Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Thing 19: Online Learning & DIY PD

It just so happens that I am a HUGE fan of online learning, and I have participated in a number of online opportunities.

It all started back in 2003 when I took my first online course for credit towards my K-12 Library certification.  I absolutely loved the format of the course and the fact that I could work on it at my own pace without having to leave my home.  At the time, my son was one and I found I could complete the assignments during his naps and in the quiet moments after he went to bed.  What a great way to keep my adult mind invigorated at a time when my days were usually filled with an unending stream of diapers and toys.  As an aside, it's amazing how much I miss those days when my children were infants!!

Since then, I have participated in a variety of webinars through several of the various local BOCES programs.  It's a format that really works well for me - even if the technology sometimes leaves things to be desired :-)  I recall last summer participating in a WSWHE BOCES webinar titled, "Creative Assessment Tools", where the poor presenter's sound kept randomly turning off.   All the same, I like the flexibility of the format, and I love that we can come together to discuss issues in a relatively informal environment.  Working in a school district of one K-8 building, and being the only librarian on site - and 0.6 at that! - I crave interaction with fellow professionals in the field, and I rely on online learning to provide opportunities that will fit in my busy schedule without requiring me to spend hours waiting between when my part-time day typically ends, and when after-school onsite meetings typically begin.

As far as the issue of whether these online workshops count towards my PD - I don't really worry too much about that.  I take these classes and workshops for myself, not for my administrators.  It's simply a bonus that they provide me credit during my Daniellson Domain IV meetings as part of the APPR process.  I may not go to many (if any) of the BIG library conferences each year, but I feel I seek out what I need when I need it, and I am all the happier if I can find the content electronically. 

I am grateful for the links Polly included in this assignment, because it gives me plenty of inspiration to continue my quest for personal and professional growth.  We have SO much to learn from each other.  The OCLC WebJunction & OEBD seem like my best bets for live events, and EdReach is chock full of great podcasts that I can tune into any time - and I plan to!  Perhaps now I can finally figure out tips on how I can make edmodo actually work for my 6th grade class!  We tried it for a few weeks, but too many of the kids found it too overwhelming (it requires a level of independence that paper and pencil assignments do not) for me to continue.  So much for the theory that our students are tech savvy!  But I'll get them there.... eventually :-)

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