Okay. I spent this past school year learning how to set up my classroom website and blog. My integration of technology improved each month. I learned how to use many Web 2.0 tools such as Skype, Ning, and Jing. Now I need to conquer wikis.
I just signed up for a free, online course offered by PBWorks. PBWorks Summer Camp is a four week course that I am going to complete so that I can learn how to set up and use a wiki with my class. Check it out and join us.
Today I received an email from Lance that made my day. Here is a part of it:
“Thank you so much for your interest in the DEN Leadership Councils (LC) for 2009-2010. We are very excited about the community’s response to the LC election process this year and look forward to working with you.
The Louisiana LC for 2009-2010:
Susan Tompkins – Chair
Susan Gauthier – Blog Coordinator
Cindy Wallace – Events Coordinator
Paula Naugle – Blog Team ”
I am so excited that I did a happy dance. I am happy to be on the team with Susan T., Susan G., and Cindy W. and look forward to collabrating with them. We need to come up with a cheer, a mascot, team colors, ……
I can’t wait to get started. Go LA LC!
image – http://www.jcsd.k12.ms.us/jctc/DancingSnoopy.jpg
I kid my friends in the field of education that PLN aren’t just my initials (Paula L. Naugle) anymore. But I have been struggling with the idea of whether my PLN is my personal learning network or my professional learning network. Even though it is true that my PLN helps me grow professionally I feel very personally connected to these people.
I began growing my PLN after visiting Sue Waters’ wiki on the topic. I started a blog, joined several Nings, started one for fourth grade teachers in my school system, and set up my Google reader to receive RSS feeds from other educators’ blogs. Then I joined FaceBook and Twitter. I connected with friends from high school and college on FB, but wasn’t sure Twitter was for me. Did I really want updates on the mundane events in other people’s lives?
Luckily I did some more research and found Tomaz Lasic’s Twitter Handbook for Teachers. I revisited Twitter determined this microblogging platform was truly going to help me grow my PLN. At first I just “listened” to the stream of tweets going by, then I found people to follow, and finally I got brave enough to post some tweets. Boy did my first impression of Twitter change! In a few short months I had over 200 followers, was following about 200 educators, and had tweeted about 500 updates.
I now begin every morning by making my coffee and logging into my Twitter account. My PLN points me to articles and blog posts I should read, videos I should view, websites I should check out, and webinars that are being offered for free professional development. We laugh together, cry together, and cheer each other successes. That makes it very personal to me.
I just used Stupeflix.com to make a video of our Odd Day activities. It is free and very easy to use. Your video is quickly ready to share and embed. Check it out.
My English class is all excited because they wrote poems based on the ones in Margaret Wise Brown’s book The Important Book. Then we recorded them to a VoiceThread. Please feel free to add your comments. If you have a microphone you can leave a voice recording. If you don’t have a microphone you can type in a comment.
Are you familiar with the song “We’re All in This Together” from High School Musical? That was the song Beth Still dedicated to her personal learning network (PLN) this evening from Blip.fm to celebrate a victory.
On April 5, 2009 Beth started an online project to demostrate the power of a PLN. She wanted to see if she could get 1500 people in her PLN to donate $1 each to help send a newbie to NECC in Washington, D.C. this June. She went on to say, “I decided that Richard Byrne (@rmbyrne) was the “newbie” that I wanted to send to NECC. Richard is a Social Studies teacher in Maine who has worked tirelessly to help ensure his students and coworkers are able to work on a network that is as open as possible. He also maintains a blog called Free Tech 4 Teachers that recently won the 2008 Edublog Award for the Best Resource Sharing Blog.” (Please read the whole story on her blog.)
Then her PLN picked up the gautlet and we were off. As the days passed educators from around the world blogged about the project and used Twitter to get the message out to their PLN’s. Tweets and Retweets (RT) were sent by many people. Although the project didn’t go quiet as Beth had set it up, many people were involved and the $1500 was raised.
Why am I so excited? I am planning to have a F2F (face to face) meeting with Richard, one of the people from my PLN that shares great information each day with his PLN via his website. I also hope to meet Beth and many others who inspire me daily. Can’t wait!!!!
Earth Day Project and Activities
I started my Earth Day celebration with my students before our spring break. We watched this video so my students had some background knowledge of how this celebration was started. I told them we were participating in a very large online project called Earth Day Groceries Project. I went to the grocery store right next door to our school and borrowed a bundle of paper grocery bags (400 bags to the bundle) which will each be decorated with a “save the environment” message and artwork by the students. The decorated bags will be returned to the store before April 22 so that customers can have their groceries bagged in one of them. Not only are my students learning the lessons of reduce, reuse, recycle, but they are helping spread the word throughout our community.
They are also making PowerPoint slides of math word problems that have an environmental theme, writing acrostic poems about Earth Day and litter, playing environmental online games, and finding their carbon footprint. Click on the link above the picture for lots of Earth Days to use with your students.
I was reading a tweet by Alice Mercer when I realized we in education are not being given credit for all the professional development hours we log online. I joyously spent over 40 hours in PD over my recent spring break. My personal learning network (PLN) kept me very busy pointing to all sorts of wonderful resources all over the net. Websites, blogs, and Twitter oh my. Webinars, Skype, and wikis oh my.
I am keeping a journal of what I do online, but is that enough? Will I be given credit within my system for time spent online? Only one Webinar I attended during my spring break asked if I’d like to receive a certificate of participation. Should there be a way for educators to track what they do online for their PD? When I posted a Tweet asking this Sue Waters responded with “@plnaugle that is one of the reasons I blog – I will often blog my reflections of the session which gives me a journey & record.” Great advise from a friend in my PLN. So I am following her sage advice and I am blogging. I will continue to write blogs about my online professional development
Please share any ideas you have for tracking PD online. How do you track your online PD? Do you get credit for it?
I am so honored to be included in the ranks of Star Discovery Educator. I look forward to building my PLN with the members of this group. May our journey be filled with great adventures.