The Power of Personal Online Professional Development

It has always been a challenge for me to find enough time to really communicate and train my staff the way I think I should. It’s not due to lack of motivation on my part. It’s not due to lack of need on my learner’s part. The biggest stumbling block becomes time. There is never enough time – at least not enough during the school day, a workday or well, any other day!

The move to online professional development that is self-directed has made all the difference. While I’d prefer that best practices teaching be standardized in some way, the personal aspect of being able to provide content that “speaks” to my learners in my own voice is crucial. Each trainer or coach needs to provide that personal touch that pulls in their audience.

It has a lot to do with surrounding oneself with greatness. Take, for example, that vibrant person that you learn something from every single time you are around them. They seem to just ooze the best tips, tricks, and ways to do things. They are dynamic, even if they are quiet. One is drawn to what they have to share and may be found following them on Twitter and even to lunch. But, they are willing to share. They are quick to offer a solution. These are the people I like to surround myself with.

I can send people to YouTube where they can search for their topic. But they want to hear it from me. They want to hear about my personal connection with this tool or method. Making it personal makes it real. It’s no longer just the learner and the computer. It becomes the learner, the computer and the coach who is on demand 24/7.

So, I will continue to surround myself with great people. I will continue to learn about my profession, as it changes daily. I will continue to provide the best professional development that I can so that my learners will grow and become leaders themselves. What a great year it’s going to be!


Technology Can Bring Even A Seasoned Veteran to Their Knees

It never fails. Intelligent teachers, attempting to learn more about current technology, feel lost and confused when presented with something new. How is it that these well educated, competent adults find themselves feeling like the first day of Kindergarten?

The simple answer is, that educated adults feel we should already KNOW how to do things. “I’m smart. I have a Master’s degree. Why can’t I understand Twitter?” The answer, really, is because you ARE smart. Children learn things quickly and adapt as the technology changes mostly because they don’t know anything else. Those of us that have been around several decades – or more – aren’t as quick to accept the steep learning curve or the new vocabulary.

One friend of mine commented, “I don’t have to learn about the Internet. It will be a passing fad and won’t be around more than about a year.” Oops. Prediction slightly incorrect.

Just when we get comfortable with how something works in the Cloud environment, it has a new update. Things get moved. It’s made “better” or at least different. As a teacher in an online environment with adult learners, this makes it constantly changing. Not such a bad thing, mind you, but I can’t just create my assignments and rest on my laurels. Matter of fact, I can’t do that with my face-to-face elementary students, either.

Even though our knees need a few moments of bending and resting, falling is a bit tough for those of us that have a few decades behind us. The easiest cure for this issue is keeping up with the right blogs and feeds. My favorite, Educational Technology and Mobile Learning, has captured my heart and brought me to my knees – a lot. They never fail to provide me with a new tip, a cool update or an awesome infographic.

Don’t be afraid of the new stuff. Dig in. You won’t break it. Really. Your professional team will suddenly expand if you join a Twitter Chat or follow some folks that are like minded. Technology changes every day, every hour it seems. Grab hold and let’s go for a grand ride!

Holistic Transcripts at Elon

The Radical Transcript For its Spring graduating class, Elon University of North Carolina is launching a radically different student transcript—the Visual Experiential Transcript or Visual EXP. It’s a significant departure from the traditional. This document aims to provide a holistic snapshot of a student’s undergraduate learning, on and off campus extracurricular activities and leadership experience. […]

via Need-to-Know News: A Radically Different Transcript in Higher Ed & LinkedIn Launches Personalized Learning Platform — Online Learning Insights

Twitter For Professional Development 

If you haven’t tried Twitter for your professional learning, I highly recommend you explore it. There are so many people that provide great insight. 

Unlike other social media sites, users must be succinct in their posting. 160 characters are all that are allowed. Getting to the point is imperative. 

What point do you want to make about your profession? Or your take on educational matters? How about your favorite tech tool?

Explore Twitter for Professional Development. It opens an entirely new world. #TwitterPLN #educatorPD

Getting Started with Twitter

How Do You Organize?

Time is precious. With so many tools available, how do you know what tools will work best for you? Here are a sampling of tools that could help you save time and hassle. Just explore to find the right ones for you.

These are some of my “Go-To” apps. Give them a few weeks and see if they improve your workflow. If they don’t, then they should not become part of your digital toolbox. Enjoy!

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Lenovo L450 Not Connecting?

The Wake County Public School System (WCPSS) in Raleigh, NC purchased the Lenovo L450 laptop for every certified teacher in the District. Over 13,000 teacher laptops and thousands of individual school-purchased student laptops later, an important issue keeps coming up: “Why won’t my laptop connect to the wireless internet?”

Believe it or not, the solution is simple. There is an Airplane Mode key that can easily get pushed and the wireless radios get turned off. The secret lies in the F8 key. The F8 key turns the wireless on and off. Students quickly figure this out and staff sometimes press the key and end up turning it off.



When you press the F8 Key, you see the image below if your wireless is on. Green for ON (even though the word Off is below the pictures).


Red for OFF. If your wireless is OFF, you will see this:

wireless off.jpg

The On and Off designation is for your Airplane Mode. Airplane mode turns off your wireless function. Seems a bit confusing and maybe it could be a little clearer. I feel as if it’s a little like a double negative in context.

Hopefully the next time that laptop won’t connect to the internet,  you’ll have a quick solution.


Summer Technology

What will your student do over the summer? Hopefully spend a lot of time playing and creating. But, don’t forget that a lot of learning can still happen while playing. If you are looking for some good apps to keep your children learning, look at this article from Common Sense Media Teachers’ Top Picks for Out-of-School Learning.

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