#ce14 #clmooc #etmooc Student Agency


How do we help students develop the insight and initiative to be life-long, productive learners contributing to a better world? How do we develop student agency?

We know that motivation comes from a desire to learn, a purpose, an authentic interest, and a belief that success is possible. We know that learning is a social activity, that involvement with others enhances our reflection and goals. We’ve come to understand that reflection and feedback in authentic tasks in which we can improve and develop before publication or presentation builds motivation and agency.

So we also know that project-based learning can form a structure that develops the critical thinking and reflection habits that help learners make choices that guide improved learning.

But sometimes  these more open venues based on passion or student interest can flop. We need to understand that each student is at a different stage in their learning journey.  Here’s a review of this idea in an old video I made for #etmooc:

ETMOOC Slice from Sheri Edwards on Vimeo.

How do we provide the structure, the connection to the learning and the people, so students develop their voice to create their agency?

In this year’s #clmooc,  the organizers developed a support team to monitor and collaborate with members as an encouragement to participation. Because a sense of belonging and a connection with other members provides the support needed to make choices, and the freedom to choose what and when to participate allowed members to grow in their learning at their pace and for their purpose. People skipped some projects, and then became deeply involved in others. Learning is personal; learning is social. But the key to all of this really is based on what Daniel Pink suggests: People need autonomy, purpose, and mastery for motivation. If we review the literature on motivation and behavior, William Glasser’s work provides a background for autonomy, purpose, and mastery. Glasser suggests that we “behave” to meet the basic needs of freedom [autonomy], belonging [purpose], power [autonomy, mastery], and fun [purpose].

One of the best explanations of student agency connected to Glasser’s work is by Jackie Gerstein: Learner Agency, Technology, and Emotional Intelligence.

To build agency and voice in the connected learners of today, freedom to choose the learning is high on the list — autonomy and purpose.  But to make the choice, learners need to feel they belong and that they have the power to master the undertaking.  And our task is to be the support team, the guides to understand where and how the learners will take  that next step.

Both #clmooc and #etmooc provided the connections, collaboration, and support for their learners.  How do we translate that into a transformed classroom for today?

In Real Time Data Moves Forward Add Yours with #clmooc

In Real Time: Click to see data move forward this second…

Click the animation to open the full version (via PennyStocks.la).

[Sources at bottom of linked page.]

What do we do with so much data?  Make sense of it, and add your own little bit!

As Steve Hargadon says:


Photo Credit: Denise Krebs (@mrsdkrebs) as part of our Extend the Conversation presentation where we added a few bits of our own. We both tweet and blog to share what we learn.

So  think about it: the world is a much bigger place, and a much smaller one. We can connect with others anywhere in the world with Internet access. We can learn and remix the ideas of others, innovating and collaborating together. Together, we can make the world better.

One way to begin is to join a community such as Connected Learning Massive Open Online Collaboration: CLMOOC.  It’s a welcoming community for anyone to drop in, see what we’re doing, lurk, comment, create in ways that fit your needs and time. Click on the links below for more information.

What is Connected Learning?

What are the goals?

How do I sign up?

When is it?  Remember, you can participate in many ways, big and small, at any time.

Where is the community? [ Google Plus ]

How do I follow? #clmooc Twitter?

Connected Learning helps us make sense of all the information and ground it in our daily lives.

How are you making sense of the information?

What are you adding?

Will you join #clmooc and help us learn together?


Cross-posted at Sheri42

Go boldly and scatter seeds of kindness…
Reflect curiosity and wonder…

Live to make the world less difficult for each other. ~ George Eliot

#clmooc Blog Conversations

Bangkok Street Portraits 8 - Mindful

Creative Commons License Photo Credit: Collin Key via Compfight


What is a conversation?

A conversation, the give and take of ideas among people. We converse in the hallway, at dinner, or any time we meet. We listen to the stories of our friends, and we share our own. We ask questions, and answer those of others. We laugh. We cry. We agree. We disagree. We consider what our friends say. We may even change our own ideas. But the important thing is, we share, consider, and continue the dialogue. That’s a conversation. Isn’t it?

What is a blog conversation?

As you have been practicing, good bloggers spend time reading and commenting on others’ blogs. We look for posts of interest to us and leave a comment expressing our ideas and appreciation for the topic information. Commenting is a form of conversation with the author of the blog.

As bloggers, we can do more to extend the conversation. We can add value to others’ ideas by extending the conversation into our own blogs.

When we read others’ blog posts. We enjoy, learn, or disagree with them. In our minds, we have a response. That’s what we want to capture, that spark of connection when we read the posts.

