Wednesday, January 21, 2015

The Best Place to Find PD and Community

 When I wrote my nominations for the 2014 edublog awards, I knew my choice for Most Influential Blog Post would be a piece by Audrey Watters.  I read her blogs with intense interest.  She has a point-of-view that is not duplicated anywhere else I have seen on the web and she writes with cynicism tempered by hope.  My favorite combination.  I nominated this post, but I mentioned it could have been any number of other posts she crafted last year.  Then, just about the time the awards were announced, she published this one, a post that questions whether or not Twitter is the best option for online professional development, something I have been asking myself and others for years.  Instead of elaborating on my opinions here, especially since she did it so succinctly in her post, I'd like to focus on her conclusion:
I’d wager the best place to find both remain on educators' blogs. I wonder if, in fact, "the future of professional development" might be a "return to blogging."
Though I am new to blogging, I have been regularly reading tremendous blogs for almost five years.  Every day someone asks me where I learn about all the things I have tried, how I keep up with our changing profession.  I follow 40 or 50 blogs, on education, edtech, and a number of other subjects, using feedly.  Feedly is an RSS aggregator - usually I get about that far in a description to a colleague or group when the huh?s start.  I like feedly a lot, but there are lots of ways to follow blogs.  For people who are just getting started and want a simple, clean platform for following blogs they like, I recommend bloglovin'.  It has the tiled, familiar look of Pinterest and is very easy and intuitive to get started.  Looking for some great blogs to check out and follow?  Try starting with Edtech magazine's Honor Roll of IT blogs.  There are many great ones listed, including Watters' Hack Education.  Looking to start blogging or start your students blogging?  Check out these resources from the Goodwill Community Foundation.  With just a few clicks, you will be on your way! 

I wholeheartedly agree that educator blogs are the best place to find community and professional development.  Meaningful professional development is always going to take more than 140 characters.  When I am looking for a new idea, the right tool for the job, or education rejuvenation, I will always "return to blogging."

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