#clmooc #teachdonow Social Media PLN

Social Media and Ed Tech: Reflection on Professional Learning

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 1 What did your professional learning look like 6 years ago, and how has it changed?

 Six Years ago, I was still a lurker on Twitter, but was a Saturday participant in Classroom Live 2.0. Now I share and connect on Twitter, Google Plus,  and Nings.

Now I’m participating in and supporting MOOCs [etmooc and clmooc ] to connect, share, converse, and collaborate on learning issues.

My Twitter friend Denise Krebs and I planned a beginner’s presentation online through twitter and google docs to present at Connected Educator Month 2012.  We started a teacher Flickr group and we have met in person!

I’ve vlogged with colleagues through Ben Wilkoff’s Fellowship of the Open Spokes, something that is still scary to me.

Middle School teachers from clmooc  are creating spaces [google, MightyBell, blogs ] to collaborate as teachers and with our students.

I’ve joined the conversation online, and am trying to bring our staff online.  Yet, as Vicki Davis suggests, Title One schools are focused on drilling kids to learn, and in the process are enlarging the digital divide. Fortunately, we are moving forward in that area, to use the tools students will use in their futures, such as collaborative tools. Therefore, we are a Google Apps for Education school. Our new principal understands that tech tools provide access to learning for many kids.

2 What are the best resources you have found? How have they impacted your teaching and learning?

The number one game changer for reading and writing and feedback is Google Apps for Education. It is an ecosystem of tools that engages students in searching, creating, revising, and collaborating on topics. I’ve written about that ecosystem here. It’s a game-changer for my students and myself. As mentioned, I’ve planned many collaborations through Google Docs.

Edmodo and Kidblogs provide forums for sharing and conversation. Bitstrips and Voki classroom have helped students express the synthesis of their learning.  I’ve blogged about using the tools to read and write to learn Common Core State Standards as a guest blogger; the focus is not the tools, but the goal.

GooruLearning is a platform that allows teachers and students to research and collect resources through our Google Apps for Education. Search, research, and teamwork are all things we are beginning to do.

Of course, Twitter is my goto place for learning and sharing — I’ve found most of my tools, webinars, connections through the amazing people in my PLN and I cannot thank them enough! And, I’ve reciprocated with help to those asking.

3 What gaps or challenges do you feel exist between your current learning environment and your aspirational learning environment?

As mentioned, search, research, and teamwork are all things we are beginning to do in my classroom. I’ve taken and reviewed Dan Russell’s Google Search and shared that information at Rotary. We are learning these strategies in the classroom, adding more each year. My students know to cite sources and to use Creative Commons, but we need to dig deeper and be the explorers and collaborators for real issues of interest to students. That’s why I’ve started [late] to participate in the #teachdonow course as much as I can now that clmooc is winding down. As it says on my blog: “Students today enjoy the connectedness of social networking; it is part of their very being. My goal is to bring my instruction into that cloud to teach the content required in ways that inspire online responsibility and ethics in this new, very public world.”

4 What is your preferred learning style? How do you adapt your learning style to networked learning?

I prefer to learn by observing and then trying. I like encouraging feedback. Because I am a shy person outside of my classroom, the network has been so beneficial — just tweet and respond. I can do that.  Google Plus? Just post and search and comment; join communities. Discuss alternatives or differences. It’s much more involved and deeper than just studying from a book or sitting through a training. Google Apps for Education, Edmodo, and blogging have brought this positive learning environment to my students. Wowser!

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5 Why do I connect with others? I want to help my students to connect to the global network as positive, problem-solving citizens.

Thanks to Michael Wesch  and Mindshift for explaining why this is important….

How about you? I want to do something. [ and did ] I want my students to know they can do something.

A Small Voice Gets An Answer

 

 

 

One Does What One Can

A Small Voice is Answered

IMG_6947Our dog loves this walk in the park below the transmission lines. She checks every message left by every other creature that walks here. And the scrubby elm trees provide the shade needed in our hot, semi-arid scrublands. The small watershed in this area provides home to all sorts of critters from red-winged blackbirds to killdeer to coyotes to, well, any creature needing a spot to rest or shelter from the heat or cold. And this is a place that many local residents [and their dog friends] visit regularly. We are fortune to have a place with trees, and we are thankful.

