Course Reflection for Social Network Learning

When I signed up to take the course Social Network Learning this summer, my initial thoughts were, “How much can one possibly learn from social networks?”  The answer is–more than you can imagine.  Social media is a powerful tool that allows us to connect and develop a network with access to resources and people that we may not otherwise be able to associate with.

Using social media has improved my professional development.  Before this class, I had a Twitter account set up, but I barely accessed it.  Now I have learned how to find hashtags that suit my interests, and I have found a way to organize those hashtags through the use of TweetDeck.  This has been a valuable experience for me.  I have been able to follow prominent people in professional areas that interest me and I have gained a wealth of knowledge and resources.  Through participating in Twitter chats, I have become more comfortable with putting myself out there and sharing my own ideas and knowledge.  I like how Twitter has allowed me to customize my professional development and I plan on sharing  what I have learned and helping my colleagues set up their own accounts during one of our first faculty meetings of our new school year.

Our work on developing a positive digital footprint and managing our online reputation will be beneficial as I guide my students to use social media.  I have always been careful to watch what I post on social media, but these activities have helped me develop ideas on how to convey that knowledge to my students as they begin using social media on their own.

I have never really done much with content curation, but by completing these projects, I learned how to use PearlTrees.  Rather than just clicking on and bookmarking sites, curation allows one to pause and think about whether the information is relevant, credible, and useful for the topic to be curated.  For this project, I curated content on middle school book recommendations.  I have added it to my class website and plan on updating it for my students frequently.  I have never worked on curation with my students, but now I plan on teaching it to my middle schoolers.  I think it will help them as they work on their research projects.  One disappointment I had was that many of the curation tools are free only to a certain extent.  I ended up purchasing a subscription to PearlTrees just so that I could use all the features.  For schools that are cash-strapped, the idea of purchasing subscriptions is not usually met with enthusiasm.

In our study of social media and social media policies, I have learned that is possible to use social media safely and responsibly even with students in the elementary school.  Today’s students have grown up with technology and I think that when they enter a classroom they wish that they would have access to the same level of technology that they encounter in their own world.  They no longer seem interested to sit in rows of desks listening and reading from textbooks.  They want to participate in their learning.  Education is more than just memorization and today’s student demands to be provided with the tools to expand their mind.  Using social media is one of these tools.  If we teach our students how to use social media properly, it will enhance their learning by expanding their access to resources beyond the classroom walls.

Creating social media policies was an invaluable experience.  My school had no prior social media policies besides the few set up by our diocese.  I had to research and come up with social media policies to add to our school acceptable use policy.  I plan on sharing this document with my principal and I hope that we can work together with our technology committee and pastor to develop a more comprehensive policy for our school.

Finally, creating and evaluating another group’s social networked unit was an important learning experience.  It pulled together how a teacher can utilize all forms of social networking tools within a classroom unit, and I enjoyed the opportunity to evaluate my classmate’s unit using a screencast.  I have never evaluated my students using a screencast.  I think it is kind of a lengthy process, but I would definitely consider evaluating group projects in this manner. It makes the evaluation more personal and the evaluator can give more detailed and constructive feedback.

In finishing up this course, I would rate my blog performance as above average.  When composing my posts, I took an extensive amount of time to develop very personal and thoughtful reflections on what I have learned and I have worked to make meaningful connections.  If anyone were to read my posts, they would be able to see what I have learned and they might learn something from me as well. In addition, I carefully considered the tags and categories for each blog post so that it will be easier to revisit my work later on.   Through my blog, I have developed a voice and really worked to show what I am passionate about and what changes I might make as an educator in my classroom and within my school.   With each blog post, I made every effort to put forth my best work to show the knowledge that I have acquired through my participation in this course.  An area that I would improve upon would have been to comment more on my classmates blog posts in order to create more of a dialogue.  I would award myself with the full 75 points for my posts.

Being a member of this class has been an amazing journey and I look forward to sharing all that I have learned with my students and colleagues.



