Professional growth opportunities abound on the Internet, and while
the modules and activities within LETSNet provide guidance for learning about technology,
accessing the Internet, and publishing on the Web, there are many other ways teachers can use
LETSNet and the Internet to further their personal and professional development. The resources at
this Website can be helpful, but really represent a first-step toward learning to use technology
and the Internet in the classroom.
Use the following tips and techniques as guidelines for getting the
most out of the LETSNet Website and other resources on the Internet. By taking advantage of
the possibilities for learning that are available here and at many other Websites, you
grow professionally while incorporating technology and the Internet into your regular
- Use the LETSNet Website as a resource and take advantage of the information, links,
references, and people who makeup the LETSNet community. Each teacher you read about in the
LETSNet project has experienced the fear and joy of learning new things, as well as the
problems that inevitably surface when we are introduced to new ways of thinking. Use the
experiences of the LETSNet teachers to shape your own learning and interests. Visit the LETSNet
Website often and contact the people involved in its ongoing development if you have questions
- Expand your network of friends and peers to include those who have
experience and knowledge with technology and the Internet. Cultivate relationships via
electronic communications with people in your school, your district, the local community, and
others who can provide advice when you need it. Learn from others and
don't be afraid to ask questions you think might be stupid or simple.
Peers represent a network of personal and professional experiences that can be invaluable
opportunities for learning. Teachers talking with other teachers is a common forum for learning
inside and outside the classroom. As you develop your network of peers, think about how their
experiences and insights can be helpful to you. If you don't have opportunities to talk with
teachers who share your interests within your school or district, take advantage of the
discussion groups on the Internet. Students represent another resource you can tap into who
often have experience with and knowledge about technology.
- Develop a personal learning plan for yourself and follow it as you begin to
gain experience and expertise with technology. Use the strategies described below to help
guide your development and implementation of this type of learning plan. If you haven't already done
so, take an inventory of the many sources of information in your professional life. Many of these
come in the form of resources you can tap into to learn more about subjects of interest. Books,
magazines, newspapers, TV programs, computer software, CD/ROMs, the Internet, and peers are all
available sources for information and learning. Take stock of what you read, what you watch on TV,
and what information you review on-line to ensure you are using your time wisely. Be selective
about what information sources you use and customize them to meet your ongoing learning needs.
The Internet is fairly new, and there is much to learn, but you can shape the future of the
Internet by getting involved in its use in education. Use the Internet, as well as other
available resources, as sources of information and to answer questions you have about
technology in the classroom.
- Take advantage of
Internet-based learning opportunities. LETSNet, as well as many other Internet-based resources,
provides a variety of learning opportunities that can be helpful in your ongoing professional
development. Within LETSNet, the teacher cases we have highlighted, the links to external resources
and tutorials, and the powerful ideas for use of the Internet in the classroom all represent areas for learning. We
hope these, and other available resources described in the Related Resources section, will help
teachers in their lifelong learning.
- Reflect on your own observations of your
teaching practice. Many teachers can further capitalize on their own learning opportunities in the
classroom. Consideration of, and reflection on, one's teaching practices can be a useful source of
insight and information into improvement. Draw from your own personal experiences in the classroom
as a vehicle for learning through observation, reflection, and change. One way to get started in this is
to keep a reflective journal that you can use to read, consider your teaching practices, and think about
change over time.
- Problem will occur - technical, curricular, or otherwise - so you should consciously develop
ways of coping. Brainstorm with teachers, staff, and others about the problem and try alternatives
until you can solve it. Collaborate with others - peers and educational researchers. Look for
opportunities to share your experiences and knowledge with other teachers, in your local community
and nationwide. Also look into working together with educational researchers, at universities or
colleges of education, and use these resources to supplement your own learning. Collaboration is
especially helpful when you experience problems with technology. In most cases, someone has already
run into the problem and it's just a matter of getting in touch with someone who has so you can
learn from his or her experience.
- Be flexible and prepared for anything, especially if this is your first effort at
learning outside a formal environment. While learning in a college or university is
structured by faculty members and institutional policies, your own learning must be
structured by you and customized to meet your individual needs. Take advantage of any
help and assistance offered by peers or friends and learn to rely on others as you take
your first steps into the continuously changing world of technology.
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