Over winter break, I participated in EdCampVoxer which was an EdCamp held entirely via the smartphone application Voxer. I have since become a Voxer addict. I absolutely love how far and wide my PLN has grown because of this app and the groups I am part of.
We have had all kinds of interesting discussions in the past several weeks. We had a huge discussion about the types of schools that do and don't observe holidays like MLK Day. We have had discussions about charter schools, parent engagement and the situations occurring here in Michigan with Detroit Public Schools and the Flint Water Crisis.
I have got to admit....it is quite refreshing to dialogue, even when we disagree, with people who just respect the other side of the coin. It isn't something I am used to and I am enjoying it. Partly because the way that we dialogue with each other--respectfully and clearly and through speaking so there is no misinterpretation of tone, etc--allows you to a) be vulnerable but more importantly b) consider the other side because someone has mentioned something that shifts your thinking.
We have talked about growth mindset, makerspaces, flipped classrooms and so much more. One group I am in is VERY active. I have found myself catching up on voxes in my car on the way to and from school and sometimes I listen during recess while I grade papers or shuffle around my classroom since the students aren't in there.
The very active group...someone pointed out that sometimes you have to pretend it is like a radio station; if you miss it, you miss it. And there have been times when I have had to "mark all heard" because I was over 100 voxes behind. No one has time to catch up with that!
Alas, it is so refreshing to be part of an ongoing PLN that I consider to be professional development because it is changing my thinking every single day. It is changing my thinking from moment to moment sometimes. And isn't that what we want? We want to grow and change and be better every day.
I have blogged less and less as the last year or so has gone on....and I think it is because I just have less to say here. On Twitter and in Voxer I am engaged in two-way communication that is absolutely enhancing my teaching every day. That's not so true with the blog platform these days. Too many blogs are 100% commercial--buy this fabulous product I made--and not enough authentic sharing of what you're doing and why.
So I don't know if I'll hang up my hat here at the CT...but I do know that I will continue to connect in other ways with like-minded people who just get me and make me feel like it's so possible to be part of something bigger and better.