Digital leaders need to be aware of new trends and emerging tools that will support learning in digital environments; that is why PLNs are so important. Digital leaders need a personalised work space and workflow to be able to manage the information they continually comes across.
These are the digital tools that are currently in my personalised toolbox…
I deliberately distinguish between my personal and professional digital spaces. I choose to use Facebook as my personal social network, where I connect and communicate with friends and family. I do however follow some pages that post information that is more relevant to my professional life than my personal life such as Digital Citizenship in Schools, Knowledge Networks and Digital Innovation, or The Children’s Bookshop. I have personal and work-based email accounts, and the communication in those is quite different. I also have a generic gmail account that I use to sign up to different accounts. This has been useful when changing workplaces, where my workplace email has been discontinued.
I use the following tools in my professional life:
- my work-based email account
- various Slack channels for communication across departments at work
- Adobe Connect for university webinars
- Skype to connect with other workplaces
- Facebook Messenger to communicate with colleagues who I am working on collaborative projects with
TO BUILD COMMUNITY:
- Twitter is my go-to tool to connect with educators I do and don’t know, to learn alongside. I like to create posters in Canva based on what I learn, which I then share using #postergogy and any other # that is appropriate (eg. #digitcit)
- I look at Feedly each morning while eating breakfast (because I normally eat breakfast alone. Screens are banned from the table when eating with other family members). I skim through articles from blogs etc. that I have subscribed to. Some places I have subscribed to come through my emails, but most come to Feedly.
- When I find something great on Twitter or Feedly, I contribute it to the social bookmarking sites Diigo and Pearltrees. I tend to use Diigo for professional reading and Pearltrees for stuff I will make use of in my teaching practice. I like Pearltree’s graphic interface and find this more visually appealing to use with students. I use to use Flipboard, but moved to Pearltress finding it easier to navigate. I also like how you can include your own content in Pearltrees – a feature that Flipboard doesn’t have.
- I blog sporadically at notyouraverage JoBlogs, and usually tweet the link when I post a blog.
- Edmodo has been the tool I have used most often with students to build learning communities within and across class groups. I didn’t make much use of the community for teachers in Edmodo.
- Edublogs is the blogging platform I use with students.
Recent events around the world that have shocked many of us such as Brexit and Trump’s election as US President, because we just couldn’t imagine something like that happening, are a rude reminder that we can create exclusive bubbles in our PLNs where we only listen to people who are saying what we want to hear. This is something we need to be mindful of.
TO COLLABORATE & CO-CREATE:
- Knowing your way around Google Drive and Google Apps is a must in any collaborative digital environment.
- I have found that not all Microsoft Office docs I use upload nicely to Google Drive, so I have started using OneDrive this year, when wanting to keep the format of a document intact. My workplace automatically backs up all work on our school owned devices to OneDrive each day.
- I have recently started playing in wikispaces to collaboratively develop a learning module.
- I am a fan of Padlet as a collaborative wall of brainstorming or collaborative curation of digital resources
- Blogging is a great way to share and reflect on your learning
- Storify is a great way to tell the story of a conference or workshop you attend, by capturing your own and other participants’ tweets, and links that have been shared in the one thread.
- Having heard so much about One Note as a tool to help manage information, I have started using it this year. I like how it syncs across my devices, and how I can include various types of content in it with ease. I am currently using it for my study notes, and for administrative purposes at work. I am also using it with a colleague I am co-teaching with to collate feedback and observations about students in the class we have together, as our LMS does not provide this feature. Quite a few of my colleagues use OneNote with their classes.
- iCalendar helps me to manage both personal engagements and professional appointments. I use colour coding to help me get a quick sense of my week at a glance.
- Google Drive and One Drive store all of my digital files. I have different accounts for personal and professional content.