Three easy ways to learn transforming edu technology

whatelse_badgeWhat else could I do to learn and apply the tools that are changing how the world works and plays?

Three easy ways to find webinars to learn and to connect, to keep up with transforming a classroom into a learning community that develops daily learners — for everyone in the classroom:

Edublogs Challenge and Sue Waters
2. Learn Central Join for many connections, including CR Live 20 — Classroom Live Edu Webinars (except July)
3. Teachers First Many reviewed apps with lesson – an excellent site, also with webinars — ( @teachersfirst twitter))–
OK2Ask Webinars, including


LIVE Tuesday, June 28 at 3:30pm EDT

And the added benefit is that with each of these, you make new connections and build your PLN !  Hope to learn more with you !

What else do you “go to” for webinars on learning tools and strategies?

PLN Challenge: How do I organize?

diigo education pioneer teacherchallenge-1mhy8u5Learning with the new Build Your PLN Edublogs Teacher Challenge creates many resources I may forget. Sarah Wooden commented how it’s not easy to keep track of every thing. Sue Waters shares how to keep track of fellow bloggers and comments through an RSS Reader. But what about all the tools and strategies we learn about– the tool link, the how-tos, and the examples? How do we remember where to find those?

My own strategy is to use Diigo, a social bookmarking and highlighting tool that allows me to create lists and groups to which I add bookmarks to those websites I want to remember. I have a list that is just for Tools — Animoto, Wallwish, etc. I also may put how-to pages there, or in my How-To List. I have lists for lessons, certain topics, specific tools (like Google Apps).

Now that I’ve got you thinking, Diigo has a free and premium version — and teachers should apply for the education version. My language arts students use Diigo for research, note-taking, and writing feedback and research sharing. Each class has their own private group, and we have one group for all our classes.

And I belong to several groups, including Classroom 20, Diigo in Education , and EdTechTalk. I’ve created a group for the Teacher Challenges, called “ebchallenge” if you decide to join Diigo. That way, our new PLN we are building can share resources with each other.

Remember, it’s easy as your ABCs.

Add a highlight to a webpage.

Bookmark to Diigo (into a group and/or list).

Comment in the webpage using the Sticky Note feature and in the description box about what you learned when you click bookmark.


From any connected computer, you can access your bookmarks and highlights with annotations (comments). You now have organized and saved all your precious research, tools, and learning !

Interested? Please join our PLN ebchallenge group: ebchallenge

Here’s the Diigo Vimeo overview:

Diigo V5: Collect and Highlight, Then Remember! from diigobuzz on Vimeo.

Diigo V5: Collect and Highlight, Then Remember! from diigobuzz on Vimeo.

Challenge 3: Twitter Times


3 years, 9 months, 4 weeks, 2 days, 5 hours, 45 minutes, 4 seconds
Aug. 22, 2007

I’ve been twittering that long!


I started tweeting to keep in touch with my most techie granddaughter who lives far away, hence my name: grammasheri.  At first I didn’t get it, but later, in webinars, educators referred to their twitter names. I started lurking, much as Jessica Hibbert discussed recently in her challenge post about Twitter. Eventually I realized how important connecting was, and how important it is to update the profile — let people know who you are and where your blog is so they can read your work and check in.

I think it is easier to connect with Twitter now because so many people do tweet — and are willing to give tips.

Here are two:

One thing I’ve learned is not to worry too much about the spammers — the ones with no tweets and following thousands. They usually don’t last long on the Twitter feed. Recently I’ve discovered  the ones with no followers but who mention your twitter name with a link to who knows what. They’re easy to spot now that Twitter pushes notices — no name, a weird handle, and only tweeting. I usually report them as spam.

Secondly, if an educator follows me, I’ll follow back. I usually but not always, depending on my schedule, will find out their interests and share a link related to their work. Once, I sent relevant links to each member of a university class because their professor sent out a tweet request. It was fun reading their student teaching portfolios and what they were studying. It was like giving back to those who had helped me.

Look here for my 2009 experiences, when I really got started: My Initial Twitter Reflections .

If you are a fourth grade teacher, especially in social studies and math, follow @plnaugle Paula has become a dear friend — online; she has so many projects and ideas to share.

If you need technology reviews or tips, these two really help: @Larryferlazzo teaches inner city high school — but his list of “favorites” and other blog info at will provide you with hours of learning.

and @russeltarr who creates a lot of great classroom tools.

