29 March 2009

Google Reader: Getting Started

On Friday afternoon, I had the opportunity to share some of the professional learning, thinking, and experiences that have resulted from my use of Google Reader with my colleagues and fellow members of Shari's Literacy Book Club. I've used Google Reader for several years, but mostly for personal use -- following the blogs of family, friends, and writers who write on topics that interest me personally. However, about a year ago, I began following the A Year of Reading blog after reading about it on Choice Literacy.

The chance to read posts from other educators on topics that impacted me directly in the classroom was profound. I began to search out more blogs written by other teachers and I was hooked. Franki Sibberson, one of the bloggers from A Year of Reading, recently wrote a piece for Choice Literacy entitled Beyond Gadgets: What Does It Mean to Be a Literacy Teacher Today? I used the following from that piece to explain to our book club members what I had experienced through my use of Google Reader. She writes:
What is most valuable is that my literacy has expanded my communities. Instead of learning only from literacy leaders and the few authors I've been fortunate enough to hear at an annual conference or two, I can now learn from so many different people on a daily basis by accessing the internet. The thinking that is possible when I interact in new communities has been key to who I have become as a reader, writer and thinker. I love the way that I can become part of a community that I did not even know existed only a few years ago.
Fellow book club members, I hope that you've had a few moments to check in with Reader this weekend and learn something new. I'd love to hear what you find. If my week goes according to plan, I'll post a few additional suggestions in the coming days for using Reader and blogs for your own professional learning.

[Here's a link to the packet that I put together for our small group learning. It includes articles from Choice Literacy, Google Reader, and the ASCD. Why reinvent the wheel, right?]

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