Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Thing 17 - Professional Learning Networks

1. LearnPort - This is another good resource for educators, but I did not find it as user friendly and useful compared to a site like Thinkfinity. I was able to use NetTrekker to find good resource for use in my classroom, but it would not be the first site I would go to.

2. Twitter/Facebook - pros and cons of using this in or out of the classroom
Twitter can help engage students. It can foster "metacognition" (the practice of thinking about and reflecting on your learning) It forces users to be brief and to the point -- an important skill in thinking clearly and communicating effectively. It could be used to remind students of homework or other class activities. It could be used for quick responses to what was talked about in class. Twitter could encourage community in the classroom as students "Tweet" about activities in the classroom. It would need to be carefully monitored so that cyber bullying does not occur and comments stay focused and appropriate. I use my Facebook account to stay somewhat connected to the what is going on in my students' lives. As an example, I know when a student's pet died and could help the student deal with that. I wouldn't just wonder why that student was in a bad mood on a particular day. 

3. MACULSpace - A Facebook-like site to stay connected with other educators who want to make good use of technology in education.

4. Professional Organization: describe the a) purpose, b) cost and c) benefit of membership within the organization. d) Explain the unique skills and abilities you could contribute to the organization.
I've researched the National Council for the Social Studies: http://www.ncss.org/
a) Here is a quote from the website that desribes the purpose of the organization:
"Social studies educators teach students the content knowledge, intellectual skills, and civic values necessary for fulfilling the duties of citizenship in a participatory democracy. The mission of National Council for the Social Studies is to provide leadership, service, and support for all social studies educators."
b) The cost would vary depending on what resources were chosen, but the regular membership, which includes a subscription to publications and discounts to conventions is $66.
c) Benefits of membership include a subscription to Middle Level Learning, a publication that contains lessons for middle school social studies educators, access to member written lesson plans, a searchable article archive that could be used in middle school classrooms, a list of notable trade books that could be used in social studies classrooms, the ability to collaborate with other educators through state councils for social studies educators, plus a NCSS national conference.
d) What I would bring is 22 years of experience in teaching history and social studies from 3rd grade through 8th grade. I bring a passion for teaching and a love for children. I bring a desire to help children learn from the past and learn to look beyond their own community to the world.

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