One of the main takeaways of EDTC 300 is the need for community building and professional support amongst fellow educators. Through this course, our class community and PLN was crafted through the use of a Twitter account, this blog, Twitter chats, Zoom, and Slack. These resources allowed us to create meaningful relationships with our peers to draw on each other for support, to explore new ideas, and to get feedback. In just four short months, I have I already acquired the beginnings of a strong PLN built through Twitter featuring both peers and other educators I have met through Twitter chats or ed-based hashtags.
It is through this community building that this class has given me the biggest change in my teaching perspective. While in the past I did see the value in sharing with fellow educators and each other through struggles and breakthroughs, it was not something I reflected on often. When I did, it was more in passing, considering more of a basic connection, rather than the heavily integrated and intense support that individual in the education field can really provide each other with. Now, I see the power in helping other educators and I credit that mostly to Twitter. Being able to see the wide range of different perspectives is truly refreshing and has lead to some interesting discussions. Here are a few examples:
Here are just a handful examples of the kinds of resources I liked to share with my peers. I tried to maintain a good mix of replies, retweets, and sharing original content.
Another addition to my PLN this semester was an increased presence on my blog. I had originally created this blog as prompted in ECS 110 as a start to a digital portfolio assignment. Through EDTC 300, I worked on updating the content and altering it to be more reflectiv eof who I am now. I did lots of shuffling to change what was in the dropdown menus, along with learning some interesting things about how to make my blog work more efficiently – such as using the old editing style or even simple things like making menu options that don’t ‘go’ anywhere.
I was more active on my blog because of this course than I have ever been before. I was required to post about twice per week both for our #LearningProject and about the content we were learning. I still can’t say I personally love blogging regularly, but I know I do love getting to read other people’s blogs and interacting with them. It was so nice to see all of the love and support my peers provided me with on my posts, that I was happy to return the positivity. Here are some of my interactions with peers:
There are two forms of interactions I could have improved on over the semester. First of all, I could have gotten involved with more Twitter chats. I took part in #COLchat on one occasion, along with #saskedchat on one occasion, but nothing else stuck as well as #822chat. I was fairly faithful to my #822chat which was a good thing because it meant regular involvement in a chat. However, the chat itself is not very long and by sticking to just one chat, I missed out on meeting many new people.
The other form of interaction I missed out on was having a great involvement with Slack. I found Twitter to be a better platform for me to share resources and talk to my peers, so that is what I stuck with. To me, Slack was more appropriately used if I had a question that was class-specific and only required one quick answer. I would like to say that is just my opinion! I did see many great conversations going on over Slack, so the resource is clearly still valuable, but just not for my needs. Here are a couple of the times I used Slack:
I think there is still learning to be done for me in regards to increasing my networking capabilities and social media skills, but EDTC 300 has given me a great introduction to the direction I should be going. I look forward to seeing where my Twitter and blog take me in the future. I am also curious to see what new digital resources I discover to connect with others. I’m looking at taking an online workshop in the summer, if it works out. I think that would be a great place to start!