Here is a link to my curated resources on Pinterest.
This was yet another fun exploration this week. This week, I explored using social media tools in the elementary classroom. As I explored online (and from my own personal experience), I know that primary classroom frequently, and really successfully, use classroom blogs and Twitter quite often. I implemented blogging in my classroom and had a blast. Blogging with my first graders opened my eyes to not only the endless capabilities of our youngest learners but also the amazingly authentic, global audience social media tools connect our kids too. It was amazing to see how quickly my first graders could pick up the process of blogging. They were also so excited to learn more and started experimenting with not just adding text, but also images, audio clips, and even videos. Blogging and digital portfolios became a central tool for sharing and documenting our classroom learning adventures, but I used this week's assignment to focus on expanding and learning more about Twitter.
I am a true believer of the power of Twitter in the classroom. I have my personal Twitter account that I use regularly, but I was never able to effectively integrate Twitter in my classroom. Lucky for me, I am connected to some of the top early childhood educators, many of whom are considered Twitter pioneers in the early elementary classrooms. I turned to my friends Karen Lirenman, Kristin Wideen, and Kathy Cassidy to learn as much as I could about implementing Twitter in early education classrooms.
As you can see in my curation above, these teachers are able to seamlessly integrate Twitter into their classroom. They use Twitter in all content areas, utilizing hashtags (and sometimes even creating them) to interact with classrooms all over the world. My main takeaway and synthesis is that Twitter, much like educational technology in general, is best when it is not seen as something extra.
Karen used Twitter to extend a 3D shape lesson. Kristin's students extended their math learning about 3's patterns by asking Twitter friends to extend their patterns on Twitter. She also allowed her students to run with an inquiry project about a bird feeder. The student ended up getting bird seed donated by the school's principal and the school district's Director of Education. Kathy is amazing and used Twitter to have her first graders develop number sense by playing "guess my number" with students in Italy. The two classes created the hashtag #guessmynumber to play the game. Kathy also described the empathy her students developed when they heard of sever floods in Australia in an area of class they Tweet with regularly. The used Twitter to check in with them to make sure they were ok. They then used Google Maps to study the geography of Australia to see where the flooding happened and exactly where the class was located.
I loved my exploration this week because I witnessed yet again how powerful technology can be in the hands of our youngest learners. All the teachers above had Twitter downloaded on their classroom iPads. After many classroom lessons on digital responsibility, digital citizenship, and the basics of Twitter, students were trusted to use the app independently to extend and share their learning . Twitter isn't something "extra" but rather a seamless learning tool in their classrooms. I learned a lot and now have concrete examples for how to integrate Twitter into my future classrooms.
So for a graduate school class on on social network learning, we were asked to explore new online personal learning communities as well as dive deeper into our current personal learning networks and communities.
So, I loved exploring communities. I spent time exploring the Community for Apple Teachers as well as the Virtual and Augmented Reality in Education Community on Facebook. I also joined the G Suite for Education community on Google Plus. I am considering taking a TOSA job in a local district here in the Portland area, which is almost exclusively integrating Chromebooks and G Suite apps. I look forward to interacting with this community more as I prepare for this job. I still love iPads so I also joined the iPad Ed Google Plus group as well. In Edmodo, I joined a professional learning group on project-based learning as well as one on programming. I also joined a group for teachers of early learners. I also joined an edWeb group for digital learning and leadership.
I posted questions and shared resources in each community and have already had some great interactions and gathered some awesome new ideas and inspirations.
It was time for an update and refresh of my PLE so I have happy to explore and join some new communities.
For the second part of the assignment, we were asked to create a diagram highlighting our newly expanded PLE (professional learning environment). Here is my image.
When creating the image, I began by creating categories. I truly love to share and learn from my PLE. To share, I also have to be able to create content that can be shared with PLE members to gain insight and feedback. So I began by thinking of places where I gather inspiration. I listed conferences, communities, and online resources such as edWeb. I then thought about the tools I use to create content. Many of my interactions with my PLE are about the creation process where I am gathering ideas and viewing other educator's examples. Once I create, I love to share and communicate. You can see I have many different communities on many different platforms such as Facebook, Google Plus, Twitter, and Edmodo.
The most powerful part of this exercise was once I started connecting all the boxes in the different categories. There were so many overlapping lines between inspiration gathering, creation tools, communication, and sharing! It all started to look the a big messy, web! So that is what I decided to complete the image and diagram as a spider-web. I added myself as a spider and made my legs the qualities and resources I hope to gather and share as I interact with my PLE.
I truly love reflective tasks rooted in creativity! There is a deep synthesis that happens when you have to visually create something! It is so invigorating and truly does spark a deep reflective process.
For the final part of this assignment, we were asked to compare our diagrams and PLE's to other classmates.
