Spontaneous Professional Development

I’m not quite sure where I first heard the term. It might have been back in May when I read Wes Fryer’s post about The Importance of Online detailedstatemapofnewjegm6Professional Development or in the Blogger’s Cafe at NECC when talking with Dean Shareski and Scott McLeod about how to encourage teachers to reach out to their network’s for information and assistance.

I rather like the term though. It speaks to me. Isn’t this what Twitter is to so many of us? I know what you are thinking. “Lisa is blogging about Twitter again?” Well, I was on a Google kick for a while and now it looks as if my focus has shifted to professional development as for the next three Tuesdays I will be keynoting for the New Jersey Education Association‘s (NJEA) Technology Institutes. Obviously all the presentations will focus on educational technology.

July 7, 2009 – Spontaneous Professional Development (through Twitter)

July 14, 2009 – Portability and Powerful Learning Tools

July 21, 2009 – The 21st Century Classroom and the Networked Student

I’ve set aside a section on my wiki for the slide decks and resources I’ll be sharing and I will be embedding the UStreams there as well. I’ve established #NJEA as the Twitter hashtag already as last night I asked Twitterers to share some resources with the NJEA attendees using #NJEA.

Please consider joining the UStream on any or all of these Tuesday mornings at 9:15AM EST. I truly feel these New Jersey educators would benefit from your take on spontaneous professional development and how you’ve benefited from your personal learning network through Twitter. Tweet a link using the #NJEA hashtag, leave a comment here, join us in the UStream.

Thanks for your support. –Lisa

4vdsfhy5za

Coping with Distractions

I’ll be honest. As I’m writing this, I’m completely distracted as my youngest daughter keeps coming in to tell me she has a stomach ache. This post itself is a distraction from the prep work I should be doing for the Google Learning Institute tomorrow at the Center at Rutgers. The GLI is a distraction from all the other PD I need to prep for and follow-up on.

priorities

I’ve been asking myself lately what distracts me from work. I’ve also been working at prioritizing my workload. My family and I just moved to a new house. (Packing up the house we had been in for eleven years was more of a project than I had anticipated.) I wanted to make sure that during the move, I would not misplace any of the materials I would need for the professional development I would be teaching before the end of the school year. I was kind of successful. I’ve only misplaced the AC adapter for my Blackberry and my patience.

Another distraction. My eldest daughter feels it’s necessary to remind me a dozen or so times that she MIGHT be going somewhere this weekend IF a friend’s mother says it’s okay.

First priority – my family
Second priority – Well…this is were it gets fuzzy. I’d like to say it’s my job. But at this point, my job is so connected to so many things.

Another distraction. The eldest daughter is back again. More information about the possibility of plans. Perhaps a phone call tomorrow will help. (There is always time in the day for my girls.)

So, how do you prioritize what you need to do for work when everything you do is connected and you are connected through your personal learning network? Here are some of my priorities for work:

  • Prep work for PD
  • Twitter
  • Google Reader
  • Diigo/Delicious
  • E-mail – Phone calls
  • Maintaining blogs/wikis/other resources

Which should be at the top of the list? Which should be considered a distraction? A priority?

How do YOU manage all of this? Does anyone have the magic answer? I know I don’t. I’ve been asked many times before how I manage to keep up with it all. I usually respond that I rely on my PLN for support. You get what you give and I try to give what I can. Help me out here.

Going Ga Ga Again

gaga

Back in January I spoke about Google Apps with Dean Shareski and Alec Couros‘s classes. There have been a few changes. We said goodbye to Google Notebook and for many Google Video. We have welcomed Drawing tools to Google Docs and Themes to Google Forms.

I’ve changed the way I am sharing some of the information with Dean’s class tonight. I’ve shared my presentation above. We’ll be meeting in Eluminate as we did back in January if you’d like to join us.

Also, if you have time to take a look at some additional resources. These are the top three I suggest:

19 Interesting Ways to use Google Docs in the Classroom

Google Tools Comic Book

Google Almanac

Using the Power of Twitter: Building Online Learning

Map of lthumann's relationships
Map of lthumann's relationships

I realize there are many amazing posts on the merits of using Twitter to develop a PLN. I also realize that there already exists dozens of collections of tools for making the most of Twitter. Yet, as I prepare for my presentation at NJECC‘s annual conference tomorrow, I am compelled to write one of my own.