Social Media in Learning

Social media is a powerful tool and many teachers use it for personal reasons,  professional development, and communication with our school families, yet the thought of incorporating social media in our classroom seems to continue to be a touchy subject.  I think some worry that students will be distracted and spend more time communicating with each other rather than focusing on the assignment while others worry about cyber-bullying and student privacy and safety.  What I have found after curating website articles about schools using social media in the classroom is that all of these issues can be addressed and the use of social media engages students and extends their learning.  Social media is here to stay, the students are aware of it and use it at home so why not use it in the classroom.  At least then, we as teachers, can be involved in teaching our students the proper and safe way to interact with others on the internet.

I teach in a K-8 grade setting and I have often wondered how to safely incorporate social media in the classroom.  Many of my students are too young to set up accounts and those that are old enough may not be allowed to have them.  What I have found through my reading is that I can set up a classroom account with my younger students and we can work as a class to create posts.  It is also possible to set up individual accounts to blog, text, whiteboard, tag, post links, and create videos even for young students using educational sites like EduBlogs, Edmodo, and Fakebook.  Blogging and posting to social media helps students as young as kindergarten with their reading and writing skills and gives students the ability to share what is going on in the classroom through their eyes.    By using social media, students are able to connect and collaborate with other students in their school, district, state, country, and world.  Not only will students learn from others, but they will contribute to the learning of others and new cultures and knowledge will be brought into the classroom.

Using social media allows us to explore and educate our students on proper digital citizenship.  For example, students will learn the proper way to post and what types of information should be shared in a more controlled environment with teacher guidance.

Social media used in classrooms will not be a waste of time if managed effectively. Teaching students how to properly use social media will help prepare them for the future. After reading these articles, I have more confidence in how I can integrate the use of social medial in my classroom and I plan on incorporating it into my computer classroom in the next school year.

Click below to access my curated articles:

pearltrees for wordpress

Personal Learning Environments

Megan Apgar PLE


Personal Learning Environments (PLEs) allow a learner to take control of and manage their learning by “navigating and organizing a stream of information and resources from a variety of different sources” (Ash, 2013, para. 1).  PLEs are created using a variety of technologies and tools that aid an individual in organizing the large amounts of information received daily.  PLEs  are unique to each individual based on interest and need (Ash, 2013, para 3 & 4).

When I started to create a diagram of my Personal Learning Environment, the first thing that I did was list out all the digital resources I use as a student, for personal use, and as an educator.  I knew that I wanted my diagram to be in a circular shape and that all the pieces had to be connected in some way with me in the middle as the central figure to show that it was unique for my needs and learning goals.  I liked the idea of using circles because they are never ending just as building our PLE is never ending and forever changing.  From the list of resources I created, I broke them up into four categories based on how I used them.  My categories include connecting socially and professionally, aggregating and annotating, working collaboratively, and creating content, connecting, and sharing.  Each category fit into a circle and I connected the circles because I feel that many of these tools are intertwined with each other and can be used for more than one purpose.  From creating this diagram, I learned that I use a lot of technological resources in my daily life that have had a great impact on my personal and professional growth.  There are probably more out that I could be using or some that I use that I forgot to list.  I also learned that I must not do a lot of collaborative work because this portion had the least amount of resources listed.

Even though PLEs are unique to each individual, I found some similarities between my diagram and those of my classmates.  The similarities I found are that many of us including Amy, Katie, Scott, and Brian put ourselves in the middle of the diagram and many of us like Amanda, Courtney, and Brian used the concept of a circle in some capacity with each resource interconnected in some way.  We also use many of the same resources and tools for professional, personal, and educational reasons. The amount of differences between our diagrams was greater than the similarities which indicated our uniqueness.  I noticed that our main differences involved our breakdowns of how we categorized our resources.  We all seemed to choose different labels to categorize them.  Courtney represented her resources as professional and personal and Amanda represented hers based on frequency of use. Kimmy seemed to only include social networks as her resources.  Despite our differences, the point of having a PLE is all about making it your own and blending your resources to develop your own personal learning space.

