World Webinars

Teacher Challenge 8

Today’s connected world offers us the opportunity to join with others to teach or share, listen and learn about the pedagogy, strategies, and tools that engage learners towards personal progress.

Four areas online have provided me with the confidence and resources to try new strategies and use new tools in my classroom.  These presentations not only teach strategies and demonstrate new tools, but also establish connections during the chat sessions. Through a combination of presentation and interaction, participants in the chat consider options for their classrooms, suggest projects with others in the chat, and share Twitter/email to make further connections.

Try these to build your knowledge and your PLN. The people involved in each of these sites are dynamic, creative, and inspirational. In addition, they welcome newcomers with open arms, and encourage everyone.

Classroom 2.0 Live:

CR20 Webinars: Except July, every Saturday at 9:00 AM Pacific and
Join the Ning and Saturday sessions to learn new social media tools.
Steve Hargadon
Peggy George, Kim Caise, Lorna Costantini:
This is my Saturdays; I learned Diigo, Wikis, VoiceThread, and many more here.

Teachers First
Candace Hackett Shively
TeachersFirst website reviews tools with lessons and suggestions to make them work — a terrific resource for any teacher. In addition, resources for each month provide teachers with engaging and relevant ideas for immediate use in the classroom.
OK2Learn provides session how-tos to learn specific tools, such as Wikis, word-clouds, Smilebox.
I go here first to search for ideas and technology that fits my needs — with the suggestions for successful implementation.

The Australia Series
Tech Talk Tuesdays
Educators Guide to Innovation
Anne Mirtschin
The website ning shares the schedule for sessions during the Australian school year as well as the collaborative nature of a ning.
Tech Talk Tuesdays (11:00 PM Pacific) engages participants in sharing how to apply tools through presentation and participant sharing. Teachers share and present the use of the tools, asking participants to add.
In Tech Talk Tuesdays I learned about Google Plus.

Ed Tech Talk
Teachers Teaching Teachers
Paul Allison
Ed Tech Talk is a “Collaborative Open Webcasting Community” where teachers talk through and plan resources for their classes.
It is here I discovered a student blogging and sharing site: Youth Voices  It is free to sign up your classes to connect with other students.
To be a part of world webinars — please check out each of these: they will become your friends online and enlarge your world in relevant ways to improve teaching and learning. Just keep making those connections! That’s what it’s all about!  What are your experiences with such online learning sessions?

Photo Credit:

Blue Marble from Visible Earth at NASA

PLN Challenge: Building Steps

teacherchallenge-1mhy8u5What type of PLN do I have?

My PLN are a) educators who apply technology with their students in ways that jumpstart kids into their futures and b) educators learning to do this.

How do I learn from and share with my PLN?
How do I add new tools?

I read and respond to tweets and blogs and research from tweets and blogs so I can also move in that direction. I also attend challenges and webinars to learn and use new tools and resources. I use Diigo to capture, highlight, and annotate important tools and strategies that I could adapt in my classroom.

I’ve mentioned my favorite learning places and webinars here:

3 Easy Ways to Transform Edu

and how I organize this here:

How Do I Organize my learning?

I’ve decided to also participate in Mondays, 7:00 PM Eastern, #engchat on Twitter.

Four more sources I can share:
a) PBS (standards-related resources–new)
b) (blogs, resources)

c) ASCD Edge Community

d) NCTE  Connected Community

When do I learn and share PLN activities?
CR20 Webinars: Except July, every Saturday at 9:00 AM Pacific

How do I keep going?
Once a day during the week, I check in for 10-20 minutes, learning and sharing– bookmarking, retweeting, blogging, commenting. One or two days a week, I spend an hour learning new tools — and trying them with my students during the school year.

My kids are grown, so my husband and I enjoy our computer research and work together.

It still can be overwhelming, and so it is important to remember, “One does what what can.” So set a goal to try one new tool or strategy each semester. If you do more — great, but at least you’ll have one good area to share about on your blog each semester so someone else can learn from your experience. That’s what the goal I will set this year, and ask my peers to join me.

Thank you

For me, I thank all those from whom I have learned: thanks for sharing — you educators (many I have thanked in my posts) have inspired me — so I keep trying. My PLN became an extension of my family — relatives far away connected through technology. I look forward to each connection.

Are you feeling that way too?

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