Tomorrow, sometime after the lunch hour, I am presenting “Using the Power of Twitter: Building Online Learning” at NJECC’s 23rd Annual Conference. Here’s the session description:

“How can educators around the world use technology to connect, collaborate, teach, support and inspire each other? Collaborative Internet applications allow educators to create online communities that support their professional learning and relieve their isolation. In this session we will focus on the ways two social networking tools, Twitter and Classroom 2.0, can be harnessed to build a rich and powerful learning community. We will discuss tips and tricks to leverage the potential of these networks. We will provide resources to help attendees set up their own networks during and after the session. Finally, we will capitalize on the face to face connections within the workshop to further enrich our online learning community.”

There’s so much about Twitter that I won’t be able to share because I will want attendees to take advantage of the face-to-face networking time before they go off to develop their online learning networks. I thought I would mention some of the tools and topics I would have liked to discuss tomorrow here, so that anyone attending still has access to the information – all in one place – and of course to share with my PLN what I feel are valuable resources.

Twitter Memes and Hashtags:

Follow Friday
Each Friday, Twitter users suggests other Tweeters to follow. They end or begin their Tweet with #FollowFriday (An example.)

Gr8t Tweets for the month of March
Re-Tweet (RT) one great Tweet a day and include the hashtag #gr8t at the end.  All Gr8Tweets show up on the Grt8Tweets Wiki home page. Here’s a list of who’s participating. (Though I’m sure there are many, many more.)

Using Twitter Hashtags – This is a great explanation of what a Hashtag is and how they are used.

Ways to Build your Network:

Twitter4Teachers – An extensive list of educators on Twitter  – categorized by subject area / grade level
Who Should I Follow? – Find new Twitter Friends
Mr.Tweet – Discover great people relevant to your current needs

Searching for Tweets and Twitterers:
Twitter Search – Search by keyword, Hashtag or even Twitter ID
TweetScan – Searches Twitter and allows you to get e-mail updates
Tweetdeck – Group people together and have separate columns for @Replies, DMs, Groups and the public timeline

Cool Twitter Tools:

Tweet Wheel– allows you to visually discover which of your followers know each other.
Top Twitter Friends –  Including a list of your top 20 BFFs and suggestions of Twitterers to follow.

For discovering many more Twitter tools:

Top Twitter Tools for 2009
Twitter Fan Wiki

I know there are so many more tools and resources out there. Many folks in my PLN have created screencasts and video tutorials on how to use these tools and on the merits of using Twitter. They are all in my Social Bookmarks at http://delicious.com/lthumann/twitter or http://www.diigo.com/user/lthumann/twitter. I also bookmark anything related to Twitter to the Diigo Twitter Freaks Group. Please join us!

Pick one new skill and give it a try

images.inmagine.com/img/image100/10086/10086059.jpg
Source:images.inmagine.com/img/image100/10086/10086059.jpg

Late this past Tuesday I was asked if I would put together a presentation for a group of high school teachers. The high school administration is working on making better use of the hardware and infrastructure already set in the building and they have set up a professional day with some 90 minute workshops on how to integrate web resources into the content areas as a way of renewing the buildings interest in matching the students needs. To kick off the day, the technology coordinator asked me to make a presentation to the 150 or so high school teachers that would “get them excited” about using technology.

If you’ve met me, follow me on Twitter or read my blog, you know it doesn’t take much to excite me about technology. This stuff is my passion. So I immediately recognized that what might be really engaging for me as a member of this audience on a Friday morning at 8am, might bore the heck out of a high school biology teacher who has no interest in technology whatsoever. Thanks invance for your continued support and assistance.

This I found a bit unnerving.

The other issue I was having was that I found out about this presentation Tuesday afternoon and was due in another district on both Wednesday and Thursday. So there wasn’t much time to prep anything. I mostly planned my slide show in my head and wrote notes at red lights while driving. And then finally, Thursday evening, was able to put my presentation together.

I’d like to share it with you. I wish it were later in the day so that I would be able to invite my PLN to join a backchannel and present with me, but I realize that 8am is very early. I may try to set something up on UStream if I get the chance once I am there. I will definitely be on Twitter, looking for moral support as I have to say that this is the largest group I have presented to.

Did I mention that this is the first district I ever taught in?? No, I guess I didn’t happen to mention that.

As Liz Davis I had great fun asking session attendees to dance with us at Educon2.1, I decided to play some music while everyone is settling down. I don’t quite have the nerve to ask 150 people to get up and dance.

I will introduce the video Pay Attention and then use this slide show to lead my discussion. If I’m not able to record it using UStream, I’ll have my iPod Classic with me so that I can record it that way as I’d like to go back and hear it myself. I’m very curious to see what improvements I can make on this particular presentation having had so little time to prepare.