Tag Archives: BLC13

Social Media and Your Child

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 (If slide show is not working: Presentation)

Thank you to all the parents who came to our workshop today and shared in our learning community.  Please do not stop asking questions as they are essential to our personal and communal reflection, learning and growth.

 

This presentation is both a sharing of my passion for the potential impact on student learning that social media presents and a mix of the incredible teachers whose insight I have already harvested to share this presentation with you.

Thank you to (great people to follow and learn from):

Ben Halpert – Author of Savvy Cyber Kids series’ – @SavvyCyberKids

Beth Holland – Instructor with EdTechTeacher and Writer for Edutopia and Edudemic – @brholland

Dean Shareski – Community Manager for Discovery Education Canada – @shareski

Gregory Kulowiec – EdTechTeacher  Presenter and Workshop Trainer – @gregkulowiec

Kevin Honeycutt- Artist, Global Speaker and Tech Integration Specialist – @kevinhoneycutt

Lev Grossman – Author and Book Critic – @leverus

Lisa Nielsen – Author, Speaker and Professional Development Specialist – @InnovativeEdu

Matt Gomez – Kindergarten teacher and #kinderchat moderator – @mattBgomez

Sandy Kendell – Educational Tech Specialist and Perpetual learner – @EdTechSandyK

Sir Ken Robinson – Leader in the Development of Creativity, Innovation and Human Resources in Education – @SirKenRobinson

 

 

 

 

 

 

Six weeks down. Life to go.

Adams

 

Six weeks ago I left for The Building Learning Communities Conference in Boston. As I left to attend this conference I brought with me a confidence in the excellent learning institution that I am a part of.  I brought a sense of pride about our excellent teachers who never stop learning and who are eager for new methods and tools to increase student learning and connection.  I brought an appreciation for the building, facilities, and tool rich environment that we get to immerse ourselves and our students in on a daily basis. Lastly, I brought a feeling of personal satisfaction at being able to help lead such an institution.

4 Days in Boston exposed to some amazing thinkers, mind stretching ideas, and passionate practitioners changed my thinking about much of my “luggage.”  In order to offer our students more opportunities to connect their learning to in-field experts; to be participatory citizens as opposed to learning about it; to engage, collaborate, and create content for an ever growing global knowledge base, It became clear to me, there were certainly areas for growth and the majority of that started with me.

I came home feeling the weight of responsibility and opportunity.

I created a Blog

One of my greatest aspirations for myself, my teachers, and my students is to be reflective.  As such I have tasked myself with blogging twice a week.  I have to admit that this feels a bit daunting.  At the same time, I think it is essential to set aside time to reflect on our experiences.  As all of our perspectives are unique, and therefore the way we experience an experience is specific to our selves, I truly value the ability to reflect and share my own interpretation, and I want to model and encourage my teachers and students to do the same.

The hours of blogging and the many, many hours of setting up, playing with, and changing features of my blog have paid instant dividends.   Our kindergarten and Mechina (kindergarten prep) classes all have blogs.  And our Mechina students all have blogs of their own.   My own time spent working with this tool has better equipped me to make suggestions and assist my team as they too explore these possibilities.

I tweet

I tweet a lot.  I find it to be the tool with the highest density of quality resources, ideas, and people to strengthen my PLN.

I tweet when I have something to share: When there is a topic that I am passionate about (school culture, character education, math education, professional development…etc) and I believe that I may have a resource or an idea that may be of value to another practitioner, I tweet.

I tweet when I have an interest: Just last night I enjoyed a role reversal as I got to play the student on an excellent #5thchat.  @flyonthewall, @paulsolarz, and many others shared the inspiring ways they are incorporating genius hour/passion projects in to their classrooms.  I enjoyed the role of eager student probing for greater knowledge about philosophy, expectations, and outcomes for the projects.

I tweet in my role as match maker: Attempting to deliver the content that I see across my feed to the people in my school who will best appreciate and best incorporate it is one of the essential roles I feel I now play.  A quick tour across the lower and middle school building will show bulletin boards, classroom organizations, and lessons that were generated or inspired by resources that I have been able to push out to specific targeted people.

We tweet for community: All teachers are using grade level hashtags to document and share the excitement of the learning.  This enables parents, grandparents, and loved one to share in the joy and feel a part of the journey.  Additionally it enables us to connect our students and their work with others in our global community, and potentially with experts, authors, and organizations that will further the learning.

