Personal Learning Environment

Recommendations: I really enjoyed your metaphorical image! People who support you are roots (just saw in your reflection that this is the tree of knowledge - I didn't get that at first but understood the underlying metaphor) etc. I would like to keep this as an example to show others in the future! May I have your permission to use it? My only concern is the number of tools and resources you already have and the number you are wanting to add. I appreciate wanting to grow but it is also important to do some pruning (to keep with the metaphor) every so often to maintain your sanity.

Response: I agree that I need to make sure I don't overwhelm myself with too many options. Some of these, like using Camtasia and Delicious, I have been using for quite a few years. I have already (mentally) deleted several of these, just not on my diagram yet ... I will not be working with Prezi (mainly because I found something else I want to try instead - go figure) and Class Parrot which 'went out of business.' I think this brings up another concern we must keep in mind as we choose our technologies; I am not interested in spending a lot of time trying to incorporate a technology into my lessons, only to have that technology 'disappear.' I have, for the most part, taken to using technologies that have been around for a while or I also like it when the new technology is associated with a solid company, as with Jing and TechSmith. Creating this PLE has also made me consider how and why I am using some technologies, it is indeed time for a good pruning, I think. I have also become very excited about trying a few new technologies, I also think I may want to add a few new people to this PLE ... there are several students in these classes that I hope to continue working with and learning from long after these classes end.

I have found that there are an almost overwhelming number of technologies and ideas out there. The creation and thought process behind creating this PLE has helped to take inventory of those things that I have found most helpful, those that I believe I am not using to their full potential, and those that I think will add substance to my online (and traditional) classes. Even since I created the below Personal Learning Environment I have already started re-evaluating my choices. I plan to make a list of all the new choices that have been introduced to me, both in this class and in the other courses I have taken for this certificate, and then prioritize. What do I need? What can each new technology do? Is it easy for my students to use? I am looking forward to starting this as soon as I am able.
 

 Click on below image to enlarge:

personal learning network
personal learning environment - tree of knowledge
 
I am well supported by my colleagues, both in the Learning Assistance Department and in the Math and Science Departments. Every instructor is assigned a mentor during the first year of their full-time employment as faculty; we have stayed 'in touch' and still have lunch every week. Several of my departmental colleagues teach technology in education courses, they have become great resources for our entire department. One of my math colleagues has been working with me as we have set up our (independent of each other) web sites to house content we create, both of us hoping to develop these sites into resource spots for our students. We also hope to cross-pollinate ... for instance, she could refer her upper level students to my site to brush up on fractions and I could refer my students to her site so they can see where the math is going.
I have well developed shells in our Learning Management System (LMS), Angel. Here I have video links (videos made with Camtasia or SmartPen), notes, handouts, worksheets with their keys, short audios, links to external sites including MyMathLab. My students must use this LMS. I post announcements (which I have placed on our home page) and send emails to the entire class from Angel. In fact, my major source of contact with my online students is through email, both within our LMS and through the school's email. I try to email my students once a week (I try not to go over that so students don't get complacent about reading my emails). I cruise Learning Object Repositories, like Merlot, seeking learning objects that I think may be useful to my students. I have accounts with Delicious, and now Diigo, where I have 'collected' urls that I think may be useful to me, my colleagues, and my students. These sites, along with Google Reader (RSS) allow me to gain quick access to sites I have already 'vetted' and information I need. I have been using Google for close to ten years now, so I placed it in the category of technology I currently use. I have been using GoogleDocs for over six years, and while I don't use for my students, I have used in work groups, collaborative work activities, and for classes that I have taken for professional development. I have used blogger, but have 'discarded' it ... I personally found it to be too glitchy; I started using blogger in 2006 and have since found Word Press to be much friendlier. Dropbox I use regularly, it is particularly useful to me because I often work from home. Using Dropbox I can do the work at home, copy the document into Dropbox, then view or print at work as needed.
I have started working on Twitter to see if I could use it as a "quick check" for my online students. I have also started working with Elluminate, though it looks like this will be transitioning to BlackBoard's Collaborate. Eventually, I would like to record the lecture portion of my traditional classes to post in the Angel shells for all venues of that course. This way, online students could view the lecture if they chose to, and traditional students could view again. I am working toward a class blog and have decided to use Word Press. I tried out multiple blog sites and personally found Word Press to be the least 'glitchy.' Several of the courses I have taken in this certificate program included the use of Jing as a feedback mechanism. I am working with it and am trying to figure out how to use for my math students ... can I find a way to efficiently use Jing to 'mark-up' paper math tests. I have been using my iPad, with an app called 'Educreations,' to provide responses to content questions from my students; I would like to expand on this.
I hope to further investigate using iClickers for my traditional class ... and Poll Everywhere, Class Parrot, or Twitter for my online classes. Prezi is a presentation tool that I have heard a lot about, so I want to check it out to see if I see any use for me and my students. Second Life has been something I have been considering for several years; I would like the time to investigate to see if I could set up a tutoring lab for my students. Also a place where they could 'meet' and discuss questions or just socialize.
My students are the fruits of my labors, along with my web site on iPage - which I hope will become another resource for my students.