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Archive for the ‘PLN’ Category

Professional development used to involve taking classes, reading journal articles, and discussing issues at conferences.  Although there was a time lag between new innovations for the library and classroom, and personal knowledge and implementation of those developments, I was appreciative of the knowledge for knowledge’s sake.  But with Twitter, that time delay has disappeared.  Twitter has become my most important professional development tool.  It has put me in contact with the best of educational professionals, and has provided me with news of the most recent educational innovations.  I have been advised of tools that work well in the classroom, and those that are problematic.  I’ve compiled lists of “the best” in every possible category, thanks to a learning network that prides itself in collaboration.  Methods and resources that would have alluded me for months are now transmitted daily.  And all this I have attributed to Twitter.

But today, while I was talking to students about Twitter, one made a comment that made me rethink this attitude.  He asked if I talked about what I ate, and read about what movies people watched — the typical stereotype of Twitter use.  It was then that I realized that Twitter is only the method by which these ideas are transmitted.  It is a communication tool, and while it does provide immediacy, the value of the information hinges on the users.  It is ultimately the teaching community and it’s search for best methodology that lifts the tool above a mere communication vehicle.  These professionals have provided me more information in several months than I would have garnered in a several years. And while Twitter gets the credit, it is their knowledge that is responsible.

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laptopAfter reading Jeff Utecht’s article on the stages of PLN adoption, I realize, embarrassingly enough, that I have only reached Stage 3: Know it All. For those of you not familiar with the post, it is not an egocentric state of mind, but a feeling of total inadequacy.  Once you become involved in discussions online with the myriad of gifted educators, librarians, and technology coordinators, you come to grips with a very depressing reality: you don’t know much of anything, and have very far to go.  This feeling has led me to try to read every tip, try every website, reply to every enlightening post, evaluate and revise my curriculum, and share these new ideas with my faculty.  Needless to say, I’m exhausted.  I can’t sleep, because I’m afraid I might miss a great blog post or the best new resource on the web.  What about that fantastically motivating quotation that was posted at midnight yesterday?  Did I miss a new “10 Best” list? So, I was relieved to read that Stage 4 of PLN Adoption is Perspective.  I’ve actually spent time this past week with my family and friends.  I’ve been working setting up my library for the beginning of school.  I watched television. Am I still drawn to a logged in computer just to check the latest Twitter updates?  Yes.  But like all recovering addicts, I’m taking one step at a time. I think there’s hope for me yet. Stage 5, here I come!

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