogs.  Now and then, I have felt overwhelmed just to see my mailbox getting fatter and fatter with blogs that I have subscribed to and have not even skimmed. Fortunately, as it usually happens in most longterm tasks, little by little I have become faster at selecting which articles to read and which ones not to read. At times, I have saved promising articles for later and once my regular workload has diminished, I have calmly sat down and gone through them.

I remember feeling lost when I started my own PLN.  As a good beginner, I got excited and added too many people in my twitter “following list” only to later find out that I was not interested in many of those conversations. I then started cleaning up the list and getting better at choosing whom to follow.  I still make occasional changes, but not that often. I feel much more organized now.

In addition, if I hear about a good educational technology book, I acquire it, read it, and reflect on how it can help in my lessons.  I’m now starting to read iBrain written by Gary Small and Gigi Vorgan which points to be good. It has been sitting and waiting on my side-table for a few weeks and hopefully this weekend, I’ll finally immerse into the text.

I’d like to share with you a list of blogs that I usually read. They have taught me a great deal about integrating technology in the classroom as well as new trends in educational technology. They are listed in no specific order and are all worth reading!

The Thinking Stick by Jeff Utech

Always Learning by Kim Cofino

iLearn Technology by Kelly Tenkely

I also recommend Ted videos.  These videos are usually creative, inspiring, and a pleasure to watch. They have certainly opened up my mind.

My PLN is still work in process and I expect for it to evolve as time passes by and as I learn more. I wouldn't want it to stay the same. 

I’m still on the search for more blogs and tweets that focus on tech integration. If you know of any other blogs or tweets that might be beneficial, you are welcome to enter a comment.