Ash, K. (2013, May 20). ‘Personal learning environments’ Focus on the individual. In Education Week. Retrieved from
Personal Learning Environments. (n.d.). In IMAILE. Retrieved from

Real Time & Virtual PD

Within the past month I have attended four webinars and four live Twitter chats.  Because I teach in the library and computer lab in a K-8 Catholic school, my goal was to attend a variety of sessions that would cover aspects of all these areas.  My Twitter chats discussed STEM, Learning Management Systems, technology, professional development, Makerspaces in the Catholic school, and blogging.  The webinars covered Makerspaces, using technology in the early childhood classroom, the library as a classroom, and connecting with school families through social media.

The topic of discussion for my Twitter chat on #edchat  was “How does an educator’s blog help the educator or his/her students? How does an admin’s blog help the admin or teachers?” We discussed these questions and many agreed that a blog is a good reflective piece used to share growth and model the importance of writing and communication to our students. We also discussed whether blogs should be made mandatory for the classroom teacher, whether blogs are becoming obsolete, and the different blog platforms available. I contributed my answer to the initial question, responded to others thoughts and ideas, expressed my frustrations with using WordPress, shared my classroom website, and ended up connecting with another K-8 computer teacher and corresponded back and forth with her after the chat regarding digital citizenship lessons. As nervous as I was about taking part in this discussion, I though it was fun and I was very excited to connect with someone who does the same work as me. I found it hard to keep up with the pace of the comments. I don’t think well on my feet so it was challenging to come up with a comment quick enough that wouldn’t go over the Twitter character limit. It was also distracting that other posts would come in through the feed during the discussion that weren’t related to our topic. It kind of interrupted the flow of conversation for me. I have included screen shots of some of the responses to my comments and my discussion with the computer teacher I met.


On June 15th,  I took part in the online webinar, Library 2.016 Library as Classroom. This was like a seminar only online. It started with an address from five keynote speakers and then we broke out into half an hour information sessions. I attended three different sessions, “The LibraryMakerspace as Classroom, OERs at the Junction of Library and Classroom, and Incorporating Making Culture into the Curriculum.” In the Library Makerspaces as Classroom session, our speaker was a Libraries Fellow at NCSU. She shared information about their libraries’ makerspaces, the programs they offer, events they organized, and how they collaborate with course instructors to incorporate the use of their makerspaces in course instruction. I asked questions regarding their makerspaces and how to bring this down to a smaller level for the elementary library. I learned of resources and a blog to follow to get started. The OER session was presented by graduate students from the School of Information at San Jose State University. They created a website on California History for the fourth grade. On the site, teachers can submit lesson ideas, students can present projects, and resources are included including visuals, videos, and information resources. This site was designed for co-teaching among teachers and librarians. I contributed some of my thoughts on co-teaching. In the final session I attended, we learned how The University of LaVerne library system incorporated a making culture into their University’s curriculum through a Mini Maker Fair. The presenters discussed the process of planning, executing, and reflecting on their fair. I was impressed with the projects the students came up with for the mini maker fair and I liked the idea of a Shark Tank type contest they held where the students presented their projects to a panel of judges much like the Shark Tank television show. I loved that I could attend this conference from the comfort of my own home. At times the audio kicked out, though, and I couldn’t hear the speakers, but that is technology for you! Even though many of the sessions were based at the university level, they helped me formulate ideas for ways to scale it down to the elementary level. I have included files of the chat sessions for each:

Library 2.016 chat sessions

On June 16th,  I took part in the edWeb webinar “Social Media and Cell Phones-Today’s Tools to Connect with Families this Summer.” In this webinar we learned how to use Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Remind to better communicate with parents not only during the summer, but also during the school year. If you get the chance, I would watch the recording of this webinar. The speaker was excellent and many ideas were shared from the speaker and participants in the chat. I handle our school’s Facebook page and website so this was helpful. I learned about adding a Twitter feed to our website and also that parents can access Twitter via text message if they do not have a Twitter account. Remind was a new tool for me and one that I will explore more. The speaker made it very easy to participate in this webinar by providing polls for us to answer. I also contributed with ways I currently use these tools for our school and new ideas I may try this summer and in the upcoming school year.

