#edcampspokane reflection


On Friday, February 28th, I attended the pre-event for #edcampspokane during which I met the most welcoming and excited organizers, all ready for the big day, March 1st. One of my peeps, Theresa Allen, suggested I attend ready with links and to participate as facilitator, not just a listener. So when asked to present with Krisha about Google Apps for Education, I said yes and created a blog post with a set of links that night as a reference and starting point. We’d be part of five sessions at the beginning so the organizers could set up the schedule based on the attendees’ sorted choices and votes (see image: image source: Twitter via Brent Howard ).

The organizers developed this format based on their first edcampspokane last year.

The finalized schedule provided fascinating and informative discussions by attendees on topics such as standards-based grading, libraries, Google Apps for Education, Digging Deeper into CCSS, Things That Suck, etc. Each link on the document connects to a notes document taken live during the session. Be sure to read the ones that interest you to find out what we learned.

One of my favorite new sites is this one: Google Gooru, which provides help and information, tutorials and training for anyone interested in Google Apps for Education. Also check out our session notes on GAFE.

A second can’t-do-without- site is NEWSLEA, a site with nonfiction texts on various reading levels. The site integrates with Google Apps login so teachers can assign and manage student text complexity and comprehension. Be sure to check it out.

A third site to mention is GooruLearning, which is another amazing site to gather resources, as teacher or student, (also integrates with Google Apps), and discover learning passions or course work that meets objectives. Truly amazing, it is similar to Khan Academy, but includes collections from all over the web, which you can adapt and choose to build your own collection.

As you can see, an EdCamp provides educators with the information they need right then. It’s not tech, it’s curriculum, strategies, resources, and solutions within a conversation facilitated by participants. Let me be more clear about the process:

  • Enter EdCamp to Meet and Greet
  • Write down your questions / interests, signed by you
  • Give your ideas to organizers who quickly sort/ categorize and place on wall (see image)
  • While organizers sort, go to facilitation / intro session to learn how to facilitate and what to expect
  • Return to vote on three categories
  • Go to first session
  • Organizers develop the Online Session Board based on participants questions / interests as voted on by participants
  • If your session / idea is chosen, you now know how to facilitate a session so they are interactive conversations and demonstrations as needed
  • Go to sessions; ask someone to take notes on the Google Doc linked to in the Online Session Board and now ready for YOU who could not attend to enjoy and learn from
  • Reflect
  • And: food and prizes were provided for the day long event. — and free clock hours!

I’d like to thank the welcoming and energetic organizers  for their preparation and excellent implementation as well as the sponsors for providing food and prizes and venue.

And if you want professional development on your terms as you need it, attend an EdCamp near you!

#clmooc Dig that Data



#clmooc Dig that Data

Blog Posts


My work in #clmooc was enough to earn WINNER for 15,500 words –read or written!

Gathering Data



Google Plus-n

Tweets 178 #clmooc

Chats – 4 #literacies

Hangouts/Webinars connectedlearning.tv 2

Participant Hangout
on clmooc
clmooc credos
clmooc badges

Google Docs (2)



Thimbles – 5
10 Reads
Music in My Mind
Writing Form
Make Comp Plans Comic

Videos (Popcorn, Animoto, Vine, Keynote/iMovie/YouTube cinebeat)
Brown Bear Cinebeat
Animoto Bits and Pieces
Credo (3)
Vine 2
Reflection 2

Podcast iRadio

Teddy Bear Game
Splinters Collaboration
Game of Thrones

Visual Images
-Visual Poetry –4
Thank you
Connect Kindly
-Graphic Notes on CL

Make Bank (Music in My Mind)


Credo (4)–3 vids and 1 slides
Videos 2
Storify Chat
Grahpic CL Notes
Make Comp Plans Comic

18 blogposts

Storify (2)
Google f5f Presentation
Blogposts (18)


#clmooc #literacies chat by True Reformers



What are we to do in this time of educational dysfunction, a dysfunction between authentic learning and mandated systems?

+Terry Elliot asked us to respond to David Lee Finkle‘s article in the Washington Post “Teachers or ‘Quantitative Learning Gains Facilitators?’”

Some educators connect to inspire each other to move on.  A reflection on the #clmooc #literacies chat.

What would you say? How do you respond? How do you, if you are an educator, keep your focus on inspiring students with learning that is life-long?

True Reformers



#clmooc #f5f Reflection Curation Week 4

Amazing “makes” this week reflecting on our philosophies of education, making, teaching, and learning. There are so many different stories and ways to express ideas. Please review my five (seven) #f5f Find Friday’s in the presentation above, then think: What are my favorite #f5f during this #clmooc? Click here, and add yours to create a collection of fabulous reflections and makes. Let’s curate a little here!


And, one final Connected Learning Credo, after a reflection from Anna Smith. (see previous post).



#etmooc #clmooc Week 3 Reflection #f5f

#clmooc Week 3 Reflections

How is what you create driven by your interests?

Since this is voluntary learning, it’s all based on interests; I have no preconception or grade to concern me. I love being inspired by those who jump in and share, so that I can piggyback on their ideas or find the spark that leads to my own creative work.

