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It’s been a whirlwind of learning for me this fall. I had thought I wouldn’t be starting my coursework until the spring, but thanks to rolling admissions I was able to begin studying towards my Master’s in October! So looking back, what have I learned? What’s changed? Two of the course’s guiding questions jump out as most significant to my learning.

Guiding Question 1, from Week 3: “How can teachers use technologies to grow and evolve professionally?”

To illustrate how much my use of technology for professional growth has changed, I’ve redone the activity from Week 3 (see my original answer to the question here).

Update: I was able to successfully embed my popplet thanks to some help.

Here are the new results, in one link or two images:

A few items to point out:

1) More information is coming from outside my building (orange).
2) Some expert sources on pedagogy and learning (green).
3) A new type of activity has emerged: drafting new ideas, the creation and play that happens on my blog and on twitter (blue).
4) Resources are centered around guiding questions (red) which in theory makes my PLN proactive rather than reactive.

(I can’t seem to successfully embed the popplet, you can click here to view it in even more detail.)

I am concerned that I’ve been tossing lots of bookmarks into Diigo without developing a process for reviewing them, which according to the work of Douglas Allen is like a “leaky bucket” (2001). Similarly, I have ramped up my use of Evernote and Google Drive to draft files for this master’s course, which could get messy without attention!

Guiding Question 2, from Week 5: Given what we understand about student learning, and given assertions about shifting culture and shifting priorities for education in the 21st century, how should we be integrating technology in our classrooms?

I have always believed that modern technologies could drastically impact my teaching practice, but I’ve never acted much on that belief. Every year I dabble with something new, such as a student blog project that dies off quickly or a class wikispace here and there. But this question from week 5 and the book “A New Culture of Learning” really lit a fire (Thomas, D., & Brown, J. S., 2011). Now it’s time to do more than put my foot in the water; now it’s time to jump in.

I could honestly write a few thousand words about my developing answer to this question. This recent email to my colleagues shows some of these specific ideas:

Screen Shot 2013-12-11 at 8.45.40 AM

But rather than trying to squeeze fragments of my answer into a short blog post, I’ll end with MY version of the guiding question:

How can I use technology to reconcile (or at least reduce) the tension inherent in true inquiry, in which novices need both independence and structure?

I have the feeling that answering this question will take me a lot of places, introduce me to lots of new ideas and people, and result in lots of new classroom strategies. And most importantly, I think it’ll be fun!

References

Allen, D. (2001). Getting things done: The art of stress-free productivity. New York, NY: Viking.

Thomas, D., & Brown, J. S. (2011). A new culture of learning: Cultivating the imagination for a world of constant change. Lexington, KY: CreateSpace.

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