Tagged: PLN

My Community Involvement

Other Educators Inspire

I am a true believer that there are no boundaries to people’s imagination. Especially, there are no limits to educators’ imagination who very often get inspired by students who see the world around us way differently. All of us have astonishing ideas which can become really powerful when shared with others. I successfully learned that from the Learning 2 conference, where teachers are gathering together to learn from each other. That’s where I’ve heard about the COETAIL. It took me a while to take action and apply for this course. Some people around me were quite skeptical about this course and told me that this is going to be a difficult and time-consuming process. I have to admit, it wasn’t easy, but really effective. I’ve learned so much during this journey. But a particularly valuable experience to me was learning from other educators. All of us were receiving the same material that we had to study and all of us had to write blog posts. Despite the same material we all read, all of the blog posts we wrote were so diverse. This is one of the best parts of our learning in COETAIL. I’ve learned so much just by reading posts written by other COETAIL’ers. All of us have a variety of experiences to share. Moreover, commenting as well as replying to the comments received on our blog posts was one more push to communicate with each other.

I’ve prepared a short video why I would recommend this course to any educator 🙂

Collaboration on the Final Projects

I have to admit that without collaboration with other teachers my final project would not be that successful. First of all, I value the experience I’ve learned from colleagues of mine. During all our Google Meet sessions I could come up with ideas of possible improvements of my project. One more very important experience was mental support, which is necessary when you think that things do not go in the right direction.

All of us had some joint projects in this COETAIL journey. By taking a part in such projects I found real joy in collaboration with other educators. I never thought that it will be so easy to get along with people I barely know. It worked out just great! We all took roles, worked collaboratively towards the same goal, listened to each other and worked with big respect to each other. Moreover, we used the chat either on the What’s App or Twitter and got updated on the progress that has been done in order to keep everyone informed.

Cohort #12 Communication via Social Media

We established (thank you Cindy 🙂 ) our Cohort#12 group communication via Twitter chat. This was one of the most effective ways of staying connected with our tiny but powerful PLN. We were and still are sharing questions, requests, as well as reply to each other when possible. Our cohort members were always very helpful, tweeting or retweeting messages that required input/feedback.

 

 

Our Cohort #12 had an amazing opportunity to meet online via Google Meet video call. We discussed our impressions, experience and other relevant thoughts about working on our final COETAIL projects. All of us were part of this amazing COETAIL journey and it was exciting indeed to see at least some of our cohort COETAIL’ers and get to know each other at least a little bit closer. I wonder how would meeting look like at the beginning of the COETAIL journey…

Following COETAIL on Twitter

I am following COETAIL on Twitter and checking what’s new using #COETAIL and @COETAIL tags. I am and will be checking the new COETAIL’ers feeds in order to read their blogs or make new connections. Opportunities for educators are unlimited on Twitter. Checking out #COETAIL and participating in relevant discussions on a variety of topics can be really effective in making new connections as well as sharing ideas that can help others.

Post, Retweet, or Mention?

I am checking my Twitter several times a week. This kind of routine is important in getting new ideas as well as sharing them with other educators. During the Course5 I came up with a goal to release at least one Tweet a week. I think that sharing ideas and experiences via Twitter helps to build up bigger PLN. Some educators might see your post and reply to it, or at least like it (this is also a step forward). My personal experience has shown, that with one of my posts I got five more educators who began following me or shared some ideas related to my request. This is a great way of beginning a conversation as well as broadening your PLN. The same happened when I began posting about my COETAIL blog posts – educators began liking my posts as well as following me. Sharing ideas by retweeting other posts helps people find each other and collaborate when needed. This tiny step might be beneficial to others. One more really effective way of promoting ideas and sharing or even leading discussions is to mention educators in your posts by using the “@” character. I have to say, that taking similar action brought even more educators to my community, who followed me and this is another big step in building my PLN community even bigger and even stronger.

It wasn’t easy at the beginning. I felt vulnerable while sharing my thoughts and understanding of educational topics. However, after a while, I realized that I got a feeling that I have to share because it might be interesting and important to other educators. Then I stopped being afraid of posting on social media. Would it really harm somebody if I release a “wrong” post? This would just be a good lesson. We are human beings and learn from mistakes, no matter how experienced we are. It’s always better to continue learning than stop trying because of some fears.

COETAIL has been a long journey full of excitement and I will never forget it. I have a feeling, that the fact that we are getting closer to finish makes me a bit sad, but in general, I am really happy about the experience I’ve gained here by studying, reflecting, communicating and learning with such an amazing team. Thank you to Cohort#12 and all our facilitators.

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In Search of Inspiration

When I think about the classes that I teach, I try to put myself in a role of a student to realize how much I would like to learn certain content in the way it is presented to me. Examples of the lessons that I enjoyed myself, as well as educators who awarded me with such an experience, help me create engaging content for my students. Being a teacher is a never-ending journey of being a student. The role of every educator requires constant professional growth and creativity, which could make the learning process for students even more engaging and enjoyable. In the same way as students do, teachers take notes or fill in their Wakelet collections of newly learned methods. Learning something new leads us to inspiration, no matter what causes that inspiration – colleague, students, internet, nature…

Annual Professional Development

These past two years were pretty complicated for many of us. Besides the fact, that I am missing my students so much, even more, I miss my PD opportunities. Every year I had a wonderful opportunity to participate in one or another PD event with educators from international schools all around the world. The last PD before the quarantine I had was Learning2 conference. This was one of the most valuable conferences I have ever been to, because it gave an amazing opportunity to connect with really professional educators which, actually, reinforced me to begin this exciting learning journey with COETAIL. This was a lifesaver in terms of getting new valuable knowledge, as well as inspiration to improve my teaching. This has been an amazing experience of learning, collaborating, accepting various challenges, sharing, reflecting and so much more. Now, I am looking back and trying to reflect on my PD experiences as well as find out where do I gather my gems of inspiration. I’ve described some of them in this blog post.