Susan Davies' PLE Diagram
Susan used a categorization system to show overlap of the different parts of her PLE. I like that she included personal connections which I didn't include. I loved reading about her creation process and truly appreciated how she talked about keeping her image easy and accessible. It is a very accessible image and easy to follow once you figure out the categories. I didn't see many creative tools, which I included but appreciated that she included publications, such as Edutopia, which I now think would have been a great addition.
Rob Blackston's PLE Diagram
I loved Rob's image! I know that he is in medical education and I LOVE that he made his diagram/image reflect a surgical table. It is like you can almost visualize a surgery happening. I also appreciated the simplicity of his. It makes mine feel like a big ol' mess! He seems to have some solid communities and a great foundation of social networks. He has very professional connections which I think reflects the area of education he is in. While elementary educators stay current on big topics as well, they also use PLE's to share lots of ideas while also using their PLEs as sounding boards. In Rob's educational areas, you can see that they have to stay current on big developments in the areas of medical research so they can pass that information on to future doctors. It was fascinating to see the very different worlds we both live in.
Tiffany Kannengieszer' PLE Diagram
My image was very similar to Tiffany's and we seem to have similar parts to our PLEs. We both utilize Twitter and Facebook, but I also like that she mentioned Voxer. I love Voxer and have found it an engaging way to interact with my PLN buddies who live far away. I like that she included learning management systems, which I should have included in mine as well. She also included conferences, which are a big part of my PLE. I also appreciated that she hand drew her diagram noting that she still brainstorms that way. I completely agree. When it comes to getting my thoughts down, I still reach for paper and pencil.
Kelly Spiese's PLE Diagram
I love to hike so I really enjoyed Kelly's diagram. We also utilize many of the same resources in our PLEs. We both noted Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus. We both also use Google Docs as a means to share resources. She noted Google, libraries, and databases as research tools, while I gravitate more towards conferences and social interactions. I wish I was a better researcher, but I just love social learning environments. Her digram is very well thought out, organized, and creative. I also appreciated the symbolism of her arrows. For her sharing tools such as Canvas and Google Docs, she had her arrows point out. For her communication and and social network resources, she has the arrow point in towards the trial as if they are guiding her. That was a very cool touch!
Sarah Frances' PLE Diagram
Sarah and I have a very similar PLE and categorized the parts of our PLE very similarly. However, her's is a bit more creative and symbolic. I love the fishing metaphor. It made me think of "catch and release" which is exactly what teachers do with ideas. The gather and catch their ideas, build upon them, and release them back to their PLN's. Sarah and I both use similar communication and collaborative idea tools such as Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus. We both also included creative tools, but I included a bunch of iPad apps and movie making tools since that is how I usually create and share. I like that she included organization tools such as Diigo and Pearltrees. It is important to organize resources and ideas and now I wish I would have included those in my PLE diagram, but I also need to work on that in general so it totally is art reflecting life ;)
Betty Well's PLE Diagram
I loved the metaphor of Betty's diagram. The diagram of the car and how she related that to both her PLE and PLN was pretty creative. I loved that she had the tools in the trunk! I completely agree that the engine that keeps the car going is professional development and that the wheels are what guide educators to sharing with others. The learners are the drivers who guide the car using all these resources. Pretty cool stuff!! I noticed that we used many of the same "tools". We both utilize Facebook and Twitter to share. She included Pinterest, which is certainly something I need to explore more. I usually find that most links now go to different Teachers Pay Teachers sites which kind of annoys me! But I will ask Betty what educators she follows closely. We also both utilize Google Drive to create and share, but she showcased Google Classroom which I am hoping to learn more about. Our diagram were very different in concept but had many of the same features and resources.
This turned out to be a fantastic experience. At first, I was a bit overwhelmed. Trying to find and schedule the online experienced seemed tricky, but the list provided coupled with a few of my favorite Twitter chats helped the whole process come together.
This type of professional development models the amazing possibilities for learning and teaching in the 21st Century. The ability to connect with educators from across the world in one online space for an hour at a time is pretty amazing. Webinars, Twitter, Facebook, and many other social media platforms now open professional development opportunities up to the world. I love logging in and seeing the roll call of teachers saying "hi" from around the world. Professional development has truly begun to shift from teacher's lounges, libraries, and school cafeterias to accessible online spaces that can be accessed from computers, tablets, and phones. Learning can literally happen whenever and wherever you want it to!
Below I will outline the Twitter chats and webinars I attended and some of my key takeaways from each experience.
I love #kinderchat! They are an energized group of early childhood educators who have a very organized and energetic weekly chat. When I attended this chat, we discussed Finland school's strongly held belief that students need ample amounts of unstructured free time. Finland truly believes that free time should be completely free and unstructured and we spent the hour chatting about ways to incorporate unstructured free time into the daily routine of early childhood classrooms. My takeaway from this chat was that we need to give students in our American education system time to explore and play throughout the day. By play and explore, I mean giving them complete freedom for short periods of time throughout the day. It was awesome to gather ideas from my peers on how to accomplish this in the future.
