Summer PLP (Professional Learning Plan)

What is your summer professional learning plan (PLP)? Do you have one? Usually summer is the time to kick back, relax, and be a little bit lazy. But I find that summer gives me time to dig into some things I have been wanting to tackle but just haven’t made time in my schedule to do.

Should I learn a new software program, read a lot of books (both recreational and professional), organize and develop a new online course for PD, or revise a current online course? The list could get longer than my time to make anything happen.

Ahh–let me think about it for a little while first.

Ok–now on to an action plan. First of all, why have a PLP? Don’t I already do that for my principal and the school district? Yes, you probably do. But applying those same ideas to a plan for the summer will help to make what you may have already done, or plan on doing, stronger.

In its simplest form a PLP allows you to:

  • Assess your current level of professional knowledge in terms of a list of competences relevant to your specific professional job
  • Compare these with what competences might be needed to complete current and
    future tasks
  • Identify any gaps between what you have and what is required
  • Set objectives and a timescale to fill these gaps
  • Plan ways of meeting these objectives

Look at your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats–commonly called SWOT. After you have identified some specific developmental goals, then write some SMART objectives: specific, measurable, achievable, resourced, and timed.

Ask yourself the following questions about your PLP:

  1. Are you constructing new knowledge from professional learning experiences?
  2. Are you applying learning to classroom practice?
  3. How will changes in teaching impact student learning?
  4. Can you measure return on your investment in professional learning?
  5. Does your PLP support the student achievement results you are seeking?

Your summer PLP doesn’t have to be a huge project–it could be as simple as reading a professional book that you haven’t had time to read yet–and then planning what effect this new information/knowledge will have on your teaching and perhaps, creating an actual plan to follow through with it when you begin teaching again.

So–time to make my PLP.

Let me know what your ideas are by adding a comment.

Twitter: AeaPDOnline
Web Site: www.iowaaea.org

Follow the conversation about the organization/formation of imug (Iowa Moodle Users Group) on Twitter, using the new hashtag, #imug.

NOTE: Although I will be here all summer, the Friday Feature is taking a break and will return in August. Enjoy your summer learning.

VoiceThread–again

I love talking about and showing tools that are really dynamic,can assist with student learning, and are easy to embed or link to in an online course. VoiceThread is one such tool. I have talked about this tool before, but can’t seem to get enough of it. Why? Because it is just a cool tool! It offers so much in the way of digital, online conversations between students, facilitators, and the myriad of activities you can promote. It is just a great tool.

Here are some links to help you get started:

Voice Thread

Let me know if you try using it in your online course(s) by adding a comment.

Twitter: AeaPDOnline
Web Site: www.iowaaea.org

Follow the conversation about the organization/formation of imug (Iowa Moodle Users Group) on Twitter, using the new hashtag, #imug.

Web 2.0 Tools

There are lots of “tools” available on the Internet for both students and faculty to use in the pursuit of learning. How do you choose? Do you just keep “Googling”?

What is your strategy for finding easy-to-use, online tools that help you with teaching and/or learning? I think it would be interesting to hear how other educators and/or students find tools that assist in their work.

I have tools that I like to use and I always like to share them with others.

These are my TOP FIVE PICKS:

  • Pho.to—an online image editing in your browser.
    http://pho.to/
  • Jog the Web—a place to store a list of links that can be organized by topic, and it helps you better share, show and comment any web pages on the Internet. http://www.jogtheweb.com/
  • Voice Thread—provides a place to have group conversations around images, documents, videos and allows people to leave comments in 5 different ways. http://voicethread.com/
  • Audio Boo—record and upload audio to share with others. It is so easy to use too. http://audioboo.fm/
  • Jing—provides a way to take a picture or make a short video of what you see on your computer monitor and then share it. http://www.techsmith.com/jing/


Your Turn:
What are your favorites? Add a comment and share.

Twitter: AeaPDOnline
Web Site: www.iowaaea.org

Follow the conversation about the organization/formation of imug (Iowa Moodle Users Group) on Twitter, using the new hashtag, #imug.

Twitter–continued

Last week I wrote about using Twitter as a professional development tool. Here are some links that will take it to the next level, using Twitter in your classroom with your students. .

Twitter Resources

25 Ways To Use Twitter In The Classroom, By Degree Of Difficulty

20 Twitter Hashtags Every Teacher Should Know About

Why Twitter should be a part of your PLN

Twitter in Plain English

The Ultimate Guide to Using Twitter in Education

50 Ideas on Using Twitter for Education

Cure What Ails You: A Dose of Twitter for Every Day

Let me know if you try using Twitter with your students, or have any resources you would like to share, by adding a comment below.

Twitter: AeaPDOnline
Web Site: www.iowaaea.org

Follow the conversation about the organization/formation of imug (Iowa Moodle Users Group) on Twitter, using the new hashtag, #imug.

