I get asked this a lot lately. There are so many things to learn and keep up with… how do you do it? The truth? I don’t.
This is my secret – I don’t know everything. And I never will. Once I accepted that, the pressure is off. The flip side of that statement means that I will always have something to learn and improve. THAT is really the key! Often times teachers ask me about things I haven’t heard of and it is a chance for me to learn more. I get busy and figure things out and TRY new things constantly.
I can’t do everything…but I do take certain steps to keep up as much as I can. Luckily, learning more and sharing it are part of my job AND something I love! Here are my top tips:
- Connect with folks on Social Media. About 60% of what I learn is from links people in my Professional Learning Network (PLN) share on Twitter or Voxer. I’m connected with folks in so many different roles in education that I get a wide variety of information. Often times when I have a little down time, I scroll through my twitter feed. Participate in Twitter Chats – my favorite is #NoVAedchat and #SatChat. I commit to one a week (#NoVAedchat from 8-9pm E on Wednesday nights) and any others are a bonus!
- Read blogs! I follow hundreds of blogs. That doesn’t mean I visit their webpages… each time there is a new post to those, it shows up in my Feedly account. I have those sorted by topic so depending on what I’m thinking about at the time, I scroll through those and learn in little chunks of time.
- Read professional books – I have made a goal to read a professional book each month. Some months (summer and winter breaks typically) I read more or if I find something I’m really interested in I just can’t put it down. AND talk about it with people! The best learning happens when I read something and talk about it with other people who are passionate. Join (or form) a book club – even an online book club like #TechCoachBC
- Curate what you find – figure out some way to collect the best resources you find! Pinterest, Evernote, Retweeting. Something that works for you so you can find and use these resources later!
- Conferences – I like smaller conferences (State and Regional) better than really big ones (ISTE) and REALLY love edcamps! All conferences give me a chance to build connections with educators around the world. This is the power of conferences. I usually get a few ideas from sessions…but dozens from the real, in depth conversation that happens between sessions!