Jane Trotter, Instructional Technology Coach
Many of us have heard this and we nod our heads compliantly while envisioning speeding threads of tweets that are gone before we can catch the gist. Perhaps you are imagining yourself wading through Pinterest pins, Google+ posts, Flipboard flips, and ScoopIt scoops. This is overwhelming. How do people keep up with this deluge of professional growth supplements? Do you feel that way?
Maybe you are not in this camp at all, but rather an educator who values social media and the opportunities for professional growth it has afforded you. You may be an avid Tweeter, contributing to weekly chats and curating resources daily while sharing out with others. You are so passionate about this you want others to join and share the experience but to no avail. Your colleagues are overwhelmed and don’t share your excitement about professional learning communities.
Let me share with both groups EdWeb.net, an online resource which provides easy entry into PLNs and online communities. This website brings together a wide collaboration of educators, administrators, and industry professionals to provide free, anytime, anywhere professional learning. Participants may create profiles and participate in webinars. Individual teachers may use the platform to increase understanding or research new learning by joining communities, “follow” other educators, and create discussion groups around specific topics. This format could easily support district study groups, book studies, or PLCs.
I searched the list of EdWeb communities today and found more than 200 communities varying in size from 60-15,000 members. Community foci are diverse. Topics include: Early Childhood Learning Solutions, TechTools for the Classroom: Easy Ideas to Engage Students, College and Career Readiness, Exploring eBooks for K-12, Principal Leadership: Making a Difference, Helping Students Succeed in Math, Bring Critical Thinking Skills into Your Classroom, etc.The list is large and expanding daily. Many of the larger communities offer free webinars, recorded and archived within their resources. These communities also share the presentation slides which may be downloaded and saved. After each webinar viewed, participants may take a short quiz and receive a CE certificate for attending. This provides the possibility for teacher-directed PD with network sharing and accountability built in.
If you are still in that first camp of tech users with your head spinning and reluctant to join online communities, I have created an “EdWEb safe haven” for you. The community is named “Professional Learning in Online Communities” and may be accessed at www.edweb.net/plinc15. This community was established for participants in the GPAEA course, “Self-Directed Professional Learning in Online Communities” but has been opened up for any who would like to join. Be sure to check out other communities and join them, looking for webinars and other resources to support your learning. Come on! Jump in! This will be fun. Your professional life will be enriched and your students will benefit as you model excitement and self-motivation while learning with EdWeb.net.
- “edWeb: A professional online community for educators.” 2011. 23 Oct. 2015 <http://home.edweb.net/>
- “edWeb | Product Reviews on EdSurge.” 2015. 23 Oct. 2015 <https://www.edsurge.com/product-reviews/edweb>