This happens to me so frequently that I want to write briefly about it. In our age of information overload and the ability to have a global network of friends and colleagues (many of whom I’ve never met) I find the glut of information and flattening world manageable due to my connections to friends and other individuals I follow.
For example, I recently read a friend’s listing of Nick Bilton’s book, I Live in the Future: & Here’s How It Works in GoodReads. Goodreads sends me an email when someone I’m connected to posts a new book listing. I downloaded the book to my iPad via Kindle and started reading (because I’m on vacation and have more time to read.) Mr. Bilton writes about managing information overload via his online network of friends who recommend books, articles, blog posts, etc via online networking and email. This hits home because the next day…
In Facebook, I checked in and found (again) several great blog posts recommended by my friend Silvia. More and more, Facebook is becoming a resource for more than personal status updates from friends as I follow schools, organizations and individuals who recommend informational media. For example I “follow” my school’s IT Department (at IT Dept. @ International School of Prague) and Seth Godin.
Last, through daily checkins with Twitter I find on just the first page of posts many great links, blog posts, articles, videos, etc. Twitter can lead to information overload if you are following the right people. I also use an aggregator that feeds me current posts on my favorite blogs.
All I’m saying is that I frequently see a thread flowing through my personal information feed and this time it flowed from Chris’s recommendation (which he didn’t have to personally send to me) to the text in Bilton’s book reflecting my experience, and the following morning reading via Silvia that I found inspiring and thought-provoking. Left alone with random searches and actual print resources, I would miss out on so much more than what is delivered to me daily.
PS: One challenge I do face is reciprocating, and here is a good podcast from Dean Shareski, “Sharing: The Moral Imperative” on that topic.
Stay in the question(s): Reflections from the Apple Leadership Conference2010 (Part 4/6)
The first half of Saturday consisted of 7 Apple Talks, along the lines of TED Talks. Two of those were from ISPrague staff members and listening to them left me more excited to be joining a school where I would have colleagues of this caliber.
Links and quotes:
- ACOT Apple Classrooms of Tomorrow Today - moving from instruction to construction
- SAMR, Ruben Puentedura, Technology use continuum, Transformation not substitution
- Need to teach collaborative writing to prepare students for working in the future
- Visit the Alamo in Second Life
- Quest to Learn School in NYC – games based learning aligned to standards. Merging traditional and new illiteracies
- Students learning empathy and financial skills through KIVA fundraising accounts management- giving students the opportunity to learn economics as well as experience empathy and make human connections
- Student films- don’t always have to produce skilled filmmaking, but the story needs to be from the heart
- Cyber Security- keep the conversation with students open and on-going, circulate relevant books to staff, parents, students to promote conversation
- Full Sail University Online
Tags: BLC09, Conference, Presentations, Resources
Now that I’m back at work, I’ll have to reflect on my learning at BLC09 bucket by bucket from the firehose output of information/ideas/inspiration. I was viewing this video posted recently by Vicki Davis, about the open culture that is out there for use by educators and learners. Also, I virtually attended the ISTE NECC conference this year and have done so with other conferences and I was deeply grateful to the actual participants who shared their thoughts and links. In that spirit of sharing I am listing below resources and links that I have gleaned from many main conference sessions attended at BLC09 and #BLC09 on Twitter. It is definitely not a complete list and I welcome any additions you may want to add.
On a side note, during sessions and keynotes I took notes on google docs and shared a few of my pages with my friend Chris, who was in Paris. In reviewing the shared google docs recently, it was fun to read the comments he added.
