Luckily, however, due to Twitter, I am able to follow this year's happenings at ACTFL, and I am so grateful, because I am able to follow many of the presentations from afar. Apparently, my blog and I have already gotten a shout out at a presentation!
As much as I hate educationese buzzwords like Professional Learning Communities (PLC) and Professional Learning Networks (PLN), these groups have been such a lifeline for me, especially for my development of CI/TPRS implementation in the classroom. As CI/TPRS world language teachers, many times we are isolated from any type of physical face-to-face community, so having an online community is vitally important both for our professional growth and communal needs.
I cannot tell you how many conferences i have attended where I have finally gotten the chance to meet folks in person whom I only know online through PLC/PLNs. It is always fun to see what these people look like in person - apparently, online in my posts to listservs and in my blog, I come across as a tall white man with a beard. I hope that folks are not disappointed to see instead a 5'5, Asian man with a partial goatee and slight southern accent...
Here are some different types of online PLC/PLNs in which I take part, along with some suggestions:
Since you are reading this blog, you are already part of this professional learning community! Blogs have played such an important part in my professional CI/TPRS development. If you look at the sidebar, I have a list of blogs which I follow. These are all wonderful, and I have used many ideas from them in my classroom. More than anything though, these blogs have encouraged me to keep pursuing implementing CI/TPRS when at times I feel like I have hit a brick wall.
- Latin Best Practices - this is a Yahoo group dedicated to breaking away from the traditional practices found in grammar-translation Latin classes. Begun by fellow CI/TPRS Latin colleagues Bob Patrick and John Piazza, this list has over 1,300 members. I was a member of this listserv LONG before I actually began to implement CI/TPRS in my Latin classroom.
- MoreTPRS - this is the primary listserv for CI/TPRS users. I used a member of this group, but as there are over 7,000 members, it became too much for me to read all of the postings coming in, so I unsubscribed. That does not mean that this group does not have value - based on the number of postings, it just was not for me.
- Ben Slavic's Blog Community - this is a pay site, but it is full of ideas and resources, as well of supportive teachers.
I am not one who utilizes social media. My life is Facebook free and am more than okay with that. I rarely text, and I have no idea how Instagram or Snapchat works and personally have no desire to learn, since I never use the camera on my phone anyway.Truthfully, I thought that "taking selfies" was a reference to drug usage.
- Twitter - I do use Twitter though for professional purposes, and I absolutely love it! I love being able to "follow" CI/TPRS folks and to learn from them in this manner. As i said earlier, I have been reading the many Twitter posts from this ACTFL convention; following #ACTFL15 has given me the next best thing to being there. You can follow me @silvius_toda on Twitter - Silvius is my Latin name! My name Keith means "from the woods" in Welsh, so I picked the Latin equivalent.
- IFLT/NTPRS/CI Teaching Facebook group - I suppose if I had a Facebook page, then I would be a member of this group.