Friday, November 14, 2008

Guest Blogger, Pam Shoemaker, Shares Her Thoughts on Plurk

I am pleased to be a guest blogger on Fresh Fowlers! My name is Pam Shoemaker and I am the Technology Integration Coordinator for Walled Lake Consolidated Schools, a large district in suburban Detroit, Michigan. I work with K-12 teachers as they use technology in their classrooms, and I’ve been doing this for the past seven years. Prior to that, I was a 6th grade science and social studies teacher in a one-to-one laptop program.

Laurie is a valuable part of my professional learning network. I met her on Plurk, a social networking web site I first began using in July. The name sounds corny, but I love it. I use it to communicate with like-minded people to share resources, ask questions, and support each other. Many of us in the educational technology field face the same challenges and work on similar projects. Prior to using Plurk, I was a Twitter user (another silly name). I prefer Plurk to Twitter because of the ability to more easily follow and participate in conversations.

Some examples of how I have benefited (or helped others benefit) from Plurk over the past month include:

· I am the Moodle administrator in my district. One day, I started getting an email message each time a student added a post to a discussion board. Within an hour I had nearly 1,000 messages. YIKES! I was not sure what I needed to do to fix it, so I logged onto Plurk and asked if anyone could help. Within five minutes, athorp responded and told me to contact her via Skype (program for Internet phone, video, and chats) so we could discuss the problem. She had a few suggestions and we fixed the problem!

· I learned about the “30 Days to Being a Better Blogger” Challenge, facilitated by teach42. Laurie and I are both participating in this challenge and have beefed up our blogs with his awesome tips and suggestions.

· amymcordova was preparing some professional development materials about using wikis in the classroom. She asked the network for help. I was able to share the collaborative writing project two 5th grade classrooms from two different schools are doing in my district using a wiki and Skype.

I also have a blog, Yes Tech! Come on by and visit sometime. I like writing about classroom educational technology projects, teacher leadership, new tech tools, resources I use or have created, and professional development offerings.

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