#clmooc #connectedlearning principles

A Reflection on My #CLMOOC Work

Thanks to all for a marvelous, connected six weeks!

 Why connected learning? Why digital learning?




Thanks to Margaret Simon for hosting DigiLit Sundays where educators share how they are using technology in their classrooms.  Please visit her site to read other posts.

#clmooc #middleschool Inspiration



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


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:


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.


#clmooc Adjacent Possible and Embodied Learning

Adjacent Possible, Embodied Learning,  and Verbal Learning:


Connected Learning Principles and Values 

Reflection inspired by Terry Elliott

Note: Connected Learning Principles

ConnectedLearning_report.pdf. (n.d.). Retrieved July 7, 2014, from http://dmlhub.net/sites/default/files/ConnectedLearning_report.pdf

Interest Powered

“When a subject is personally interesting and relevant, learners achieve much higher-order learning outcomes.

Interest: I wanted something I could use with my class, so I invented the Poetry Tag activity. Others seemed interested in this as well and joined in. From that we learned new apps and connected. We found play in the remix. At the same time, Kim added several poetry/photo games, which added to our growing venue of poetry games to hack for our classrooms. From these we learned about tools to enhance the learning: Notegraphy, Painteresque, Google Storybuilder.  https://storify.com/grammasheri/poetry-tag

Peer Supported

In their everyday exchanges with peers and friends, young people are contributing, sharing and giving feedback in inclusive social experiences that are fluid and highly engaging.

Poetry Tag and Photo/Poetry contests: Lots of contributing and sharing in many ways, with choice being for the creator [ Google Plus, Blogs, Twitter, Notegraphy ] I think feedback came in the Google Storybuilder hacks of the poetry — the message from the poetry game was a shift in paradigms, emphasized by both Storybuilders.


Academically Oriented

Learners flourish and realize their potential when they can connect their interests and social engagement to academic studies, civic engagement, and career opportunity

Kim’s blog shows a blend of personal and career activities related to her passions: photography and poetry.
Janis Selby Jones added civic engagement to our Game Week with Litterati

Some of Kim’s #wabisabi combined the out place with nature, which could be related to Litterati.

The poetry, photography, interests, games, and posts/tweets demonstrated digital literacies: drafts, presentation, media, design, reflection, social action. That’s a lot of academics, and we didn’t post any objectives on the “directions.” We simply suggested; participants acted; we all learned. [adjacent possible]

Production Centered

Digital tools provide opportunities for producing and creating a wide variety of media, knowledge, and cultural content in experimental and active ways

Maha and Shyam reminded us of cultural differences.
Maha Bali 
Shyam Sharma

We produced to share: blogs, twitter, notegraphy, GPlus, tackk.com, hackpad, Storybuilder, Fold a Story

Openly Networked

Online platforms and digital tools can make learning resources abundant, accessible, and visible across all learner settings.

See production-centered

If we shared, we were networked.
Some were hackable; some like Poetry Tag, we hacked lines and carried them into the next iteration.

We gathered as in Storify.
We can use hashtags #clpoettag #clmooc #middleschool #25wordstory to gather our openly networked productions.

Shared Purpose

Experiences invite participation and provide many different ways for individuals and groups to contribute. when educational opportunity is available and accessible to all young people, it elevates the world we all live in.

I think  that Joe Dillon’s tweet presents our shared purpose: “identify entry points for play and learning for all. ‘’ We are reaching back for that joy of learning in play and purpose. Each activity blends academics and play; we explore language through our creations; we share language through our reflections and conversations. We are connected learning – embodied.


Experiences invite participation and provide many different ways for individuals and groups to contribute. when educational opportunity is available and accessible to all young people, it elevates the world we all live in.

Equity in Opportunity. With such a plethora of choices, those who lurked, observed and did with that on their own; those who were interested, chose and shared. We don’t really know the effect, but we do know in the sharing, that interest creates action; action inspires sharing; sharing builds connections and iterations; connections spawn conversations, reflections, and revisions. The equity is in the opportunity to participate; it is up to participants and those who know who the lurkers are to encourage participation through invitation and relationship.

In the Poetry Tag, people chose GPlus, Twitter, Notegraphy, Visual Poetry to share — choice.

