Recently I discovered a new Moodle plug in. Well, I should say that I thought it was a new plug in. When I looked up the specs on Moodle.org, I learned that it was first published for Moodle 1.9. That means the plug in was published about a decade ago! I became aware of the Moodle Mass Actions block, by a word of mouth referral from a colleague. He suggested adding it to our courses to make general course revisions more efficient. This prompted me to reflect on my general knowledge of educational technology and how I can stay in touch with current trends and innovations.
With constant advances in the “edtech” world, how can we stay current? Here are a few strategies that I use. Clearly they are not comprehensive or I would not have missed the Mass Actions block. However, there are only so many hours in a day, so intentionally following a strategy is a practical way to stay current.
Keeping up with edtech tips
- On Twitter follow relevant accounts. This includes personalities, vendors and organizations. I find that spending my first cup of coffee in the morning with Twitter provides a generous amount of innovative concepts, opinions, event listings and practical tips to digest for the rest of the day. Other social media services such as Facebook or LinkedIn can be leveraged in a similar manner.
- Online communities such as Moodle.org provide support through discussion threads, documentation, events, exemplars and more. Archived threads, documents and events are an efficient way of solving your current issues as well as adding additional context to your current practices.
- While working on projects, leverage your peers by sharing knowledge of current trends and possible solutions technical problems informally. A causal chat before an online meeting, coffee break or organizing a social event are good ways to engage with others.
- Bookmark your Professional Learning Network elements at one source. This will provide you with a one-stop dashboard to quickly access personalities, resources, companies, services and product sites. A convenient dashboard may encourage you to look around more frequently.
- Set up streams of focused information to be delivered to your digital doorstep. Google Alerts for web mentions, digital newsletters for deeper dives into issues, and news feeds for the latest information for online sources.
- Participate in professional development events whether they are face-to-face conferences, short online courses, quick tutorials, webinars or certification courses. Most professional development activities are archived for convenient access on reputable sites.
- If you are an educator, do not be shy about asking your students for tips or advice on alternate solutions related to edtech. It’s amazing what happens when students are given technology and the instructor gets out of the way. This also applies to parents of teenagers. A casual talk at dinner could result in a new application of an app or the realization of an innovative app.
Can you add to this list or rebuke any of these suggestions as inefficient or just wide of the mark ? If so, add a comment below this post.