Read to find that spark, that connection — the place in the blog post you think, “Ah.” or “What?” or “Yeah.”

At that point, that’s your cue to add to the conversation. It’s your gift back from the value given in the post. Copy that part of the idea.

Then, with the best digital citizenship in mind, we write a post about that idea, and your gift back: do you agree? disagree? learn something? have a different or new idea?

Go for it: Share their idea and your response — being overly positive as we always do so the author feels accepted and not disrespected.

Link back to the original blog.

Then comment on the blog with a link to your response post.

You’ve just started a blog conversation!

 So, How do I start a blog conversation?

  1. Find a post with a spark — an idea that you connect with other ideas
  2. Copy that part of the post
  3. Start your post with that quote and the author’s name.
  4. Link the author’s name to their blog (put the URL of that POST as a link from the name)
  5. Thank the author for their idea
  6. Add your ideas: a new idea, a different idea, an agreement and why, a respectful disagreement [I wonder if…], a question and your answer
  7. Publish your post
  8. Go back to the original post and comment with a link to your post
  9. Smile: You’re a blogger!

 Blogging is a Conversation

If you blog, you’re a writer, an author, but take it further, be a the blogger that adds value to your connections. Be a connected learner.

This blog post is an extension of a conversation learned in a WizIQ webinar I took with  Stephen Downes, which I wrote about here, to share my learning and my response to that webinar learning. I learned that the connections are what is important:

  • In order for what we are saying to make any sense, it needs to be a response to something.
  • Find places where you can add value rather than pursue a particular goal or objective
  • In almost all fields, connecting with others IS the work.
  • Connecting is all about adding value and flow (input, output, feedback, plasticity)

That post of mine and this post for you are part of the flow, the extension of the conversation from the gift of learning from  Stephen Downes. I decided to make changes in my blogging practice and to share that with you:

  1. Read and comment on blogs; blog a response (this is one of my responses).
  2. For my students, we will now read others’ blogs first, blog our response of those that touch our hearts and minds, and comment back with a link to our posts.

I appreciate and thank Stephen for extending my ideas about blogging. And thanks to The Edublogs Team for their blogging challenges for Connected Educator Month.

Do you see how I have:

  • Included a link to  Stephen Downes?
  • Include the learning [bullets above] from  Stephen Downes?
  • Linked his name back to his blog and also to the WizIQ webinar information?
  • Added my ideas [directions to you; two changes I will make]?
  • Thanked the author [Stephen]?
  • Lastly, I wrote back on the webinar site [not available publicly] to share my blogpost, which is my “comment back.”
  • And, for writing class, did I:
    • Write clearly
    • Write with evidence
    • Write positively
    • Write in paragraphs
    • Write with correct grammar, spelling, punctuation, capitalization?

Ready? Have a go —

Find an inspiring post and write your own extension to the conversation, adding value to the ideas of the original author!  And ask yourself:

  • Are  you connected?
  • Are you adding value?
  • Are you responding to the gifts from others?
  • Are you extending the conversation?
  • And , for writing class, are you:
    • writing clearly with evidence?
    • writing positively [respectfully]
    • writing in paragraphs with correct conventions [grammar, spelling, punctuation, capitalization]?

Have a go,

…and come back here to comment on the results…

Cross-posted from Eagles Write

A Twitter Idea #clmooc #etmooc #edquery #ce13

questionmarkblue This month, I’ve asked a few questions on Twitter — used hashtags and asked PLN. I really needed more than a few responses, and I know the Twitter PLN is an awesome place for answers. I’m wondering if we need an Education Query hashtag: #edquery

An #edquery hashtag would work like #comments4kids. Twitter users tune in to the #comments4kids hashtag to discover student blogs on which to comment to encourage the practice of positive social learning and sharing. I created a #comments4kids widget for our class blog so students could comment on those blogs.

With an #edquery hashtag, educators could tune in each day to respond to a question or two or retweet the ones they also are interested in. The conversations of responses could be a wealth of ideas all could learn and use. It could be the one place / tag on Twitter to discover answers to specific questions or to get referrals for apps or tools that would solve a problem. It could refer people to bloggers that provide insights to their particular situations. It’s widget would provide constant fuel for suggestions and blogging.

Here are just two of my recent questions:

A colleague is just getting text savvy, and has one iPad in his classroom he’d like to connect and display with onto his SmartBoard. Thankfully I was referred to Splashtop, but I know there are other ideas and apps out there because technology is a tool, and the tool we choose is the one that fits that moment and need. And twitter users share what they know and use so the query responses are very helpful.

