Imagine what we could achieve by inspiring 3000 students? With this in mind, I take my mission as an educator very seriously. It’s important I reach my goals and be the kind of teacher who positively impacts my students. However, I figured out a long time ago I cannot achieve this alone. I feel blessed to have a Personal/ Passionate Learning Network (PLN) to help me be the kind of teacher who inspires their students.
What’s a PLN?
A PLN consists of the people we choose to interact with and derive knowledge from in our various social networks and online learning spaces. Everyday millions of people learn from each other in the webosphere. They exchange tweets, tag each other on Facebook, pin their peers’ resources, comment on blogs, subscribe to Youtube channels, or simply like images on Instagram. These exchanges make us reflect on our beliefs, philosophies, and self-image. They often influence our behavior, decisions, and purchases.
The Power of Crowdsourcing and Co-learning
Four years ago, I wanted to test the power of improving myself with the help of my Personal/ Passionate Learning Network (PLN). On my blog, Teacher Reboot Camp, I started the 30 Goals Challenge for Educators. I proposed 30 goals I would accomplish within the year and asked other teachers to accomplish a few or all of them with me. Four years later, over 10,000 teachers have joined the challenge.
This year was one of the most transformational years of the 30 Goals Challenge. I decided I could no longer manage the project on my own. After participating in a few online projects curated by Howard Rheingold, I decided to try what he refers to as co-learning and peeragogy. This involves giving individuals more responsibility in shaping their own learning, which leads to more active participation. From what I’ve observed, the instructor(s) builds the foundations of a learning community then encourages and provides various opportunities for learners to collaboratively create and curate the content and resources. The students learn from each other and shape the curriculum with the guidance and support of their instructors.
With this in mind, I decided to create the 30 Goals Facebook group and encourage teachers to vote on the goals and propose their own goals. This past year, over 100 of us collaborated to begin various global student projects and share our resources with over 4000 educators worldwide through webinars and open online courses. We supported and inspired each other, by sharing lesson ideas, classroom management tips, stress relief tips and more. Many of us accomplished 1 to 30 goals and developed new friendships. In 2014, the 30 Goals is going on a virtual road trip. We are visiting various participant blogs. They will suggest the goals and introduce us to their countries. Feel free to join us.
Could You Create Your Own Textbook with 400+ Teachers?
The 30 Goals experience has challenged me to explore more ways to crowdsource my goals, interests, and passions. This year, I co-developed the Crafting the ePerfect eTextbook EVO Session. This is a 5 week free course for teachers, in which, they create the beginnings of a digital textbook that meets their students’ needs. They will receive feedback, tips, and support from over 400 teachers worldwide as well as 15 moderators who have vast experience in e-publishing and materials design. You may recognize a few our incredible moderators, which include Lindsay Clandfield, Chuck Sandy, Özge Karaoglu, Jason Levine (Fluency MC), Jennifer Verschoor, Janet Bianchini, Sylvia Guinan, Debora Tebovich, André J. Spang, Jackie Gerstein, Terry Freedman, Dave Guymon, Jake Duncan and Rubena St. Louis. Join the Google Community, http://gplus.to/eTextbookEVO.
By Shelly Sanchez Terrell