Social Networking Reflection

This quarter, I am taking a Social Media class (EDUC 775) at Drexel University. This post is a reflection to meet an assignment requirement for that class and outline what I have learned so far.
New Tools and Resources
I am always excited to learn about new tools and resources that are available on the internet. Prior to this class, I was familiar with sites like Twitter, and Pinterest, and Diigo, as well as tools like blogs and social networking. This class has forced me to examine these and other tools in a much greater depth than before. For example, I rarely used Twitter prior to this class because I did not grasp its true potential and value, but I have since made an effort to become familiar with this tool and use it regularly. I had thought of Twitter as merely as “micro-blogging” site, in which users post 140 characters that simply vanish into ether. However, there is more to Twitter than that. Tweets can start conversations with people that you would ordinarily meet. Experts like David Warlick (2009) sometimes answer questions asked of them in Twitter or their own blogs. In addition, using hash tags, users can carry on live interactive conversations with people across the world (TeachThought Staff, 2012). The amazing thing about this is that it is all free; all you need to do is go online and participate.
Personal Learning Networks
The idea of Personal Learning Networks (PLN) is new to me. The NMC Horizon Report: 2012 K-12 Edition (Johnson, Adams, & Cummins, 2012) called them Personal Learning Environments, which I think I prefer because it goes beyond simply creating a learning network using social media outlets to the tools that you use to organize, connect, and utilize the information that you connect. To be honest, I have used my PLN more for website development information rather than education information, but I am growing both PLNs, slowly but surely. One thing that I have learned is that the topic of Common Core is heatedly debated on social networks, with proponents promoting its virtues and detractors calling it a waste of time and money, (and/or a socialist conspiracy to promote Obama’s liberal agenda).
National Educational and Technology Standards (NETS)
The NETS for Teachers (ISTE, 2011) stipulated that teachers should inspire creativity, provide opportunities for digital age learning, promote digital citizenship, and engage in professional development. I am working very hard to engage in professional development. I have not had much opportunity to promote digital citizenship yet, but I do so when the opportunities arise. I do my best to inspire creativity in students, as well as those around me. I have provided a few opportunities for digital age learning. I implemented a lesson using Microsoft Excel to create charts and graphs. I have also used the SMART Responders a few times as a formative assessment before, during, and after classes. As for leadership, I have assisted numerous teachers in implementing this technology in their own classrooms.
Conclusion
Social networking and eLearning are going to become increasingly important in the future. I definitely want to expand my PLN, and learn to utilize it efficiently, so that I can stay abreast of new ideas, technology, and resources. Game-based learning and Personal learning environments (PLEs) are Mid-term Horizon (two or three years out) adoption goals (Johnson, Adams, & Cummins, 2012). These concepts interest me, and I would very much like to learn more about them and their implementation.
References
ISTE. (2011). NETS for Teachers. ISTE. Retrieved February 9, 2014, from http://www.iste.org/docs/pdfs/nets-t-standards.pdf?sfvrsn=2
Johnson, L., Adams, S., & Cummins, M. (2012). NMC Horizon Report: 2012 K-12 Edition. Austin, Texas: The New Media Consortium.
TeachThought Staff. (2012, September 29). 8 Ideas, 10 Guides, and 17 Tools for a Better Professional Learning Network. Retrieved from TeachThought: http://www.teachthought.com/social-media/8-ideas-10-guides-and-17-tools-for-a-better-professional-learning-network/
Warlick, D. (2009, March 22). Personal Learning Networks: The Beginning. Retrieved from 2¢ Worth: http://2cents.onlearning.us/?p=1704

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