Today I’m wondering about vocabulary: what tech tools and apps can enhance vocabulary acquisition? I know about Spelling and Vocabulary via Spelling City, Engrade FlashCards,  and Quizlet. Again though, I’m looking for choices, because blended learning offers the options for differentiation — and developing a repertoire of resources from those using the tools would greatly help this query.

So, what do you think? Would  #edquery be a good addition to our education hashtag helpers?


Connected Learning #ce13 #clmooc


Once again I am inspired by the conversation encouraged from the people at the National Writing Project and The Connected Learning site . I received my email newsletter, The National Writing Project Daily, and found the link to the live webinar discussion of “CONNECTING TO SOMETHING BIGGER: THE POWER OF OPEN, PEER-TO-PEER LEARNING.”

I’ve been participating in The NWP and Department of Education Connected Educator Month through webinars, twitter chats ( #literacies, #edtechchat), and various learning communities. My participation is usually lurking and learning, extending ideas in chats in webnars and twitter as I can. And you should too. Everyone has an idea or strategy that may help a collegue in some way. And that is the best reason to participate: to share.

I’m just a middle school language arts teacher, but I still “know stuff,” [The Postman] and so do you. Pehaps it’s a grouping strategy to encourage student intereactions, perhaps it’s a unit developed for the new Common Core State Standards, or maybe it’s a lesson on sentence fluency. Those questions are out there — and your help through your connections on twitter, nings, Google Plus communities [ Connected Learning and National Writing ProjectPinterestDiigo, etc. build the knowledge of the world. Imagine. We are all connected. And together we have answers.

Start small. Here are a few ideas from the webinar participants:

Invitations to do right away

Gail — twitter to connect easily — start following the participants: @writingproject @gaildesler @kristenswanson @mizuko @paulallison @poh and chatters @onewheeljoe @jgmac1106 @tellio

Paul Allison — students — listening to what students do on computers;  pay attention;

Kristen — dip your toe in connected world — edcamp wiki; free and everyone is welcome

Paul Oh — yes, edcamp  Digital Is — K-University; publish about your practice and share / learn from other practitioners; Educator Innovator space;

Greg McVerry and Tellio: ds106 headless blog

onewheeljoe: I think the power of the HOMAGO work is that it intentionally puts youth at the center. That begins by noticing a kid’s work and encouraging them to share it openly.

And some suggestions for the classroom:

Kristen: Let things get messy; classroom design — make it so students can interact with each other, not just one way to teacher

Paul Allison: Once you start working this way, curriculum becomes asynchronous; get curriculum online

curate, collect, stuff online

kids need a map — what’s next

Paul Oh: have a pedagogical understanding of what connected learners, co-learners, means. How are learners learning today? Develop personal learning networks and be open, in publics to share. [ Learn about Connected Learning here. ]

OneWheelJoe: Digital citizenship is about behavior and conduct, while connected learner speaks to potential.

Gail: Learn how to step aside.

Finally, by joining in and even by reading this post, you are what Paul Oh suggests:

Paul Oh: Great to be part of this movement and great conversation.

Connected Learner?

Yes. So.

Take a deep breath.

Let it go.

Grab a cup of coffee

or Evening in Missoula tea,


Enter your search

[ insert link above ]

Take time to lurk

Let ideas in.

Grab a suggestion

or give one back.

Yes! So-

Connected Learner!




 Also Published at Digital Is, Sheri Edwards

#write2connect Session with Stephen Downes #ce13




What a joy this Sunday morning to listen to Stephen Downes. Through an email invitation — a  connection,  from WizIQ on Friday, I added the event to my calendar, a connection for Sunday’s NCTE National Day of Writing, whose focus this year is #write2connect. What better way to celebrate than to connect to learn about Connectivism from one of its founders, Stephen Downes, as he explains “Habits of Effective Connected Learners.”

And I am so thankful I did. It felt like a conversation in my living room with many amazing people chatting and learning together. What did I learn? I clarified my own ideas, and considered a better way to help my students.

First, these ideas are my connections, my perceptions on connectivism from my engagement with this presentation:

  • Publishing your own stuff is secondary to reading and commenting on other people’s stuff
  • The first thing any connected person should be is receptive. Open.
  • In order for what we are saying to make any sense, it needs to be a response to something.
  • Find places where you can add value rather than pursue a particular goal or objective
  • In almost all fields, connecting with others IS the work.
  • Connecting is all about adding value and flow (input, output, feedback, plasticity)

I loved the idea that it’s about adding value; that we all can add value to the wide world. And that we don’t need to worry about those that are not. When connected, look to add value; when connected, look for the shapes and patterns of your perceptions and add value. It’s not to promote or make a point, but to cooperate in the conversation in relevant ways to add to the whole. “Connecting IS the work,” and in connecting — receptively– we respond.

