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 Professional 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.
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.
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.
For the life of me I can’t remember who I overheard say it or where. It was sometime before NECC. But the statement was, “at this point presentations are for the presenter and the backchannel is for the attendees”. THIS WAS SO NOT THE CASE AT BLC08.
Most of us came prepared for the backchannel. I know when I arrived at Liz Davis’s house Sunday evening, the first thing I did was make sure I could connect to her wireless network. Her husband just laughed. He knew Liz and I would be lost in the technology for the rest of the evening. Come on – admit it. The desk in your hotel room looked similar Dave Truss‘s. There’s no shame in admitting that you came to BLC08 prepared to document, record and participate in as much as possible to build your learning community.
The caliber of sessions I attended was outstanding. I missed two because Liz and I presented twice. (You can view our session wiki at http://bolc08.wikispaces.com/)
So back to the backchannel. Most of the sessions that I attended were UStreamed. Bob Sprankle even recorded podcasts of several for his subscribers. There were dozens of sessions that I wasn’t able to get to since they have not yet been able to perfect the science of cloning. So, UStream and podcasting extended my conference experience by allowing me to attend additional sessions.
One of the sessions that I set up the Stream for had 30 people in the chat room. Now I have no way of knowing if all 30 were from outside of the Newton Marriott, but when I asked the facilitator, Darren Kuropatwa, if I could relay some questions from the chat, we were able to include BLC08 virtual attendees Lisa Durff, CathyJo Nelson and Bud Hunt in the conversation. Had I not been following the backchannel, Darren would not have known until much later that some of his viewers had questions.
Speaking of just-in-time teaching and learning…
Where’s the learning with the backchannel?
Is it a distraction? Maybe sometimes.
It is what you make of it. I feel it’s part of our collective intelligence. It allows for the opportunity to offer a different point of view than what you might be thinking of had you been viewing the presentation in silence or isolation.
The backchannel affords us the chance to discuss, in real time, the topic at hand, rather than going back later when the speaker is unavailable.
Karen Janowski set up a Ning for BLC08. They have a group that is getting together the links to the UStreams from the conference.
Listed below are the resources that I have put together so far. Some of them I have on my iTouch, some in my Diigo, some in my head.
BTW – If you can remember who made that comment about the backchannel – let me know, would ya – I’d like to talk to them about it.
EdubloggerCon East blew me away yesterday.
I was so impressed by the educators that dedicated their day to joining our gathering at the Newton Marriott. Alan November graciously arranged for a room for us for the day and the accommodations were fantastic (including the wireless access).
I know many of the EBC attendees will be blogging about the day and you can view our notes on our Google Doc. Also, in the next few days, we’ll post a link on the wiki to the archived UStream and I’ve posted the Wordle that we tried to make yesterday here as well as in our Group on the BLC Ning. (I had fun Joyce!) But most importantly, I’d like to take some time to post my thoughts on the one idea I neglected to mention.
Over really yummy Mexican food, I looked at Liz Davis and said, “I just remembered what I wanted to ask everyone!” I wanted to have a conversation about what makes a blog worthy of being listed on your blogroll. I’ve noticed that some edublogger’s blogrolls have gotten quite lengthy. Some are even categorized. Mine on the other hand is quite short and is missing many blogs that I read on a regular basis. So I’ve gone in before posting this to fix that. I’ve also eliminated some of the blogs that I really haven’t been dedicated to reading.
Now that I’ve updated mine, I thought I’d share with you why I listed the blogs I chose. These are the blogs I have subscribed to in my Google Reader. They should give someone reading ThumannResources an idea of who I interact with and what topics I’m interested in reading. For the most part these bloggers are part of my PLN.
Questions for you:
Why do you share your blogroll?
Who’s blog is listed in your blogrroll that your actually read on a regular basis?
Who’s blog is listed in your blogroll that you really don’t read?
What other reasons are there that would cause you to list someone’s blog in your blog roll?