Below you will find a presentation that a peer and I created in our graduate class on social network learning! Some of my favorite projects in my graduate program have been these types of collaborative projects. We decided to use Google apps to complete the collaboration because they make it so simple and easy. We began with a Google Docs where we collected sources and quotes, outlined our presentation, and collaborated on ideas. We established a great flow because I usually carve out time during the day to work and Betty, my classmate, works on graduate school work at night, so Betty would be able to complete a part of the work at night and then I would pick up where she left off the next day. We would communicate through FB messenger and leave each other notes about what we had done. We decided to present our final criteria in Google Slides which again made collaboration easy. We were just easily able to pick up were the other left off. With this flow, we are were able to finish pretty quickly and were very happy with the presentation we created.
Collaborative technology tools, such as Google apps, have become vital in creating and expanding PLNs online. I have used these tools to build presentations for conferences with friends and peers across the country. I have also been able to use them to complete large school assignments with classmates across the globe. It excites me that we now teach in a world where collaboration can happen between people separated by miles and oceans. Ideas are no longer exclusive to just single classrooms or schools. Ideas can be grown and shared with and by people across the globe.
So now enjoy an example of online collaboration as Betty Wells and I share 15 criteria for effective curation.
Briggs, S. (2016, July 27). Teaching Content Curation and 20 Resources to Help You Do It. Retrieved from http://www.opencolleges.edu.au/informed/features/content-curation-20-resources/
Deshpande, P. (2016, September 14). The Definitive Guide to Content Curation Retrieved from http://www.curata.com/blog/the-definitive-guide-to-content-curation/
Doughtery, J. (2015, March 30). 8 Best Practices for Content Curation Retrieved from http://www.cision.com/us/2015/03/8-best-practices-for-content-curation/
Hudgens, R. (2016, April 15). The 3 Most Effective (And Overlooked) Content Curation Strategies. Retrieved from http://contentmarketinginstitute.com/2016/04/content-curation-strategies/
Little, B. (2017, March 17). 10 Key Steps to Content Curation Success. Retrieved from https://www.mindtools.com/blog/corporate/10-key-steps-curation/
This week I re-engaged with Twitter. It felt good. Life has been crazy and my family has been transitioning across an ocean and I have been out of the classroom for the first time in 12 years. However, my kids are back in school, our life is settled into Oregon, and I can now spend some time reconnecting with "Jake The Educator". I opened up Tweetdeck, which in real life would have needed a good dusting off at this point, and I started to set up columns for Twitter chats and hashtags that I hope will continue my inspiration reboot!
I chose to follow the following hashtags:
I really love and connect with early childhood teachers and #kinderchat has some of the best in the nation.
In following #kinderchat this week, I learned that it was International Dot Day, recently! I love The Dot by Peter Reynolds. What was so cool about following International Dot Day on #kinderchat was seeing the variety of ways teachers engaged kids in Dot Day. Some drew dots. Some painted dots. Some created digital dots. I even found Augmented reality dots referenced. Twitter was a vehicle for teachers to share ideas about a common experience that educators were having across the world. My favorite part in The Dot is when it says "make your mark and see where it takes you.". Twitter certainly helps teachers and students "make their mark."
In following #1stchat, I learned and saw that my core belief that "it is not about what the technology can do but rather what you can do with the technology that matters" was on full display. I saw so many cool ideas as teacher were introducing beginning of the year routines and concepts. The core learning of reading, writing, and math were all present and technology was present to capture and document the process. Kids were creating actual face cutout "thought bubbles" and were taking picture of their peers and their wonders. Teachers referenced their kids sharing out their beginning of year goals and thoughts on SeeSaw! Seeing as I taught first grade for 10 years, #1stchat was like saying "hello" to an old friend again.
#2nd Chat & #3rd Chat
I had many of the same findings as I followed #2ndchat and #3rdchat! Teachers are starting their school years off with important classroom and thinking routines and Twitter is right there helping teachers share how things are going. #3rd chat was having a Twitter chat that focused on the book "Shift This: How gradual change can make big change in your classroom"! I found the book online and loved it! I cannot wait to read it and I would have never known about it without this Twitter chat.
I am so interested and excited by the Maker Education Movement. At my previous school in Hawaii, the MakerEd movement was such a focus as our school was building a learning commons with a maker space as the focal point of the space. This hashtag was totally chalk full of ideas for how teachers are starting the year and I found cool links to teachers doing their "tiny house" projects. I also found a reference to the "Kid's Make" channel on YouTube, which was awesome. I plan on doing one of the projects (the Plinko Game) with my boys at home very soon. Maker Education is such an awesomely integrated tool for learning. You can tell while browsing teacher's tweets just how many different learning skills and subject areas are present as student's work themselves through projects. I am very excited to follow the hashtag this semester.
I will always follow #ADEchat because many of the people on that chat are like family. ADE is the Apple Distinguished Educator Program's chat that they run monthly. Becoming an ADE in 2015 expanded my PLN greatly to include some of the most innovative teachers in the country and world. I have learned so much from them. While the chat, naturally, focuses on teachers in Apple technology environments, the topics focus on a wide range of ideas that will inspire all teachers. I have learned through catching up on #ADEchat tweets that the new Clips app is all the rage and that teachers are using it in a variety of amazing way to showcase student learning and understanding. I personally love the new app and am excited to see the innovative things teachers and students do with this super easy app!
