Category Archives: PLN

Revisiting Participatory Culture

One of the best elements of the web is the ongoing learning and sharing that takes place.  While in many ways, you never really know what impact you will have with a tweet, retweet, participation in a chat, a blog post,  commenting , creating a podcast, video etc.   I like the notion of the ripple effect.

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More and more though, I am thinking about levels of learning.  Even though all of the examples above can be classified as participating, contributing, sharing and learning.  I wonder though,  what is it that  actually triggers one to find the PLN that will help you learn, challenge you, push you, and follow through to grow and change your practice?

I am sure that many web users enjoy the variety of ways to participate.  I do too, but I find both the enjoyment and learning that comes from reading blogs and the related comments to be a great experience.

Here are a few highlights from my web travels this week:

Comments on a  CBC podcast 

Do you live in a bubble? by  Donna Fry (@fryed) 

The 10 day blogging challenge

The nudge from @tina_zita 

An invitation to participate from Heather (@HTheijsmeijer)

Why not join in?  Are you up for the challenge?  How will you participate this week?

~Mark
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#GAFEsummit London Session Resource

Today’s post shares my resource prepared for #gafesummit London ON (May 28/29, 2016. It was a great day of learning, making new connections and of course had many of those special ‘sparkle’ moments when you meet an online connection face to face for the first time. This particular summit had a special connection for me as a Saunders SS graduate.

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Resources:

~Mark
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Reflections on Innovator’s Mindset Panel 4

I enjoyed supporting the social media component of this week’s Innovator’s Mindset panel discussion.  As I listened to the panelists and monitored the Twitter stream, I jotted down phrases that resonated with me in terms of student centred thinking and important professional practice.

I framed a few questions from the discussion here:

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I thought the panelists shared some insightful professional practice elements:

Tell your story:  everyone  (students and educators)  has a story.
Reflect
Challenge Thinking as part of your regular practice
Make it Public
Model – model what you seek
We are collectively better and stronger as co-learners .

Will you take the challenge?
Will you support change and choose to model normalizing the practice of making your learning and thinking visible?

Related Resources:

Storify of panel discussion 4
Follow the Twitter stream at  #innovatorsmindet 

View the panel discussion

~Mark
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Innovators Mindset Panel Discussion 3

OSSEMOOC has been running an  online book study based on the Innovator’s Mindset by George Couros.  Last week’s activity featured an online panel discussion which focused on exploring some of elements of chapters 8-12 more deeply.

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The panel discussion recording (#3):

In reviewing the twitter conversation that occurred while the panel discussion was live, I wanted to share a few perspectives that I wanted to reflect on.  Perhaps these tweets will challenge your thinking or make a new connection  that will ignite new opportunities for you too.

My Reflection Prompts: 

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Additional Resources

Check the OSSEMOOC Website for more details about the Innovator’s Mindset book club.

#InnovatorsMindset Storify of the Innovator’s Mindset chat 3

The  #InnovatorsMindset Twitter Stream

~Mark
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Let Them Choose

During my ongoing curation of articles about learning, digital tools and social media, I recently came across this article exploring perspectives on  social media in the lecture theatres.  Although the article was primarily examining post secondary perspectives, I would argue the same discussions are relevant in K12. The discussion was centred around various viewpoints on whether or not students:

  • be allowed (by profs) to bring technology to class
  • are distracted by having access to social media  and
  • experience benefits?

Two interviewees interviewed commented that “… because the students are most likely taking notes. Many don’t use pen and paper, and rely on their devices. She says students are old enough to decide if they are to learn or not.” andMy view is they are old enough to choose and multitask (and choose to fail too),“. Meanwhile, others choose to dictate “no access”.

