Final Reflection

What was the most valuable aspect of the course? What made it valuable?

The most valuable aspect of the course for me was learning the importance of social networking for my career.  I always thought of these tools, such as Facebook and Twitter, to be used for personal use only. I now see the benefits of online social networking, and I can see how they can be a benefit to my professional career. 

Learning how to use these tools to collect resources and connect with others has been very valuable. Curating content and establishing personal learning networks has been an asset.  How to stay safe was also a very important lesson I learned. Being able to engage with others in a way that enriches my educational resources, connections and conversations have opened my eyes to a whole new world.

How have you grown professionally?

I have been able to use social networking and professional learning networks to gain information that helps me in the classroom.  As an educator, there are a lot of resources out there. To be able to collaborate with like-minded professionals has been very helpful.  Also, to be able to connect to someone who has the same ideas or who has already done something I want to accomplish in my classroom has been great. I no longer have to feel like I am alone in what I want to do.  My eyes have been opened to a wide array of social networks. I can connect, share, collaborate, or gather resources. Navigating social networks can be confusing at times, but now I “see” what roads I need to drive on to get where I want to go.

How has your own teaching practice or thoughts about teaching been impacted by what you have learned or accomplished in this course?

I had the opportunity to live and teach in New Zealand. Each term the students worked on a Project-Based Learning (PBL) unit.  Having the opportunity to be a part of this was an amazing experience, but it was always a challenge to connect with experts and resources. After taking this course, I saw how I could integrate these tools into a PBL unit. I decided to do my final project on how to integrate social networking tools into a PBL unit. These social networking tools can just as easily be used for a single topic or subject as well such as writing poetry or how to use percentages in the real world.

What were some challenges that you have encountered in this course?

The biggest challenge I have encountered in this course is overcoming my concerns about participating in a variety of social networking tools. I have mostly been an observer on the internet and have not jumped into online conversation very often. Now that I am aware of how to engage in productive and positive conversations on social media, I see the benefits it holds.

What advice would you give future students taking the course?

I would tell future students that they will learn how to properly use social networking tools to help them gather valuable resources and make connections. This will help them expand their personal learning networks.  Learning how to use these tools will give them that extra step forward for them professionally.

How would you rate/evaluate your blog performance throughout the course?

I do not have extensive experience using a blog, but I feel like I have put 100% effort into all of my blog posts and assignments.

What was some pleasant surprise you experienced during the course?

I have always known that connecting with others is a great asset.  To be able to connect to like-minded professionals around the world has been a pleasant surprise.  I have learned how to move forward towards connecting with others via social networking, personal learning networks, and communities of practice. I am also surprised how I use a lot of these tools already.  I just needed to take that next step to engage more online. By being a participant instead of an observer has shown me how to get more out of the online social networking environment.

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