How I Facilitate My Personal Learning
Personal Learning never stops. You do not have to be enrolled in the local university, or some online class to ensure that you are still learning. It’s just plain healthy to exercise your digital I.Q. I am connected to my digital world enough (but not too much) that I learn something new and useful, everyday.
Specifically on Twitter, I create lists of influencers who tweet about certain subjects. For instance, I created an instructional technology list comprised of professionals around the world. When I want to see what’s new in my craft, I pull up that list. Most posts are loaded with helpful links and graphics that assist me in my quests.
There are certain chats that I follow like the Breakfast Club (#BFC530). That chat starts at 5:30 am, but I can search the hashtag later in the morning, and get caught up on the daily question, and everyone’s responses. Simultaneously, there’s a spin-off Voxer chat going on where people from the group are sharing voice recordings of their philosophies regarding the topic of the day. It comes straight to my phone. Personal learning made easy. Sweet!!!
Here are the 10 components of my digital knowledge base.
- Technology: This is all the devices I have access to. I use my laptop, an iPad, and my Samsung Galaxy Note 5 to set up my environment and network daily.
- Web 2.0: A revamped interactive web experience that allows users to share and comment on information. Before, Web 1.0, users could only read information that had been posted to HTML sites, and little else.
- Social Media: I have accounts on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Linkedin, Pinterest, Reddit, and Voxer. I look in these places for valuable information that may help me with instructional technology, often. If something catches my eye, I will retweet, share, or repin the information. Whenever I blog about something that I think is newsworthy, I share it to those platforms. People who think it deserves to be shared with other people in their networks do the same.
- Blogs/News/Feeds: Huffington Post, Mashable, The Bible App, Free Technology for Teachers, and Fantasy Football Today are my favorite places to go for information. Again, when something valuable appears on my screen, I send it to Evernote or add it to Pocket to read again later, and share it with my PLN (the people in my network). Personally, this blog is a WordPress.com site. I think it’s user-friendly, the themes are great, and the mobile app is highly functional for editing and sharing on the go.
- Productivity: Evernote is my favorite note-taking tool of all time. I can use the Web Clipper, or the Clearly extensions (find them in the Chrome Store) to send materials directly to my notebooks. It’s just plain awesome!
- Online Searching: Google is the engine that I use most frequently, however it’s wrought with Wikipedia articles. There is an alternative to this. You can go to specific sites and search within the site for the information you’re trying to find. Encyclopedia Britannica has a hefty amount of information available to kids looking for trusted research materials. For the record, NC Wiseowl is just deep. When you search for resources in this space, it chauffeurs you directly to legitimate sources.
- Bookmarks: Diigo is a great bookmarking tool that allows you to annotate your findings before saving the source to your list. I use the Google bookmarking tool and save the icons only to my bookmark bar (edit the bookmark and delete the title. The tiny icon appears on the bookmarks bar. When you hover your pointer over it, you’ll see the name of the site). Information that I want to pull up later, I’ll send to my notebook or add to pocket.
- Collaborate: I usually run my PD sessions through Schoology. Like in Edmodo, not only can we flip our PD by providing the materials early, but we can post discussion questions for our teachers to ponder, based on the materials. There are also several groups and communities that we can join to share ideas with and learn from.
- Online Video: There are three online video sources that I go to for personal learning. YouTube (anything you can think of), TED Talks (inspiration, philosophy), and iTunes Video Podcasts (graphics and photography).
- Online Audio: Stitcher Radio is my favorite place for radio podcasts. You can make playlists and find experts speaking on just about everything. Audible.com is my go-to when I want to get in some reading. Often, I’m just too busy (or just plain lazy) to hold up my iPad or Kindle Fire to read the words. Besides, I can catch things I may otherwise miss, or hear things read in the proper context. Whereas I may have read on paper or on a device with a different context in mind.
Take the time to build your personal learning platforms. Teach your students to do the same. It will all pay off, by and by.