If You Were on Twitter…

Do you Tweet? I didn’t get it, at first. What was the value of sending out short messages that told anyone who wanted to “follow” you what you were doing at almost the exact moment you were doing it?? I jumped on the bandwagon, but only because I was teaching a course on the integration of technology in the classroom. I was working with students who were considered to be more tech savvy than my generation. But what I found out was surprising–they weren’t tweeting, at least most of them weren’t using it. They were, however, very Facebook savvy.

But I decided to continue to use it–mainly I was just “lurking” for quite a while. I followed some educators and looked at who they were following and my list kept growing. Then I actually “tweeted” a bit–it was for my students (at least that is what I told myself in the beginning). Then that course ended and I found that I was still reading and following and I continued tweeting. So in the end I became aware that I was finding, through Twitter, a lot of excellent resources that I may never have found if I had not been following someone else. And, to my surprise, occasionally, someone would RT (retweet) something I “tweeted”.  That was an incredible feeling of accomplishment.

Twitter is an excellent way to wade through the Internet to find “stuff” that you may not have ever known about. I consider it a way that I create a professional development opportunity for me that is very personal. I follow people who have the same interests, both professionally and personally, that I do.

Here is a link that uses a very creative way to express the benefits of educators being on Twitter:

If you were on Twitter

So, what’s your excuse? At least dip your toes in the water. It won’t hurt you at all–you might even like it a little bit, as well as enjoy it.

Hope to “tweet” with you soon.


Twitter: AeaPDOnline
Web Site: www.iowaaea.org

Follow the conversation about the organization/formation of imug (Iowa Moodle Users Group) on Twitter, using the new hashtag, #imug.

Graphical Representation of the Syllabus

Interesting idea–making a graphical representation of your syllabus. I came across this idea by clicking on a link within a Tweet from someone I follow on Twitter. It lead me to this site: http://chronicle.com/blogs/profhacker/graphic-display-of-student-learning-objectives/27863?sid=wc&utm_source=wc&utm_medium=en.

The article is worth the read and isn’t very long. It includes examples of what it actually could look like. It provides a clear reference to outcomes and connections of specific assignments to those course outcomes.

The author of this article goes on to say that using a graphic display is a way to “keep student learning in focus“. There are benefits for the students as well.  “Graphical displays are clearer to visual learners, they show how a course is organized, and they function as a map to a course.

Note: Click on the link to the article to view examples of the graphical display.

How can this apply to your online course? Sometimes online students don’t seem to “get it”. They appear to just wander through the course without making the connections, in spite of our best efforts, to the course objectives/outcomes/essential learnings. Providing a visual representation of those connections to specific assignments may be enough to get the learner to focus their learning and they will see that “none of the course assignments are random or arbitrary.”

Challenge:
As long as you are thinking about revising your summer online course, think about adding a graphical image of your course objectives and assignments. It could be just what you and your online students need to move their learning, and yours, forward.

Talk to me. What do you think? Worth trying?

Twitter: AeaPDOnline
Web Site: www.iowaaea.org

Follow the conversation about the organization/formation of imug (Iowa Moodle Users Group) on Twitter, using the new hashtag, #imug.

Summer Project

I know it is only the middle of March and I am thinking about summer already. It will be here before you know it. If you are like me, I always think I will get so much done over the summer. Then it’s gone and I am left wondering where it went!

So, let’s make a plan.

Think about the following:

  1. What have you tried in your online courses that may not have worked as well as you had hoped?
  2. What have you wanted to try but just weren’t sure how to go about it?
  3. Is there a technology tool that would help you accomplish your goals as well as meet the course objectives?
  4. Is there a Web 2.0 tool that you just haven’t had time to look at, try out, or integrate into your online course yet?

So, here’s the challenge: Answer the questions above and try something new. But the catch is that it must fit in with the overall goals of the course–think of course objectives/outcomes first and then find the technology tool that matches up (if there is one). There’s no rush–you’ve got all summer. 🙂

FAQ’s

How can you learn to use that new tool?

There are lots of websites that provide information about the Web 2.0 tools and usually the website of a tool has all sorts of tutorials and help-guides.

How do you choose a tool?

I usually find a tool based on the blogs I read regularly. There are many educational blogs that provide ideas, lesson plans, etc. for using various online tools. It is up to me to figure out if they would work in an online environment and how to make it easy for my students to use. Usually students don’t mind trying something new if they understand why they are using–the value added.

Where can I find Web 2.0 Tools with ideas?

There are tons of websites with all sorts of tools and corresponding ideas. You can find them easily by doing a search using your favorite search engine. If you follow any blogs, a list may show up on one or more. If you are a Twitter user you may find ideas from the tweets you follow. The following links may get you started but remember, you may have to make some adaptations for using them in an online teaching environment:

I would love to hear back from you and find out what you tried. Let’s talk soon!


Twitter: AeaPDOnline
Web Site: www.iowaaea.org

Follow the conversation about the organization/formation of imug (Iowa Moodle Users Group) on Twitter, using the new hashtag, #imug.