I am hoping to be a teacher on special assignment (TOSA) upon completion of this Master's program, so I was excited to attend this weekly Twitter chat. We were discussing digital citizenship and shared techniques, tools, and resources on this very important subject. There were so many great resources shared and lots of great insights for teaching digital citizenship on K-12 scale. My major takeaway is that digital citizenship should be a mandated subject beginning in early childhood. Our students are living in a digital and social media driven world so learning necessary and invaluable digital citizenship skills at an early age will help ensure more safety online for this generation of learners. Here a couple great resources...
9/28/2017 #BookCreator Collaborative Book Making Chat
This was one of my favorite Twitter chats ever! The chat was run by two Book Creator Ambassador teachers that wanted to highlight and share Book Creator's new Chrome app. Book Creator was my favorite iPad app in the classroom, so I was very excited to experience the new Chrome app they are just rolling out. It was awesome. I followed the Twitter chat to get my cues and ask any questions I might have and then created my pages of the collaborative book in their Chrome app. Book Creator for Chrome allows teachers to add students to a collaborative library to monitor their book creation process. They can also combine everyone's individual books into one large collaborative book. So for this chat, 40 educators from across the world created one Book Creator book. It was awesome. My big takeaway is that this new app is awesome. I am excited to see more creative apps developed for the Google Suite of Apps. I can truly see this being a powerful creative app for early childhood students in a Chromebook environment.
Link for Chrome app: https://app.bookcreator.com
10/15/2017 #1stChat Wantability
This was coming home and visiting family. #1stchat was my first online PLN and I have met many of these teachers in person at national conferences. The teachers at #1stchat are so innovative and collaborative that I was very excited to be back chatting with them. We discussed wantability and the need to build student's confidence in reading. We talked about the ways teachers can build excitement for classroom read alouds. Teachers wrapped books up and had kids guess what might in the wrapping. Teachers also wrapped large boxes with books inside and tried to have students guess what was in the box. Teachers would invite "mystery readers" to the class who would turn out to be former students, parents, and grandparents. The goal was to make children fall in love with reading while also beginning to view themselves as good readers. My take away is that regardless of technology early childhood classrooms still begin with the basics. Reading is still the foundation of early childhood classrooms and students need to see themselves as amazing readers.
9/19/2017 Webinar: Adaptive Reading Strategies
In this webinar, I learned about the software Velocity, which is an adaptive reading software that is easily used in technology environments. The program adapts to the students learning needs as they engage with the software and provides the teachers with valuable information that will guide their individualized instruction. The webinar featured teachers who are using the software and it was highly beneficial to hear their insights and tips. The webinar came with a free trial that I am currently using with my boy's at home.
9/20/2017 Webinar: Everyday Strategies for Kindness
This was a refreshing webinar focused on strategies to implement kindness into classroom curriculum. It was fun be an author with a book on the topic and she laid out many techniques to incorporate kindness routines into classrooms. There were many great ideas, including have daily check-ins. I shared an idea about using a Google Doc to have children check in on their technology devices. There were many great ideas shared along those line. My takeaway is that social emotional learning is still important and that purposefully teaching is necessary. It was refreshing to interact with educators who felt the same way.
10/12/2017 Webinar: Habits of Mind
I am fascinated by the Habits of Mind so I was excited to attend this online webinar. The beginning of the webinar provided a refresher on the Habits of Mind which is always awesome. The bulk of the webinar was highlighting an animated video series that teaches basics of Habits of Mind to our earliest learners. The series of videos looked very developmentally appropriate and high engaging for early childhood students. It was a tool I could see myself using and I look forward to continuing to find ways to integrate Habits of Mind into my future classrooms.
10/12/2017 Webinar: CLOSE Reading
CLOSE reading is thoughtful, critical analysis of a text that focuses on significant details or patterns in order to develop a deep, precise understanding of the text's form, craft, meanings, etc. It is a key requirement of the Common Core State Standards and directs the reader's attention to the text itself. I wasn't super familiar with CLOSE reading. I have been out of the public school system for the past 6 years so I have missed the large scale integration of the Common Core Standards. So, I was very interested to attend this webinar. It was a very nuts and bolts webinar that really laid out CLOSE reading strategies and techniques for teachers. The method teaches kids to read like writers and the webinar laid out many great ideas for how to implement this strategy. My brain was certainly full after this webinar and it left me wanting to investigate CLOSE reading further.
Below you will find my curated list of research, commentary, and resources for using technology in the early childhood classroom. I have included information from trusted sites as well as some trusted educators. I also shared some ideas from my own blog as a resource touch point for my readers.
Check out these amazing teaching and learning blogs
Michael Fricano's Blog
2 Guys and Some iPads
Kristin Ziemke's Page
Don Goble's Blog
Mrs. Wideen's Blog