Digital Classroom 06-16-16 Chat Log

I took part in the webinar through titled, “Using Technology to Bring Intentionality and Purpose in the Early Childhood Classroom.” This webinar on June 15th covered the guidelines for screen time for our younger students in pre-school and kindergarten, best practices for using technology, and digital literacy. In this webinar I learned that the American Academy of Pediatrics will be coming out with new guidelines in the Fall. I also learned ways to integrate technology with clear thought and intent. Some ways were to have students use devices to take pictures during nature walks, using Skype or Facetime to talk with parents during Circle Time, performing a digital show and tell, and going on virtual field trips. Basic digital literacy for this age included care of devices, modeling proper technological vocabulary, and modeling how to perform an internet search. The main goal of this webinar was to teach us how to use technology within our lessons and move away from the students singularly using the apps to play games during centers. I contributed to this webinar by talking about some of the technology tools we use in our kindergarten and providing examples of safe search engines for kids and appropriate websites that I use with my students. I have attached the file of the chat:

Classroom Management 06-15-2016 Chat Log

On June 17th,  I took part in the Twitter chat run by ‪#‎bfc530‬. The question was “How should districts/schools go about choosing and rolling out an LMS?” There weren’t many participants involved in the chat, but some ideas were selecting students, teachers, and people with different levels of experience to test different systems, asking for input from others, and exploring tech savvy chats for recommendations. Many of the people did not know what an LMS was and stated that in the chat. I am not sure I would have known except for the fact that we use Moodle in this program. We don’t use one in my school for classes. Our online system is for grade reporting and communication to the parents. An article provided in the chat was very helpful: if you are interested in the topic. Here are some screen shots of my responses to the question.


I took part in a Twitter chat with ‪#‎catholicedchat‬ on June 18th. The topics we discussed had to do with technology, professional development for teachers, and makerspaces. I acquired some more resources for starting a makerspace and also received some great resources to share with my principal regarding personalized professional development for teachers and technology integration. I mostly participated in the  conversation that had to do with Chromebooks and iPads. One participant was starting a 1:1 Chromebook initiative with the junior high so I shared thoughts and insights regarding our 1:1 iPad program and also asked questions regarding using Chromebooks since I am trying to decide on the best path for our school. 


For my fourth Twitter chat, I joined the ‪#‎edtechchat‬ on STEM on Monday, June 20th. During the hour long session, the moderator posted 6 questions. We discussed the benefits of having a STEM curriculum in an elementary classroom, when it should be infused in the elementary school, the barriers to overcome, ways to involve parents, activities to share, and non traditional forms of assessment that could take place. Some benefits mentioned among the many responses were the promotion of inquiry and it allows students to be innovative and creative. The general consensus was that a STEM curriculum could be introduced as low as pre-school. Time, administrative support, and a willingness to let go and allow students to explore were barriers identified to integrating such a curriculum. I shared information about a STEM night we held with our students and parents last year when the chat was listing ways to involve parents and shared the types of activities we did with them. Some of the non traditional ways to assess the students included rubrics, blogs, journaling, and providing demonstrations to other classes. The participants in the chat provided a lot of great resources. 