Sylvia Gulnan (sp) asked, “What can you cook from the melting pot of thoughts?” Here are my new ingredients:

  1. Read and comment on blogs; blog a response (this is my response).
  2. For my students, we will now read others’ blogs first, blog our response of those that touch our hearts and minds, and comment back with a link to our posts.

Yes, we have written posts and then read others’ posts and commented, but I think the better idea is to learn from others first, to find a connection to which value can be added in one’s own world, one’s own blog. Do you see the difference? It brings the conversation and the connection home; a relationship, which may blossom into further discussions or simply be a recognition and acknowledgement of the learning conversation.

I’ve always felt I was missing something, and I can still blog for myself, but the connectivity is in adding to the nexus of the cloud, building a bit of relationship with those nodes. Thanks, Stephen. I may not have gotten everything right, but I learned. And it certainly encourages us to expand our connections as educators for Connected Educator month (#ce13).

And so I’d like to finish with another example of connectivism.

I followed a tweet link to this wonderful post on grading, points, and feedback by @differNtiated4u (Charity Stephens). I know about grading issues and that feedback results in more learning that a score or red marks on the paper. I know that students need to know what is expected, the goal in process and product. But the idea I loved is this:

  • Scaffold what you want students to know and be able to do for each letter grade. What will it take to get a D, C, B and A?  Have handy your Bloom’s Taxonomy, D.O.K chart and/or Rigor & Relevance Framework because you will need to identify verbs/actions for each learning objective for each desired level of understanding. SHARE these levels with students at the start of the unit. Post them on your class wall along side your learning objectives.  This will serve as their roadmap for understanding…
  • Scaffold the summative assessment and assess performance for each level of understanding.This means that if on the unit assessment a student can perform only the basic levels of understanding (even if this is only 1/4th of the assessment) this means the student’s grade should be a passing grade as they demonstrated the basics of the unit.

Now that makes sense more than a percentage score of total points. An A means …., A B means… A C means…  Years ago, before all the testing and specific objectives focus, I created units of instruction based on Kathy Nunley’s layered curriculum model. That raised the bar on expectations and allowed all students to succeed. With the emphasis now on interest-based learning and the use of technology tools, the units could offer choices and negotiation of projects to meet student interests, with the emphasis on stretching to meet ever higher goals based on a teacher/student developed framework of expectations.

Charity’s source: Wormeli, R. (2010) Assessment and Grading in the Differentiated Classroom:  Formative and Summative Assessment Critical Feedback for Learning   Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rJxFXjfB_B4

As I develop my Common Core State Standards units and those specific objectives, I will consider Charity’s advice, and I thank her for helping me grow into another way of seeing how this could work.

What about you?

Are connected?

Are you adding value?

Are you responding to the gifts from others?

Thanks Charity and Stephen for helping me grow.  Open is Hope.

#RSCON4 Inspirations for #CE13


Don’t miss your chance!

Teachers now have access to free quality professional development via current online technologies. Experience this live with thousands of educators from around the globe by listening to the 4th annual Reform Symposium Online Conference, RSCON, which took place October 11th to 13th in conjunction with Connected Educator Month. You can still attend this free online conference from anywhere that has Internet access by viewing the recordings, check  Twitter (@RSCON4), Facebook, or Pinterest.

I participated this weekend for an inspirational uplift that hopefully will also enlighten my colleagues as they peruse the recordings.  What did I see?  What did I learn?  Here are a few highlights with links to the recordings.

Joan Young RECORDING Facilitating “Wow” Learning through

Humor, Novelty, Awe, and Fascination:

Humer    Novelty


Judy Willis

Todd Nesloney RECORDING Connecting You AND Your Classroom GloballyEduAllStars Episode 12

Jack Andraka, high school inventor


Todd says: join Twitter:

connect!Show the tweets that helped you.


I’m thinking:

How about emailing them?

Or a blog of your favorite tweets for teachers?


Josh Stumpenhorst RECORDING Keynote:Recognize authentically.

Share what inspires you

about your colleagues and students.


Josh says: hand written notes.

I did: Hand written cards created

with student art/photos.


