Collaboration, Kuwait, Professional Development

Input needed: tips to cultivating a thriving PLN

Jeff and I have a few upcoming presentations we’d love some input on! Please fill out the embedded Google form below…then check it out as the answers populate. Please feel free to use any of the information gathered for yourself!

At PEAK in a couple weeks (…10 days) I’ll be presenting an hour-long workshop on how social media can make educators lives easier.
Session title: Making the Web Work for You
Session description: Come learn how social media and other websites can save you time and energy while also enhancing your lessons. By the end of this session you will be on your way to creating a thriving Personal Learning Network with other educators around the world. It may be helpful to bring your own laptop or tablet.

In January, Jeff will be presenting a 4-hour workshop on getting involved on Twitter and blogging.
Session title: Becoming a Connected Educator
Session description: Thousands of educators all around the world share their thoughts, ideas and lesson plans with each other every day, and you’re only 140 characters away from joining them. In the first half, you’ll learn how to leverage Twitter and other forms of social media as a means of finding new ideas. In the second half, we’ll get you set up with your own blog so you can start sharing with the world.

Check out my Diigo library for some of the resources we’ve previously found.

Professional Development

Input needed: tips to cultivating a thriving PLN

Jeff and I have a few upcoming presentations we’d love some input on! Please fill out the embedded Google form below…then check it out as the answers populate. Please feel free to use any of the information gathered for yourself!

At PEAK in a couple weeks (…10 days) I’ll be presenting an hour-long workshop on how social media can make educators lives easier.
Session title: Making the Web Work for You
Session description: Come learn how social media and other websites can save you time and energy while also enhancing your lessons. By the end of this session you will be on your way to creating a thriving Personal Learning Network with other educators around the world. It may be helpful to bring your own laptop or tablet.

In January, Jeff will be presenting a 4-hour workshop on getting involved on Twitter and blogging.
Session title: Becoming a Connected Educator
Session description: Thousands of educators all around the world share their thoughts, ideas and lesson plans with each other every day, and you’re only 140 characters away from joining them. In the first half, you’ll learn how to leverage Twitter and other forms of social media as a means of finding new ideas. In the second half, we’ll get you set up with your own blog so you can start sharing with the world.

Check out my Diigo library for some of the resources we’ve previously found.

COETAIL, Course 4

A short answer & a long one too

Will education as we know it change because of technology?

Short answer. Yes, ABSOLUTELY. (I really enjoyed the way Rebekah put it.)

Longer answer. It might be slow and it might be painful but education SHOULD change because of technology. The students that are coming to schools now live in a different world than students 20, 30 or 100 years ago. If students are changing but school isn’t, we have a problem.

As I discussed way back in Course 1, my favorite uses of technology are connecting and collaborating. You might have also seen my pleas for collaboration and input that I occasionally post on this blog. Technology allows us to truly make the world flat so that we can learn from anyone, anywhere. My ideal classroom of the future would follow a curriculum in which students learn both content and skills. Instead of being confined to only working with and learning from others in the classroom, students would be able to collaborate with students (and experts) around the world. Truly interdisciplinary units would allow connections and collaboration without thought to time or space. This isn’t to say that teachers should be a thing of the past or that MOOCs should come to K-12 education. I envision an education system where Flat Connections and Web 3.0 are the norm, not something special that costs educators money.

A word about MOOCs. When they are defined like this and are not simply online classes, I think they sound pretty cool. Thousands of free courses to choose from at top universities around the world? Sounds great. A bunch of adults who are intrinsically motivated to learn, who do all the work for the course with no real extrinsic reward at the end? Wow. Like I said, I’m not really into flipping the classroom…for K-12 education. But at the higher-education level where many classes are lecture based anyway, maybe reverse instruction can work. And in MOOCs where adults are choosing to take the class and do all the work associated simply because they want to learn something and connect to others who want to learn the same thing…sounds pretty fantabulous to me. BUT…how do we translate THAT to public education? MOOCs should not be simply be adopted by K-12 institutions. But MOOCs have a few things figured out (like intrinsic motivation). So how do we learn from them in order to make K-12 education better? One idea is the OPEN piece. If we make leadership, educators and school more open…what would happen?

I don’t have all the answers…how do you think we can translate MOOCs to K-12 ed?

Kuwait

Connect to ES #music classes!

Our elementary music teachers have started a blog in order to connect classrooms around the world. I LOVE it! If I haven’t mentioned it before, my favorite use of technology is the connections it allows. I had no hand in the idea for this blog and I’m so proud of our teachers for their initiative and drive. As an IB World school, this is a great opportunity for students to become open-minded, inquirers and communicators.

From their About page:

This blog is an attempt to connect music classrooms all around the world, with the overarching goal of helping students realize that they have something in common with students all over the world. This is a place for questions to be asked and answered, performances shared, and music to be celebrated!

They have had 3 posts from other schools so far and are hoping for many more! If you’re interested in participating (or want more information), email Nick & Stacey. The blog is currently private to protect students’ identities.

musicroom2musicroom

COETAIL, Course 2

Social Media Usage: An Analysis

@brockuniversity Social Media

Many connected educators talk and blog about the stages of Twitter and PLN adoption (even I mentioned it). But have you ever taken a second to analyze how and why you use social media both personally and professionally?