On Wed., June 22nd, I took part in the Webinar: A Year in the Life of a New Makerspace. Michelle Luhtala, head librarian for New Canaan High School in CT, was the presenter. She detailed the process her library took over the past few years to transform their school library into a makerspace. During the webinar I asked questions about the makerspace, gathered some great ideas, gave input on places to purchase supplies, and even helped explain what a PLC was to one of the members of the chat. This high school library was two times the size of my library and even bigger than some of the branches of my public library! Even though this was a large library and they clearly have more money to spend than I do, I was able to gather some great ideas and tailor them to my elementary library. Many of the people in the chat provided resources that I plan on checking out too. It was also nice to see how the classroom teachers got involved in the makerspace and learn how to create buy-in from the administration and staff. I have included a file of the chat log:

EmergingTech 06-22-16 ChatLog

When we first received this assignment, I have to admit that I was very nervous.  Like anyone, I am really good at being a passive observer during webinars and professional development sessions.  I have never really felt that I could be considered an expert or have anything of value to contribute to the discussion.  What I have learned from attending these virtual development sessions and actually participating in them is that you do not necessarily have to be an expert on a topic.  You can be helpful to someone and aid in their professional growth just by sharing the information you have and what you have experienced.  Taking part in the conversation opens up doors and adds to a more valuable learning experience.


Content Curation

Beth Kanter (2011) states that content curation is “the process of sorting through the vast amounts of content on the web and presenting it in a meaningful and organized way around a specific theme.” Content curation is more than just picking a bunch of links to information about a topic and posting them. It involves careful consideration of whether the information is relevant to the reader, comes from a credible source, is annotated with a reflection from the curator, and is organized in a meaningful way for the reader to better understand the topic. The curated content is also continuously updated and kept current by its author in order to provide the best content for the reader. Curating content has become an essential practice due to the large amount of information that is shared all over the internet.

This week I worked with my PLN mini group to come up with a checklist for assessing the quality and value of a curated topic.  We used a Google Doc to create this checklist.  Using Google Docs is nice because each of us had editing rights to the document and could add information and comments at any time.  Because of some time constraints I had, I got started with the project by providing the group with a list of criteria or questions for evaluating our curated topics that I developed from reading our resources.  I also provided the links to the resources I used.    My next group member took the list I created and expanded upon it by providing explanations for some of the criteria, citing the resources, and developing our list of references. Finally, the other two group members finished the explanations and reviewed the references to be sure they were properly formatted using the APA style.  We worked well together as a group given our busy and varied schedules and I believe we developed a quality checklist.

Here is the link to the checklist our PLN created:

Content Curation Checklist

Kanter, B. (2011, October 4). Content curation primer. In Beth’s Blog. Retrieved from

Digital Footprints

Photo Source


A digital footprint can probably be one of the most permanent and maybe scariest footprint an individual can make.  If a person sets up any type of digital account, interacts online in any way, or even associates with someone who performs these activities online, than a digital footprint will be created whether a person wants one or not.  This can be scary because sometimes items may be included in a digital footprint that are less than favorable or possibly inaccurate. Because a digital footprint is unavoidable and is the new way of making a first impression, it is important to stay on top of what is posted about you and make good decisions about what you post and how you want to be perceived digitally.

After searching my name in Google, Bing, Yahoo, and, I found it interesting that there are other people out there with the same name as me.  In Google, I had to include my maiden name in order to find myself.  It was clear to me that the search results came up based upon my social media accounts including Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, and my WordPress blog for the EdTech program.  The images I found of myself were ones I recognized from Facebook.  They were all favorable pictures.  The scary items that I found included a listing of every town that I have lived in throughout my life and names of my relatives.  I also found a record of my marriage certificate and a birth record for my daughter.  This birth record was inaccurate because it listed her as being born in 1903.  From this search, I realize now more than ever how important it is to monitor my digital footprint and continue to make wise choices about what I choose to post on the internet.

#Professional Development



tweetdeck3I have set up some hashtags to follow within my TweetDeck.  They are #edtechchat, #educhat, #edchat, #ipadedu, #ipaded, #googlefored, #makerspace, #gbl, and  #elemchat.  It is probably too many, but these are all areas that I am interested in and would like to learn more about.  Most obviously I chose #edtechchat because I am the technology coordinator for my school and because I am in the Edtech Master’s program at Boise State University.  Because I teach all grade levels, K-8, in computers, collaborate with all the teachers in my school and technology teachers in our Diocese, and because someday I may go back to teaching in a regular classroom, I chose to follow #educhat, #edchat, and #elemchat.

