#clmooc #middleschool Inspiration

 

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Inspiration is all around. One place is #clmooc. That is a Connected Learning Massive Open Online Collaboration. I was involved as a participant and as part of the support team. Read about my #clmooc experience and learn about Connected Learning. It really isn’t anything new — except in how we are connected. Not through snail mail pen pals, not through TV news, not by traveling places. Although all those are available, in today’s world, we connect online through Google Hangouts, online communities like the clmooc Google Plus community, through social media, and through blogs, tweets, photo apps, etc. I can be connected right now to my friends around the world with a click of my mouse. That’s what has changed. That means we can pursue our interests, with peers around the world, for shared purposes, to learn academic goals, in an openly networked community to create products of interest for personal or societal reasons.

So education has changed, and I’m ready.

I’m ready and supported and inspired by my clmooc Google Plus community and my Twitter PLN, as I reciprocate the collaboration. I thank my CLMOOC connections and Twitter PLN for reaching out and connecting as peers in this networked world.

Some of the middle school educators have started a community of our own: Connect in the Middle at MightyBell. We’ve started small circles to plan and implement curriculum on Social JusticeePortfolios, and Connect2Learn, a collaborative blog for student writing prompts.

If you work with middle school students, please consider joining Connect in the Middle. Librarians, principals, teachers, etc. Join and add to our collaborative spirit; get inspired and connected, ready to help your students become Connected Learners.

See you there!

#clmooc #k6diglit Invitation to Stay Connected

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Margaret Simon asks a question: Tapping Student Connections

How do we tap into student interests and create online learning environments for them to connect to and learn from? 

That is the question for DigLit Sunday bloggers from Margaret Simon.  And I’ve written an invitation to stay connected as Middle School educators here. This post continues that invitation.

What about a hub — a blog of prompts for students?

One way I thought of is to form a group of Middle Level Educators who collaborate on a blog of prompts from which students respond, connect to other students, and perhaps plan collaboration on the prompts. The blog would be the hub of student choice, or teacher guidance, a Make Bank of our own. I created such a blog for us to develop to get us started and, for #clmooc-ers, to stay connected:

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Connect 2 Learn

If you’re already interested, here’s the spot to join by sending me an email: Contact Connect2Learn and choose “Facilitator Request” so I can add you to the blog as facilitator.

A bit more on Connect 2 Learn:

When we write, we often write first for ourselves to gather ideas [inside/personal], and then share and discuss with others [responsive/connective]. Next we may share out to inform [purposeful/informative/narrative], and we may also share out to  help others or make the world better [social action/argumentative/persuasive].

I thought perhaps these purposes would be good ways to organize the blog:

Do I want to be reflective / personal and perhaps share that with others [responsive]?

Do I want to take what I know, add it to others idea’s? [responsive]

Do I want to share information or a story? [purposeful]

Do I want to make the world better? [social action]

Of course, these are recursive — each of us moves through these frames of writing, these frames of thinking about writing — as we develop our projects.  These frames are not my ideas, but rather are the work of Liz Stephens and Kerry Ballast (Liz Stephens and Kerry Ballast (2011). Using Technology to Improve Adolescent Writing: Digital Make-Overs for Writing Lessons) who present this new paradigm for writing lessons that includes the four frames, four lenses to view process writing and assignments. I thought they made a great way to organize our collaborative prompts.  [I’ve written about this here and here [scroll down].

But: it would be our blog. Join, and help build it: Contact Connect2Learn and choose “Facilitator Request” so I can add you to the blog as facilitator.

But how do we discuss and plan our projects?

Many people have commented on how difficult it is to follow  threads of conversations — and find them again on Google Plus. So I researched and discovered another platform — MightyBell that serves as a focal point for general members, allows for smaller communities within the larger one [think planning projects with a team of educators], and even smaller circles of projects. That sounded like a possibility for better conversation and collaboration. Of course we would always stay connected throughout the year with #clmooc.

So I created Connect in the Middle community at Mightybell with a circle for planning the collaborative blog called Connect 2 Learn, same name as the blog.

An invitation

Please consider joining with myself and others — for planning and collaboration, join these two communities:

Connect in the Middle community

Connect 2 Learn Circle

and the collaborative blog hub:

Connect 2 Learn  Contact Connect2Learn

Hopefully, these will help us stay connected as Middle School educators, planning projects with and for our students, to identify the entry points for play and learning, and  to lead them towards a connected learning path.

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Connect in the Middle: Tweet #midlevt One idea

 

The Commons: No copyright

 

Let’s brighten up our connections:

Here’s an idea, this first project from 2//11/13 to 2/17/13:

Please tweet with #midlevt an idea you are using in your classroom (lesson, tool, strategy). It could be an easy tweet, or link to a post — old or new!

Do you think you can?

Just ONE tweet during that time. 🙂

 

Thanks, Sheri

What do you think?

 

 

 

 

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I have decided to play with this Projects thing. Have any of you used this aspect of wikispaces?

