The MOST important things I've done this past year for my personal and professional growth are attend live and listen to recordings to as many Future of Education and, to a lesser degree, Classroom 2.0 interviews on Blackboard Collaborate, iTunes, and their respective websites, as time / life allows. My views and understanding of Education have become so much clearer over the past 3 years, I feel as though I'm finally putting key pieces together.
Now I feel as though I have to interact with others here to help continually evolve my understanding, and develop my voice. I may say some pretty "out-there" things, here and at school, so I need to learn to discern when and where to say what I'm thinking. I've often said that "I just say what I'm thinking", but I've been though a few bad experiences where I've stopped saying what's on my mind. At this point, I'm getting my "voice" back, and have to re-learn how to read people around me with the bigger picture in mind, and more carefully choose what to share and when. Also, I tend to use way too many words to try to get my point across 8-)
I've endeavoured to extend professional development networks through a number of Web 2.0 Labs (Nings), as well as other so-called social-networking systems such as Facebook, Google+, and LinkedIn, in order to (re-)discover and share passions for learning and teaching. At the same time, I've been trying to consolidate, that is, interweave rather than over-extend, personal and professional web presence, in a process that Don Hinkelman referred to as "bricolage" (Action research and educational ethnography in blended environments, 2012.08.17 JST).
Great places to do that! I love twitter, it is my best PD. Are you on twitter?
Actually, I'm no twitterer. Though I observed a few avid early adopters come and go, and I do have few noteworthy Twitter feeds in Google Reader (that I hardly ever get 'round to reading), I never quite saw the point of a tool for scattering decontextualized bits of info., only to necessitate their re-constitution elsewhere with additional tools. That is, especially when there are potentially contextualizing, discoursive, group-oriented, hypertext-compatible, and meta-data enriching tools at hand.
For instance, instead of tweeting a cool website I happen to find, I annotate, categorize, tag, and share a link to the site via Diigo. I can do so both publicly, as well as directly to any number of focused social bookmarking groups. If such groups want to become discursive communities of inquiry on Diigo, they can – either independent of, or cross-linked to, blogs, Moodles, Nings, wikis, or similar loci for interaction capable of framing discussions and incorporating RSS feeds.
Last Spring, as part of a class assignment, I had the opportunity to go and observe Special Education classrooms for a period of two months. I found this to be very beneficial because I was able to gain a lot of insight on how to handle certain situations. There are a wide range of disabilities that people have and, as teachers, we need to learn how to manage different situations with our students while also making sure they are learning to the best of their abilities.