Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Taking My Own Advice...a.k.a. Learning is Important!

When I first came to Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools, I never missed an opportunity to share the importance of learning something new every day especially when it comes to technology. We talked about Personal Learning Networks and how they can be the best professional development system. Yet sometime in the past couple of years, I have fallen into the "too busy" or "too lazy" rut and have left the seeking knowledge habit to the fabulous team I work with.

So last week, I attended NCTIES as a participant (have been on the board for several years and wasn't able to attend sessions). I presented a session with Dorene on TPACK and PLCs but then I spent time on my learning. It started with an awesome smackdown of tools run by Steven Anderson and Richard Byrne (list found here: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1l651HXTK0lmvx7WPsq-CMe2q_gPR3C8SEg208LOPm3A/edit). The format of this session was perfect to motivate and inspire! I attended sessions on Eportfolios, the NC Teacher Evaluation System and tools for teachers online. I plugged back into my Twitter PLN and used my Pinterest addition for good (http://pinterest.com/mrhgaddis/ncties-ideas/). I used the rest of my time to connect with others- vendors, co-workers, and the most awesome PLN ever (the NC Ed Tech Chat group). By time I went home, I was exhausted but rejuvenated and ready to focus again.

This weekend, Steven posted a link on Twitter to a Lifehacker post: http://lifehacker.com/5892446/dedicate-30-minutes-a-day-to-learn-something-new. Taking time in my day to learn is so important to my attitude, focus, and creativity. Rekindling the passion for learning has made a huge difference for me this week. I need to continue and not allow myself to fall off the wagon.

If you are not spending your 30 minutes, try it. There are a few things to remember:
  1. Find a tool that works for you. When I started this process 5 years ago, I chose Twitter. The quick and easy to read messages allowed me to have personalized PD whenever I wanted it. Some people like reading and subscribing to blogs, others use Facebook or other social media tools. I don't even care if you use print. Just find a tool that lets you learn in the best way you can.
  2. Connect to others. In Twitter, I found people I admired in technology and followed them. Then I followed the people they followed.
  3. Be a part of the conversation- don't lurk around. No one likes a stalker! :) If you read blogs or other sites, be sure to connect with the authors through commenting. Share what you know.

You will be amazed in how learning new things can inspire and motivate you even when you face burnout or adversity. So if you follow me on Twitter (@mrhgaddis), Facebook or Pinterest, beware. I am on a mission to learn. Join me.

1 comment:

Edu Techie Susanne Besecker said...

I know exactly what you mean about taking the time to learn something new each day - and then learn more. Twitter is also my tool of choice as I have found so many cutting edge tools from other Tweeters I would have never known about had they not been tweeted. I have never felt more connected and 'in the know'. Every day I feel more like the Instructional Technologist I claim to be after spending time researching what is commented upon in Twitter. Best tool ever for me! ...only, I need to learn how to pare it down to 30 minutes! ... and Geez I hope I never reach the end of the internet...!