Musings of a 21st Century Middle School Social Studies Teacher
In my first few years of teaching, I was beyond pleased with all the tips, tools, and resources I could find on Pinterest and Teachers Pay Teachers. I bet many other teachers also find great utility in these teacher resources! This is not a knock on either, but in the past six months, I am thrilled that my own personal Professional Development has grown exponentially as I have discovered the beauty of Podcasts and Twitter.
As I have began to walk almost daily, I began to frequent some incredible educational podcasts that have brought my own teaching "to the next level," or at least there is the potential to do so if I execute well!
The first podcast I ever came across was The Google Teacher Tribe Podcast as they were first launching their program in early 2017. Now, I look forward to each Monday when their episodes release and listen to them almost immediately. On this podcast, Matt (Ditch that Texbook) and Kasey (Shake up Learning) share many incredible tips for integrating the G Suite for Education in the classroom. Countless times I have taken tools from my Monday night walk and implemented strategies and tools the next day in class! As alluded to in my previous blog, this podcast specifically has opened Pandora's Box for me in terms of PD as a teacher. From these guys, I discovered Alice Keeler (Google Educator Extraordinaire and Master teacher in general!) Not much needs to be said here!
I have also thoroughly enjoyed the Cult of Pedagogy Podcast with Jennifer Gonzalez. From this podcast, I have been inspired to move toward a more student-centered teaching approach. After several episodes about self-paced learning and using "Playlists" in the classroom, I have been inspired to move toward a blended classroom model that students are in charge of their own learning. This is my summer project as I hope to implement this in at least my two 6th Grade Geography classes. Depending on my time this summer, will possibly use this in my two seventh grade classrooms as well. For me, the advent of technology makes the ideal of complete differentiation and personalized instruction possible. This is a major jump as I move from the traditional spewer of information to a "facilitator of learning" in the classroom. Super excited for how this will all pan out!
Chris Nesi over at House of #edTech has also provided tremendous resources not solely focused on Google tools.
The last podcast of note is Talking Social Studies - a group of teachers who talk monthly about social studies content and pedagogy. Such a wealth of knowledge from this group of teachers!
From these tremendous podcasts, I have also delved into the world of Twitter. For the longest time, I looked down on this as lame duck social media, but now I feel as if I have missed out on a great networking tool! All of the aforementioned educators and podcasters are also involved in the Twitter community sharing ideas and facilitating dialogue between educators. The below graphic perfectly describes my own use of Twitter! I am probably at the "Obsession" stage currently! Still hoping to become involved in the Twitter Chats with happen daily/weekly using specific hashtags!
Graphic from "Grin and Bear "I.T."' Blog
In the end, I am so grateful to have found this PLN community of learners and educators. I feel like my potential as an educator has been increased exponentially! I look forward to the challenges ahead as the lead innovators in the world of education blaze the path! Maybe one day I will be at the forefront!