The Lifelong Learning Toolbelt

I think we need to refocus professional development on learning how to learn with technology. The vast majority of professional development focused on technology is focused on creating a product, i.e. movies, podcasts, documents, etc. Until education seriously believes in technology as more than a tool, we will continue to implement weak initiatives and see vast amounts of professional development money wasted. Too often, professional development models focus on technology initiatives that do not encourage the highest goal of learning and that is, "Lifelong Learning". As Kim Cofino stated, "It's Not Just a Tool, Technology As Environment".

Here is my presentation at Techforum Northeast: The Lifelong Learning Toolbelt


  1. Researching: Begin with learning how to find good resources, judge their merit, and reflect on their value as you continue to use the resource.
  2. Reading: Gather your research and continually follow the quality work from those that teach you well.
  3. Archiving: Save and share the best resources for your work.
  4. Reflecting: Write or record your thoughts on your learning experiences.
  5. Participate: Join the conversation. Start slowly by listening and then jump into the discussion.
  6. Finally, worry about what you think you should be creating or different creative uses of technology. We focus too much on what we want to do with technology and we don't focus enough on how that technology can help us learn.

Image and Color Scheme:

  1. Primary colors are chosen to represent the core skills of the learning tool belt.
  2. Each of the areas overlaps and is not independent of each other. You archive along with reading and you gain new resources through use of your reading, archiving and participation. Example: Delicious is an archiving tool and can also be a research tool. Example: I will mind Twitter along with using Google Search and my network of Delicious users.
  3. The primary colors blend into brown that is where you mix your core skills with the learning community at large.
  4. The outer ring is rainbow in colors because your level of creativity and thought can grow exponentially when you utilize the entire tool belt.

Leading Tools: These happen to be the top tools (as of 11/2009) in these areas but they are replaceable.

  1. Searching: Google
  2. Reading: Google Reader
  3. Archiving: Delicious
  4. Reflecting:
  5. Participating: Twitter and NING

My Personal Choice:

  1. Search: Delicious
  2. Reader: Google Reader
  3. Archiving: Simplybox
  4. Reflecting: Squarespaces
  5. Participating: Twitter and NING

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