Other conference reflections:
- Lee Kolbert’s BLC09 reflection
- Lisa Thumann’s BLC09 blog post
- My reflections and links from the pre-conference sessions
- #BLC09 linked Twitter messages
Session presentations (slideshows)
- SlideShare Presentations and Documents tagged BLC09
- Bob Sprankle’s Presentations
- Joyce Valenza’s Presentations
- David Jakes Presentations links wiki
- Lee Kolbert’s Presentations (Voicethread +)
- 25 Ed Tech Leaders to Follow
- Darren Kuropatwa’s presentation slideshows
- Jeff Utecht’s presentation slideshows
- David Truss Slideshare presentations
- Angela Maiers presentation slideshows
- Dr Howie DiBlasi sessions
Session presentations (audio):
Session presentations (video):
Tags: BLC09, Collaboration, David Jakes, Digital Storytelling, EdubloggerConEast, ePals, Scratch, ScratchEd
At the end of Helter Skelter you can hear Ringo (or John) shout, “I’ve got blisters on my fingers!” Well I don’t actually have blisters but last week at the Building Learning Communities conference in Boston I was learning and pushing my thinking so much all day for 5 days that by Friday morning I was thinking of that phrase at the end of Helter Skelter, as if my brain had blisters! I have wanted to attend BLC for years and was able to this year so I signed up for the pre-conf as well as the conference. This post is about the pre-conference and I will share about the main conference in future posts. So, in the mind-set of collaboration that was flowing around the Park Plaza last week, I’d like to share my major impressions, thoughts and moments.
The best part was meeting online friends and people I’ve followed for years face to face. Online collaboration and communication are wonderful, but when you meet and spend time face to face that relationship is enriched in a way that online contact can’t provide. I also met many new friends I look forward to collaborating with in the future. One new friend is Maryann Wolowiec, Project Manager for the new National Inventors Hall of Fame School in Akron, Ohio- in our initial conversation we found we both once lived in Hudson, Ohio but more amazing- one of Maryann’s daughters had my mother as her second grade teacher!
On Monday I attended a full day of Scratch training- how to use it as well as how Scratch is an effective classroom tool. We spent the day in Mitchel Resnick’s Lifelong Kindergarten “room” in the MIT Media Lab. When I walked in it was almost like walking into Willy Wonka’s factory- a huge elephant suspended from the ceiling, plants, a Guernica reproduction, bins and bins of Lego parts, couches, work tables, … It was one of the best workshops I’ve ever attended because we discussed, learned, practiced and created in Scratch with a great deal of help and guidance. I worked hard, but the work was fun and engaging- the day flowed and seemed like it was over in a minute. This is due to Mitch Resnick who led the day, but also the people he brought in who created the program and Minneapolis teacher, Kathy, who has used Scratch as a classroom tool for years. If you haven’t used Scratch, you should look into using it- last year I learned enough on my own to use it with students and it was easy to implement. They also have a new site/service ScratchEd which is new but already invaluable. I already viewed Scratch as a valuable tool for the classroom and what I learned is how to communicate to and show others that it’s not just programming or making games or interactive pictures but an engaging, creative, collaborative and easily implemented tool for students to use to collaborate, learn and show what they have learned.
Monday night I joined Rita Oates for dinner as she brought together about 12 people who would have otherwise dined alone, and idea she implements from the book, Never Eat Alone. It was a good meal with engaging conversations and I learned a great deal about the multi-faceted global collaboration service, ePals.
Tuesday I attended David Jakes’ Capturing Stories, Capturing Lives: An Introduction to Digital Storytelling. I have dabbled in digital storytelling but haven’t implemented such a project with students to the depth I knew was possible. David’s workshop provided the depth I needed- not a tutorial on how to use PhotoStory (although he did provide some basics for beginners) but how to introduce, scaffold and manage a DS project with students. He also shared challenges that may be encountered and success stories and accompanying videos he has led students to create. It seemed we covered everything needed to get started as well as discussion and sharing from participants. As we learned different components David walked us through creating our own digital stories- I was able to think through and map mine out but a few participants completed their stories. Like the Scratch workshops, it flowed and was over too soon. What I learned is that telling stories with images, music and words together is a powerful tool, can be easily modified to implement as young as with a Kindergarten class and it allows ALL students to express themselves. Digital stories are also “very easy to do poorly and challenging to do well.”