Our school has a 1:1 iPad program for grades 6-8 and we have small sets of iPads for grades K-5.  As a result, I chose to follow #ipadedu and #ipaded.  I would like to learn ways to help my classroom teachers better integrate the iPads into their daily lessons and move beyond using them for games, calculators, and AR tests.  I am also following #googlefored because I am not convinced iPads are the way to go and I would also like to explore the idea of switching to Chromebooks.  I’d also like to become a Google Certified Educator.

Not only am I the technology coordinator at my school, but I am also the library media specialist.  I have been hearing more and more about Makerspaces and would like to pursue starting one in my school library.  As a result, I chose to follow #Makerspace.

The last hashtag I chose to follow is #gbl.  I took a class on game based learning last semester and loved it.  I am following this hashtag in order to keep the momentum going for what I learned last semester and begin developing a game based learning system for my computer classes next year.

After the initial set up in TweetDeck, I began exploring.  In my initial exploration I learned about 5 handy Chrome extensions to help students with their writing including Read and Write which allows students to hear words or passages, highlight, and learn word meanings as they conduct research.  There is also an extension called Office Editing for Docs, Sheets, and Slides which allows a user to edit Microsoft files without having Office installed on their computer.

I also read an article and learned that the older iPads we have at our school might become obsolete in the Fall after the IOS 10 update.  Now we may have to scramble to upgrade a large amount of iPads we have for our middle school students.  This will cause an unexpected financial strain on the school which will escalate the debate we are having regarding Chromebooks and iPads.

Finally, I found a tweet with a link to an article on 16 resources for creating Makerspaces. This provided some good reasoning and resources for implementing a Makerspace within my library.  From this Tweet, I started following other Library Media Specialists to learn more about Makerspaces and I also found book recommendations for my library which was an added bonus.

Having these hashtags set up in TweetDeck has been beneficial because it provides an organized method for studying different topics.  The topics I chose are related to my interests and provide tailored professional development for my specific needs.   The only drawback (which may not necessarily be a drawback) is that I am finding that I could spend hours at the computer reading and studying all the resources that people are sharing.   I can’t wait to share what I have learned with my colleagues when we get back to school in August.

Social Learning

I have created a Popplet to portray the relationship between the learning theory Connectivism, Personal Learning Networks, and Communities of Practice.  The middle picture shows an example of all the technological resources that are available to gain and share knowledge.  It is in the middle because technology can be used for all three of these concepts.  While each concept has its own unique characteristics and can stand alone, there is one commonality that links them together–technology.

Stephen Downes and George Siemens promote the learning theory called Connectivism. They believe that learning occurs through connections made among a series of networks where knowledge is shared  (Education-2020, para.1).  Connectivism begins with an individual.  The individual’s knowledge is part of a network.  The network feeds information into an organization or institution and these provide knowledge back to the individual through the connections they have formed.  The individual must be able to acquire the skill to access this information in order to enhance their knowledge. Connectivism is a model of learning that acknowledges that learning is no longer an individual activity.  Learning happens when individuals use tools to work with others to obtain knowledge especially within our current digital age  (Siemens, 2004).

Communities of Practice and Personal Learning Networks stem off of the theory of Connectivism.  Within both areas of professional development, an individual makes connections with others and can shares resources, ideas, and collaborate, using a global network.   Communities of practice are made up of a group of people who are not novices on a topic working together to share what they know so that members of the group gain a deeper understanding and knowledge for the topic  (Bates, 2014).  There are three characteristics of a community of practice.  There has to be a topic or theme, a community of members interested in that topic or theme, and ideas, tools, knowledge, and shared resources that will advance inquiry forward for that idea or theme (Moore, 2016).  A community of practice is an informal group of people who join based on interest in the topic or idea and their ability to contribute to the group.  In the picture I chose to portray a community of practice, the people are all interested in solving the puzzle.  They are all working together to put the pieces together and solve the puzzle.  Thanks to technology, a community of practice builds groups among organizations and can extend past geographic boundaries.

