Lee launched the DEN Virtual conference with an amazing presentation on Personal Learning Networks (PLN). She emphasized the importance of reaching out to others. There are certainly times when we all may feel isolated… and knowing our PLN is there is comforting!
Lee began by sharing WallWisher which is a great collaborative board in which people shared the best things about their PLN. It was a great way to see how PLN’s can come to the rescue… whether it be through responses, advice, challenging questions, or support. Oftentimes, we tend to confine our PLN to the walls of our building. Branching out, and connecting with other educators is a great way to build connections, share learning, and engage!
Lee re-emphasized the use of Wikis and Blogs as an amazing opportunity for connecting and engaging yourself and your classroom. Comments4Kids wikispace is a great resource for finding classroom blogs to comment on. You can also add your own class blog or URL for others to find. KidBlog is a great site for student blogging. Designed for teachers, it is safe, secure and easy to use. KidBlog provides a great opportunity to get your students blogging and commenting with each other.
As a co-host of PalmBreezeCAFE, which is a web technology show that addresses a broad television audience as well as students and teachers, Lee’s segments on Web 2.0 sites focus on the community and the classroom. These broadcasts can be viewed on YouTube. Lee shared the three segments pictured below, which are great examples of collaborative sites to follow. Be sure to check them out, and follow the featured educators on Twitter.
And… as Lee reminded us, you don’t have to have your own show to engage and connect! Podcast, Blog, Tweet, or Plurk to encourage and promote each other!!
Lee discussed the importance of participating in online projects. When asked to do a project… it comes down to three words, GO FOR IT! Currently, Lee’s fourth graders are collaborating with Ernie Easter’s class in Northern Maine. Mr. Easter’s class was doing a project on insulation, and through their experiments are sending a snowball to Lee’s fourth graders in Florida. How fun is that?! The package is expected to arrive this week, and I can’t wait to hear the results. I’m sure Lee’s students will be sharing information on their class blog.
Other great sites for collaboration that Lee shared included the Center for Interactive Learning and Collaboration (CILC) and Teachers Connecting. The CILC is a great way to collaborate with other classrooms through all levels and topics. With Teachers Connecting, you can sign up your own classroom so people can find you, or look for other collaborations that have started.
Twitter is also a great way to connect with others. (I loved this picture from Lee’s presentation!) There are also many sites to check out when using Twitter in the classroom. TweetTeach will give you some ideas for educational uses, and JustTweetit will enable you to find other Twitter users like you. Lee also provided a spreadsheet of other educators using Twitter to connect with.
There are so many networks out there made for you! Whether it be the DEN, Google Certified Teachers, or Apple Distinguished Educators, there are many learning opportunities to take part in. Lee encouraged us to join these networks and continue to build our own PLNs. The friendships gained are priceless!
Sometimes we tend to lurk when exploring different social networking sites... but make yourself known! Lee suggested editing your Google profiles… add links, information, and an image so other educators can connect with you.
If you missed Lee’s presentation, look for the archive and be sure to check it out!