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Now, if I put a personal perspective on this and let you observe my learning mode,  this is what you would see. Typically I use 2 devices … taking notes on my iPad using notability – not just for notes – adding audio recording, and insert photos for context for a more complete package.  On the second device I organize lists, todos, ideas and share via social media, typically Twitter but this could easily be a Facebook group, G+ community, LinkedIn or open Google doc. I reiterate – this is MY style. This is how I learn best. Paper and pen doesn’t work for me.

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Why not let students choose what works best for them – student voice. To me,  letting students choose what tools they use and how they organize shows a strength based approach to student learning. What benefit is there in forcing students to function in a way that may not be self directed and self optimized?

Weigh in:  Where do you stand?

~Mark

We Dared to Dream

Five years ago, we dared to dream – created our first teacher support role dedicated to focusing on in servicing and supporting elementary teachers to use educational technology in the most effective ways.   It seemed like the right approach, at the right time to forge a new path forward, create interest, synergy, and impact the future.  Susan Watt was the successful candidate for the position – and the journey began!

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Standing now in 2015, and looking back,  what a journey it has been.  A new path was definitely forged.  I look back fondly on all of the annual “system tours” as they were affectionately known – professional learning for staff at each school — using a dual boot Mac, what can I do with an iPad, we have wifi hotspots – now what, wifi in the classroom, GAFE, chromebooks, dropbox and more.   Another important project was migrating our acceptable use procedure (AUP) to the responsible use procedure (RUP) where our initial thinking about staff as digital citizenship role models and use of social media for positive purposes was captured.  I could of course, list many more highlights, but you have the idea of system impact.

SWatt

In her retirement speech, Susan challenged her colleagues:  “ So, I have some advice for our retiree supporters tonight: go off script, listen and respond to your students’ spontaneous questions and observations. Understand that every moment is teachable. Don’t settle for the status quo. If it doesn’t feel good for kids, challenge it. If it’s being done a certain way just because it’s always been done that way – question that rationale. Follow your heart and intuition.  Explore new options. Take a risk. Embrace change.

Susan, it has been a privilege to work with you.  Thank you for your creativity, determination, enthusiasm, ability to see a big picture, having a huge positive impact, and, perhaps most of all,  daring to dream.

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I look forward to staying connected and following along your life journey via your  new blog:  Watts Up Next. Thank YOU!

~Mark

uLead15 Keynote reflections

The kickoff to the uLead 2015 conference was spectacular: over 800 educators at a great venue with Simon Breakspear and Abdul Chohan keynoting.

Simon focused on 3 keys for critical change:

  • Design Learning Futures
  • Embrace Radical Collaboration and
  • NEVER stop learning.

I am keen to reflect on this framework and see what else I can learn about the approach.

Now, how many times have we heard the “never stop learning” or “life long learners” messaging.  The giant  BUT  is you HAVE to LIVE it – lip service doesn’t make the grade.  Not only can we never stop learning, but we have to take things to the next level:  connected learning, a commitment to sharing and making your thinking visible.

Are you up for the challenge?

I really enjoyed hearing Abdul’s story and appreciated the learnings he shared.  Some personal highlights include:

  • theories of action do not equal a well understood vision
  • technology allows us to do things we just could not do before – in all walks of life.  Why resist this in education?
  • go beyond substitution to redefine (#SAMR thinking)
  • leading change: build community, secure accountability, manage process, develop the people and secure with vision
  • Simple, reliable and equitable technology is ESSENTIAL
  • increasing planned coincidences
  • take it global
  • the challenge of taking the complex and making it simple

EasyButton

The highlighting of the easy button approach to technology really resonates with me. Complexity drives people away which means the flow between F2F, online, and digital resources is broken … the chance to do something that was not previously possible (#SAMR) is gone or at least unlikely.  Simplicity, reliability, equitable access and sufficient bandwidth are requirements.  I think this aligns with the ideas of Digital Inclusion.

Finally, a few tweets to give you a flavour of the learning and sharing. Check out the full stream at  #ulead15.

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and … Abdul’s closing challenge.

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~Mark