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Saturday, 31 May 2014

Couture PD via your PLN

"You don't just get me, you get 2000 people in my back pocket" - Kevin Honeycutt

Professional Development is an interesting concept in today's evolving world. We talk about learning being personalised, relevant and authentic for our learners, yet as teachers, do we offer the same to one another?

We are lucky in NZ with our inherent innovative culture. Educators are keen to connect and collaborate in a variety places.  Here is a guide to some key places to find NZ educators and some great PD opportunities.

Virtual Learning Network

This is a great starting place. The VLN "promotes the concept of classrooms without walls, where learners and educators have the flexibility to connect with each other 24 hours a day, 7 days a week". Join groups, discussions, follow people to collaborate and contribute.


A great place to find all the best fruit.  Check out this list of New Zealand Educational "Twits" to follow.


This is fast becoming my top go-to place for the latest innovative from around the world. Sign up and join communities that interest you.
GEG NZ: these are Google Educators Groups and NZ now has a chapter.  This is a great place to start to start following people.
Google Teachers Academy
This has been the most inspirational and innovative professional development opportunity I have been privileged to be part of.  The Google Teachers Academy is the only way to become a Google Certified Teacher and is always held at an official Google Office.  For us down under, the closest GTA is in the Sydney office. Read about the experience here.  The two day event was amazing, however the connections that were formed and the community of international learners have been the real highlight.  If you are interested, there is another Sydney Google Teachers Academy in September...apply, apply, apply!


Pond, the Network for Learning portal, is an online environment aiming to unite New Zealand teachers, school administrators and students with providers of educational content and services.Having briefly dipped my toes in Pond, this going to be a great place for NZ educators to connect and collaborate.

Automate your PLN

I don't have enough time for many times have you heard that.  Here are some hints and tips for automating your PLN.  Work smarter not harder!

Gmail: Email notifications can often clutter up you inbox. Using labels (which organise messages into categories) and filters (set rules for incoming messages), you can check these notifications when you are ready.  For example, with the VLN discussion posts, I like them being emailed so the information comes to me.  However, I don't necessarily want to read them when they first come in.  So I create a label and a filter so they skip my inbox and go straight to a folder called VLN.  

Chrome Apps and Extensions
If you are not using Chrome as your default browser, it's time to get onboard! Explore the Chrome Web Store for apps and extensions that will super size your web experience.  

OneFeed: this brings all your social media and news feeds to one place. Customisable news feeds are great for following blogs, etc, but I often forget to go and check them. With this extension, when you open up a new tab, instead of the default page being say, it is now your news feed. Customise it by editing the sources to follow your favourite blogs, blogs from your school or any other news source with either searching their data base or using the RSS feed URL (RSS Feed extension).

Buffer: great way to share content on social media, you can also analyse the content you are posting to see how many people it is reaching. Use the Buffer extension straight from your browser to send content to Buffer.

Tweetdeck: track real-time conversations across multiple social media platforms.  This is a great way to follow a hashtag conversations (e.g. #edchatnz) on Twitter.

SocialBro: manage and analyse your twitter community. Analytics reports, list management, follow/unfollow tracking, followers search engine and more.

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