“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference”—Robert Frost
Learning is a journey that provides many paths, some formal, many informal. While I have been on a life-long journey of learning, much of it formal, I started to utilize the informal methods of learning offered through technology several years ago. I have listened to podcasts and audio books, since receiving an iPod for Christmas in 2006. Exploring blogs, particularly Michael Hyatt’s, have provided opportunities for learning that I could not have participated in previously. Through Michael’s blog and book Platform: Getting Noticed in a Noisy World, I have learned about the importance of using Social Media.
Advancements in technology have provided opportunities for expanding my learning and becoming a more competent educator. In 2013, I found educational podcasts, such as the Principal Cast (now known as PrincipalPLN), and learned about Twitter chats. Attendance, this summer, at nErDcamp MI, Ed Tech Kickoff, and Digital Leadership for Learning, equipped me with tools for expanding my Professional Learning Network (PLN), sharing ideas, and allowed me to meet educational leaders like Benjamin Gilpin (@benjamingilpin) and Eric Sheninger (@e_sheninger).
Expanding my learning circle has allowed me to discover new tools and better ways to use them. A couple weeks ago, I was able to help a member of my PLN with a question about Google Apps for Education (GAFE). Did I know the answer? No. However, I had received a blog post, WaffleBytes, which provided the answer. And when I need information or help, I know where I can look.
Technology can be a double-edged sword. It can be helpful or it can be a terrible waste of time. I decided, two years ago, to be more proactive about using the power of technology for a more positive purpose.
I am thankful for the advancements in technology, as I have been able to continue with my formal learning. I am equally thankful for the fact that I have been able to expand my learning by exploring podcasts, blogs, videos, and open courses.
If you are reading this post, you have chosen to move beyond the well-traveled path and explore. To help me continue in my journey, please share podcasts, blogs, and people to follow on Twitter. You can comment here or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.