For language arts and social media, two people with tech skills have really helped keep me up to date:

Silvia Tolisano @langwitches

Shelly Terrell @ShellTerrell

My most recent inspiration comes from new tweeple connections who are definite musts to follow on twitter and read their blogs:

Denise Krebs @mrsdkrebs Dare to Care —Creating, Contributing, Connecting, Collaborating & Curating

Tracy Watanabe @tracywatanabe learning about 21st Century classrooms, Project-Based learning, One-to-One, and Individualized Instruction through rigor, relevance, and relationships…

Marsha Ratzel  @ratzelsterl  Reflecting on using 21st century technologies to amplify learning.

I know I will be meeting more in the Build Your PLN Challenge.  How about you?


One Does What One Can

Sparrow 01

Build PLN 2

1. What do you hope to learn more about with respect to your PLN in the coming weeks?

I hope to connect with others to help one  another with whatever we can, and perhaps connect with projects that help our students meet their standards in real ways– connected globally.

I hope to learn how people do balance their lives with the inspiration from their PLN, with the tasks of our work, and with the needs of our families.

2. What have you learned with creating your PLN that you wish that someone had told you before and what tips do you have to share?

I’ve learned that participation in tweets, social networks (ning, Facebook, wikis, etc.) and webinars helps to build one’s PLN. I’m thankful to those who welcomed me when I joined. Please read about that journey two years ago here (you will find many people to follow– and perhaps you were even tagged): Twitter Mosaic

One thing to remember is that your PLN is fluid: one connection will ebb today and then tomorrow will flow again; another link will breathe life into a project, and later will sigh away to come back another day. Your PLN breathes partnerships in and out according to needs. But the inspiration, the relationship does stick: we are sticky notes to each other, posting one day here and another day there. It will continue to grow, but will change; your projects will build, discontinue, rejuvenate. Just keep participating; that is key.

Participation means tweeting, retweeting, blogging (your own or in Nings you’ve joined, ASCD Edge, NCTE, etc.), attending and chatting in webinars, and joining projects (Build PLN Challenge, #JJAProject, Flat Classroom, etc.). It does not mean writing treatises, but rather adding some bit to the stream of ideas; something that helped you that could help someone else. Just choose a few of interest to you and check in at least weekly.

Places for Webinars:



TeachersFirst OK2Ask


Places for connecting in projects:



Teachers Connecting

VoiceThread Wiki

“The World is our Classroom!”

The Global Education Collaborative

But always remember: balance and basics. Just do what you can. Like teaching, you never know when that one statement, idea, or link totally changed someone else’s situation.

In the Middle East there is a legend about a spindly little sparrow lying on its back in the middle of the road. A horseman comes by and dismounts, asking the sparrow what on earth he is doing lying there upside down like that.

“I heard the heavens are going to fall today,” said the sparrow.

“Oh!” said the horsemen. “And I suppose your puny little legs can hold up the heavens!”

“One does what one can,” said the sparrow. “One does what one can.”

Flickr CC by raysto

So, even a small contribution can support someone’s needs.

“Friendship is almost always the union of a part of one mind with a part of another; People are friends in spots.”

~ George Santayana

So go forth as you can; your PLN are your “friends in spots.”

What “spot” are you looking for to help you? What “spots” do you wear from which others could learn?

Photo Credit: Sparrow 1 Flickr CC by Fiqman Sunandar and Spots Pic Flickr CC  by raysto

Passion: PassiTon: Pass it On

bridgeInspired once again by my PLN, I have begun a thirty day challenge sponsored at Edublogs by Michael Graffin.  I hope to complete most of the challenge activities as a model of learning for my students and community. Our first task is to comment on the Real People, Real Teachers VoiceThread on what is a PLN and how it has affected me.

Next, we post about building and engaging in a PLN.

First of all —

What is it– a PLN?




new ideas
new friends
new colleagues

As shown in the video “We Connect Video” by Shelly Terrel on Real People, Real Teachers VoiceThread by Michael Graffin

Passion –> Pass It On

in a global connection, a global community, a united world:

A PLN passes the passion on and on….

In a PLN,
people connect
to learn and share
to become better
personally and professionally;

people create
lessons, blogs, posts
to share and revise with other educators
to engage student learning;

people collaborate
on blogs, wikis, Google Apps
to add more, create more, connect more
for improving student learning;

people curate resources
and their revisions to
pass on

PLN is for everyone…

PLN = Passion Living Network

By sharing and following our passions through connections and collaboration with others around the world, we demonstrate life-long learning for our students.

How has my PLN helped me?

