To be able to answer the question: What are the benefits of using technology/social media as a PLN to improve their practice and those of their students?, is not as easy as I thought it would be. After watching the videos in Google +, by Alec Couros, and reading the multiple articles. I feel like I have a better idea after going through all of those resources. A connected teacher is one that uses the technology and social media to help enhance their learning and their teaching. Being a connected teacher means that as a teacher you use technology and social media as a form of personal and professional development. You are able to use technology to communicate with people across the world about anything and everything. If you have a question or you’ve found out a fun piece of information that you think would help others in their classroom then you can post it online.
That is the main benefit I think, being able to communicate on a large level with hundreds, sometimes even thousands of people working in the same area as you. I’ve observed in my technology practicum that my cooperating teacher uses the school’s website to post informational videos and tips for the teachers. He uses email correspondence and sometimes takes their questions from email to guide his video tips. I’ve also noticed that he always has Twitter open. This is a tool that has instant response time. Someone posts a question and whoever is the first around the nation or world to see and has the answer responds. Sometimes even others respond if they’ve had different experiences. You have created a connection with these people via the social media or blogging, etc. They may become a resource your students use in research.
Another benefit is that your students are seeing your responsibly interact on the internet, you’re setting a good example and demonstrating good digital citizenship. I personally am working my way to being a connected educator. I have Facebook and Twitter personal accounts but haven’t set anything up for my future self yet. When I go to conferences and un-conferences and even workshops I write down the presenters email, website, and Twitter handle. Just so that when I do get my professional Twitter up and going I can look back through my notebooks and follow those that I thought were good educators or knowledgable people. I think that creating a class website when I get a classroom will be a good way of staying connected with the parents along with digital newsletters. The courses I am taking have helped me realize there are so many articles and videos out there that are beneficial reads, I just need to take time to learn from them.