Social Connection

Young people are provided with multiple learning contexts for engaging in connected learning—contexts in which they receive immediate feedback on progress, have access to tools for planning and reflection, and are given opportunities for mastery of specialist language and practices.

Perhaps so far we haven’t conveyed feedback, except in the participation of the activities and in #f5f and reflections. As teachers, we need to be cognizant of this and plan for it. But, once again, students need to explore through observation of those ready to reflect and critique before they participate in it themselves. Our feedback is in the positive: emphasizing what worked for each of us so that others may try. It builds relationships and possible ideas for our next attempts. Positivism gives us strength and courage to continue. As we build our strengths, we prune our weaknesses. We are evergreen and growing.

Full Participation

learning environments, communities, and civic life thrive when all members actively engage and contribute.

Here we see flux, according to our needs and time. I think the keys are caring, relationships, choice, autonomy. People need to know they are cared for and about, they need to relate to [interest] the situation, they need choice in actions, and they need the autonomy to do it in their way as their contribution to the larger picture.

Learning participation is a continuum of actions, skills, and progress.

Theses? Antitheses? Syntheses? *
A place for string to small to save or ideas out of network, perhaps an unknown unknown that has come to light. 


Tellio from Vialogues: “You must live in the world the language is about for the language to make sense.”

Yoda: The key, passion is.  Yeesssssss.

Our current education system was designed for a factory of skilled, repetitive workers. Today’s world needs the passion of multi-talents to solve our world issues. Students learn through their passions. Isn’t that why “interest-powered” is first?

#clmooc Play Revision


REVISING a Blog I Started Last Year

Revision Steps — ideas so far

1.  Starting: A reflection and revision of my work last year in the post: Play is the Game

2. Adding Meme Activities to Connect2Learn Blog

a. Memes as Avatars [revising an old activity ]
b. Memes  Activities which link to Mindy A Early’s meme activities

3. I am looking for any middle school teachers who want to connect and develop the Connect 2 Learn blog.

An Invitation

As I said in Part 1:

So, I’d like to invite the middle school teachers to help me with this, if it fits their interests. We’ve all got our own standards to meet, but we’ve learned through CLMOOC that those can be met in a variety of ways, and that connections and collaborations deepen the learning of more than finite objectives.

So, what if a group of middle school teachers collaborated on a blog of makes and prompts that promote the Connected Learning Principles through the lens of the Thinking Frames? The blog would suggest the prompts and makes; the students could write about their projects in their own blogs or Google Docs [ and collaborate in Google Docs or Wikis ], and share their play/work in comments on the blog prompt.

Whether we incorporate prompts from Digital.IsCLMOOC Make Bank, or our own prompts, the blog will be the hub for our connected classrooms. Here’s what it might look like:  Connect 2 Learn Blog, Connected Learning and Writing FramesGuidelines. I’m hoping a middle school community blog will provide the hub for connected learning and play with writing [in all its forms].

I’m excited to be more playful this year, to bring joy back to the classroom. I want my students to expand their worldview carefully and become more digitally literate. And maybe together we can make it “Game on!”

How about you?

Will you Connect 2 Learn to keep the game going?

#clmooc Reflections and Connections 2 #digilit

#clmooc Reflections and Connections 2




What am I learning? More than I thought!

Digital Literacies and Connected Learning

Today I attended Doug Belshaw’s The Essential Elements of Digital Literacies (@dajbelshaw) session to introduce his new book of the same name. I listened because, as he said, I want “to have a different attitude and lens on the world.” He has presented an umbrella of concepts to guide our focus, to find a lens that may vary with context. He admits his is not “one definition to rule them all,” but rather another lens from which to view the changing landscape of digital literacy.

In the presentation, he asked us to 1) use  #digilit, 2) find definitions of digital literacy, 3) take a selfie of ourselves not the usual [see slide 4 #contextselfie cartoon], and 4) create a meme. Of course, as a “connected learner,” I participated. These tasks reflect our work in #clmooc, because that work is Digital Literacy.  Therefore, I shared my  definitions of digital literacy with a link to a search on National Writing Project’s Digital.Is. In CLMOOC, we had created avatars, selfies of sorts, as introductions. And this week we created memes, which Doug used to illustrate contextual literacies, a topic much discussed in our Connected Learning CLMOOC Google Plus community. Context Matters, and Doug Belshaw’s  Eight Elements of Digital Literacies [slide 16] provide a context to discuss digital literacy– in any of its contexts.

