Tag Archives: Mightybell

Mightybell: PLN

18 Jan

Previously, a PLN was a “Professional” Learning Network: a somewhat fixed group of people that you join or are asked to join for your professional development. Now PLN is being used instead to indicate a “Personal” Learning Network: a very personal (individual) set of people you choose to follow or communicate with for your professional development, usually outside of any formal requirement.

Today’s Mightybell, like many of the other ones, consists of something that I have done somewhat naturally without necessarily doing it with the explicit purpose of building the network.  The main point of today’s exercise was using the RSS feed in order to subscribe to various blogs and websites, and then using some sort of service or tool to aggregate this information.  I actually do use both Google Reader and iGoogle to gather and organize my RSS feeds and information.  iGoogle is my tool of choice because the layout is more appealing and I can pick and choose what I want to read much easier.

I also use RSS to subscribe to various podcasts and use iTunes or another open source program like Banshee in order to subscribe to podcasts.  Podcasts are actually slightly better for me because I often find my reading time at a real premium.

In fact, te single biggest complaint or concern from fellow Mightybell travelers is pretty much the same: having too much information and sifting through it all.  I almost always get behind on all of my subscriptions and end up only reading or listening to a fraction of what I have coming in.  I’ll talk a little more about this overload in the next exercise, but it really is a concern even though I am not even using all of the tools available.  I have lots of interests, it is just a matter of managing them all!

For me there also has to be some balance between reading and writing.  Reading more makes me a better writer for sure, but I need to find a balance in order to continue to be part of the network and environment that I choose to participate in.  The two go together for me, so the PLN is a crucial piece.

The biggest weakness for me, at least at present, is how to leverage this network into something that has a more tangible benefit professionally.  I have interests and enjoy pursuing those through reading or writing.  But it is only recently that I have been concerned about these pursuits having some sort of monetary value.  I have always seen the reading and writing as a sort of sideline hobby, but it IS something I enjoy doing.  I still scratch my head when I consider that people would actually pay to read something that I write.  The Thinking Person’s Guide To Autism is at least a step in helping me see some potential in that direction.  But generally the biggest satisfaction for me is derived from helping other people  which is what I think underlies most of the content and people in my PLN.




Mightybell: (Re) Discovering Passions

5 Jan

If I’m not working, I need to be writing.  I suppose that is my first resolution of the new year.  I need to write more.  Of course, doing more reading will always produce better writing, so I suppose reading more is my second resolution of the year, although I’m less excited about that than the first one.

A few months ago, I signed up for MightyBell through the Future of Education group that I belong to.  And then I promptly forgot about it, until I started getting the daily email alerts, encouraging me to go on to the next step, which is to say, take the first step.  The initial idea of signing up what to have something blogworthy, thus it might get me writing again.

I know that I am not the only person who is feeling pretty dissatisfied with education and the direction it has been going the past 10 years.  In fact I have never talked to anyone who has anything to do with it, who is totally satisfied with the direction of our educational system.  But the online groups, Future of Education in particular, has at least kept me in the loop when I have otherwise wanted to run away from the education business. It’s still an awkward relationship, but I’m at least willing to give it another go.

Mightybell is simply a string of tasks that is done whenever you feel like it, with a daily email reminding you of what you need to do next.  For instance, step one is signing up for Teacher 2.0.  That was fairly easy, although it took a day to get approved.  The next task was thinking about and listing your talents, as well as thinking about how to recognize student talent.  I sort of breezed through that with teaching being a talent, some writing, dealing with and using technology and applied behavior analysis.  These are all things that when I think about, people either have recognized me for, or they are asking me about.  I was one of the technology nerds as a student and as a teacher, who people ran to when they were having trouble with their computer.

The next task was about passions.  Things I love doing and things I love learning about.  I was pretty stumped and decided I had enough for the day, right there.  Now there are a lot of things I like learning about.  Technology being a big one, along with U.S. History and science.  I like learning about the latest trends in gardening and becoming more self-sufficient.  I like learning about elves and hobbits.  But I don’t know if these are all passions.  I’m pretty sure my family would all agree that I am passoniate about my laptop as I spend most of my time on it.

But a follow-up question asks: Do I spend enough time on my passions?  Lately, the answer has been “no”.  Or at least not enough on where my passions and talents align.  And that is what I’m working through at the moment.  Discovering where my passions and talents align.  It occurred to me the best things that have happened to me in the past month WERE because of my writing right here on this blog.  It’s one of the rare places where the talents and passions seem to intersect.  Of course, the real trick is to get this intersection to pay the bills!

I had a poll once (the only one I’ve ever run here!) where I ask if this blog helps or hurts my chances of getting hired.  It occurs to me that if it hurts, than I might possibly be ill-suited for whatever that job is.  I do love teaching, and it still is a passion of mine.  In many ways, this blog has provided me a platform to do some good teaching.  And some good learning!

Passions and talents don’t need to be the same, but it certainly does make things easier if you can get the two together.

Task completed!