Monday, March 18, 2013

Chapter 2 -- Developing a Connected Learning Model

In chapter 2 the authors define and discuss the three prongs of connected learning communities: professional learning communities, personal learning networks, and communities of practice. They also talked about how important it is to have a diverse network. Do you have diversity in your network? How important do you think it is to have a diverse network? Share your thoughts and suggestions on how to build a diverse network. Be sure to listen to, and maybe even comment to, the VoiceThread that is introduced at the end of the chapter. There is a great conversation going on there about how we can be effective teachers of today's learners.

24 comments:

  1. I haven't thought about whether my network is diverse. So I looked up Twitter user data and found a Pew Report that disaggregates Twitter data (http://www.ragan.com/Main/Articles/Pew_Report_The_demographics_of_Twitter_users_44999.aspx). I fall into one pretty specific type of user so no, I cannot say my network is diverse.

    I was pleased to see that men and women are equally represented on Twitter.

    I don't know to increse the diversity of the people I follow on Twitter. I do follow students but only after they have graduated. I do so to keep in the loop about what interests young people today (a lot of cussing is what I read!).

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  2. C Trinkle,
    Why do feel diversity in a network would be important? Especially, I would love to learn more about why you feel gender equity is important in who one follows and learns from online. Willing to share?

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    1. OH, wow. I have to articulate this and I'm not sure I have a good answer. Gender equality is important to me because men have traditionally dominated the tech field. Some of the loudest voices on Twitter - I'm talking about the educational leaders who are devoted techies and have been on Twitter for years, are men. I assumed there were more men on Twiter and I was happy to see that this is not at all true.

      I also think, based on empirical evidence only (which means no data to support this - yet), that the women I follow are interested in how to do something - are more practical - are more "get to it" and task oriented - than the males I follow - who tend to espouse about why something should be done or seem to admonish that we "should" be doing the cool thing they recommend. I guess it is a good balance but I do like the "how to implement something posts" ... and not just be told I should be doing it. I don't know if this makes sense & I hope I don't come across as narrow-minded. I don't mean to me. And remember, a person creates her own PLN so it could be that I need to find new people to follow.

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  3. I do believe having a diverse network is important. It is a way to be informed of what others are doing outside my immediate environment. I see it as a valuable tool to learn about new information, what has/hasn't work for other, and be exposed to ideas I might not have thought of. At this point I do not feel my network is diverse. I am hoping that being involved with this book and blog that I will be able to learn and increase my network.

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  4. I feel that my network is as diverse as I can handle for now, I am a member IDOE Learning Connection(over 20 communities)
    Teaching Channel
    IASP
    Read Works
    Eye on Education
    Atomic Learning
    Fractus Learning
    Teach Plus
    ASCD Smart Briefs
    IEI Principals Newsletter
    Educator Advocate
    Edmodo
    Twitter
    My Big Campus
    Just to name the ones I remember. today I received a Tweet from a fellow teacher regarding the PARCC test and had information I was not aware of. So having a diverse network means others will post and make sure you see things they know you find an interest in...even though you may have already received it. I in-turn sent it to other administrators in and out of my district, to make sure they are "in the know".
    I follow curriculum, corporation testing, CCSS, Legislative policies, school principal information, PARCC, best practices, Teacher Evaluations, Digital learning as we are planning 1:1 for 7-12 next year along with BYOD for 5th and 6th grade.
    I love being involved and connected,but I would love to streamline my roles and what I need to be connected to so that I can be more of an expert in myb areas and not a "skimmer" of information.
    I am diversified, but a tad to much.
    I did leave a Voice Thread - with no voice - just "text" :/

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  5. You had a different take on diversity than I did; I was thinking demographics. Your list here: "I follow curriculum, corporation testing, CCSS, Legislative policies, school principal information, PARCC, best practices, Teacher Evaluations, Digital learning as we are planning 1:1 for 7-12 next year along with BYOD for 5th and 6th grade" is a great way to look at our diversity as connected learners and makes me rethink how my own PLN is diverse. The PARCC tweet inspires me now to find followers or a hashtag where people are sharing about that assessment; I hear about it, know a little, and love the idea of being proactive in learning about PARCC through PLC conversations and sharing.

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  6. I think having a diverse network is important. If we only have like-minded people in our network, we may miss the opportunity to think critically. We may miss the opportunity to be challenged by new ideas that would remove us from our comfort zone and make us change, grow and improve. Upon reflection of my own network, I realize that I need to expand. While my network includes people in different areas of the country and those that hold different positions, I still believe most of them share my same like-mindedness. It's time to broaden my horizons.

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  7. I was actually having a conversation about this with a teacher just recently. Do we prevent ourselves from growing when we personally select who we add to our PLN? If I'm completely honest, I generally follow the blogs and tweets of people that I think "get it." I very rarely consider following someone that doesn't align with my opinions. I do try to follow "experts" who I think are more knowledgeable than me, and I try to be involved with several different groups. Literally speaking, my network is diverse, but if we are discussing diversity in the context of differences of opinions and point of view, my network may not be as diverse as it should be. I think it is a fine line between being open-minded and being intentional about aligning yourself with the type of thought leaders that will help you grow.

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    1. Michele,
      You share a bit about how you add to your PLN and how you usually seek out others with similar ideas. And you add:
      "I think it is a fine line between being open-minded and being intentional about aligning yourself with the type of thought leaders that will help you grow."
      I hope you might talk about that a bit more?

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  8. (Please forgive my tardy response. What a week!)

