April 3, 2011

Flat Classroom Certified Teacher Course

Our reading for the course this week revisits the ideas of "push" and "pull" technologies. For my purposes there are so many resources that I could pick up and read that I prefer to use some form of "pull" to select certain items and have them come directly to my desktop. Several years ago I set up a Bloglines account and had feeds coming in from educators, technology colleagues, newspaper columnists and others. I rarely took the time to check the results and kept looking for ways to select the ones I would really read and learn from. Then came Google Reader and I could organize and winnow a bit. I still have both accounts, but my latest attempt at seeing many headlines and blog posts at a glance is m renovated iGoogle with my Google Reader gadget coming into it. I have set my iGoogle as the start page for my favorite browser and I am making a commitment to set aside pieces of time each week to scan and read.

My reality is that I most often use Twitter at a glance during my work day and I rely on the people I follow to send and resend links so that I don't miss too many posts. Some of the people I follow are in my Gmail Buzz and I value having their posts stay there in case I miss them in Twitter. My original reason for establishing a Personal Learning Network was that I am the only one in my district who does what I do. While I'm fortunate to have two colleagues who are also Instructional Integrators, I am the only one who is at the elementary level. I have an amazing colleague in Southern Maine in Bob Sprankle and he and I have sometimes collaborated on presentations at the annual fall MainED conference. There are other people I connect with who are geographically available for occasional face-to-face contacts, but much of my professional collaboration is online in some form.

Diigo for sharing bookmarks, reading and communities of learners is a "pull" tool that I can't imagine not having. The possibilities of tags for organizing, making lists & slideshows and sharing with groups make it essential to me. While I have taught Diigo in courses I teach, I have been trying to find a chance to introduce it to all of the faculty at school. I hope to be able to do that in May of this year.

This week I expect the arrival of my new iPad2 and I look forward to that as a new tool for viewing, reading, and occasionally responding to my learning network.

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