I was not a member of Macul, but I created a membership and joined the special interest group for online learning. I would like to have the opportunity to work within a blended classroom and/ or flipped classroom in the future, so I thought this would be a good group to learn about. I have put forth great effort this year to integrate technology and online learning opportunities to my students. I felt that this would only build and and give me more opportunities and ideas for my students in the future.
Once I began looking through the Macul journals (there are a lot!) I settled on the Winter 2015 Journal (Volume 35, Issue 2) because it had a number of articles related to PLN's. I read the article, "A New Synonym for Community: Personal Learning Networks," by Jamey Fitzpatrick. I found the focus on motivation (predominately intrinsic) interesting. To be successful in PLN's, from both the professional and students levels, you must have a desire to be successful and get the most out the online experience. I also agree with Jamey's point that we must be understanding and help students adjust to the demands on online learning as it is a new experience for many. Taking this into my own classroom, I work general education classes and with the bottom 30% of our student population. For many of these students, online learning is not the best way for them to learn (at least not solely) because they rely on teacher cues and proximity control to stay focused and participate. Many of the students I work with do not currently possess the self-control and motivation to be highly successful within an online learning community. I have worked at trying to integrate technology into the classroom and online community, but it is not the single way we operate within the classroom.
Once I got onto the REMC connect website, I watched "Student News Teams: Letting Students Tell the Story." The video focused on schools who have created their own news team to tell what is happening in their building. This idea of student news and broadcasting is not a new idea to me. I participated in my own high schools video production and broadcast class(es). We are very fortunate in Birmingham to have a number of video production classes as well. Our broadcast classes focus primarily on general news and upcoming events within our building. This video however, gave me the idea of further collaboration between our broadcast classes and journalism classes for creating more in-depth newscasts. I also believe we could meet with elementary school students and collaborate with them. Furthermore, we could also work harder on putting forward more public service announcements. (So many ideas!). We have a good program, but with further collaboration, we could have a great program.