Managing PLN Info and Instructional Design Challenges

Article excerpt

Warning: I will ask readers of this column to go online and comment on the ideas here.

For most of us, I suspect, we have attended conferences, read professional magazines such as Teacher Librarian, and worked our way through professional development opportunities locally in order to stay current in our jobs. However, with the development of personal learning networks, we can sit down at our computers every day and get a stream of information flowing toward us from blogs, tweets, Pinterest, Facebook, and listservs, just to name a few. And, so the question arises for us all: How much time should we devote each day in order to keep up?

Furthermore, how do we store and retrieve the best of the best ideas that stream by us so that we can use them as we interact with our faculty, administration, and other professional colleagues? As a professor, I usually send out to my students the best of what comes across my own desk that is connected to what we are working together on during the term. In turn, they take a subset of what I send out, add it to the best of what they are reading and we have a blog where we are both reading and discussing our own "Infobase" collection. Thus, instead of assigning a few articles that everyone is supposed to read, we all contribute and build our knowledge together as a collaborative. I don't think that we are perfect by any means, but the results I see when my students reflect on major topics and issues are infinitely better than what I used to get even a few years ago.

However, I am never satisfied that I have discovered a way to maximize my own learning in the small amount of time I have and wonder how you, as readers, do this? I myself every day: What is the best use of my time right now? In the amount of time I spend learning, how can I maximize what I know and am able to do?

In the area of instructional design, I have created, with the help of my graduate assistant, Jennifer Gulassa, a summary of the best of the best that information I have sent out to my students over the last three months, in the order it was sent.. Here is the Google Site and at the bottom you can add comments, questions, and other resources:

My question to you is what do you do with a stream of information such as this?

* Bookmark it? Then what?

* Put it in "Evernote" or some other tool?

* Blog about the best of the best?

* Do nothing but know you can find nuggets when you need them?

* Is trying to organize the stream really worth the effort and time it takes?

* Is this skill something with which every student should be equipped in the current world of information and technology?

These are the questions that might lead to a conversation about both the topic of instructional design and the strategies we all use of keep on learning and growing. …