11. The Benefit of Networking

I started looking into professional learning networks back in 2012 when my spouse, who is a teacher as well, started reaching out to people in the Twitterverse and getting them to interact with her students to provide feedback for some of the projects her students had worked on. The experiences students were exposed to allowed them to refine their projects and make changes to their final product. What an amazing opportunity to connect students with other students in a different part of the world. Since then, I became active on Twitter by participating in chats based on my interests. At first I was exclusively consuming information. I truly believe I did not feel vulnerable enough to actively participate or felt that my experiences were not important to the wide world. That fixed mindset led me to slowly step away from Twitter. After a couple of years, I felt more confident about sharing my learning and teaching experiences. What took me so long? A change in mindset! I felt the need to connect with other educators who were going through the same situations or teaching the same content. That is when I started following:

1. Learning in Hand with Tony Vincent: https://learninginhand.com/ Tony shares useful tips on how to integrate technology in the classroom in a seamless way. He shares all his content via Twitter @tonyvincent. 

2. Shake Up Learninghttps://shakeuplearning.com/ Kasey has been an amazing resource for me. When all Google products started, she provided specific examples on how I was able to use Google Classroom effectively with my 170 students. 

3. Spanish for Educators: This is a blog I joined a couple of months ago. It offers activities that other educators use with their students. That provides me a different perspective and pushes my thinking to adjust and reflect upon my own teaching. Such a journey has become a learning experience that has led me to think outside the box with the main goal of becoming a better educator.

4.  Technology Integration for Teachers  This is a facebook group that has been a life saver this year with the number of technology tools they share. I know that it is not just about the tool but knowing how to use the tool ahead of time and the possible issues I might encounter have allowed me to maximize my instructional time.

My goal is to connect with more educators across the globe so that I can give my students a wider perspective of the positive impact they can make in the world. My current needs are related to technology integration and engagement. I plan on joining the following learning communities:

1. https://www.friedtechnology.com/blog Amy shares information on how to engage learners in the online and F2F environment. 

2. Some groups I am currently part of, BUT I do not actively participate in are:

  • DFW Teacher’s Lounge 
  • DFW Teacher Community: This is a place where I can collaborate online across districts, share ideas, inspirations, resources.
  • KQED for Educators Podcasts– This is an amazing site that has a podcast that addresses current topics in education. It is usually what I listened to during my learning commute and allows me to reflect upon my teaching.

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