This is my second blog post for my graduate class WUEDT6020 Emerging Trends in Educational Technology at Wilmington University.
Keeping up with current trends in EdTech can be overwhelming! There's so much out there to read, watch, and try. I think growing my PLN (Professional Learning Network) has really helped me hone in on what I felt was important to me. (I blogged about my PLN a few years ago too - you can read about it here.) I've learned through the years to limit who I follow on Twitter so I don't get overloaded. Some people click the Follow button too freely; I am more selective lately. I look for Tweeps who are interested in teaching mathematics and also those who are using technology to teach mathematics. That way I'm sure that what I see in my feed is important to me and I don't get caught up in looking at posts about things that won't help me in my classroom, because that is my primary reason for joining Twitter.
Other tools that I have utilized to keep up with new ideas in EdTech is reading blogs, listening to podcasts, and participating in webinars. My family thinks I'm a real geek because I spend so much of my free time doing these things, but if that's what I'm passionate about, I don't see a problem with that!
As far as blogs I read, you can find most of them on my blog's side bar - just scroll down to the "Blogs I Read" section. My inbox is filled every day with alerts to new posts that have been made to the blogs I follow. Keeping up with all of them can be a little overwhelming too, but I try to squeeze in a little time every day to read a few, and catch up with the rest on the weekends while I eat breakfast. Not everything that the people I follow blog about is interesting to me, so I have learned to skim and delete them instead of reading the entire post like I used to do to save some more of my limited time.
I have to admit I haven't listened to many podcasts lately. For quite a while though I would listen every Saturday and Sunday morning while I was in the shower - I know that sounds weird! Some people like to listen to books on tape while driving, I liked to listen to podcasts while in the shower! The podcasts I listened to were about using iPads in the classroom, flipped classrooms, the SAMR model, using technology to teach math, using Google apps, etc. Many podcast would have guest speakers, so if I liked what they had to say, I would follow them on Twitter too.
Webinars are another great way to get professional development and keep up with new trends in EdTech. Some of the first webinars I participated in were on SimpleK12 - "PD in your PJs" is their motto! That was another way I learned about using iPads in the classroom. Since then I've participated in other webinars on topics ranging from Minecraft EDU to building student's number sense to using technology for formative assessments. What I like about webinars is that even if I can't attend the live webinar, most usually have a link to watch it later when it's more convenient for me.
The bottom line is don't go crazy trying to keep on top of all the new EdTech out there - use your valuable time as efficiently as possible. Pick and choose what you read, watch, and follow so you're only seeing information that is truly important to you - even if that means unfollowing some people on Twitter or unsubscribing to blogs that you no longer find useful.