Short version:

Decide what aspects of education you want to specialise in when sharing ideas, tips, and resources with other educators on the Internet.

Long version:

(See the first #15MINPLN post to understand what this series is about).

‘Breathe in, breathe out’ is a metaphor to describe the importance of sharing: putting out useful information, resources and ideas that you have come across and /or developed. For too long as a teacher, I think I have been breathing in (syphoning and hoarding stuff primarily from the Internet that has quickly piled up into gigabytes upon gigabytes of data and fleeting ideas that I can’t easily locate or remember). That’s breathing in and holding your breath for too long.

Humpback Whale – Blow spouts and pectoral fin

Image:  By Alan Vernon. Some rights reserved

We need to breathe out. Try to give back to other teachers and educators almost as much as we take in.

Focused breathing

What do you want to know about? There’s a lot to breathe in, but you’d be better off deciding where you want your focus to be. 15 minutes a day, is only a guideline, but it reflects the fact that we as teachers are very busy. Always will be. When you open the pipe, there is a potential deluge of information which will leave you dazed, directionless and ultimately washed out. The sheer volume of information that can accessed be reminds me of a TV advert in the UK a few years back when British Telecom were announcing the arrival of broadband. Some workmen accidentally break open the broadband ‘pipe’ and unleash an uncontrollable torrent of digital wonders. One of the workmen manages to order it all back where it came from, and you might just need to be prepared to do the same with the ocean of information out there.

The simplest way to pack it all back in the pipe after 15 minutes is to limit what you are unleashing in the first place.

Decide now what you are interested in finding out about relevant to your role as an educator. You could type up a list somewhere, one which you can come back to and edit from time to time. Ideally, you’ll be coming back to this list soon if you follow these 15 steps.

This list is ultimately a way of you drawing up a rough map of the things you want to gain your professional development in.

Your list of areas of interest might overlap and that’s absolutely fine.

Here are some ideas:

Subjects / Disciplines / Curricular Areas you are interested in. For me, currently, that could primarily be Geography, Economics and Theory Of Knowledge.

General interests in education. For me that would be things like educational technology (edtech), student voice, leadership, the very broad notion of twenty first century education, intercultural education, and self-led professional development.

Specific interests linked to the above: e.g. for me, a few examples include: use of Google Apps in the classroom, use of Infographics in learning and ways of disseminating (edtech) initiatives within a school.

Breathe Out


Image: Some rights reserved by Thowra_uk

And how can you breathe out?

List the aspects of your role as an educator which you could share with a highly-connected international community of like-minded educators. This could be something you consider yourself to know quite a bit about and already have resources, tips, methods, thoughts to share on. Or, it could be something you want to gradually become more proficient at, and are prepared to share what you are learning as you do so. For example, I am learning about developing a Personal Learning Network (PLN) and as I do so, I am sharing it here.

Add this to your list. There’s bound to be overlap (there maybe complete overlap) with the ‘breathe in’ list. And that is just as we might expect.

Next #15MINPLN post: ‘Decide Who You Are (Online)’