The power of the PLN
This past weekend I attended the annual TABS (The Association of Boarding Schools) conference in Boston for the second year in a row. While I frequently attend and present at conferences as part of my own professional development, this year’s TABS conference was a different experience for a couple of reasons that I would like to share.
After last year’s TABS conference, a few fellow educators (Hans Mundahl @hmundahl and Dan Marchetti @MarchettiDan) and I were interested in continuing the stimulating conversations and sharing we had been engaged in and did not want to simply go back to our respective schools and re-enter our same routines. We decided to continue the conversations and invite others to join us by meeting regularly every Wednesday night on twitter using the #TABSchat hashtag. The conversations that happened over the course of the year were incredibly varied, included people from a whole range of different schools and backgrounds and have helped me immensely to grow as an educator. I have “met” so many interesting and dedicated educators through #TABSchat and finally got to meet several of them face-to-face this past weekend at the TABS conference. ( @DJFTLL @bivey @watersatschool to name a few) Even though we had only interacted 140 characters at a time prior to this past weekend, I got to know many of these people and consider them valuable members of my PLN (personal learning network).
If you are not yet convinced of the “power” of the PLN and twitter, consider the following. I presented a session at this year’s conference with two colleagues (Kim Sivick @ksivick and Thomas Steele-Maley @steelemaley) titled “Learning and Sharing with Educators Around the Globe.” I met Kim and Thomas through #TABSchat and exchanged tweets and emails with them throughout the course of the year as we kicked around the idea of presenting a session at this year’s conference. The first time I actually met them face to face and shook their hands was this past Friday when I arrived in Boston. These two awesome educators are people I probably would have never met had it not been for #TABSchat and the power of social media for professional development.
If you are still on the fence about the whole twitter-thing as a tool for professional development and think you do not have time, I encourage you to reconsider. There are so many dedicated educators out there that are eager to connect and share ideas that you owe it to yourself and your students to make the time. You can start by joining me and others on Wednesday nights at 8 pm (EST) for #TABSchat. Who knows, it might even lead to a presentation at next year’s TABS conference!
A Time to Reflect
As most of you know, October was Connected Educator month (CEM) and was filled with a plethora of opportunities for educators to connect with fellow colleagues and engage in valuable professional development. I did my best to sample a bunch of the CEM activities and found them all to be worthwhile and have added many fellow educators to my PLN. Along the way, I have collected and curated several very good resources and articles that have been good reminders or have pushed me to think about my own practices. Here are a few of the resources that I came across this month; hopefully, you will find at least a few that pique your interest.
Tags:collaboration·engagement·flipped classroom·friday 4·Friday four·learning·PD·professional development·Twitter
Friday 4: Like the colors of the leaves of fall…random yet interesting.
This month has gotten off to a particularly busy start in my world which prevented me from posting a Friday 4 last week. I was fortunate enough to attend and present at the OESIS (Online Education Symposium for Independent Schools) last week in Boston and then attended the Westminster Teaching Symposium this week so I have been busy trying to take in and learn as much as I can and share what I have learned with my colleagues and my PLN.
There is no theme to this week’s Friday 4 other than here is a bunch of items that I have come across of late that have made it into my Diigo library.
Tags:21st century learning·engagement·friday 4·Friday four·learning·teaching
Friday 4 for October 4
I hope that all of you out there have taken up the “challenge” of Connected Educator Month and forayed out of your comfort zone and tried something new and different in order to become a more connected teacher, administrator or coach. If you have yet to get off the mark and need a few more ideas for how you can engage in CE month, this week’s Friday 4 is just for you!
- The New York Times has a blog called The Learning Network that just recently published a piece “What ‘Connected Education’ Looks Like: 28 Examples From Teachers All Over” that is chock full of real life examples of ways in which teachers are connecting themselves and their students to a wider audience. If you are seeking ideas for your own classroom, this is a great place to start.
- If you are in the CT/MA area (or will be on October 18) and are looking for some quality cheap PD, consider attending the 3rd annual Westminster Teaching Symposium. This year’s topic is Collaboration and Feedback: Protocols for Teachers. This event is a great chance to extend your professional learning network and share ideas with other passionate educators.