On June 18th, 2014, we took our old friend for her last walk here.

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She was so old, Scott had to pull her up and around so she could keep her balance. It was time. And on this day to reflect, we arrived to this:

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Crews cutting down our trees.

The area is managed by three entities: Bonneville Power Adminstration, United States Bureau of Recamation, and the local Coulee Area Park and Recreation District, who is supposed to be consulted about any changes or actions in the area.

Scott immediately called Bob Valen, the PARD Commissioner, while I took numerous pictures. I went home wondering what I could do. Helplessness is a terrible feeling. Meanwhile Bob Valen talked with the contracted crew at the park.

I had no idea who was cutting the trees down, but I organized my images into an animation video.  While creating it, I decided to tweet the issue, directly to USBR, who have been known to seemingly indiscriminately cut down trees on our walking paths. I also posted on Facebook, but that received a few local comments only.

 

 

 

— Sheri Edwards (@grammasheri) June 18, 2014

 

I even sent out a tweet on the benefits of trees — so many people have no clue how important they are to the environment and to the health of our communities. And for city crews, it’s just more work for them — so why bother?

 

By this time Scott had informed me that it wasn’t USBR, but was the Bonneville Power Administration [BPA]. And Bob Valen was trying to contact whoever was in charge at BPA.

 

 

An already stressful day with our dog was now doubly so with the possible loss of one of our area’s few treed areas for public play.

I returned to the park and took more devastating photos to add to the Animoto video.

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When I returned home, I found a message from Washington, DC Bureau of Reclamation who wanted to talk to me about my tweets!  I called the number, and the manager explained carefully that they had not been notified of  the clear-cutting, and that they were now in contact with BPA and PARD and were working on the issue. She was actually in town that day from DC and would check out the area herself. Wow!  The local USBR had also been contacted by DC wondering what was going on. I told her that those trees have been their for over thirty years, in a wetland area, and that local residents frequently access the area for walking. The local parks department has plans for the area, and the loss of trees would hurt wildlife and people’s use. I thanked her for taking the time to find out what the issue was for the community.

I persisted with Animoto videos to BPA since I hadn’t heard from them.

 

To be sure we were heard, I continued to try to reach BPA:

I never did hear from BPA myself.

But, a small voice received an answer from one of the powers-that-be. I tweeted a thank you.

 

And here’s what happened: the different entities worked together to find a solution, and only a few trees have been cut down since the initial invasion. If you look at the pictures, you can see that these are not your average neighborhood power poles — they are huge, and these thirty-year old trees will never get close to the wires.

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This is the story of a small voice receiving an answer, and Twitter, a social media, got the attention needed to start the conversation.

Remember, “One does what one can.” We’ll miss our walks with Pooka, but we are glad for those people and furry friends that still have their shade.

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In Real Time Data Moves Forward Add Yours with #clmooc

In Real Time: Click to see data move forward this second…

Click the animation to open the full version (via PennyStocks.la).

[Sources at bottom of linked page.]

What do we do with so much data?  Make sense of it, and add your own little bit!

As Steve Hargadon says:

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Photo Credit: Denise Krebs (@mrsdkrebs) as part of our Extend the Conversation presentation where we added a few bits of our own. We both tweet and blog to share what we learn.

So  think about it: the world is a much bigger place, and a much smaller one. We can connect with others anywhere in the world with Internet access. We can learn and remix the ideas of others, innovating and collaborating together. Together, we can make the world better.

One way to begin is to join a community such as Connected Learning Massive Open Online Collaboration: CLMOOC.  It’s a welcoming community for anyone to drop in, see what we’re doing, lurk, comment, create in ways that fit your needs and time. Click on the links below for more information.

What is Connected Learning?

What are the goals?

How do I sign up?

When is it?  Remember, you can participate in many ways, big and small, at any time.

Where is the community? [ Google Plus ]

How do I follow? #clmooc Twitter?

Connected Learning helps us make sense of all the information and ground it in our daily lives.

How are you making sense of the information?

What are you adding?

Will you join #clmooc and help us learn together?

 

Cross-posted at Sheri42

Go boldly and scatter seeds of kindness…
Reflect curiosity and wonder…

Live to make the world less difficult for each other. ~ George Eliot