Written by CUE Board Member Jason Borgen @jborgen
It’s summer; an educators’ most relaxing time of the year, right? Whether you are a teacher on summer break, teaching summer school or an administrator, summertime tends to lend itself to more time to get things done.
The day is longer right? I know my calendar has some holes this summer, even after my inaugural CUE Board of Directors Retreat, 9 presentations and 6 conferences at which I have been present (CUE Rockstar Monterey, ISTE, CALSA, California Summit featuring Google for Education, CUE Leadership Development Institute, and AAEA). How can we use this “extra” time?
With all the newest approaches to pedagogy and student learning, Hopefully you are continuing to learn. Maybe learn is not the best term for educators as we never really slow down to learn–when we have more downtime we just have the ability to learn and prepare for the future more. The term Personal Learning Networks (PLNs) has been thrown around and institutionalized around our educational community for many years now. The ability to connect and learn with peers with similar interests is an excellent way to stay abreast with the newest resources and strategies for improving student success and content mastery.
However, to model the importance of this social-based, informal learning environment we shouldn’t just learn through it, but rather live through it. After all, we didn’t become educators to consider the act of “learning” as a chore, but rather a way of life. Perhaps the idea, at least for educators, is not to think of PLNs as Personal Learning Networks, but rather as Personal Living Networks where learning is innate.
A wise man once said, “Education is not preparation for life; education is life itself.” In the 1920s John Dewey realized the synonymous relationship between learning and living. As educators, sometimes our learning opportunities are signified by sit and get, irrelevant conceptual approaches to new learning strategies. Other times our organization provides us opportunities to travel to conferences such as the Annual CUE Conference to learn strategies from the practitioners. These opportunities provide some applicable strategies to build our educational skills, but they are specific, usually limited by time/location, and do not represent a lifestyle. Our entire lifestyles may vary from the teacher who spends a great amount of time woodworking to the triathlete teachers; the DJ and musician teachers; the gardener administrator, and the poker playing Tech Director.
The one commonality (there of course, could very well be many more) we all have a passion for learning and are always contemplating ways to improve our schools, programs, students, etc. This is the way passionate educators live–after all, you are reading this blog post to find ways to improve your practice–I hope you do get some benefits. Regardless, no matter what you do, you can never avoid the learning…this is how we live and should be portraying the significance of living to learning to make our world a better place.
So….what are some relevant ways to update your Personal Living Network (PLN)? Obviously, CUE is an organization you want to be part of and live through! This will connect you to local educators, statewide educators, and even international educators. It is a great way to network formally and informally through social media and get-togethers such as #coffeeCUE. This is a chance to build relationships in the more traditional face-to-face environment.
When it comes to technology and education, or just education, to continue to live you NEED to be on Twitter. Of course, this is a give and take tool, but we first live by taking. Go to Twitter and browse popular educator hashtags such as #edchat, #edtech, and even #ccss. November Learning has put together a nice condensed list of popular education hashtags. Once you digital life progresses through hashtags/topics find some educators to connect and live with. CUE Member Alice Keeler has put together a great list of Twitter Educators by Subject – check it out to find some great folks to follow.
Of course, organizations should also be followed to get some of the latest and greatest information to continue to live to the best of your ability! While CUE and ISTE serve educational professionals of all types, TICAL and AASA specifically serve educational leaders, and CETPA and CoSN are great for Technology Directors/Coordinators and IT staff.
I may be preaching to the choir here, but remember living as an educator is social. Remind your colleagues to live the educator lifestyle–continuous learning. As a new CUE Board Member, I will make sure to model this to all and to improve the lifestyles of many educators out there who are just surviving in this educational world. Not Living it! We don’t want any educator to be part of a Personal Dying Networking (PDN). PLNs are educators’ bridge to the future.
So Keep Calm and LIVE on (and play MineCraft) in 14-15!
Jason Borgen has worked in diverse learning environments at the middle school level focusing on STEM and college-readiness via the AVID program. Currently, Jason works for the Technology Information Center for Administrative Leadership providing professional development to school and district leaders across the state of California through formal and informal activities and events. Jason became a Google Certified Teacher in 2008, LEC Certified in Online and Blended Teaching in 2011, for the Administrator in 2012 and Professional Developer in 2012. Jason has been Co-Chair of CUE’s Admin Learning Network and Co-President of the Monterey Bay CUE Affiliate. Jason presents at national, statewide, and regional education conferences and currently serves on CUE Board of Directors.