Here are a few more online PLNs that I have joined and found invaluable. While some may seem ‘dead’ and not particularly active or recent, there’s always the ‘search’ option if you are looking for something in particular that has been previously discussed (and I must confess this is how I have found some of the amazing stuff I have shared on my blog) as well as the ‘files’ section which is a record of files posted previously. And yes, these are all found on Facebook, the only social media tool that I have been successful in navigating, so you will need to join Facebook to access these interactive groups.
The Beginning Teacher (Personal Learning Network), Australian Pre-service Teachers (only created last week!), Digital Technologies and Computational Thinking, Teaching and Learning Digital Technologies/STEM, Teachers Resources for using ICT in the classroom, ITeach: Apps for the classrooms.
Interestingly, this little survey popped up from USQ on one of these groups : Teachers’ understanding of the digital technologies curriculum. So I am all excited about the possibilities of a digital technologies course being offered in the future (so please everybody – sign up and say YES we want this!!!).
USQ education students are on-the-ball in creating Facebook study groups for individual courses at USQ, as there is for this course (just search for the course code). These groups have been both a boon and a bane so it will be a matter of personal preference. The support offered by fellow students can be heart-warming and save you from quitting when it all just gets ‘too much’. Sometimes panic can set in and mob mentality can get out of hand. Sometimes you can ask the dumbest questions and get the best answers from your peers where the course has been unable to do so (like when you’ve read the task sheet 10 times and still missed something important).
Word of Warning : Technically these are ‘private’ and ‘closed’ groups, but as we all know (or should be reminded) NOTHING is private on the internet – what goes on the net is public, even if it is deleted. And whilst the rules of the group can stipulate that information on the page cannot leave the page or be shared, the reality is that this can neither be policed or enforced – how do you stop anyone from screenshotting a ‘private’ conversation and sharing it publicly online? Food for thought : we can teach our future students about online ethics but how can we prevent them from being involved when things get out of hand? Also, as teachers we will have to be aware of what WE share privately online could end up in the public arena where we can face online abuse, loss of reputations (and jobs) or end up in court. So PLEASE be circumspect in what you say online.
CREATE YOUR OWN PLN : some silly students were disrupting the serious study group so they set up their own facebook page where they could be silly!. Some of these students have since graduated and now are fully-fledged teachers whilst others are still studying and thus a network was created! From fun to reality – this group started out as fun, still has fun, has created a professional network and provides a lifeline support when life becomes overwhelming. Sorry but I cannot share this private group because it is private (invitation only and you will self destruct within 5 seconds of being revealed the secret identity). But if, like us, you click with other students then start your own network.