Friday, December 31, 2010

I'm Out of the Loop!

4.5 years ago I made the move from "the regular classroom" to "special education".  I have always enjoyed technology and when I taught regular education classes I also taught computers and felt I used a fair amount of technology.  14.5 years ago I had enrolled in a Masters program with a focus of "technology in education".  This was in the days when we were still wondering if we could use the "World Wide Web" in the classroom.  We still had card catalogues in our libraries!  When I moved to special education my experience with technology changed to adaptive technologies and augmentative communication devises.  A series of things have forced me back in to looking at more mainstream stuff (not the least of which is the iPad because so many of the technologies I had been using now have similar apps for significantly cheaper).
I discovered very quickly that there was a whole world that I wasn't tapping in to.  I will not pretend to know a  lot about this but how am I going to learn if I don't start taking my first baby steps and so I post this post for all of those who might be out there in the beginning stages like me.  Here are a few things I've been playing around with:
  1. Blogging is not overly new to me.  I have had this blog since May 2009 but before that I had a personal blog (about parenting a child with Down syndrome) since October 2004.  Yet I'm starting to realize that I probably have not even come close to really tapping in to what a great PD tool my professional blog can be.
  2. Twitter is also not new to me although I have never really used it much.  I'm trying now but must say these concepts of "hashtags" and whatnot aren't always easy to wrap my mind around.  I also feel like I'm missing parts of conversations all over the place and am not sure how to figure that one out.  Still I have upped the number of people that I'm following even if I haven't yet been brave enough to jump in and start talking much myself.
  3. I have been using Facebook for several years but really see that more as a social/personal thing than a professional thing.  I want to keep it that way as I like the separation.
  4. I wanted to wade in this area of "social bookmarking".  Again I get the doing it part... but not really fully understanding the sharing it part.  How do these things become interactive between people?  I'm using Diigo and the other thing that I really like about that is that I'm able to follow the groups that I joined on PLN with this.
  5. I decided to start keeping up with the blogs that I read through using "Google Reader" and am finding that a great way to keep up.  I love that I can tag and share and comment all in one place. 
  6. I've played around a bit with other things - trying to wrap my head around things like wikispaces and PBWorks, using hootsuite to try to follow twitter, looking in to skype in the classroom...etc. 
It all gives me a bit of a headache but also makes me wish that I had way more hours in a day.  There is also a part of me that looks at this stuff and imagines all the things I could do with it "back in the regular classroom" because there are just so many exciting learning opportunities in all of this.
Even if I'm a bit confused, I'm very excited and I'm sure I will figure at least some of this out.

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