Kuwait, Professional Development

#AISQ8chat – an #IBOLP series

Sometimes I’m really dedicated to blogging. Sometimes I’m not. If I’m absent for an extended period of time it’s because I’m just too dang busy living life to sit and write about it. In order to prompt me to actually sit down and blog, I need to be so excited about something that I just can’t help myself. After 5 months, today is the day!

Thanks to the efforts and excitement of a lot of my colleagues, #AISQ8 has grown from 4 or 5 people to over 30 in the last year! If that isn’t something to get excited about, I don’t know what is. Besides sharing the great things happening in our school (we were inspired by #sisrocks), I have enjoyed engaging in discussion on a weekly basis ever since Christina and I started #AISQ8chat in February. Browse our 2014-15 topics, 2015-16 topics and all the archives.

Since its beginnings, I’ve wanted to do a multi-week series. Part of my motivation was that Christina and I never seemed to have enough topics to chat about and many times we were still coming up with questions on Monday evenings. But most of it was that I wanted to go further with my colleagues about how (and why) we actually live and teach the IB Learner Profile. Thanks to Heidi and Christina, today this became a reality! [Insert giddy squeal here]

Here are the details & vocab you need to know to participate in the #AISQ8chat Learner Profile series:

  • Everyone is welcome!
  • Starts Tuesday, 10/27, and will continue for the next 14 Tuesdays (except December 22 & 29).
  • View the IB Learner Profile
  • We made up some new hashtags:
    • #IBOLP = International Baccalaureate Organization Learner Profile
    • #IBOLPT = IBO Learner Profile Traits
  • IBOLPT Continuum: ⌧ checking the box <——————————————–> way of life
  • We will be releasing the questions each Sunday (although they will be the same each week, just with a different #IBOLPT).
  • In week 1 we will explore why and how we, as stakeholders in the school community, live the #IBOLPT.
  • We will spend 1 week on each of the IBOLPT starting with Risk-Takers next week.
  • After exploring 6 traits, the week before (12/15) and after (1/5) winter break we will take time to reflect and make some conclusions.
  • Our last chat (2/9) will focus on hiring staff who live (professionally & personally) the IBOLP.

Here are a few tips & tricks I shared with #AISQ8:

  • During our Tuesday slow chats we usually release Q1 by 8am, Q2 at 11am and Q3 by 2pm (just in time for our faculty meetings!). However you are welcome to reply to any question at any point throughout the day.
  • When you have time on Sunday and Monday, start formulating your As to the weekly Qs. Then use Hootsuite to schedule them for Tuesday so that you don’t have to take time away from teaching. [Don’t worry, you can still edit pending Tweets if you change your mind.]
  • When you do have a couple free minutes on Tuesday, browse #AISQ8chat and engage in the conversation. Ask the community clarifying or probing questions. Twitter is your Personal Learning Community – you will get out what you put in 🙂
  • Christina will be Storifying #AISQ8chat every Wednesday morning. Didn’t have a chance to engage in the conversation on Tuesday? We still want to hear from you! Feel free to answer any of the previous week’s Qs from Wednesday to Monday. Please just remember to include #AISQ8chat. You can also add #AISQ8unchat if you’d like.

#AISQ8chat banner 10.27.15

COETAIL, Kuwait, Professional Development

#AISQ8chat – let’s talk about #COETAIL!

This morning we announced a live COETAIL cohort in Kuwait starting in September!

Kuwait COETAIL Cohort

To get the excitement flowing, the teachers of #AISQ8 will be slow chatting today about COETAIL. We’d love current COETAILers, grads, coaches, instructors (really anyone who is passionate about COETAIL) to join in #AISQ8chat! The success of the chat depends on YOUR participation 🙂

#AISQ8chat banner 3.17.15

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 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 ;)]

COETAIL, Course 2

Personal and Professional Collide Online

Surfers almost collide at Morro Rock, Morro Bay, CA

I have to disagree with hiring and firing based on profile photographs. Shouldn’t your personal life be left at the door? A person working five days a week deserves a little down time on the weekends. What a person does on his or her own time on days off should not be used to judge work ethic because that person may be serious and hard-working when they enter the workplace. Employers know that Facebook is popular and that our generation is utilizing it, but business and personal lives should not coincide. ~Samantha MacConnell, Don’t overestimate privacy of online information

Samantha has a great idea. And in an ideal world personal and professional lives wouldn’t intersect. However that’s not the world we live in. Everything we do online affects our lives. ESPECIALLY as educators.

I attempt to keep my personal and professional lives separate by using privacy controls and choosing how I use social media. My Facebook is personal – I have high privacy settings, stay up to date on any privacy changes and don’t talk (much) about my professional life. My Twitter is professional – I have it completely open to leave a positive digital footprint and rarely talk about my personal life.

I currently have 3 blogs – two professional and one personal. All three blogs are completely open and searchable on the web. Living in Kuwait, we are very careful about what we put on our travel blog. Anything questionable either goes on Facebook (high privacy!) or doesn’t get posted.

All that said…if a student or employer manages to find me on Facebook, I’m not worried. I don’t live my life in a way that would get me fired. And if I did, I would understand that there could be consequences for making my actions “public.” Although I value privacy and attempt to have a certain amount of it, I know there really isn’t any such thing on the internet.

[I love Google products…but I didn’t even attempt to go there re: privacy.]

 

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.