    Michele, I love your thoughts here and I feel like I am very much in the same place. One thought that I had as I was reading the chapter and everyone else's posts was that I feel like I have spent a lot of time talking with those who don't "get it" - listening to their concerns and criticism and trying to help them understand why education is moving in these direction. Although this has gotten much better in the last year, the culture shift of helping teachers to think differently has been hard work. These are mostly in my offline connections. I think I turn to my online PLN for the inspiration and refreshment of connecting with those who think like I do in this area. I do think I need to expand my online PLN to include some people to challenge me, but there are days I feel that I have enough of that elsewhere and I just need a PLN to pick me up and keep me moving forward.

    Am I alone in this? :)

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    1. Rachel, you are not alone. I can feel lonely at my school, having few teachers to bounce ideas about a technology - rich project off of. I yearn for face-to-face conversations, collaboration, and creation with other teachers. I plan to attend the Indiana Edcamp in June and have asked an assistant principal to go with me. She is excited to go. And a summer elearning workshop/conference would be another way to talk with people in person. I will be honest with you - you are on Twitter and are in my PLN and I look for your postings when I check in - but I am becoming disappointed with Twitter. Who is listening? Why do so many Twitter luminaries just post about a great resource that you know they aren't actually using? Why lists of lists of lists? How do so many of these guys get such a following because they spend the day on technology learning about what is great and telling about it on Twitter? I am starting to distrust some of the people I follow because I can't figure out what they're learning about to really know about before they teach others...what are they doing besides posting and learning about cool technologies? I need something real and productive and with...how to say... long lasting working relationships that include learning about and creating with technology - creating for and with students, I mean.

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    2. I hadn't heard anything about the Indiana EdCamp... Where can I find information?

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    3. Edcamp Indy's website is http://edcamp.wikispaces.com/edcamp+Indy.

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    4. C. Trinkle,

      Such important questions around Twitter you are asking!

      I'm wondering if you are yearning for learning in community (CoP) when you say "need something real and productive and with...how to say... long lasting working relationships"

      Can leveraging them across each other make the change for our students that we wish to be?

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  9. Rachel, I don't think you are alone in your thinking. I too am refreshed and inspired by my PLN. There are so many amazing educators that do so much and I feel like I am challenged by reviewing their blogs and school initiatives. I feel like my PLN is diverse and I feel like I learn from so many different educators from the technology, administrative, teacher, and counselor perspective. I also try to connect with classrooms as part of my PLN to get a sense of how students are using PLN's. It's amazing to me how my professional life has changed in the past two years which is when I feel like I truly became a connected educator. I feel like we are all making such a difference as we all promote and share in each others' successes.

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  10. There is so much in this chapter to reflect upon. As a person who helps teachers and students with technology in my district, many new concepts are presented which can impact how professional development is delivered to both teachers and students. I would like to say that we are diverse, but this is not true on a global level. This is something that would enhance what I do.

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    1. Therese,

      You mentioned you found concepts in the chapter that can influence the work that you do. I'd love to hear what ones captured your attention-- other that exploring opportunities for more global connections, what else resonated with you, that you might take for your next session with teachers?

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  11. As I reflected on my own PLN I found that I really do have a diverse group of leaders and educators that I follow. I have groups of people that I use as resources in the areas of leadership, technology, and literacy, as well as general class instruction. I do feel, as mentioned in prior posts that these resources, though they vary in field of expertise, tend to share the same educational value system/beliefs that I do. I may benefit from including people who may think differently than me.

    I can relate to what Rachel and Kim are saying. I often find myself having to justify my positions on instructional practices/expectations with the teachers that I come in contact with in person. I find it refreshing and encouraging to have the support of the members in my PLN to go back to. They keep me going and challenge me to be better.

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  12. I have found that reading this chapter and relating to those who have posted affirms what I try do every day for our students and staff in our district. I did not realize how diverse my PLN was until now. However, I agree with Therese that on a global level that I need to expand my PLN and encourage our district to do the same. We have begun the effort but need to do more than we have in the past. I loved listening to the VoiceThread. This chapter really stretched my thinking.

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  13. I have replied to this topic twice, but both of my posts have disappeared the next day. Is anyone else experiencing this?

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  14. For those of you with a more international plan, how did you make those connections? I feel isolated in some ways by geography- my school is not close to a lot of conference collaboration opportunities nor is Indiana. I want to branch out more. Interest, Facebook, and discussions like this help. Yet at the same time, I haven't embraced Skype or Twitter yet either. And I long for a smaller plan with just middle school social studies teachers to bounce ideas off and learn from. This chapter was a lot of introspection as I read. (Hopefully my post is a success this time- 3rd time's a charm.)

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    1. I realized after I posted my response that I am connected globally through the Moodle forum. Don't know how I forgot to mention it because I get the posts from New Zealand and etc. all through the night on my cell phone. You might already be connected and not realize it, like me. I forgot that the forum is global. If you belong to a forum, you could already be connecting. I am from Indiana too! :)

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  15. I really don't believe I have reached a level of being diversely connected yet. I am working on it and my networks are growing. I have embraced skype, blogs, wikis and most recently twitter. I have made some new connections on twitter that has helped me to see the value in it.

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    1. I certainly still have much to learn! I just realized I was signed in under my google account that I use for school when I post. This brings me to a point of struggle. How do you all keep your different accounts straight when there are so many logins and passwords. I have an account for school and one for personal, yet the two often mix.

      I am just now getting caught up on all the reading. I finished my Masters last week, so now it is time for reading books of interest!

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