Twitter is the best way to keep up on whats happening! The simplicity of sharing ideas right "in the moment" is what makes Twitter so powerful! Hashtags also make it super easy to catch up on your inspiration at your own time. I also feel that Twitter is where you can find the most teachers gathering to share ideas, questions, wonders, and struggles. Its an app and a website so it is very easy to access which is perfect for educators. Educators are planning, prepping, attending staff meetings, and going to professional development so Twitter makes it for teachers to "check in" with their PLN for a more individualized and interest based professional development experience right in the moments between all these activities. Twitter is the perfect place for teachers to grow professionally and I encourage teachers
Too tired to read? Click on the audio file to listen to by blog post.
In an article for Edutopia, Tom Whitby wrote about connected educators "Too often, connected educators are the worst advocates for becoming a connected educator. They tend to overwhelm the uninitiated with a huge list of collaborative accomplishments and a plethora of technological jargon" (Whitby, 2014). I completely agree. I have often tried to explain the amazing benefits I have seen to using educational technology as well as social network learning, but I get overexcited and totally use the "technological jargon" referenced by Mr. Whitby. Too often those factors lead my "audience" to either get completely overwhelmed or check out of our conversation with glazed over eyes.
That is why I appreciated this week's assignment in my social media learning graduate class to create a non-linguistic, creative product to explain the benefits of personal learning networks, communities of practice, and the principles of connectivisim. Had I done a normal blog, vlog, or explanation video, I feel as though I would have fallen into the same trap of over explaining. It was a very cool process to create something more focused and creative to express my learning from this week.
This week, I really dove into the principles of both the connectivist and communities of practice (COPs) theories to deepen my understanding of the importance of personal learning networks (PLNs). When reviewing the Learning Theories website, I read that one of the main researchers of COPs, Etienne Wenger, described COPs as "groups of people who share a concern or a passion for something they do and learn how to do it better as they interact regularly” (Communities, 2014). I learned that COPs, while often informal, still need a structure consisting of three components: Domain (shared interest/passion), Communities (places to share info and activities), and Practitioners (people not just interest, but actually engaged with the domain) (Communities, 2014). Furthermore, COPs are based off the belief that "that communities of practice are everywhere and that we are generally involved in a number of them – whether that is at work, school, home, or in our civic and leisure interests" (Smith, 2003, 2009). Wenger and Lave believed that in order to break the assumption that "learning has a beginning and an end; that it is best separated from the rest of our activities; and that it is the result of teaching" that we need COPs to created a more situated learning experience where "learning involved a process of engagement in a ‘community of practice"(Smith, 2003, 2009). With the evolution of technology thanks to the Internet, COPs tie closely with the Connectivism Theory which is "a learning theory that explains how Internet technologies have created new opportunities for people to learn and share information across the World Wide Web and among themselves" (Connectivism, 2015). The key feature of connectivism is that learning can happen across peer networks that happen online.
I created the above video to show my interpretation of my own PLN, which I think are direct products of both COPs and connectivism. As I researched and read more COPs and connectivism, I reflected about my own PLN ,which includes teachers I have taught with across the country as well as educators I connected with through Twitter, Facebook, technology conferences, and educational technology organizations. I realized as I reflected that what I appreciated most was the "reflection" I received from all the individuals in my PLN, which made me think of prisms and how they reflect light. I think of a prism as a theoretical tool to look at something differently with more perspective and "color". Whenever I am running with a new idea, I want to share it with my PLN to gain insight and perspective. So I truly feel like I am running it through a colorful prism of collaboration.
I have had so many beautiful interactions with my PLN and I am grateful for them everyday. I truly feel that all educators should continue to grow their PLNs. As Jordan Catapano wrote for TeachHub.com "There is an enormous difference between “connected” teachers who have established their own Personal Learning Networks and the instructors who subsist primarily on the antiquated, impersonalized modes of traditional development" (Catapano, 2015). I truly believe that educators should continue to challenge themselves to stay fresh and current in the educational landscape and "reflection" through their PLN prism is a colorful path they should consider taking.
Catapano, J. (2015). What is a PLN? Why do I need one? Retrieved from: http://www.teachhub.com/what-pln-why-do-i-need-one
(July 16, 2014). "Communities of Practice (Lave and Wenger)". Retrieved from: https://www.learning-theories.com/communities-of-practice-lave-and-wenger.html.
(June 1, 2015) "Connectivism (Siemens, Downes)," Retrieved from: https://www.learning-theories.com/connectivism-siemens-downes.html.
Smith, M. K. (2003, 2009) ‘Jean Lave, Etienne Wenger and communities of practice’, the encyclopedia of informal education, www.infed.org/biblio/communities_of_practice.htm.
Whitby, T. (October 6, 2014). "The Connected Educator: All About Connectedness". Retrieved from: https://www.edutopia.org/blog/connected-educator-all-about-connectedness-tom-whitby
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