Social media has grown exponentially in popularity over the years. From the development of MSN to Facebook to Twitter, today’s generation have grown up with their hands on keyboards and eyes on computer screens. According to a study done in 2010 by Kaiser Family Foundation, 31% of kids aged 8-10, 69% of kids aged 11-14, and 85% of kids aged 14-17 have their own cell-phone. These statistics are twice as large as the they were in 2004! With these values it is very apparent the importance of understanding technology and the social media that is out there. It is important that as a future educator I do not shy away from technology and attempt to keep up with its trends so that I can teach my students proper netiquette and demonstrate how to safely utilize the the internet and social networking.
I am part of the generation that first grew up with internet and its technologies. Because of this, I have been aware of the different trending social media apps/sites that are always being developed; however, my knowledge of these apps/sites have only included using them for recreation. I have never thought or questioned how I could use social media for my professional development as a teacher. From ECS 210, as well as previous education classes, I have been challenged to use these resources for more then just recreation. This has been a long path that I’m still not at the end of and never will be- it has taken time to look at social networking apps/sites as more then just ways to kill time when I am bored.
The start of my journey was very non-successful. During my first year in the Education Faculty I had created a Twitter account (@hardy22t) solely for my purposes of growing as an educator. Although this sounded very promising, the concept and its importance had not yet sunk in and I had posted a grand total of 3 tweets…for the year. Although I was following about 10 very knowledgeable educators and was learning things from them, I was not contributing to my network and their growth and learning.
My second year was better. I had kind of left Twitter alone but had created a blog for my ECS 300 class (hardy22t.wordpress.com) as well as a resource blog for my ECMP 355 (tayhardy.wordpress.com/). I had taken much interest in my blog and had spent many hours developing it into something I was proud of and something I felt represented me as an individual as well as a future educator. Through my blog I have established my teaching profile and teaching practices as well as my thoughts and opinion about numerous education topics.
This year, I have really tried to bring all of these resources together. I have several Pintrest accounts- school, teaching quotes, education- science– specifically created for educational ideas. If I feel these ideas are really interesting I will also tweet them and share them to my learning networks. Likewise, my Twitter account has grown exponentially from where it was in previous years. I am now following 59 people, who are always posting intriguing and beneficial material, and have 36 people following me. My tweet count jumped from 3 to 80. From these tweets I have been able to generate very meaningful discussions that have contributed to my professional growth. My ECS 210 class has a hashtag (#ecs210) which is where a lot of these discussion have taken place.
Examples of my contributions to my Personal Learning Network:
Some Tweets I retweeted:
My own Tweets:
My Personal Learning Network has grown exponentially since my first year in Education. My current online identity, I believe, represents the person and future educator I am and want to still become. However, professional growth never comes to an end. As a future educator I plan to be a learner for my entire life. I will learn as much from my students as they will from me. My Personal Learning Network will enable me to continue to grow with regards to my teaching practices and philosophy. Also, I hope to have discussions that contribute to others’ development as well. My next goal involving my Learning Network is to utilize Facebook for educational purposes as well. I can see the the potential Facebook may bring to my network and plan to dive into this deeper.
I plan to expand my Personal Learning Network more and more each year and have a large quality of resources that I can call upon for different situations I will experience all throughout my teaching career.
Finally, I would like to share my summary of learning from my ECMP 355 class that encompasses my online identity and what I plan to do with with technology in my future classroom: