It’s almost here, the new school year and I’ve set myself some new goals for this one. They all concern the Personal Learning Network (PLN) and I thought I’d share them here…
The last couple of years I tried to set up a blog with my students that they could use for a writing assignment in a language course. This year I’d like to expand that idea by introducing the blog in a very early stage in the school year so they can use it for numerous courses. I’m still looking at WordPress for this, since I like using this CMS a lot, even when it can be a little demanding due to the somewhat steeper learning curve as opposed to say Tumblr, Blogger and the likes. WordPress still offers decent functionality and a lot of control of what you want to do with your website/blog.
Next up is Twitter. In the past I worked with Facebook groups, which worked out just fine. But I feel that there is more to explore and (more importantly) more people to connect to that are outside of their personal environment, which can contribute to their learning experience. Also, I can use the social medium to communicate more directly with them. I hope to achieve that they actively participate in the conversation I’m planning on setting up.
I have a third tool, which I recently discovered called Bitly. I’m planning on using this bookmarking tool in my geography class where my students have to collect 10 articles about geographical events and report about them. I thought Bitly could be an ideal partner in collecting information and presenting their work digitally.
Hopefully there will be more tools that come along and enrich their PLN. But most of all, I hope to engage my colleagues to use these tools as well for their courses.
As the next year in our Tablet project planning arrives, I’m planning on making my colleagues more digital literate as well. We decided to take one year for teacher support in advance of the student implementation of the tablets. This way the teachers can try-out these devices in their own space and time, but also experiment with them in their classes without doing too much damage if things don’t work out as planned.
So, I’d like to offer multiple sessions on how to work with tablets, show them interesting apps/web 2.0 tools and essentially take them up a step or two on the digital ladder, so to speak. Also by means of local TeachMeets, I hope to get the conversation started about what tools to use for certain courses/assignments.
An exciting year ahead of me. I’m looking forward to it!