Everywhere you see the students in your school texting on their cell phones or listening to their Ipods. Administrators are beginning to ask you how you use computers in your classroom. They have given you gadgets galore you have no idea how to use.
I hear educators daily express their concerns on how to achieve high test scores with the new technologies they are given with very little training on how to use them. This reason is probably the number one reason several educators fear technology and are even a bit angry at having to use technology. However, plenty of educators in the same situation have provided resources to help through various types of learning communities. Here are a few of my favorite learning communities! Joining any of these is free!
These provide innovative lesson plans for any technology. Educators can easily submit their email addresses to receive their favorite blogs through email. You can decide to follow blogs specific to one technology or you can choose to read a blog that deals with many different types of technology like Teacher Reboot Camp.
Educators can now discover best practices for using any technology and even ask for help with technology nightmares by joining online educational groups. Do you want your class to interact with a class around the world? Just post a question in any of these forums.
- Nings: These are websites that host various tools for groups to interact with each other. Educators can post videos, join discussions, or share files! I recommend the Educator Professional Learning Network ning group.
- Twitter: Thousands of educators exchange links, answer questions, and debate educational issues daily on Twitter. You can easily follow a list of educators or follow ones specific to your field. This website will provide you with several resources to get you started.
- YouTube: Did you know you can subscribe to educational Youtube channels? If you subscribe to the Learn to Be the Difference channel, you will find video tutorials, inspiring educational videos, and more!
No need to fear the technology monster, because other educators are willing to exchange ideas, lesson plans, and support! This movement of educators establishing learning communities is exciting and will continue to flourish, because we are all stronger when we put our minds together.
Shelly Sanchez Terrell is a technology teacher trainer, English language teacher, and consultant for various language institutes, online schools, and educational institutes in Nepal, the US, Germany, and Italy. Explore her Teacher Reboot Camp blog for tips on professional development and integrating technology effectively into the classroom. She can be reached via Twitter: @shellterrell. Check out her articles on building a PLN with Twitter and a further explanation of social networks.
Photo Credit: Trek Hound