Personal Learning Networks are similar to Communities of Practice but they are more individualized.  In a Personal Learning Network (PLN), an individual has developed their own network of resources to help make them better at what they do.  These networks can be developed through in-person relationships or online through social media such as Twitter, Facebook. Blogs, etc.  A PLN is adaptive to an individual’s needs and one can control the subject matter to be studied.  In a PLN, one can decide whether to “lurk” or read the postings without making contributions or share their own experiences and knowledge with the group (Catapano, para 1, 4, 5,6 ).  Through the picture I provided one can see that a PLN can extend all around the globe, is always available, and people are always sharing and obtaining information.

To take a look at my Popplet, please click on the link below:


Bates, T. (2014, October 1). The role of communities of practice in a digital age. In online learning and distance education resources. Retrieved from

Catapano, J. (n.d.). What is a PLN? Why do I need one?. In TeachHub. Retrieved from

Connectivism. (n.d.). In Education 2020. Retrieved June 10, 2016, from

Moore, C. G. (2016, January 26). Communities of practice: Sharing and building knowledge. Retrieved from

Siemens, G. (2004, December 12). Connectivism: A learning theory for the digital age. In elearnspace. Retrieved from


Initial Thoughts on Social Media

This week I began a course on Social Network Learning.  We were assigned to join a class Facebook page, Twitter, DIIGO, and set up a blog.  Joining the class Facebook page was the easiest.  I have been on Facebook for many years and have found that it is easy to use its features.  From there, my level of familiarity with the rest of the social networks diminished.  I’ve had a Twitter account since 2013, but have pretty much used it to follow famous people, music groups, TV shows, and some members of the education profession. I have never Tweeted anything of my own before and barely opened the app let alone set up a Tweetdeck.  I  previously set up a DIIGO account and WordPress blog during my first EDTECH class at Boise State.  I have been using my WordPress blog throughout my coursework at Boise State.  I think it is pretty easy to use, but sometimes its limitations can be frustrating.  DIIGO is the tool that intimidates me the most.  Apparently I also set it up in my EDTECH 501 class, but I have rarely used it since.  By sitting and watching the tutorial videos under module one for this class, I think that I have much to learn about this tool.

I think that social media is an excellent tool to use for professional development and I wish I would use it more.  I have liked and followed a few educational technology groups in Facebook and educational technology professionals in Twitter, but I don’t feel like  I use the tools to their fullest extent.  I will occasionally click on one of their articles or links if they look interesting, but typically gloss through them.  Sometimes the amount of information overload that is out there can be overwhelming and I feel that I do not have the time to sift through it all.  It is more helpful for me to seek out particular information and topics as needed.  This may not be the best method, but it works for me at this time.

I have never used social media as an instructional strategy with my students.  It is something that I have thought about pursuing, but I haven’t figured out how to effectively use these tools with them.  I know that many of the students use social media on their personal devices, but I worry about how to use the tools with them in school.  I have not figured out how to safely set them up with accounts especially since many of these tools have age limits above the age of my students.   I also worry that even though I teach digital citizenship and we have acceptable use policies in place, the students will use these tools incorrectly and both they and I will get in trouble with parents and administration.

In this  EDTECH 543 course, it is my goal to develop relevant professional learning networks using social networking.  I would like to be able to organize the information from these professional learning networks so that it is meaningful and not so overwhelming.  I’d like to be able to use what  I have learned and share it with my colleagues at my school so that they can build professional learning networks  of their own.  I would also like to learn how to use social networks in the classroom.  There is a wealth of information and knowledgeable people out there and I would love to be able to show my students how to use these tools effectively as they move through their educational experiences.