Also on Tuesday was Edubloggercon East described as, “a ‘collaborative conference,’ where the conference attendees help to build and create the experience.” Even though I was attending the BLC09 preconference sessions, I was able to drop in on some workshops and loved the afternoon Web2.0 Smackdown where presenters had 4 minutes to share a tool or website they have used. It was a truly collaborative event with many people contributing to the wiki, the presentations and organization- and it really works well! I also met many teachers I have collaborated with and/or followed over the years, such as Maria Knee and the Seedlings- Alice, Cheryl and Bob. What I learned from participating is that a conference can be collaboratively created and implemented by many and enjoyed by many more as well. It also gives people who collaborate and communicate frequently from a distance a chance to have fun face to face.
On a side note, it was wonderful to spend a week in Boston- I’ve lived here and near here in the past and now that I’ve visited many cities in Europe, I can say with certainty that it is one of the best cities in the world. Running along the Charles and around the Common and Gardens in the early morning, a concert in Jordan Hall and shopping on Boylston St (Apple store, Marathon Sports, Trader Joes, Staples, Borders to name a few) were some highlights of this visit.
That was just the pre-conference. That alone would have been worth the trip. Monday and Tuesday were stimulating and inspiring and were also relaxed as there were fewer participants than the main conference and the workshops were deeper at 4 hours each. The main conference days proved to surpass the pre-conf days in terms of quantity but held the same quality.
Tags: 80Schools collaboration, David Carpenter, ISTE NETs, Jeff Utecht, Julie Lindsay, Justin Medved, Langwitches, SOS podcast, Sylvia Tolisano, Wes Fryer
I’ve collaborated with other schools recently as a tech-facilitator and before now for over 15 or more years as an elementary classroom teacher through email, wikis, blogs, Voicethread and Skype. However, Silvia Tolisano’s Around the World with 80 Schools collaboration I’m participating in now is different in that a template for participation and participant network was already established when I began. Also important is it’s ideal for the teachers I work with who are new to global/online collaboration because the community and template were established and the time commitment allows for easy integration into the established classroom environment. The framework is flexible enough to allow many conversations or a few a year and classroom-based participation or school-wide as we are doing. I have also enjoyed the opportunity to expand my PLN through the contacts I am making while setting up conversations for classrooms. Most of all, the students are excited, engaged and they raise questions for further learning that wouldn’t have occurred to me.
So, why participate? Why make the minimal effort to have a short conversation with students in a class on another continent? For me, the answer is that the students and I feel lifted up, engaged, and want to know more about what our new friends know and think about our world. The social interaction and connection is stimulating. But not all educators are on the same path- what is passionately clear to me is not for everyone, so I feel the responsibility to ask Why? to be able to effectively express my point of view to those who aren’t “in the choir.”
I can start by again sharing the ISTE NETs standards, but these are a bit broad for a starting point.
I wanted to refer to conversations and research so I started with Silvia’s post where she shares the project and links to other related posts she’s written.
I then decided to re-listen to SOS Podcast 2: How does making connections affect learning? With David Carpenter, Jeff Utecht, and guests Justin Medved and Julie Lindsay. Here are a few of the thoughts I came away with:
-Students know how to use tech for entertainment and communication but not as well to communicate and collaborate for learning.
-How well do we value and allow process, sharing and reflection of learning?
-Collaborations create an authentic audience that engages kids in the learning process
-Students can learn how to collaborate globally (as they will no doubt be doing in their future) by doing it.
-Start with the end in mind and if we believe in these 21st Century outcomes we need to redesign what we are doing with our curriculum.
I also found a Wes Fryer post from 2 years ago(!)
Wes shared quotes from Google CEO Eric Schmidt when asked in a WIRED interview, “Google’s revenue and employee head count have tripled in the last two years. How do you keep from becoming too bureaucratic or too chaotic?
His response: It’s a constant problem. We analyze this every day, and our conclusion is that the best model remains small teams running as fast as they can and tolerating a certain lack of cohesion. The attempt to provide order drives out the creativity. And so it’s a balance.
To this Wes reflected, “The lesson here is that the business world does not merely want to hire listeners and fact regurgitators, but rather thinkers who can collaborate, “run fast” and create innovative ideas which reflect both higher level thinking as well as creativity.”