How is your learning and making supported by peers?
We all love receiving feedback, and this group is great at that. I believe the reflection week in this #clmooc provides the time to make those reflections and connections. Excellent leadership in this mooc. We’re given options and permission to try, to fail, to try again, or to just lurk and comment, which is also learning. Everyone is at a different place, and those places change as our lives “happen.” Peers encourage and suggest often in comments on the Google+ community and in the blogs/projects. Thanks.

How is your learning and making connected to larger systems?
Don’t you love that you can share our learning in the #clmooc and others? in Twitter and in blogs? Each of us finds the focus of the week, and then connects in ways that extend the learning to others — that rhyzomic type of connection.
How is it useful to know the boundaries of something? What do you learn from bumping up against boundaries? How do boards help board games? How do playing fields help sports? How do rules and systems shape learning? Can we describe how our learning spaces look right now for us and our kids, and can we revise those maps of learning to open them up for all of us?

In such a large #clmooc boundaries are flexible: we have a focus (maps), but each member must create the boundaries that fit the situation and vision each needs. Our boundaries are dotted lines that can be opened as needed to create our own boundaries of solid lines, contained to our situation. As I work through these, I wonder how it applies to my classroom. What it suggests is that I need to share our goal — and then talk about what that might look like, and allow students to frame the boundary in which each will meet the goal.

An example of a hacked boundary:
Grade 8 CCSS Reading For Information 8:
“Delineate and evaluate the argument and specific claims in a text, assessing whether the reasoning is sound and the evidence is relevant and sufficient; recognize when irrelevant evidence is introduced.”



What does that mean?
Where would you find an argument?
What topic are you interested in?
Where could you find the information?
Student-driven vocabulary padlet
Shared collaborative google doc (form groups on topics; peer help for search terms and formulate topic/questions)

Information Connection:
What did you discover?
What do you believe?
What are the facts?
Team brainstorm mind map (http://www.mindmeister.com/ or other); share and discuss
Information Analysis:
What arguments/claims were presented?
What is valid?
What is relevant?
What is missing?
What are your arguments/claims/evidence?
How have your ideas changed?
Team share (tool options: presentation; prezi; mind map; info graphic; photo/captions;

Information Survey:
What do others think?
What other experts?
Other arguments?
How will you find out?
(Repeat Connection/Analysis)
Peer comments/feedback (f2f; doc; Edmodo)

Information Hack:
Annotated Media Remix: tool of choice for own article/reflection demonstrating goal based on target topic analysis
Possible: Blog/Wiki/Google Site with Animoto/YouTube/Prezi/Slides/Map

What is the connection between place and story? When is a map integral to a memory, or vital to a memoir?
Do you love to open a book, it’s faceplate a map of places within the world to be imagined, like The Hobbit? We still must imagine the place, the scene; but to have it organized helps us understand the author’s world. In our digital maps, we can provide a place for a story, and an image that hints to a part to lead the reader in. A map that adds flavor allows the reader to breathe in the aroma and imagine more, as did Stephanie West-Puckett with my map/poem/bio/story in this post.

When is it useful to have a map? When is it not? Do we become learners dependent on one set up or the other? How do we preserve flexibility to move and judge between the two?

Mind maps, visual maps, illustrated maps, flow chart maps, photo-maps: this project has helped us all to open our minds to the possibilities so that we aren’t stuck with one image of “map.” A main idea of #clmooc is to open choices, to imagine a product that fits the message for two reasons: 1) share a clear message and 2) allow others to hack or copy the form. We are learning to be flexible and fluent, elaborating on the originality of others, the process of these is called creativity.

Keven Hodgson asked:

Is there demographic diversity in the MOOC?
Yes, it seems that diversity is an issue. I noticed in one post, a facilitator asked: “Who will you bring to #clmooc next week?” Perhaps we do need to reach out to our own PLN and invite others, anyone who might want to expand their connected learning.

Why are you so Google Plus-centric?
I am glad we are in the Google+ community (I don’t usually connect to the Facebook groups); I enjoy the ease of use and the fact that we can form smaller circles. Perhaps that is what members are doing, besides using the +name sharing. I’ve connected with Google Docs to collaborate, and that works well for projects. In the #etmooc experience, several of us connected in a wikispaces, and that helped during #etmooc, but then everyone was pulled back to their usual connections — though still connected through Twitter and Google+, we aren’t using the wiki. People connect as needed for interests and projects; it can’t be contained, but must remain fluid: neighborhoods we visit (an #etmooc discussion). I still think there needs to be a way to show who’s who as far as work position, grade bands, interests. Instructional Coaches have different needs than professors or teachers. A primary teacher has different needs than a middle school teacher or a high school teacher. A writing teacher has different needs than a science teacher. Although seeing ideas from everyone is terrific, our needs determine how connected we stay, and how collaborative we can be beyond the #clmooc. My question in #f5f insights asked about this.

Is it OK that much of the activity seems chaotic?
It is difficult to watch the flurry of activities, but that’s what gives me ideas. Considering question two, I would find looking at the community ideas would inspire me, and then connecting to a smaller “grade/subject/interest community would motivate me to communicate and collaborate with those who would be able to use the project idea in the coming school year. I think it would engender more connections.

