To be honest, I had no idea what to expect when I signed up for this class. I learned quickly that my knowledge of social networks was lacking. Just because I had Facebook and Pinterest, did not make me an expert.
This class showed me exactly what I needed to do and how to use it. At times I felt like I might not personally use the tool because of the age of my students. But, I did tell my friends that teach in higher education about it. I learned that even if it didn’t directly relate to me, I knew someone who it did relate to.
Teaching in elementary, we are discouraged from using certain social network tools with our students. Most parents feel that it is inappropriate. I agree that my students shouldn’t frequent my personal social sites. This class showed me several different platforms and ways to use social networks that are appropriate for use in elementary school. I now have a new way and type of learning to engage my students. My favorites are Edmodo, Diigo and ScoopIt. I also have resources that I can give to parents that are concerned about the appropriateness of social networks.
Many of these resources have come from the relationships that I have established in my personal learning network. My peers have taught me many things and shared with me their experiences and their expertise. These relationships are invaluable. I feel expanding my PLN was the most beneficial part of this course. One surprise for me was the power of Twitter. I had no idea it was being used to share learning. I thought it was a celebrity craze and a way to demoralize society. My hesitation in joining the Twitter world was quickly replaced with enthusiasm. I found several organizations and groups to follow. Twitter was a way for me to learn! I admit that I don’t tweet often but I definitely lurk.
The least beneficial module for me was the final MOOC project. I didn’t feel that I had a good understanding of a MOOC in order to design one. I honestly feel that it could be a separate course, delving deeper into the principles behind a MOOC and the aspects of its design. My resistance is that I like structure. A true MOOC lacks what I feel I need in order to be successful. I understand that this type of environment is a draw for certain learners. Therefore, I am not completely closed minded. I approached the project head on and did my best to digest all of the information and help create a product worthy to be a MOOC. One peer review stated that it had aspects of a MOOC but felt more like an online course. I agree, as hard as I tried, I couldn’t let go of the structure. I think that this comes from my elementary background.
Overall, I feel that I have learned to be a better social citizen. I have experienced how to manage and incorporate social network learning. I have created new ways to organize and share information. And most importantly, I appreciate the relationships that I built and the communities that I have become a part of.