Well, it seems that since we are all organizers, we can’t be in teams, because as organizers we see all teams and projects. Interesting…

Let’s see what happens to the Project Page.

Look forward to your sharing… Thanks, Sheri

Considering Issues and PLNs for Support #etmooc

I struggle with the issues of today’s education policies in the US. I know every teacher in my school is focused on our students’ learning. So all the negativity of “accountability”– degrades who they are, and they are wonderful teachers.

So I ask this:

Weather and Whether: education is more than tests; #etmooc from Sheri Edwards on Vimeo.

Weather or Whether #etmooc

Instead of spending millions on tests and teacher “accountability,” why not spend those millions on the infrastructure and technology to create neighborhoods of connected learners, neighborhoods online that connect experts, universities, and classrooms to the K20 education system so all students have access to learning with and from the world. Spend those millions on the tools that students use to learn and develop their passions, creating with others the possibilities and solutions for tomorrow.

How do we, classroom teachers, build the environment that truly fits our students’ needs — teaching to the whole child?

 How do we support each other in the midst of these pressures to continue moving forward?
Then I answer with this:

Our PLNs guide us and offer support as we transform education to meet the needs of students and their futures.
We’ve got to think deeper, promote talents and passions.

“You’ve got to jump off cliffs and build your wings on the way down.” Ray Bradbury

We’re jumping off that cliff, spreading our wings, and building neighborhoods of support!  I can’t wait for the lipdub “Don’t Stop Me Now” — because we are moving forward!

Building Our Neighborhood Neighbourhood #midlev #etmooc

 

Welcome to our wiki!  We have members !  We have resources, including a Diigo group and Evernote Notebook.

We have ideas for prompts and projects on the page Possible Projects.

All because we, together, want to build a neighborhood for support and sustenance in this hectic education world.

If you haven’t heard Dean Shareski’s Sharing As Accountability session, please do. It’s what we are doing as educators — accepting the responsibility to share our knowledge with each other for our students.

Here we go…

 

 

 

Thank you all for your continued commitment to “Learn and Share.”  Have a great week. I hope to tackle a prompt sometime this week. Remember, we build from each other, as we can. Gallit asked if there is a chat feature in wikispaces — does any one know? I think I can make a discussion page for each page we have. You are all organizers, so you can play around with creating pages and adding widgets. Let’s learn that wikispaces together.  Thank you!

 

 

Photo: CC by teach.eagle

Building Neighborhoods #etmooc #midleved : an invitation

 

We’re building a new neighborhood. Want to visit for a while?

As I learn more about PLNs through #etmooc, especially from @bhwilkoff, I realize I have a responsibility to help find and support the sub-committees that have a common focus.  Ben Wilkoff calls these sub-committees “neighborhoods.” These neighborhoods support each other in efforts to transform education, to make changes for our students’ futures.

The people listed in the image at left are connections I’ve recently made through ETMOOC  blogging, Google Plus, and Twitter. The educators are passionate middle level educators — teaching students in grades 5-8 (10-14 years of age). From their tweets and blogs I am learning more about educational technology and student engagement.

As a middle level educator, I find we have needs that differ than other levels. So, I’d like to invite middle level educators to connect in order to support our efforts to develop curriculum, pedagogy, and strategies to infuse technology and student engagement through other strategies, such as project/problem/passion-based education or the #geniushour. I appreciate the inspiration received from my friend, Denise Krebs, a fellow middle level educator in our neighborhood.

What if we connect and reflect together via Google+, Twitter, and blogs? We can add common documents and resources to the Connect In The Middle wiki and share resources in this group Diigo. We can connect our blogs, and reflect/comment on our questions and solutions together. Perhaps we can design student projects that connect these middle school students in a safe environment as they apply their digital citizenship to complete these projects.

The possibilities are endless, and involvement would be only as needed for each of us. Some might visit for a while; others might connect more fully, and some visit occasionally.  After all, we would be building a neighborhood that we visit for different purposes.

The first questions I’m considering, based on the first week of ETMOOC are:

    • How important is connected learning? Why?
    • Is it possible for our classrooms to support this kind of learning? If so, how?
    • What skills and literacies are necessary for connected learning?
    • How do we develop these?

Please read my responses here: Connected In The Middle Post. Do you have ideas about these questions? What are your questions? How can we help each other?

Please consider joining the conversation / connections for middle level educators to act on the conversations in ETMOOC and beyond.

To build your middle level neighborhood, please follow these educators who have inspired me this week.

Laura Gilchrist ‏ @LauraGilchrist4

Bernice Homel ‏ @BHomel1

Gallit Zvi ‏ @gallit_z

Rhoni McFarlane ‏ @rhonimcfarlane

Scott Hazeu ‏ @scotthazeu

Laura Coughlin ‏ @CoughlinLaura

Ben Wilkoff @bhwilkoff

Joy Kirr ‏ @JoyKirr

Lorraine Boulos ‏ @RaineCB

If you would like to join the middle level neighborhood, please comment below, and join the Connect In The Middle wiki.

Thank you, @grammasheri and welcome to the Connect in the Middle Neighborhood !