Resources, Supports, and Goals

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In managing the often overwhelming amount of information available to teachers today, I have found that my most useful, frequently checked resource is Feedly, as it ultimately does the managing for me in terms of finding new, relevant articles based upon the sites that I have added to it. So needless to say, I was beyond excited to see that we would be using it so heavily throughout our time in this course.

Somewhat related background/tangent: I was first introduced to RSS feeds (essentially the same function as Feedly) when my husband I were looking to adopt two new kittens roughly 6 or so years ago. Instead of constantly needing to check various pet adoption sites to see if they were updated, my husband, who is far more tech savvy than I, set up a RSS feed to alert us to anytime a new kitten was placed up for adoption (Full disclosure, I did not realize the competitive nature of rescuing shelter kittens until I began that process). Fast forward 6 years later, and I am now technologically addicted to RSS feeds, specifically Feedly which has come to replace my beloved Google Reader (R.I.P.).

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Oh, and the cats are doing fine as well!

I tend to use Feedly most heavily to capture new ideas, articles, and resources that are posted to some of my favorite blogs and sites; when I become interested in a new topic in education, I simply search for new feeds or sites to match my inquiry and they are added to my blogroll. Not only does this help to organize new blogs that I find interesting, but also I can add search terms like “Keystone Exams” or “21st Century Learning” and other educational jargon that pop up anytime it is mentioned in an article or blog post. This has helped me stay current with the seemingly constant changes in education, specifically state mandated standardized testing, today.

I also use Feedly to keep in contact with some blogs and resources that I have found tremendously valuable for new ideas or discussions about pedagogy and best practice. Some of the sites that I get most excited to see new posts from are: Granted, and…Thoughts on Education by Grant Wiggins; principal and digital leader Eric Sheninger’s A Principal’s Reflections; and The Huffington Post: Education. While my Feedly is often overrun with hundreds, if not thousands of posts that I have not checked, when these three post something new, they always draw my attention and usually result in my annoyingly emailing the link to some of my close colleagues at work. Which, I guess leads me to reflect on the second topic of this post, in that I first typically read interesting things online and then connect with my colleagues within my department to see just how this information might pertain to our daily practice. I think (perhaps idealistically) that most educators today would say that they strike a balance between gaining support and research for new ideas online and then bounce these ideas against their colleagues to see if any of them are practical or worthy of implementation.

Perhaps this implementation part is what I struggle with the most, as I often place aside new, innovative ideas and practices in favor of traditional methods that have proven to get the job done in teaching my students. However, these old methods are perhaps not the most creative, thought-provoking, or student-centered; they instead, in being what is most comfortable for my teaching, are not often best for my students’ learning. In moving forward with employing new ideas with my students, I would like to be able to create something where the students themselves are finding out the best ways to approach, to develop, and to sustain their learning, especially when it comes to technology, a topic with which they are more familiar and comfortable than I.

To draw back to my earlier metaphor, just like when I myself needed to use technology to solve the problem of the competitive nature of kitten adoption, on a grander scale, I hope to promote the same, but more involved problem-solving and technology use in my students to sustain their understanding and promote ideas, tools, and skills they will continue to grow with and use in their lives after they are done in my class.

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9 responses »

  1. Hi Erin!
    I teach the opposite end, 4th grade, but your blog is the second one that I came across that also uses Feedly or something similar to it to stay educated with current trends, ideas or even your love for animals! That is something that I think would save me hours of hunting and searching on an ordinary browser like Google. Blogging and all that comes along with it is completely new to me, so I am hoping to get an understanding as to what Feedly is, how to use it and be able to find exciting things to help me adapt to the ever changing educational world!

    Good luck with your new classes and I look forward to learning with you!

    • Hi, Ashley–thank you for your comment! I cannot say enough about how Feedly has revolutionized my way of managing new information. You are exactly right in that it allows people to stay current, which is especially necessary in our profession, as it is constantly changing. Good luck with trying it out; and I look forward to reading more from you in the future!

  2. Hi Erin,

    I’m relatively new to Feedly. We used it once before in another class with Wilkes, but already, I’ve seen the benefits of using it. It is a lot easier to search for relevant articles and blogs, and provides a unified platform for sharing ideas and creativity. Looking forward to using it, and as you use it with your cats, there are multiple ways to use feedly to suit one’s interest, so I’m going to see if they have information on coaching and soccer and see what I can come up with. Good luck to you and I look forward to learning with you.
    -Allen

    • Allen–thank you for your comment and insight on my use of resources! I am interested in seeing how using Feedly as a class management system plays out this semester!

  3. I’m impressed with your use of Feedly. I also used to use Google Reader to follow the Blue Skunk Blog, The Cool Cat Teacher Blog and others. I wonder if there is now a way to follow only posts with certain tags to cut down on the backup of unread posts, a problem I had when following several blogs.

    I think Twitter would be a great tool for you as well. The ability to follow a specific hashtag makes it easy to be a part of a global conversation about a very focused topic.

    • Hi, Corinne–thank you for your comment! I am happy to see that others have found the value of Feedly and RSS for information management. I would love to get into Twitter, as I know that a few of my colleagues love it as a resource for professional development and staying connected with PLNs.

  4. Erin,
    Don’t be afraid to try something new because you think your student have more tech knowledge than you do. They may great with social media, but from what I found when it comes to using technology for learning, or creating related to their learning, they need much assistance. At least this has been my experience with my 7th graders. They know how to use search engines, but have difficulty choosing credible and age appropriate sties that actually help them to learn. For a project that I did related to the Constitutional Convention, the students had to use templates from Word. They had no idea where to find them. Do not underestimate yourself, or overestimate your students. They can definitely learn from you. Choose one lesson to integrate technology into in September, and take the risk or stepping away from your traditional methods. I know that I also fall back on them at times, because you know how long it will take to get the learning in, and we are all strapped for time. I think you will find the interest of your students to be rewarding, and you will know that you are doing what you can for them technologically.

  5. Erin,

    I’m actually kind of shocked to hear you use RSS. While it’s something I’ve used for a decade and assumed it would really take off, it hasn’t. Subscribing to blogs and news feeds seems like a no brainer to me but I realize others use other methods.

    I love Grant Wiggins blog and he’s an great example of a know author who uses his space to “think out loud” and invites his readers in for a conversation.

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