Places of Inspiration

Where inspiration comes from? John Spencer has emphasized various ways of getting inspired just like going for a walk in nature and resting, sharing experience in a community and giving feedback, building empathy in a group when working towards one goal, geeking out on cool stuff, playing, staying curious about the world, taking action in order to make stuff even if you are not feeling inspired or just using the random moments of inspiration. I strongly believe that action is the most powerful step in order to get inspired. When you take action, an amazing process starts happening in your brain that is followed by a “Wow!” moment.
My last experience of taking action to get inspired was recording my own video reflections for my final COETAIL project. I work on them every day, as a routine, no matter what else I have scheduled that day. I just record a video reflection a day. I used to hate making video recordings of myself, but the more I’m doing that, the more I like it.

Collaboration or Co-teaching

I have to admit that one of the most valuable teaching experiences to me is a collaboration with other teachers. Teaching together is an easy way to learn from each other as well as get inspired. Unbelievable, how many different ways and methods can be used to teach the same concept. Collaboration between teachers is an efficient way to look at the concept from different angles. Engaging students become so much easier. Sabrina Gates emphasizes the advantages of such collaboration in her article Benefits of Collaboration.

Collaboration Helps Brainstorm Creative Ideas. Peer-to-peer collaboration can turn a small idea into the seeds for something fabulous.
Professional Collaboration Teaches You About Yourself. Learning and working with others encourages to dig deeper and explore who you are as a learner and a teacher.
Learning Collaboratively Helps Students. Teacher collaboration positively impacts student achievement and allows us as educators to explore new territory.

Photo by airfocus on Unsplash

Photo by airfocus on Unsplash

One more way of learning from colleagues is observation. Every school year our administration gives teachers a certain task of setting our SMART goals as well as plan at least a few peer observations. After our peer observation, we also have to provide some feedback in a form of advice.

Learning from Educators via Social Media

Social Media is a great place of inspiration even if you are only a lurker. My very first Learnign2 conference introduced me to the power of sharing in the educational world. One of the main goals of Learning2 conferences for educators is to gather and learn from each other by sharing. This has been one of the most efficient ways of my growth as an educator. This conference opened my eyes and introduced Twitter as a great tool to connect with other educators. All you have to do is just to find and follow other talented educators and it works by a principle of a chain. Once you begin posting education-related posts and use # character in order to emphasize terms related to the topic, the process of sharing and collaborations starts itself.  When I was a lurker, I used to search for relevant topics of interest on Twitter using # (you can start from #coetail. Many famous educators can be found here :). If you decide to try Twitter, check out #pubpdeurope or #pudbpdasia. Once the pandemic is over, I am sure similar successful events will be resumed. Similar events are one more great way to make new connections with excellent educators all around the world. These groups and Twitter in general, have been one more place of inspiration to me. I have a number of really cool tech-related ideas gathered on Twitter that were later successfully implemented in our school. Honestly, sometimes I feel bad about social media taking away my valuable time, but using social media as a tool for inspiration is helping me grow as an educator.
One more place for your PLN (Personal Learning Network) is Facebook. Educators gather in groups such as Google for Education, Seesaw, certain grade level or teaching subject-related groups e.g. “Teacher Teaching with Tech”
Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

Peer Feedback

This one is one of my favorite parts of the COETAIL course 🙂 I have to admit that in many cases I feel like an introvert when I have to speak out in front of an audience. Especially adults. It makes me feel vulnerable. This is a completely different experience from the one that we all get while teaching a group of students in the classroom. This is one of the reasons why I am at COETAIL. I’m pushing myself out of my comfort zone with every blog post as well as every comment on other COETAIL’ers posts. I love receiving meaningful comments on my blog posts because they very often contain advice and even more – relevant and valuable resources. I’ve received some really great resources from other COEATAIL’ers that I am successfully using a lot daily. Feedback is always important. This is one of the accelerators that move us towards higher achievement and inspiration.

TED Talks

I wonder how many people around the world begin looking for inspiration in TEDtalks? I do that! This is one of the best places of inspiration, where people share unbelievable stories of their lives. People, who very often go out of their comfort zone, do something unusual and come up with the best life experience that very often become powerful inspiration for others. I would like to share one of my favorite inspirational TED talks – The first 20 hours — how to learn anything by Josh Kaufman. Can you imagine how much we can learn in such a short period of time and share with our students and even more – inspire them to accept similar challenges?

Spring Flowers

Spring is approaching here in Lithuania and we get more and more sunshine, which is a great inspiration to go outside. I am going to use this opportunity and go for a nice walk outside, smell the spring air and get my inspiration for the next post.

Photo by Irina Iriser on Unsplash

What is your source of inspiration?

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