- Want all of the hottest news items, blog posts, videos and other items related to CE month to be delivered right to your inbox? Visit the Connected Educators Month Digest: Highlights of the day paper.li page and sign up to receive the custom newspaper. If you are unfamiliar with paper.li in general, I encourage you to check it out. It is a way cool way to create your own online newspaper on any topic you choose.
- On every weeknight during CE month, you can join the Connected/CEM cafe from 7:30 – 8:30 PM. The cafe is described as A nightly opportunity (7:30-8:30 PM ET every weeknight during CEM) for you with award-winning online education moderator (and Classroom 2.0 founder) Steve Hargadon to spend time and interact with special guests, recap learnings from the day’s events, and look ahead to what’s next in CEM, with galvanizing conversations moving from single location chat to Twitter everywhere, while the night’s still young.
Tags:#ce13·CEM·engagement·friday 4·Friday four·professional development·teaching
For those of you unaware, the month of October is officially “Connected Educator Month” in the United States. CEM was started in 2012 by the U.S. Department of Education and is “part of the Office of Educational Technology’s Connected Educators initiative, which is supporting online, social and professional learning for educators by conducting research, hosting communities, and working with the field.” (http://www.ed.gov/news/press-releases/us-department-education-kicks-connected-educator-month)
From the Connectededucators.org website: “Online communities and learning networks are helping hundreds of thousands of educators learn, reducing isolation and providing “just in time” access to knowledge and opportunities for collaboration. However, many educators are not yet participating and others aren’t realizing the full benefits. In many cases, schools, districts, and states also are not recognizing and rewarding this essential professional learning. This year’s event will have a special emphasis on helping districts promote and integrate online social learning in their formal professional development.”
So, you may be asking, “How do I become involved in Connected Educators Month?” It is actually quite easy and this week’s Friday 4 will provide you with 4 links to information that will help you on your path to becoming a connected educator.
- The best place to start is actually the Connected Educators website where you can find a calendar of events that have already begun and will continue through the month of October. I encourage you to look through the calendar and find a webinar, podcast, twitter chat or discussion that is in an area of interest and take the plunge!
- You can download a CEM Starter Kit here that includes introductions to what it means to be a connected educator and even 31 days worth of online activities you can try out.
- Here is a blog post that was posted on the Edutopia website that offers “Ten Tips for Becoming a Connected Educator“
- If you are really feeling adventurous and want to combine CEM with an Edcamp experience, I encourage you to sign up for and participate in the first ever Edcamp Online event that will be occurring on October 26th. If you are unfamiliar with Edcamps, here is a link to a good description of the Edcamp concept.
What are you waiting for? Become a Connected Educator this month and grow as a professional! As always, I welcome your comments or feedback. Enjoy.
Tags:21st century learning·CEM·connected educator·Friday four·PD·professional development·teaching
Friday 4: September 13
For this week’s edition of the Friday 4, I would like to share a few more brain-related links and articles that I have run across in the past week or so. The topics of cognitive science and brain research informed teaching and learning have certainly been hot of late. My Twitter feed has been loaded with links to articles and blog posts about neuroscience since the start of the summer and has not seemed to wane in recent days.
The last piece is not quite a learning and the brain piece directly but does relate to the topics we have been discussing in faculty meetings of late.
If you are at all interested in the neuroscience of learning, this has certainly been a stretch with plenty to add to your reading list! Keep passing along any items you find and enjoy!
Tags:brain·friday 4·Friday four·growth mindset·homework·learning·neurobiology·student·teaching
A good place to start
The first day of classes is right around the corner for us here at the Loomis Chaffee School and the excitement, nervousness and optimism surrounding a new school year are palpable. A colleague, Naomi Appel, @njappel and I gave a 90 minute presentation to our faculty the other day on learning and the brain titled: Neuroscience and the Classroom after attending a Learning and the Brain institute this past summer led by Dr. Judy Willis @judywillis. The institute was by far the best one I have attended on the topic and contained a wealth of practical information for any classroom teacher. I would strongly encourage anybody interested in the topic to look into any of the workshops or summer institutes offered through Learning and the Brain.
