The following is a blog post for my EDIM 508 grad class.
For our final project we had to develop a virtual field trip that would help our students develop their ethical and respectful minds.
Since I work with educators with a focus on connecting them with one another, I wanted to develop a virtual field trip that would highlight some of the things I have learned from educators in my PLN. My goal in doing this was to develop a personal story to share with educators about some of the exciting things I have learned. As they explore the Google Earth field trip they would be exposed to engaging resources from educators across the US and Canada, and as a result would begin to realize the importance of connecting with a diverse group of educators.
Over the past 10 months I have had the opportunity to work with educators from all across the US, Canada and even Romania. Many fully embrace the idea of being “connected” (DEN STARs, Leadership Council members, Gurus) and are constantly engaged with their PLN. Some educators, however, seem to be uncomfortable with the idea of connecting with their peers online whom they have never met in person. My goal is to create opportunities to tell stories and expose them to educators who are passionate about sharing.
This past weekend I hosted an in-person event in Charlotte for the DEN Fall Virtual Conference. During the event I overheard a teacher say “Richard Byrne (the opening keynote) is my new hero!”. I also overheard a conversation between several educators who were exchanging contact information and discussing how they will keep in touch. This may not seem like a big deal, but to me these are precious moments where non-connected educators are realizing the value of developing a PLN and taking their first steps to build their own community. It reminds me of the day I finally joined Twitter, the day I published my first blog post, and all of the exciting things I have learned as a result of being connected to some of the most amazing educators across the globe.
Inevitably, educators who take the time to develop a diverse PLN will be exposed to multiple perspectives and education philosophies. Some good, some bad, some strange. Through these experiences I would hope these connections help them to develop respectful and ethical mindsets. And it is with those mindsets that they are able to model respect and ethical behavior to their students.
You can download my .kmz Google Earth Field Trip HERE.