One of the best advantages of Web 2.0 is the ready availability of professional and personal development opportunities. In the last few years I have been able to participate in many professional development opportunites that have been far better for me than the offerings presented by more traditional means.
Twitter has been one of the most impressive sources of professional knowledge, and this realization has come as quite a shock to me. For the longest time I dismissed Twitter has a type of mini-Facebook status that was used to tell the world what you are doing at a given time. True, many people use Twitter in this way. The key to making it work for you professionally is to follow leading thinkers in your field. Some of the leaders I follow are Steve Hargadon from the Future of Education, David Warlick, and library leaders Ross Todd, Joyce Valenza and Buffy Hamilton. From their tweets I have been led to a plethora of worthy information that can be used not only in the classroom today, but insight into trends and political actions that will affect my practice in the future. I highly recommend joining Twitter and searching for opinion leaders you admire. If you'd like to follow me, I am martinls0030. An added benefit: Twitter is not blocked at school.
Many of the leaders in education maintain their presence on Facebook . Their pages usually contain more information than that which could be found in a tweet (Twitter post). I primarily use Facebook as a tool to interact with parents. It is a nice way to let parents know what is happening in library world, to ask for volunteers or supplies, or just maintain a community presence. Some have cautioned against interacting with the parent/student public on Facebook, warning that you have to be careful what you say. I would assert that one should always be careful what one posts, regardless of who the intended audience may be.
I cannot say enough about the value of Classroom 2.0 . With weekly archived sessions going back to February 2008, the viewer may access a wide variety of hour-long presentations on various technology topics. Live sessions air each Saturday afternoon at noon. So far I have taken classes on cell phone use in the classroom, Google Research and Google Search Curriculum, Succeeding with Web 2.0, Copyright, Creative Commons and Databases, and Edmodo. I have a long list of classes I would like to take.
Online conferences offer another wonderful venue for learning. Two wonderful conference archives are the K12 Online Conference and the Capital Region Society for Technology in Education (CRSTE) Conference. I recently attended six sessions of the CRSTE conference and was very impressed with all its offerings.
All of these learning forums are very easy to use and can be accessed 24/7. When you find time to investigate these conferences and sites, I promise you"ll find something of value to you.