The SOS podcast was recorded a little over a year ago and Wes’s post was written 2 years ago. While progress is being made and I am inspired every day from contact with those in my PLC, I am also impatient because it seems we’re still just discussing these issues and stalled in this regard in most schools.
As a classroom teacher I would use 80 Schools from the first week of school. First begin to explore the talents and interests of each person in the room but also introduce the classrooms we have access to and the possibilities of interaction with the individuals in those rooms. An 80 Schools Ning and Twitter group would be a great way to share what classes are studying and experiencing that would be beneficial topics for other classrooms. I can see it as a living, thriving collaboration for the entire year.
Finally, just as I have a PLNetwork or PLCommunity, students in a classroom should be growing their own as well- the network within and outside the classroom walls. We need CLNs- Classroom Learning Networks and our 80 Schools collaboration is the first example of a CLN that I have participated in.
Tags: 1001 Tales, Around the world with 80 Schools, Collaboration, Digiteen, Global e-Learners Connect, Net Gen Ed project, Sounding Board
This is about my latest ideas and reflections as a student in my virtual PD course, Global Collaboration102. I am not taking this course alone, but with my PLN and my “professors” are those I wrote about recently as my inspiration. On our campus, we’ve launched and successfully completed/continued two global collaborations so far, Digiteen, which was led by our pioneer tech teacher Melissa in the Middle School (I had nothing to do with it aside from making the introduction), and a continuing collaboration by ELL teacher Kris with Global e-Learners Connect!.
Stating that there are just 2 “successful” collaborations is not intended as a negative critical comment towards anyone, including myself. I consider these two successful because they are established, ongoing learning activities or completely implemented projects, they motivate students and reflect classroom concepts, skills and student learning. We also have other whole class continuing collaborations we established since the fall. These collaborations are successful to a degree but I feel the need to reflect on how I can help these become a regular, authentic part of the classroom and more meaningful for the students. Perhaps my job title next year should be Global Collaborations Conductor as these projects all can fit easily into the current curriculum and learning 21st Century skills. I would choose “Conductor” over “Coordinator” as I would create long-term plans to make the collaboration more meaningful and also be present each time a related activity was implemented with the class. This would be a better planned and organized co-teaching, co-planning, modeling and support project and I imagine I would eventually see myself happily demoted to the Coordinator.
I plan a continuation of support for the other ongoing collaborations for the remainder of this school year, however this week I will implement 3 new collaborations differently from the others. The idea began when I read invitations on Twitter and blog posts for the Sounding Board which is part of Net Generation Education Project. Students in grades 5-8 were needed and I have a willing team of grade 5 teachers so I ran the idea by them to introduce the project to their students and ask for volunteers to give it a try. After all, it’s a 2-4 hour time commitment and I pointed out to students that when they are in Middle School next year, they can seek out Melissa to participate in one of her collaborations. I ended up with one whole class and a bit more than a handful each in the other 2 classes. I then arranged the times with the teachers and we’ll start and complete the project next week!
So then I thought, why not apply this experience to other elementary collaborations? Here is what I started last week that can continue through the remainder of this school year:
1001Tales with 4th grade volunteers from 3 classes. I have the plans made for the length of the project and Monday morning will introduce it to the students and get volunteers to meet at recess (the weather forecast is not good this week and should work in my favor ) for an overview and to start.
Around the World With 80 Schools: For this I plan to introduce the collaboration at a staff meeting and outline what is involved in participating in each video-conference “school visit.” I will seek out teachers each week by visiting personally and posting in the Monday staff newsletter. With the focus on the collaboration as a Lower School project planned and implemented by me, I hope to get more teachers on board to try out the waters. These visits will be celebrated through posting on a bulletin board display with a world map and shown on a slideshow containing audio and video of visits via the LCD monitor in the LS foyer.
Progress is a cycle of reflection, planning and implementation and relies heavily on building trust and positive relationships. How are collaborations (local and global) working in your school?