#AISQ8 is starting a slow chat: #AISQ8chat

Last week Christina emailed six staff at our school to share information about the first ever #nesachat. Then we got thinking about how many staff at our school are actually on Twitter. We were pretty surprised (and excited) that there are 15 of us! For our school, this is kind of a big deal. The dominoes started falling from there: I created a list of all our Tweeting peeps, we settled on a new hashtag (now #AISQ8, formerly #AISK), and started tweeting about our MS/HS Edcamp (#edcampq8).

This week we’re taking it a step further with a slow chat (#AISQ8chat). We’re hoping to expand on what people already know about Twitter and help some of our staff become more comfortable using it as a professional development tool. This week it will be a 3-day slow chat centered around a Twitter K-W-L. Details are below (created by Christina). Please help initiate our staff to the power of Twitter by participating with us 🙂 Looking forward to it!

#asiaED – a slow chat

This week I have the pleasure of moderating #asiaED. I really like the idea of a slow chat. I was tasked with coming up with a theme and 6-7 questions. As part of my research for UKSTL EDL 664 w/ Scott McLeod, I chose the topic Systemic Improvement (as in ISTE Standards for Admin #4). I’ll be tweeting & encouraging discussion all week from the @asiaEDchat account. Feel free to jump in!

I watched #COETAILCast 11

And really enjoyed it! Definitely worth an hour of your time. But if you don’t have that much time, here are the highlights (according to me):

COETAILers on Twitter
After the workshop I gave at PEAK on Saturday, I found value in the conversation re: Twitter. Becoming a connected educator can do so much for you and for the education community.

COETAILers on Blogging 
A great discussion about making the time to blog and what to blog about. Hopefully something we can use during our KIEC workshops in January. Two highlights for me: “If you’re in a tech integration job, part of your job is to blog, to reflect” (Jeff Utecht) & “Write for yourself” (Chrissy).

Dana Watts on iPads in education
Dana summed up everything I believed in the perfect way. I’m not going to try to paraphrase. Just go watch it (only a minute or two).

PEAK 2013 pt. 2 – Making the Web Work for You

After my first two sessions at PEAK last weekend, I gave a brand new workshop. As excited as I was about my Google Apps presentations, I might have been even more excited for “Making the Web Work for You.” I focused on becoming a connected educator and specifically on Twitter (I purposely left both of those terms out of the title because I didn’t want to scare anyone away). I’m realizing that besides meaningful technology integration, GAFE and being a connected educator are my passions. I love working with anyone, anywhere on these and don’t need anything in return.

I started by appealing to their feelings (educators never have enough time) and highlighting what they thought Twitter was. I then talked about what it actually is and gave them testimonials from the survey I created and other connected educators. I was heavily influenced by Steve Anderson‘s Twitter series but did have significant time constraints. I highlighted searching, hashtags and a few other must-knows. Then I gave them time to create accounts, explore some hashtags, find people to follow. A genius idea from Jeff – make sure everyone in the class follows everyone else before the session is over. I ended with ideas for organizing all this new info and next steps.

It was a great plan. And then I realized 20 minutes before the start of the session that Twitter was blocked at the school (!!!). Oh my goodness. I tried several different things but unfortunately I had forgotten my wireless router at home and we were in the basement (so my phone wasn’t working as a hot spot). But..it was okay. I let someone borrow my iPad and we just went with the flow. The workshop didn’t go exactly how I planned it but I still got great responses and people were excited about the possibilities of becoming connected. It was another example of how becoming a teacher has changed me – I’m flexible and don’t get easily rattled! 🙂

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.

International Mindedness & Twitter

Thank you to everyone who helped me last week by answering my questions about Technology Coaches. My PLN is awesome!

Our school is starting voluntary focus groups based on where we feel we need to improve in our Middle Years Program practice. Because of my passion for culture, I chose to participate in the ‘International Mindedness‘ group.

Our initial meeting was just me and Deb, our MYP coordinator. We skimmed some literature from the IBO and then discussed what international mindedness might look like in our school. Our short-term goal is to help teachers incorporate/recognize the three dimensions of global consciousness (global sensitivity, global understanding and global self) in their unit plans.

As we were brainstorming, we discussed that maybe it was easier than one might think. In Earth science, instead of just teaching about sand and water (because that’s what we have in Kuwait) teachers should also be teaching about soil, ice, etc. The technology coach in me couldn’t help but connect international mindedness to global collaboration through the use of technology. Social media baby! Students are no longer confined to studying what they can see in their environment or what a book tells them.

Dinner is served

Kuwait is rife with pollution and we tend to focus on how bad it is here. During a unit of study, students could create a hashtag and share pictures of pollution in Kuwait on Twitter. With careful hashtag selection, these tweets could be seen by other students around the world. The goal would be to get students from all over to share pictures of pollution in their countries. I could see this idea getting changed around (for the better) by students. I’d love to see what could come of something like this across different content areas in our school when students took ownership of it. Students are on their phones constantly…let’s allow them to be open-minded communicators!

#NESA_SEC 2013

To be honest, I attended the NESA Spring Educators Conference this year because my husband was chosen to present. Instead of wondering around Bangkok by myself for 3 days, I decided to pay (a lot) to attend the conference in the hopes of mediocre professional development. What I got was much more than that!

Networking: I had the opportunity to meet Dana Watts and Scott McLeod in person (and attend their sessions). I’ve been following them on Twitter for awhile and have a bit of a blog-crush on Scott’s Dangerously Irrelevant. I also found many new international educators to follow – my list is still primarily US-education based and I’m ready to expand my PLN! The discussions that took place on Twitter were equally as valuable as the sessions I attended.

Sessions: I really enjoyed the idea of the 4-hour workshops. Scott McLeod’s workshop blew my mind (as did the keynote). I was inspired & challenged by the content Scott delivered and by the collaboration that I participated in and witnessed. Check out the unit/lesson plan my group made (we had approx 25 minutes to create it). We then presented the lesson to another group who gave us feedback (and vice versa). I was completely overwhelmed at first (and didn’t like the constraints  but then it got me thinking -if we could do this in 25 minutes, what could teachers who actually teach this content do in an hour (or more!)? And I ended up really liking the fact that Scott had given us constraints – it focused us and was much closer to reality (we all have standards…). If I had gone to nothing else, these two sessions would have made the entire conference worth it.

Decisions: Scott & Jayson handed out fliers for the School Technology Leadership programs at the University of Kentucky during the workshop. My first instinct was to set it aside without really looking at it. The longer I sat in Scott’s workshop the more I felt that piece of paper calling to me. I listened to Scott and Jayson talk about the program and did a little of my own research. Wow. Even though I’ve already started my Masters with COETAIL, I felt pulled to the UKSTL Masters. Scott, Jayson and Dana were nice enough to answer a few questions for me…and my mind was made. I’ve been (quickly) assembling my application ever since (due May 1). I’m really excited about the possibility of being a part of the next UKSTL Masters cohort (I’ll still complete the COETAIL certificate, but won’t do the Masters). The more I sit on my decision to apply the stronger the pull becomes to be a part of ‘it.’

So…the Spring Educators Conference was a success. I am bummed that I missed out on the opportunity to meet Doug Johnson and attend his sessions. Next year the conference doesn’t back up to Spring Break…but if there’s a good line-up of presenters I might just pony-up the cash and go again. 🙂