Sunday, December 15, 2013

ePLNs for Teachers –Getting Connected

Current educational topics discussed by experts and educators in a timely, thorough manner.  For example, the latest input on educational technology use in the class, special education innovations, and school-wide interventions such as social and emotional interventions are hot topics currently inspiring teachers in their professional pursuits.

Convenience and privacy comes with networking online. Professional development is generally limited to scheduled on-campus staff or team meetings, conferences, or District trainings. A teacher may have a question or comment on a topic with no opportunity during these gatherings, or the teacher feels the question or comment is too basic or too sophisticated for the discussion. Educational sites can provide a responsive venue through articles, group discussions, webcasts, videos or a search by a teacher using key words at the teacher’s convenience.

  Opportunities to investigate new teaching areas and/or extend teaching expertise abound through sites that are specific to educational technology, special education, or improved teaching methods. A teacher may want more information about learning disabilities, for personal or professional reasons, and find helpful information and professionals online.  Maybe a video demonstrating a specific lesson would be very helpful. There is an abundance of sites to enhance a teacher’s knowledge and methods.
Here are well-established educational sites excellent for teacher connections.
 Edutopia This is an attractive, vast website that is has numerous educational topics: experts and educators writing articles, groups to join, videos, classroom guides.  Edutopia is a great support for teachers.
The Teaching Channel  provides specific video demonstrations in K-12 classrooms and lesson plan points on basic curriculum areas, as well as information on implementing the Common Core.  There are also articles and blogs. The Teaching Channel provides a ‘Teaching Team’ feature for professional development.
The National Center for Learning Disabilities (NCLD) This site offers connections for parents and teachers in the complex, challenging area of Special Education. There is a diversity of articles that are thorough, clear, and understandable for those not trained in Special Education.  The site offers ebooks, podcasts, videos and current news about the IEP process, IDEA, funding, and interventions. NCLD is a tremendous asset for teachers and parents.
Edudemic is a clear, concise, and thorough guide to educational technology, blended and flipped learning, and educational innovation using technology. There are many guidelines on a wide variety of topics that a teacher may not even have enough background in ed tech to ask about. For a teacher wishing to deepen knowledge of ed tech, or a beginner hoping to catch up--Edudemic is very effective.


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