After understanding what constituted a learning community, I recognized that I was participating in several: Facebook, Twitter, and Khans Academy. Facebook was the first one that I was a part of without ever knowing that it was being used as a learning tool. I joined Twitter at the suggestion of Dr. T. Thibodeaux to use as a resource for digital learning about three weeks ago. Khans Academy was a learning resource for a biology class I had taken to use in addition to the tutoring lab for my class. These learning communities will be a part of my reflection.
Facebook is used for me to connect to my family and friends that are out of town and do not regularly communicate with. As a member of this community, I send and receive messages about birthdays for them. This community is a good place to find share and find out about accomplishments of the children in school. Current and upcoming events are put here with photos and announcement reminders. This community is a good way for me to connect with some of the distant members of my family. I contribute to this community by sending encouraging messages to them because we do not call or text regularly, but communicating through Facebook is more accessible for them.
My membership to Twitter is new because I learned about it in past class from the professor. It is a good source for current topics and trends that may be useful in digital learning. While signing up, I saw how I could follow people in other areas of interest to me. As a member of this community, my areas of interest are science, technology, sociology, education and politics. I enjoy TED Talks because they have speakers that present in all of the areas of interest to me. Most do it in a conservative amount of time and their presentations are full of information that is useful. Some of the other accounts I follow are ISTE, Education Week, National Geographic, Khan Academy and the History channel. ISTE and Education Week has information that will more useful as I go further in my course of study.
Khan Academy has been a learning community that I have been a part of for about four years. I had joined this community as a student in community college. At the time, I was taking a biology course that had challenging material and went to the head of the department to ask for help. He suggested that I used this learning community to get extra practice on some of the material, in addition to attending the tutoring lab. After using the site, I understood the material better and ironically, I was not a distance learner and I attended class in a traditional class room. Since that time I have used it to help me with economics and statistics. My contribution to this community is using it to help students that need review for the summer that are in the 2nd – 5th grade at the summer camp I work at. I setup a classroom online and allow students, to practice math and reading on the computers 30 minutes a day. Parent’s give written permission to give the students access to the site. Student’s access is linked to their parent’s email address and their progress is tracked by the parents and I can see their progress on my teacher dashboard. Initially the site only taught math, but currently has subjects such as healthcare, music, computer science, engineering, and medicine. This site has department blogs also that discuss school implementations and the organizations goals. Here is a video of a presentation he did at TED Talks:
My knowledge of how these communities work are limited at this time. I recognize that as I learn about new applications, they may be useful in the classroom. I can also implement their use in my digital learning because of the resources available in the use of them. These communities have a wealth of information that can be used in a variety of areas educationally and professionally.