As a follow up to the presentation, I would like to share four learning and the brain related links/resources in this edition of the Friday 4. For those who are new readers of this blog, every Friday I try and post interesting links or resources that I come across related to teaching and education. I encourage you to share the links with colleagues and send along any interesting ones you come across that you think would work in a future edition of the Friday 4. You can e-mail me at email@example.com or reach me on Twitter at @smacclintic or simply post a response right below. Enjoy!
- Dr. Judy Willis has a website called RADteach.com that is great place for anybody new to the neurobiology of learning to start his/her journey.
- The ASCD website has an entire section devoted to brain-based learning that has links to articles, videos, PD courses and much more. Another phenomenal resource for anybody interested in the application of neurobiology to learning and teaching.
- The Edutopia website also has a section devoted to brain-based learning that is chock full of great info for teachers.
- If you are looking for somebody to come to your school and do engaging learning and the brain training with students, teachers or parents; a wonderful resource is Andrew Watson. Andrew is a former colleague who has started his own business Translate the Brain that “offers professional development presentations and workshops that explore and explain the practical teaching implications of today’s brain sciences.”
The summer is just about over and the first day of classes is right around the corner. I certainly hope your summer was a restful one filled with plenty of professional development mixed in along the way. As the school year begins and the training of new faculty and returning faculty are high on my “to do” list, I have to remind myself that not everybody is at the same place when it comes to technology and its integration into the classroom. I have known this certainly in my role as a PD resource for our faculty but have made a point of actively thinking about it before I begin my first meeting or training session. A couple of items crossed my Twitter stream in the past few days that were good reminders as well.
Are You a Technophobe or a Technophile in the Classroom? is a nice little blog piece posted on the ASCD website that was a good reminder.
Another item I ran across on the ipad4schools website was New Year: iPad First 5? While the post is about iPads in particular, I think the concept translates to any technology integration.
Just a few reminders for those of us who are point people in training of faculty and are on the “technophilic” end of the spectrum.
Thoughts? I welcome comments or feedback.
Spring in the education world is a frenetic time filled with final preparation for AP exams, honors teas and events for our best and brightest students, countless meetings and the final “push” to the end of the year in all of our classes. As busy as the final weeks can be, it is also an excellent time to actually take some time and reflect on the year that has past and consider how it has gone and how we might improve what we do the next time around. In that spirit, I have assembled a few items (more than the usual 4) that I ran across this week that will hopefully inspire you to think about some of the fundamental aspects of teaching and learning, and with some serious reflection, might help you to become a better teacher in the long run.
I welcome comments on any of this week’s “finds” and welcome suggestions for future editions of the Friday 4. Enjoy!
Tags:21st century learning·homework·innovation·learning·PD·PLN·professional development·teaching
Friday Four – May 10
I hope that you had a wonderful Teacher Appreciation Week and never forget that despite how it may feel at times, you do make a difference. I can think of no more important profession than the education of young people. THANK YOU!
- An exciting collaboration was launched this week between two favorites in the education world – TED Talks and PBS. They produced a one-hour special “TED Talks Education” that was aired on PBS on Tuesday. You can read a NYT article on the project here and watch the actual show here.
- The TeachThought website is a great resource that I recommend to all teachers who are looking for inspiration on just about any topic related to education. “TeachThought is a fluid platform that explores the best in learning innovation. We connect K-20 educators not only with resources and ideas, but models, frameworks and curricula. Many blogs cover progressive education and trending topics, but TeachThought also seeks to support the implementation of innovative learning.” A few of the current blog posts trending on the site are: “The Definition of Digital Citizenship” and “How 21st Century Thinking Is Just Different.”
- A must read for this week has to be the article written by Annie Murphy Paul (@anniemurphypaul) that appeared on the KQED education blog titled “How Does Multitasking Change the Way Kids Learn?” The piece was so interesting that I sent it along to all of my students to read. Annie posted a followup to the article that can be found on her blog here that is titled “Reaction To My Multitasking Article: The Teenagers Speak.”
- A final piece for the week is a provocative blog post written by Grant Wiggins (@grantwiggins) “Dereliction of duty by HS teachers.” The piece itself and the extensive comments posted by readers have made me challenge some of my complacency in the courses I am teaching…a good thing to continue to ruminate about over the summer.
Tags:21st century learning·collaboration·friday 4·Friday four·PBS·student·teaching·TED talks