Thoughts on Professional Learning Networks


This Poppet is a picture of my current Professional Learning Network.  In creating this infographic for CEP 810 demonstrating the sources to which I turn for professional insight and growth, I was both surprised and grateful.  I was surprised by how many digital channels of learning are available.  Learning tools are accessible whenever and wherever needed.  For example, I don’t need to attend a physical conference, though I do enjoy learning that way, but I can attend webinars from the comfort of my home, or from the convenience of my school library checkout desk.  Likewise, I can get together with other librarians in my school district at our monthly meetings in various schools, or I can hangout online with them, or with librarians in other states, to discuss lesson ideas or book recommendations.  I was also surprised by how much I rely on social media for learning.  Not only do I keep track of friends, interests, and decorating/cooking tips through Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram, but also I use these channels to curate lesson plans and keep track of current trends in education.

This exercise in mapping my PLN also filled me with gratitude.  Being an educator can be a lonely job.  Elementary teachers are often sequestered within the walls of their classroom.  School librarians can be isolated one step further in that we are often the only one in our building.  How amazing that I am not isolated in 2015.  I have a rich network of mentors and motivators, often in a variety of fields, spanning the globe with unfathomable depths of wisdom and resources.  What an exciting time in which we live!

Networked Learning Project: Blog Post #1

A few years ago, I attended a conference for creatives and received an issue of Uppercase in my goodie bag.  I loved paging through the issue, being inspired by the featured artists.  However, my favorite part of the magazine was a postcard subscription insert.  The front of the postcard contained a photograph of an exquisitely embroidered “Merci”.  I eventually moved the magazine to my bookshelf, but put the card on the bulletin board in my room.  I had intended to learn how to replicate the embroidery, but time and life got away from me.  However, whenever I’d look at my bulletin board, or even wander through Anthropologie and browse the colorfully embroidered tea towels in the kitchen section, I was reminded of my desire to learn how to stitch by hand.  Imagine my delight when asked to learn how to do something, using YouTube and Internet help forums, for CEP 810.  My homework would be to learn how to embroider, and blog about the learning adventure.  By the end of our learning experiment, I would like to have replicated the Merci embroidery, and have embroidered a tea towel using at least 3 different kinds of stitches.

In perusing the internet to find embroidery teaching sources and an affinity community, I discovered a renaissance of the hand arts. Embroidery is not just what Jane Austen heroines accomplished in drawing rooms, but it has been picked up by many people around the world.  By visiting Pinterest, I saw pages of pins where embroidery resources have been curated.  I was inspired to create my own Pinterest board to keep track resources I discover.

Currently, I have found an abundance of youtube videos, which demonstrate the various embroidery stitches.  Some of the videos can be found here and here.  Sublime Stitching, founded by Jenny Hart who created the Merci postcard design, has written tutorials on the various stitches, links for pattern ideas, and blog articles. Mary Corbett’s NeedleNThread website is an extensive stitching resource with video tutorials, and forum support.

As a true novice, I will learn which stitches I need to learn at Sublime Stitching, and then learn them through NeedleNThread, Youtube, and other sites that I discover.  I plan on learning a different stitch each week, and put them together for my final project, which will be a tea towel.  I’m looking forward to the adventure and the finished products!

CEP 810 Learning, Understanding and Conceptual Change Essay

For week one in CEP 810, my assignment was to compose an essay in which I reflected on Chapters 1-3 in Bransford, Brown & Cocking’s (2000) How People Learn.  Additionally, I was to explore how my understanding of learning had an impact on my view of this course, as well as in my teaching.  The full essay of 800 words can be found here.  To summarize, in my essay, I described how the study of expertise and use of specific teaching methodologies positively influence learning.  I hope you enjoy my reflection and I welcome your feedback.