My students and I have met people all over the world through Skype, blogs, wikis, Edmodo, Google Apps for Education, and VoiceThread. We found the people and learned the tools through my PLN.

I am helping other teachers at my school learn the tools, thanks to my PLN.

Several of our staff started blogs, and my PLN commented on their new blogs after a tweet from me asking for help.

How have I helped my PLN?
I have offered suggestions to queries, answered polls and surveys, blogged about needed changes or to support needed programs as requested by my PLN.

My students shared a Native American dance through Skype in a cultural sharing. They debated in an international debate through VoiceThread. They shared cyber safety with schools far away.

All of these projects and activities occurred only because the world is globally connected now, and the social media of twitter, blogs, wikis, Skype, Nings provide the networking of relationships and ideas to allow the opportunities to happen.

How did I start?

I started with Twitter. I linked to blogs. I commented. I emailed the blog authors for more information. I connected with the authors and then Skyped for the conversation and developmet of class projects. I linked from Twitter and blogs to tech tools like Edmodo, VoiceThread, and nings. I joined LearnCentral,  Classroom 2.0, and Educators PLN. I attended webinars in Elluminate to further relationships and knowledge of “how to” use and apply the tools in the classroom. Now, I’m sharing what I’ve learned so others can plan their paths to follow their passions.

What does this mean?

The world is filled with people to help and reciprocate. We are life-long learners. We are thankful that “geeks” share.

What could you do?

Start small. Cross the bridge one step at a time.

1. Join Twitter. Listen to the conversation, retweet, and reply.

2. Link from Twitter to blogs; comment.

3. Start a blog. Here are Six Summer Blogging Ideas

4. Join one of the networks above and participate — create your profile and page.

5. Build your online identity:

a. Make sure you create your profile on Twitter or any place you join — you don’t need to share everything, but do acknowledge who you are, what you do, and your interests. Think of yourself at a conference or a get-together. You want people to know about your ideas and work, but not necessarily your personal information. Most often, you can leave your email private, yet followers can still email you to contact you.

b. You are setting your online identity — every area is a path back to you.  Three links that may help you with online conversations: Comment Considerations Netiquette Simply Said . I believe in being transparent — showing who I am and basic information about my work and ideas. It’s a courtesy.

What step will you take to build your bridge to the 21st Century?

Photo Credit:

Bridge: By Sheri Edwards

Comment Considerations

Are you anxious to blog? Are you wondering how to start?

Helping Each Other

Think about it: you blog so others will learn from and share your ideas. Someone might add to your ideas. This happens through commenting. Think how excited you were when our mentors commented on our wiki. Just like everything else we do, if we want something, we need to give something.

So our challenge as beginning bloggers is to give comments to those blogs we read. If we want comments, we’ve got to give some. But what is a good comment?

A blog comment is your footprint…


a path back to you…


prepare your path wisely.

A great blog comment ?
How to write one:

•    What’s the best part of blogging?
•    Comments !

Let’s practice the best strategies for blogging by writing great comments.

1.   Be safe. Be kind. Provide no personal information and always be overly positive and kind. Remember our Netiquette.

2.    Read a post. Make a connection. While reading a blog and its comments, think about what you like, what you connect with. What idea most interested you? Be sure to read the other comments so you don’t repeat what someone has already said or asked. What was well-written and what ideas did you like? On what can you compliment the author? And, what can you add (see Number 4).

3.     Write a comment. Write it like a letter.


Hi ___[author name]___.

[Your Content– see next tip–4.]

Thank you.

4.     Share a compliment. Share a connection. Appreciate something specific. Compliment the idea, image, or other part you liked. Put it in quotes. Add new ideas with your connection (agree, disagree, experience, idea, link, question).  Add the idea you considered — your connection, agreement, disagreement (Although your idea is interesting, I’d like to add another side…). Do you have a link to share? an image? a question? How will you say it kindly?

5.    Check your ideas. Make them flow. Read your comment aloud to yourself; do the ideas flow one to another? Does it make sense?

6.   State your ideas and opinions only.  Write nothing personal. Review our Internet safety rules for keeping private and personal information off the internet. Netiquette

7.    Check spelling. Check punctuation. Edit your writing for spelling, punctuation, grammar, format so you are readable and believable, BEFORE you submit.

8.    Give one. Get oneIf you get a comment, be sure to comment back.

Remember: like handwriting, your comment represents  you!

What path will you take to write great comments? Which step to commenting do you think is the most important? Write a comment explaining the step or steps to commenting you think are most important. Have we forgotten anything?

Comment Poster

Steps to Great Comments

Steps to Great Comments