Twitter
If I look at my Twitter account (professional), I tweet out a lot of articles. I’ve tried really hard to start including a short thought so that the tweet isn’t so sterile. I then add the title of the article, the link, a relevant #hashtag (or two) and the SOURCE. If the person is on Twitter, I find & use their handle. If the person isn’t on Twitter (rare), I include their name. Here is a sampling of what I’ve shared lately:

Twitter pt. 2
I also use Twitter when I’m at conferences to share what I’m learning from the workshops and keynotes I attend. In this case, I include the quote, the SOURCE and a #hashtag (or two). Here are a few from #NESA_SEC in April:

If the person doesn’t have Twitter, I still use their name:

Facebook
My Facebook use is 99% personal. However even there I tend to focus on sharing. Of my last 10 posts: 4 were stories/statements (I tagged someone else in every one), 2 were photos (I tagged friends in both), 3 were links/videos relevant to my friends, and 1 was a request for input for my little brother’s college project on Dubai.

Key Word(s)?
If I look at my overall usage of social media (I could also include Instagram, Linked In, Google+my professional blog, Pinterest and our travel blog), I tend to focus on sharing and connecting. I don’t share things just to share – I share them to connect to other people. Hyperlinks and social media have made this possible. This is not how I began using Facebook (2004) and Twitter (2010) however. My progression to zen with social media has been years in the making. And I still struggle with whether I should keep my accounts private (Facebook, Instagram) or public (the rest).

What does your social media usage look like? How do you decide when you should (or shouldn’t) post something and where you’re going to post it (I wish I could remember where I found that link!)? The demographics of social media use are incredibly intersting. What type of social media user are you??

[Thank you to Chelsea for helping me re-find those last two links! Social media IS all about connections ;)]

Professional Development

Come collaborate with us! #coetail #gafesummit #langchat

I’m in Dubai getting geared up to present at the Middle East GAFE Summit! I’ll be presenting Conjugating Google Apps in a World Language Classroom after the keynote this afternoon. I’d love to do some collaborating during the session with Google Docs. If you’re free between 5:30am & 6:30am EST and you have a minute, please read & comment on this article! Don’t forget to leave your info :)If you aren’t available live, no worries! Leave your info and some comments so we can see the power of global collaboration with GAFE! Merci!

COETAIL, course 1

How would you change teacher preparation programs?

As I was reading through my Google Reader last week, I came across Josh Stumpenhorst‘s newest post. In his opinion, we need to go back to square one in order to ‘fix’ public education and start changing teacher education programs. There were some great comments (Jeff L. and I’s among others) – more proof that making connections and developing your PLN help you think outside the box and grow as an educator.

I didn’t take the standard path to becoming certified…I actually never thought I would become a teacher. I was offered a job teaching HS French and completed PACE in South Carolina over the course of 3 years. It was on the job training with coursework throughout. One could argue that it was better or worse than the traditional route.

No matter how you came to teaching, how did you learn to become a connected educator? Many of us probably explored by ourselves, others might have been introduced by a colleague and a few might be connected for the first time through COETAIL. Nothing from PACE ever talked about Twitter or blogging. My husband (who went through the teacher prep program at our college) never took a course introducing him to the wide world of #edchat (granted he graduated in 2007).

If teacher preparation is in need of a change, why not incorporate a class on being a connected educator while we’re at it? If every teacher college, university and alternative certification program required students to take a course that taught them how to create their PLN, blog for reflection, and more – imagine what kind of teachers we’d see come into the profession in the next 5 years! So Jeff…when are you going to start offering COETAIL Course 1 for pre-service teachers? Get a few major universities on board and maybe it would catch on. 😉

Update: Just found this great article on Twitter via ISTEConnects written by Katrina Schwartz. The research (done by Project Tomorrow) is quite interesting…go check it out!

COETAIL, course 1

Passionate About Collaboration

When my husband convinced me to join Twitter in May of 2010, I didn’t know the opportunities for collaboration that it would provide me. I started as a lurker and was astonished by how many educational resources were being tweeted about on a daily basis. In August of 2011 I decided to become a contributor – I started my blog and was actively looking for a French class to connect with my class. I found @freddav our adventures began! From connecting with teachers on my Twitter account to connecting students using class accounts, the last couple years have been extremely rewarding.

As I’ve transitioned from being in the classroom and in control of my lessons to my role as a technology coach, collaboration has continued to be my favorite form of technology integration. I saw how tweeting with students halfway across the world affected my students and I believe that education would be much more meaningful if all students could have those experiences on a regular basis. Connecting students to each other is just the beginning – Skype Classroom has also been working to connect classrooms to experts around the world. Every time I read about ideas to make collaboration easier, I get excited about the future.

As I was reading World Without Walls: Learning Well with Others by Will Richardson, I almost made my neck sore from all my nodding along. There are an incredible number of challenges when putting technology in the hands of kids and letting them communicate with others in the name of education. However if students are given the right tools and skills, the educational value is infinite. Through collaboration, we can “bring the world” into our classrooms. Student learning is no longer confined to the four walls of their classroom.  Wow! Talk about education reform!

The opportunity to control my own collaboration and classroom exchanges is almost enough to entice me back into the classroom. Instead, I hope to be able to have an effect on many more teachers and students. Like Will Richardson, I believe we’re in the ‘Collaboration Age’ and it’s our job as educators to harness this powerful tool for the good of students worldwide.