Image from Seedling Website
Having been in education for over 32 years one might think I had finally learned all I could! While 32 years and three degrees may seem like a lot, I am still a Seedling, and am constantly learning from my on-line professional community/network! I owe a great deal to all of the professional learning communities I have been a member of through out my career. Most recently my journey has taken me to PLC’s in the on-line world. Thus, the reason for this post. Please enjoy, reflect, and take some action. As always feel free to follow me on Twitter http://www.twitter.com/mjgormans) and please join me at my 21centuryedtech Wiki, a place of growing resources for educational transformation in the 21st century! Enjoy the post – Mike (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Learning Communities/Networks have extended beyond individual schools and now allow us to connect with educators through out the world. It is amazing that it is possible, at times, to feel greater support from the virtual on-line world then the one that exists in our real-world concrete buildings. It even becomes more awesome when we understand that the virtual-online world is just as real, and at times more powerful! We really do live in a wonderful day and age. One that allows all of to share and grow in immence ways, while enabling our students to become the very best .
From time to time I would like to visit some professional learning communities/networks in my blog posts. This will be my first attempt and I invite you to take a virtual trip to the state of Maine. Here, you will find an outstanding group of educators that not only understand this concept, but practice it on a daily basis. Please meet, Bob Sprankle, Cheryl Oaks, and Alice Barr who are facilitaters of a wonderful Professional Learning Community called Seedlings. (Never thought I would get you there, did you?) This community is unique due to its emphasis on a growing library of Podcasts. Upon entering the site you will be drawn first to this diverse collection of interviews and insights. It is these Podcats that seem to take center stage at Seedlings. Airing Thursday nights at 7:30 PM EST and archived weekly, the Podcasts allow a time for educators to listen to other educators. While you will find yourself reflecting, dreaming, and planning, be sure to participate in the backchannel chat! Past talks this year have included topics on educational transformation, technology, blogging, personal learning communities, and even parent/teacher/students conferences . Most recently, I enjoyed listening to Richard Byrne talk about the enthusiastic work he puts in to his amazing Freetech4teachers blog. These podcats are an obvious reason that Seedlings was nominated for “Best Use of Audio” by Edubloggers in 2009. While the podcasts are the highlight, be sure to visit the other areas. You will find some videos for both professional development and reflection. There are ideas for book readings, some audio book downloads, and even places to start your own book group! Make sure you take note of the “Geek of the Week” which includes awesome content the facilitators and others have found on their individual web journeys each week. Most of all, Seedlings is an outstanding professional learning community that allows you to grow, reflect, and network in the confines of your own home, or from anywhere! The facilitaors also host oustanding blogs outside of Seedlings and these blogs are certainly worth a visit at Bobsprankle.com, Alicebarr.org, and Cheryloakes.com. You will walk away with some neat insight and plenty to reflect upon. Take a moment and drop by the Seedling Community, listen to an archived podcast! Better yet, join these wonderful people in Maine along with others around the world for a live session each Thursday at 7:30 PM EST. I know I will continue to be a Seedling because I really do enjoy the proccess of growing and learning. It is much better then being a full grown tree!
Thank you for taking this virtual trip to Maine, a state I still need to visit in the real world! I encourage you to become part of a professional learning community! Make it happen in your building, while also finding a nurturing place to grow with others on-line. If you would like to share aspecial learning community please repond or comment so that we can all visit. It really is about learning from others! As always ,I invite your follow on twitter http://www.twitter.com/mjgormans), I will return the favor and we can learn from one another. Also, please join me at my 21centuryedtech Wiki, a place of growing resources for educational transformation in the 21st century! Have a great week! – Mike