Abraham Lincoln says:

“Don’t worry when you are not recognized,

but strive to be worthy of recognition.”


Sylvia Guinan RECORDING How to turn your learning management system into an online playground



Creative Activities

Connect students globally

(empathy, midnight, social intelligence).

Use multimedia and creative activities for the fun piece

(artistic book clubs; journalling; collaborative poetry;

music; comics; citizen journalism; real life projects).

Apply brain-friendly principles (color / visuals).

Use Collaborative Tools


Be someone.

“No matter what he does, every person on earth

plays a central role in the history of the world.

And normally he doesn’t know it.”

Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist


We do this with:

Google Sites


Google Apps


BitStrips for Schools




Chris Lehmann RECORDING KeynoteScience Leadership Academy (high school)

core values of

inquiry,research, collaboration,

presentation and reflection

are emphasized in all classes.


Project based learning–

authentic learning

Google Apps


Tough times in education

with current emphasis.


Education is Broken

Michael Berry RECORDING Shadowing Students as anEffective ObservationStrategyfor School-wide Leadership and


What do the students see?How do they feel?

Follow a student.






RECORDING Rethinking The Way We LearnHow would this transformation

redefine student learning?

Joe Dale:

build a PLN that is content rich;

pedagogy broad


all teaches should help students

become connected students

and to do so the teacher needs

to be a connected learner


Amanda: How do we help teachers

understand that “teaching is learning?”


Ika Chieka: Yes, ask students for feedback.


Laura Gilchrist: Teacher learning is overlooked.

Teachers just as important as student learning!

Teacher learning should be a top priority

in all buildings/districts.


Polly: Learners need to be constructing

their own knowledge and learning.


Paula Naugle: Give students plenty

of opportunity to demonstrate what they are learning.


Sylvia: Amplify! think bigger!

Communicate outside and present in different ways.

Over a hundred events took place: Have a go at one:

2013 RSCON Recordings – The Future of Education

I would recommend the following RSCON4 sessions by my PLN friends:

Paula Naugle RECORDING Mystery Location Calls via Skype or Google Hangout
Denise Krebs RECORDING The World Needs Your Contribution–Really! How my PLN Changed Everything
Gallit Zvi RECORDING Genius Hour

I’d also recommend a look at the following:

What is Connected Learning | Connected Learning


Connected Learning For Educators | Connected Learning (home page)

Read the information and learn how today’s world is connected; people are connected not just face to face, but globally as they build relationships and collaborate on projects to learn together.  The internet allows us all to participate (equity / participatory ) on shared interests for shared purposes. You may want to read more about this from my post for Connected Educator Month. The second link is a pdf for envisioning how to become a connected learning and school.


Connected Educators | Helping Educators Thrive in a Connected World

CEM: Getting Started | Connected Educators

This is the official sites for Connected Learning for Connected Educators. How do you learn? Do you want to join the world’s most connected people?  Click the second link for how to participate.


Digital Is | NWP Digital Is

The National Writing Project provides this site for teachers to share and interact with quality language arts lessons, ideas, and strategies. Please join.


National Day on Writing

#write2connect: The 2013 National Day on Writing 10/10 by NWP radio | Education Podcasts

Consider the National Day of Writing on October 21st.  Celebrate it in your classrooms on Friday, October 19th or Monday, October 22nd.  How will your write? How will you encourage your students to write? Listen to the podcast — it is excellent (second link above).

Blogging: Get started!

If you are a teacher at our school, please ask how to start — our platform is Blogger and our naming protocol is nsdyourlastname.  So my blog is: http://nsdedwards.blogspot.com  Just log in to Blogger with your usual username and password and click: Create my blog. A few of you have started. See me if you aren’t sure.

How To Blog and Challenges by our friend, Sue Waters at Edublogs:

Personal Blogging | Edublogs Teacher Challenges   Start your professional blog this week. Here’s how.

Edublogs Teacher Challenges | Free professional learning for educators by educators

Take part in a teacher challenge.

Blogging With Students | Edublogs Teacher Challenges

Learn to blog with students.

Creating a PLN | Edublogs Teacher Challenges

Learn to build your Professional / Personal Learning Network.


Next, I watched Sue Waters video on Flipboard Magazines as a way to curate your favorite sites and tweets hashtags.  Learn about it here:  Digital Curation by Sue Waters


And lastly, I connect with you by creating this post and Flipboard of resources.

Thanks to all of the above for their excellent work, connecting with others in an open and transparent way so we all learn and grow together.

What did you learn at RSCON4 or Connected Educator Month? What’s your best learning?