Tuesday, February 2, 2016

A Mind Map of My Learning

For my Graduate Level class, I was asked to make a mind map showing how I learn as an adult.  With some reflection, I came up with the following Mind Map.  I broke my learning into three categories:  Schooling, Professional Development, and Social Networking.  I then broke those three categories into more categories with more detail.

Here is the Mind Map:

After creating my mind map, I took some time to reflect on how I learn as an adult compared to how I learned as a child.  My network on how I learn has changed over time.  As a child, the three branches were a little different.  I would classify the three branches as schooling, family and friends.  Those three branches have changed and been modified over the past 34 years.  The map has morphed into a bigger version of the original and changed because of the learning I have done since I was a child.  The three main branches of my mind map now as an adult are schooling, professional development, and social networks.  Those three branches have changed over time as an adult and have become bigger over time with many new branches growing and old branches falling off or being replaced. 
My network right now as a teacher has really changed the way I learn.  As I child, I was learning to become a professional.  Now as an adult, I think I have been learning to become a more experienced professional.  A lot of my learning now is done to hone my craft as a teacher and to make sure my students are getting the best lessons possible.  Another thing that has caused my learning to change has been the increased network of teachers that I have at my finger tips.  With the help of social media and professional development, the amount of information out there is astounding.  Let’s say I want to learn new techniques for teaching a math lesson for 4th grade, I just have to spend about an hour doing research online and will find plenty of new strategies for that lesson.  It takes some time to get used to finding this information, but once you become comfortable, it can make a huge difference in your effectiveness. 
For me, the best digital tools that help facilitate my learning right now are social media websites and The Khan Academy.  These digital tools really help me answer any of the questions I have about teaching 4th grade.  This is a new curriculum for me this year and I have had to use a lot of support to help me teach the new concepts.  The social media websites really help me stay in the loop with different teaching strategies in next generation learning.  There are many teachers out there doing innovative things and lots of them are shared on social media.  It has taken some time and effort to find worthwhile companies and organizations to follow.  But I think it has helped me learn about things that have an immediate impact on my profession.  Facebook, Twitter and Pintrest are my three most used social media networks.  Another one that is becoming a quick favorite because of this class is my RSS feed.  There are so many blogs out there that can help me learn as an adult.  It has been a learning process to figure out how it works, but I think it is a great way to make your professional development more personal.  The Kahn Academy has helped me so much as a math teacher over the last four years.  I make videos of my math lessons and the students watch them at home for homework.  For each math concept, I go onto the Kahn Academy to learn how to make the lesson friendlier for children and to pick up on any tips for teaching that specific math lesson. 

There are many ways that my learning as an adult now supports connectivism.  My learning is done from non-human appliances like computers and smart phones.  Apps on my phone help me access the information quickly and wherever I might need it.  I am always looking to learn more because of teaching a new grade level this school year.  I have taught 3rd grade for the past five years and am new to teaching 4th grade.  This has required me to know more about these new concepts I am trying to teach.  Finally, I have desired to try out the newest teaching strategies since I got my teachers license in 2009.  I have wanted to make sure that I am teaching something that is up to date and not 10 years old.  

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