I continue to…

Hopefully the end to this sentence is reflect, learn, and grow. A week after returning from Boston, I concluded one of my first posts about the why and how to get started with twitter with the following:

“Finally, to all new and experienced teachers and collaborators in the pool, I thank you.  Thank you for the sharing that you have offered me as I have newly explored the potential of this tool, and thank you for the sharing that you will offer to me and all of my team in the coming weeks, months, and years.”

Still seems right.

 

 

 

Twitter: Moving from Communication to Connection

Teacher: So, I have been reading tweets and of course tweeting some stuff myself. I wanted to know if you are looking for quantity or quality in terms of our tweets. Meaning—is it beneficial for us to tweet something if it is not explained well or if the picture is unclear.

ME: This is a great question.  The goal is certainly not one of quantity, but rather quality. And, I would certainly not suggest unclear photo tweeting and/or meaningless tweets.  That being said, it is important to realize we are only in the first phase of our twitter initiative, and we are currently using twitter as a means of documenting and communicating cute or powerful lessons from the classroom.  This certainly does not mean that every tweet needs a picture, as there have been some great tweets without links, photos or attachments.  The next step, and I think the bigger payoff, is when our tweets start to encompass connections.  Connecting a tweet about our students working on a Georgia landform project with another 3rd grade class elsewhere in order to see photos or info about their studies of their own regions and/or connecting our student’s book reports and research papers with authors, organizations, community experts…etc. is the ultimate goal, as this will still serve the first purpose as well as unlock the true learning potential.  Unfortunately I think it requires familiarity with the first before being comfortable enough to move to the second type.  Therefore I do think quantity is relevant even if not most important.

An example of dipping our toe in to phase two, below is the tweet that I just send of a picture that Julie’s kids made using the Wordfoto app.  When I tweeted it, I included @wordfoto (this is the designers handle) and the #kinderchat (this is the kindergarten teacher hashtag).  Though there is certainly no guarantee of making a connection, but the possibility that the designer or another kindergarten teacher will see this and reach out to us to connect with Julie’s class now exists. I am well aware that this may look like a foreign language or feel overwhelming.  I promise that I will assist in making the transition from phase one to phase two.

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Earlier this week I received this email regarding our current twitter initiative.  In drafting my response I realized that there was great value in the interaction. First, I was pleased to even be engaging in such a discussion where we could be discussing evidence of implementation to reflect on future directions.  With our initiative being 3 weeks young, the more than 400 tweets display as much about the amazing culture of learning and innovation amongst our faculty team as the actual tweets and photos show about our wonderful culture of community and love.  That the producers of Davis content on twitter has gone from 5 or 6 to over 60 in 3 weeks is another reinforcement of this.

The process of growing and learning is inherently incremental.  Before we can walk, we crawl (most of us). Before we can program computers, we engage in computers.  Unlocking the learning potential that twitter provides for students and teachers will take a similar incremental approach.  Our daily tweets from all members of our community sharing the great success of our students and teachers is a solid start to this end.  Making the change to include more opportunities for global and “expert” connections for our students is the 2nd phase.  While we are fully engaged in phase 1, I can already see some nice beginnings of the transition to this second phase with references to authors, publishers, and community organizations coming across our hashtags in the past 3 days.

I look forward to building on the momentum of a great first three weeks with this initiative, transitioning more solidly in to a phase of connection, and looking ahead to helping students and teachers find, build, and share with a powerful and meaningful PLN in the 3rd phase.

Reflections on the Building Learning Communities Conference (#BLC13)

“If you want to benchmark the future you first have to invent it.” Dr.  Yong Zhao

I just returned from 4 incredible days of learning from some of the leading practitioners and thinkers in the field of education.  Their passion for analyzing, reflecting, and impacting their students as well as the field of education radiated through their sessions and the interactions between fellow colleagues.  The challenge that we all face is how to educate a current population of students so as to prepare them best for a future that will not only differ from the future we were prepared for in our schooling, but also be significantly different than the current world they are living, learning and growing in.   The keystones to the education we grew up with, knowledge and the production of articles to display this knowledge, are still important today, but the access and rapidity at which all of us can access this knowledge combined with the abundance of content that is searchable and accessible instantaneously have introduced new equally important keystones.  Learning how to search for and evaluate “quality” content, being a contributor to this ever-growing knowledge base, and finding and building on your own passions are equally relevant and important.  I look forward to processing the incredible learning I experienced over the past 4 days and sharing this learning with my community.