How can we better encourage folks to break off into smaller, interest-driven groups? Is there something more we can do/should have done to set the stage for that kind of small group setting?

I don’t know if there is such a thing as “sub-communities” on Google+, but perhaps people could sign up on separate Google docs created for interests, topics, grade bands, subjects, etc. Not to keep people in groups, because members could sign in at several.

What about using tags? So I could add #clmooc #middleschool to my posts, and a search would show me others. Ronnie Bincer’s About Tags


What will happen, MOOC, when the last Make Cycle comes to a close in early August?
Perhaps we need a “Follow-Up” topic in the list so we can add connections and projects that have resulted from the #clmooc. I’ve continued some friendships from #etmooc and follow on Twitter and Google+, and I hope to find some to develop projects with that connect students. I’m not sure the education community in our schools is completely ready though; the people here are connected learners, but in their schools and in the policies of their schools, the opportunities may be different and less inviting to connections. That said, the connections made here will provide the support to inspire and transform the “back home” communities and institutions. So, a question is for me is, “If you want to inspire ‘connected learning’ in your own school/community/institution, what would you share first as motivation and introduction to your colleagues?”


From David Truss

So how do I build capacity here? What are people doing to help them make their role as a leader more about what they want it to be? What strategies work? And how do people ‘find the time’ to do the things they really want to do?
I’d like to know that answer to this as well. I see George Couros @gcouros and Alec Couros @courosa online, blogging, and all their other duties, and they always find the time to answer my silly questions as a struggling leader. Do they schedule times? Probably.

That’s what I need to do, because I sometimes go for days doing what I must, but without connecting. I then feel the need to catch up, especially with the MOOCs and other places; I don’t want to let anyone down.

I’ve seen some bloggers who blog tweets with comments, and I started that (SoConsider). If I were a principal, I might do that for staff and community — helpful blurbs with links to the resources.

Hootsuite helps me connect to lists of people I follow and want to remain connected to by following the stream from that list, my one or those I’ve subscribed to.

If I were a principal, a Google+ community might be a great place to keep up to date – or a collaborative blog. I hope to add Google Plus to our staff Google Apps for Education and will do just that as Tech Liaison.

As a leader, I need to be what is possible for our needs and with our tools (fortunately, we have Google Apps for Education) in ways that provide others with a path to join in. For example, I helped several teachers start blogs, but that didn’t continue due to many factors. So, this year, I will start a collaborative blog – so when the time and topic presents itself, any teach can blog their class story. And I also try to do as much of the secretarial stuff in collaboration through Google Apps so I have more time for face-to-face interactions and the projects I want to do. I’m sure David is doing some form of these because that’s why I read his blog posts at http://pairadimes.davidtruss.com/  — to learn from a master.


This reflection seems so “I” heavy, but questions were asked. I’m not an expert, so the reflection helped me consider a path to take. I hope it helps others.


Again, my question:

“If you want to inspire ‘connected learning’ in your own school/community/institution, what would you share first as motivation and introduction to your colleagues?”

















Created by http://www.fodey.com/generators/newspaper/snippet.asp

Why I Teach #whyiteach

Teachers make a difference; we never know how much.
Thank you to my former student; you made my day.

Twenty-seven years ago, after a wonderful lab school experience with plenty of practical experience at Eastern Washington University, I ventured into my own classroom to teach the subjects required in projects filled with language learning.

I felt confident and competent, but I wasn’t prepared for the adversity of attitudes infused in the difficult lives of the twinkling eyes in front of me. I quickly learned that content and process may be the required, but relationships and encouragement were the necessity. Building a community of learners whose runny noses, tears, and silliness were just as important as finishing a task. In fact, the tasks became processes of caring, checking in, acknowledging, and encouraging in both content and social and emotional needs. I teach students, not subjects.

And the first grade sparkling eyes of “I’m here again today” followed by teddy bear hugs at the end of the day turned into adolescent nods of “Yeah, I’m here” and “See you tomorrow” in middle school. And always, the parent and family connection because no matter what, families want their kids successful. No matter the age, the relationships are key.

The relationships between student and teacher and among the students either inhibit or enhance the learning process. Teachers are not holders of information, we are molders of transformation. What we struggle to accomplish is to create a diverse yet integrated community of thinkers: authors, mathematicians, historians, scientists, each with his or her own talents adding to the common good and the success of each other and the class. Teaching and learning are heuristic processes, not bits of facts and procedures and not checklists of criteria. In the classroom, we are all learners, and I am the lead learner.

In those first grade eyes and middle school smiles, I felt something: I had each day and each year added something positive to the world, and created an environment for my students to each add something positive too. It’s never perfect. It’s never easy. I’m not always successful. But considering the fact that facts aren’t the most important, my classroom is a learning landscape, a neighborhood to learn together built on caring and trust to know we can think and solve anything that life throws at us. We matter. And I hope the students in my care leave my class able to go boldly and scatter seeds of kindness, to continue creating and learning in their own positive learning landscapes.

And those lessons of what really matters became #whyiteach.