So could the Connected Learning  Principles be discussed as The Essential Elements of Digital Literacies ? I briefly reflected on that in this ThingLink [note: there’s a big white space after this  and before the next section –for which I have no idea how to eliminate; can’t see it in the code]
Context Matters

As I thought about this lens, I realized that in our Connected Learning CLMOOC Google Plus community, our discussions reflect our contexts, our perspectives, or lens with which to view our world. We learned that we must expand our local and personal ideas to include an openness to ideas and perspectives new to us. Shyam Sharma and Maha Bali wrote about such ideas in their joint reflection of week with memes in CLMOOC:

“In this context, the concept of memes reminded us how local popular culture practices, educational contexts/systems, and linguistic/cultural frames of reference can complicate the opportunity for making learning connected.” “But context-awareness is an important training that we all need to have, not only if we want to engage in educational activities across contexts but also for teaching context-awareness in our physical classrooms.”

But it’s not just across borders that context matters; sometimes it is just across the street, or the bridge in my town. As the blog reminds us, “we need to open our ears and eyes and hearts” because we cannot be stuck in our own world if we are to grow to understand others, which is the dream we have. Even as cultures vary, so do our needs to understand why and how we teach what we do. Rebecca Powell‘s post started a diverse discussion, including the concept of viral memes, and how do we discuss their value [or popularity], good or bad with students? You see, context matters. Because there is interest, what is the critical consideration of them? What fuels these ideas and that power?


What’s the fuel?   idea_power_clmooc_konruff   All of this is literacy, each within a different context as Doug Belshaw presents and CLMOOC participants discover. Connected educators are aware of these issues, and strive to find strategies to continue building connected communities, doing so with both Connected Learning Principles and Elements of Digital Literacies. We will continue to fuel our CLMOOC activities that help us uncover more strategies to be better connected and more digitally literate. But there’s one more  thing about which I tweeted during the presenation:   My Tweet

Education Memes

We need a different attitude about learning, and digital literacies. There is no “A” or “4” or “400 point cut off” for digital literacy. There is no threshold. We are learners. Period. We are all at a different point with different interests and talents. And when we are in the ‘zone,’ we’re maximizing our learning. Whatever we are doing, we are learning, and even if we think we’re teaching “inference,” the student may be learning “verifying sources.” Today’s students demand personalized learning because that is what they do outside of school. Our lens should be on the students, no matter what the politicians say. That’s why Kevin Hodgson and Scott Glass started a politically-charged gathering of attitudes that promote 1) what education should not be and 2) what education should be. The messages of educators need to be heard because context matters. As someone said, “We need education memes.”  Our classrooms are not props for political maneuvering; they are inspirations for future innovators, but only if we change our focus, our lens, to see and encourage each student’s passions and interests which will guide them to their future opportunities. Our context is not what politicians and corporations understand; they need a real context. Would you add yours? As Peter Kittle said,

And Joe Dillon and others:

  So, help spread the word for what is true about education: Would you add yours?   Community in the Classroom Finally, fuel in the classroom, what would it look like? Jennifer Denslow suggests:

Building community is what Connected Learning is all about. Look what has been learned through our sharing and connections in our shared purpose of #clmooc ! We are learning through interest and passion with peer support at our own paces. And we want to replicate this personalized, connected learning in our classrooms.


Memes for good, a fuel for ideas and solutions and community.


So, I have dug deeper into Connected Learning Principles by continuing my journey to understand what I need to do, discovering yet another way to consider my classroom practice. If not for the Connected Learning CLMOOC Google Plus community discussions, my mind might be wearing a single lens, but now I’m wearing  a transformable set complete with questions and connections. And, as Verena Roberts tweeted after the presentation, together is better for the long haul:


So, here we go into Week 3 as connected learners. I’ve thanked my #f5f with a reflection here, and I’m ready for more fuel… How about you?


Connected Learning Infographic

Connected Learning Principles

Connected Learning CLMOOC Google Plus community

Connected Learning CLMOOC

Doug Belshaw Slideshare

Doug Belshaw The Essential Elements of Digital Literacies

My ThingLink

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