Monday, June 20, 2011

The Alphabet Soup of Technology

iPads . PLNs. DiRT. Wi-fi, wikis, hash-tagged abbreviations...
These days, it's a regular alphabet soup out there in the world of technology.
I am a pretty tech-savvy individual, yet with the speed at which the technologies are changing, I can't keep up!  Add to the mix a Smartboard landing in my classroom in the fall like an early Christmas gift AND 4 iPads purchased for the school this spring, I am feeling the need to study up this summer to get my "game on" regarding all this technology. So, my "game plan?"  Summer homeschooling... for me!  I've been stockpiling websites that I've found here, there, Twitter, Facebook, everywhere!  My thoughts: an hour a day will put me in a brilliant place by fall.
It was along my homeschooling regime this week that I made discovery.  I was introduced formally to the term "PLN."  If you're like me, you too would need to master the fact that
PLN means "Personal Learning Network."   Essentially, a PLN is where you create your own connections to people in your field, out there in cyberspace with tons of information from which you can learn oodles and gobs.  It'll differ for everyone, & every field... but it's an idea that perpetuates the idea of lifelong learners.
Well, what do you know....truthfully, that's how I had set up a lot of my Facebook and Twitter contacts. Hmmm.... I had a PLN and didn't even know it!  That's exactly how I'd been using both FB and Twitter--primarily as news feeds vehicles for environmental and educational issues.  Ironic too, given that not horribly long ago I thought both FB and Twitter were the craziest concepts.  I used to think that Facebook was a form of stalking (being too much in everyone's business) and that Twitter's only purpose was to report feckless fodder that no one cared about--like what people ate for breakfast.  Now, an avid connoisseur of both, I'm clearly of a much different mindset.

Through the wonderful worlds of FB and Twitter, I've learned about new ideas and seen tons of things I wouldn't have encountered without them. In following up on these ideas, I've found other new ideas to pursue.  In the area of educational technology, I've got a 3-page, single-spaced Word Document of ideas to pursue, to be specific!  I feel like a kid in Toys 'R Us, where there's so much out there, my mind is almost spinning.  I've found people out there in my fields that I trust. I want to seek out their expertise though I've never met them...and I'm carving out summer time daily to do that! 
My wheels are turning already, after only a week of "homeschooling" for things I can put into place this fall--regarding the environment, education, and environmental education!!
If you too are in the mood for a little technological boost, here's the short list of some great places to investigate.  Cheaper than a conference, and more convenient than a workshop!  Happy homeschooling!

The Super Book of Web Resources (83 kpages of TONS of goodies!!)

Cybrary Man’s Educational World (portals for educators on a bazillion things, esp tech related, but also by grade level, subject level, and more!!)

Kyle Pace: Instructional Technology Specialist:

Kathy Schrock’s Guide for Educators (associated w/Discovery channel)

Virtual Summer Camp for Teachers (includes tutorials, web tools, developing digital Learning Networks, and more)

Images from (in order),


  1. Although I have previously discovered some of these sites...Kathy Schrock before Discovery - she was my first tech guru back when I was doing the Classroom Connect Quests...many of these are new to me. Thanks for doing my summer research! ;-) Keep 'em coming!

  2. I think you'll like the GTG eco-ed-tech series I'm working on, to come out shortly! Stay tuned!! ~ Vicki

  3. Just found another great PLN resource...LOVE the graphic of stages!