Today, I had the pleasure of presenting at Edscape 2011. The title of my session was Spontaneous Professional Development. You most likely have heard this term before as it is used pretty frequently these days.
Here’s the description of the session:
There are a plethora of FREE Web2.0 resources for bringing professional development to the educators in your district. Archived webinars can be viewed at home in your pajamas or with your PLC (professional learning community) as part of a district meeting. Using archived and live Blackboard Elluminate (desktop video conferencing) sessions from presentations all over the world, harness the power of your network to virtually keep learning.
I was really honored when Lori Abrahams (SL Lor Fredriksson) asked if I would be interested in presenting at the DEN in Second Life. I had talked about it with a few fellow ed-techies before, but had never really jumped on it. This time was different.
Lori and I chose to focus on one of the Google tools, so I selected searching strategies as the focus of my first-ever formal Second Life presentation. Please consider joining me at the new DEN Auditorium on Wednesday evening, April 29 at 5 PM SLT ( 7 PM CST, 8 PM EST). I will be talking about:
If you can’t make it, or you’re not into virtual worlds yet, take a look at the slides I posted on Slideshare so you can get an idea of all the things you can do to find the information you need IN A SNAP!
P.S. Don’t forget to bring your Google Account and password with you.
List FIVE changes you would like to see in the educational system. Your responses should represent your perspective and your passion for learning and students. If you have been tagged, tag as many people as you choose, but try for a variety.
This is the first semester in many years that I am not taking a graduate class in the evenings. I decided to take a break so that I would have more time with my family and to devote to the astonishing amount of professional development offered through the folks in my PLN via distance. Last semester, as I sat in a room without wi-fi listening to the class discussions, I found myself really feeling like I could spend my time more wisely participating in EdTechTalk events, the DEN or ISTE in Second Life or even some of the impromptu gatherings that happen via UStream or Skype. I just wanted to make sure that I was putting myself in an environment where I could learn.
One thing that stuck with me from one of my recent classes in supervision was that when you go into a school or a district as a new administrator, you should not make immediate change. You should observe and learn the culture before you can make decisions as to what would make improvements.
So, though a part of me wants to make changes in education, the other part of me knows that these things take time, and I’ll keep working towards making improvements within the districts that I have come to know the culture and populations of. The teachers that I work with know that I believe in “taking baby steps” and that things take time.
Here is my list. There are a few that are a bit more achievable, but I can dream big, right?
1. I would like teachers to view themselves as professionals so that the portion of the population that doesn’t, that sees teachers as working from 9 to 3 and having summers off, will know how much we are devoted to our profession. There are so many devoted educators that put in countless hours to improve teaching and learning in their classroom and to make sure that they meet the needs of their students. Let this be known.
2. I would like all educators to see the positive in each and every student. I know it’s difficult, but they are all someone’s child and they all need love, understanding and sometimes extra assistance or compassion.
3. I would like students to play a larger role in the writing of curriculum. If we give our students more opportunities to take ownership of their education, then maybe there will be more success stories. Students need to invest in their futures as well and this is one way for them to do so.
4. I would ask that administrators find the needs in a district before taking on an initiative to fix something. There is always more than one way to look at something. Let’s make sure we are addressing the right issues before determining what we think are the right solutions.
5. I would like all teachers to “be teachable“. Mandated professional development is not always the way to go. Educators, and people in general have to WANT to learn in order to truly learn. I would love it if all teachers were open to trying new things, open to doing what they already do well – more, and willing to share resources. How do we accomplish this? Well, I do believe that enthusiasm is contagious…
If you are reading this post, you most likely have thought about this list of 5 things to improve in education. Perhaps you’ve even implemented changes to make these improvements. I’d be curious to know what other things you are looking to change. I therefor tag the following bloggers, but anyone is welcome to leave a comment or post the meme on their site.
Since beginning my second life on Second Life back in March, I have had such great experiences and have met such wonderful, welcoming people through SL, Twitter and the DEN.
I’ve been fortunate enough to have been given a house in Chilbo by Fleep Tuque. I love my little house and I’ve met my neighbors and follow them on Twitter as well.
I’ve attended professional development and social events at the DEN and through ISTE during which I met in SL many of the great educators I’ve met in real life or on Twitter.
Having said all of this, I’ve met many new people in Second Life that were strangers at one time or another, but I met them in an environment that was appropriate. It wasn’t like I struck up a conversation with someone in a freebie store or when I was a complete “Newbie” and walking through the Ben & Jerry’s Orientation island. I had some unspoken rules in mind similar to what I teach teachers, students and my own children to use as guidelines. (These are a bit different since they were for me. Had I been working with kids I would never have let them include their personal information in their SL profiles.)
Only IM (instant message) with people that I know
Have a Landmarks (similar to Favorites) folder of familiar, appropriate, recommended places to visit
If I feel uncomfortable about something, log out and let someone know about it immediately.
In general, I follow my rules. But a couple of days ago, I returned to my house on Chilbo after having a very nice conversation with a fellow Rutgers staffer on RUCE. I always return to my house before logging off. It’s one of the great benefits of having real estate on SL. I walked away from my computer for just a minute and when I returned – there was an unfamiliar avatar sitting on my couch!
Me: Who are you?
Me: Hi – What are you doing in my house?
BB: im youre new boyfriend :-p
Me: Not really. Are you a chilbo resident?
BB: no passing by
Me: Nice meeting you – bye bye now.
BB: youre leaving ?
Me: You are.
BB: ill think about it
Me: Interesting – this has never happened before.
Me: You must be really bored.
BB: nope just checking this game out
Me: Oh – well I don’t use it for a game.
Me: I use it for work
BB: what kind of work?
Me: Not telling – but you need to leave – you are on private property.
BB: dont worry im not going to eat you
Me: ha ha
BB: this is just pixels remember
Me: Yes, but you are distracting,
BB: verry well then m gone
We can all pick a part how I handled the situation. I was caught a little off guard. My first instinct was to follow Rule #3 and log out, but he was in my house and I was concerned that he would possibly do something to my house or would still be there when I logged back on.
I did send a Tweet out to my PLN and got several immediate suggestions on what to do. (Thank you so much for the quick responses.) I also met with Fleep the next day and she banned BB from my house so that he could never return.
What’s the protocol for Stranger Danger as an adult in Second Life? I talk to strangers all the time in my first life and my four-year-old frequently scolds me as she doesn’t understand boundaries and social graces yet. How do we teach our students and children to be polite, generate new friendships and exchange information with people that can potentially be their friends or of some interest to them in real life or in virtual worlds and maintain boundaries?
I welcome your suggestions. I don’t welcome strangers on my couch. I’m Emanna Romano in Second Life should you want to discuss this in World, we can arrange a public place to meet. 🙂