- What tool/s have you used and how has your use supported your learning?
- Explain how the use of social media has helped you to gain awareness or insight into ICT-related issues, perspectives and strategies.
- What challenges have you faced in relation to social media use?
- Briefly relate a highlight or breakthrough moment.
- What are your goals for future learning in relation to professional learning through social media? What are the next immediate steps for you as a learner?
It has been a great tool to collect resources related to teaching. For example, I have been interested in modern learning environments so using Pinterest, I was able to find images that helped me gain an understanding and insight to what this might look like. I also wanted to find resources about e-learning and Pinterest provided me with a range of creative and engaging e-learning posters that have tips for teachers and also great visuals to hang in the classroom.
The tool I chose to use for the social media challenge is Twitter. I feel this was a great choice as it has opened up professional learning possibilities in many ways. Firstly, through ‘following’ specific education-based individuals as well as organisations, I have been able to stay updated regarding movements relating to educational policy and research through the comments or ‘posts’ others have made through Twitter. I have also found this medium useful with regard to resources. There are many organisations that actively use Twitter to share their great ideas for classroom activities, and positive experiences they have had using particular resources. CORE Education and the Science Learning Hub are examples of some Twitter users who post tips for their followers to use. Another dimension of awareness I have encountered through the use of social media is the ability, when actively looking, to stay updated about the latest and greatest in terms of educational opportunities. There have been summits, conferences and professional learning sessions which have been ‘tweeted’ about, and I have come to know about these events solely through reading Twitter. I have visited many websites and blog pages as a direct result of tweets that I have read. Being connected in this way has brought me to academic readings, topical debates and page after page of classroom activity sites.
My breakthrough moment would definitely have to be joining the 'What is School' educational chat. I was able to connect with educators from around the world for one hour to discuss educational technology. It was a great experience that allowed me to gain insight on the perspectives of other educators and discuss issues and strategies with using technology in the classroom. For example, during the ‘what is school’ chat one person stated that, “Closed minds are the biggest roadblock. Just seeing tech and not the possibilities” (Drager, 2014) and in regards to strategies, Lang (2014) shared, “Technology should be used as a transformational tool for innovation and creativity, not an add-on.” A common theme was that technology should be used to enhance collaboration, discovery, and a sense of empowerment.
I am aware that being a teacher who is a “confident, connected, actively involved, life-long learner” (Ministry of Education, 2007, p. 8) will be beneficial for my own growth and for my students. I plan to have an open-mindset towards learning in new environments because I want to be a teacher who guides my students to do the same.