Posted in audience, connected, reflect, sharing, teaching, twitter, wsdvt, tagged Collaboration, Education, Sharing, Twitter, Vermont, wsdvt on October 31, 2016|
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Many readers may be familiar with the Humans of New York, a series that shares interviews with people in New York City. It’s a great way to tell the story of that city from many different points of view.
Here in Vermont, there’s a Twitter handle called @ThisIsVT, where each week, a different Vermont resident shares their story, their view of Vermont, and offers different perspectives of this great state via tweets. The bio for the account changes each week to reflect who is doing the tweeting.
We have a fairly active Twitter hashtag for education and educators in Vermont, #VTed. It’s used for all things education, including tweets from those at meetings and conferences, school or district shares, and as a vehicle for educators to connect and build their PLN. There’s a chat every other Thursday evening at 8 pm EST. We hope educators know that all are welcome, even if you don’t live in Vermont.
A new Twitter account, @ThisIsVTEd was born in September, building upon the @ThisIsVT idea and expanding it to education. It was an organic evolution among the facilitators & participants in a #VTed chat last year. Each week, a different school or school district takes the helm and tweets out their story, their happenings, and their point of view of education in Vermont. Thanks to Ned Kirsch (@betavt), Jason Finley (@finleyjd), and The Tarrant Institute for Innovative Education (@innovativeEd) for getting the ball rolling with this great idea!
Last week it was our turn in the Williston, VT schools. While we didn’t capture every element of what happens in our schools or even each teaching team, it provides a nice window into what makes our schools special. Here’s a Storify I put together to showcase last week’s tweets from @ThisIsVTEd, as well as tweets and Instagram shares with our schools’ hashtag #wsdvt.
@ThisIsVTEd has rotated to a new ‘tweeter’ this week. Be sure to check out the bio on Twitter to see who is tweeting! Regardless, it’s a fabulous way to see what’s happening in Vermont Education. We’re back to tweeting from our usual account, @wsdvt.
Window photo: Creative Commons/Flickr via James Lee https://flic.kr/p/8mN4qm
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Posted in audience, blogging, collaboration, connected, teaching, twitter, tagged audience, blogging, primary, students, Twitter on October 30, 2014|
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I’ve had a few experiences lately where I’ve been so impressed with what’s happening at the primary level. By that, I mean grades K-2, but this is certainly prevalent at other levels as well.
I taught some courses this summer and had the privilege of working with teachers at all levels. Recently, teachers from two different courses, who teach at the primary level, have had things to share with me.
One course was all about integrating Google tools. During our week together, a few teachers and I got to talking about Twitter. Yes, not a Google tool, but still a powerful one. They wanted to hear more about how to use Twitter to make classroom connections. I continued the conversation with one teacher beyond our summer work. Last week, she came to visit one of our kindergarten classes, Sharon Davison‘s (@kkidsinvt), and watched the class use Twitter to share with other kindergarten classes (class account: @vermontkkids123). Our guest, a first grade teacher, also has explored the #1stchat hashtag and has lurked in a Twitter chat as well. She is overcome by the sheer numbers of primary educators that are out there sharing and connecting. Her visit to our school helped her get underway.
Another summer course was about the integration of writing and digital tools. All of the participants in that one are primary teachers, plus one principal. Two of the teachers, who teach in our district but another school, have added blogging with their students to the vast array of things teachers are responsible for these days. They approached it systematically by paper-blogging and paper-commenting, leading up to using the technology for those tasks. The second grade teacher got things underway with her students and they blogged a few times and left one another comments. The teacher was thrilled and set up a future session with her colleague, who teaches first grade. Today, the second graders taught the first graders how to access and create their blog posts. I was invited to observe and help out. They didn’t need my help- these students were ALL engaged and on task. They all felt successful and the first posts by first graders were a huge hit.
I got back to my school and walked into a computer lab filled with a first/second grade class (multi-age). They also were blogging! The teacher was so excited at how well things were going, how easily the students were navigating Kidblog, and how many skills are embedded in the experience. She is eager to try to help more of her colleague see the light.
Finally, one of our third/fourth grade classes (multi-age) has been participating in the Global Read Aloud author study of Peter Reynolds’ books. They’ve been blogging about his books and including some amazing reflections. They have also learned a lot about commenting – from penny comments to dollar comments, as well as highway and dead-end comments. The teacher used the Global Read Aloud hashtag #grapeter to share a set of recent posts about Peter’s books . What came next was the biggest surprise of all; Peter Reynolds commented on her students’ posts! the students and the teacher were jumping up and down with excitement. What a fabulous way to understand the power of a larger audience.
It’s been great to have more and more positive examples of how our younger students can and do achieve a lot with digital tools.
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Posted in audience, collaboration, connected, pln, relationships, sharing, twitter, tagged connected, Google, Sharing, Twitter on October 20, 2014|
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I’ve read a lot of posts during Connected Educator Month, about the value of being connected. I consider myself a connected educator, though sometimes more connected than others. What you put in directly relates to what you get out; it does take work and time. However, it’s well worth it. As many have said in a variety of ways, “all of us are smarter than any of us.”
What Being Connected Is:
- Developing trusting relationships online and face to face
- Giving as much as you take
Last week I went to visit another school district to facilitate a session for their in-service day. I offered a session about the importance of blogging with students. When I shared about students writing for a larger audience and the change in motivation, a number of teachers in the room asked how you build that audience. How do you find other classes with which to collaborate?
I said that I use my PLN – especially networks on Twitter and various Google+ Communities of which I’m a member. Many in the room stared at me as if I was from another planet. I reflexively turn to these networks to ask questions, to share ideas and resources, and to connect that I don’t even think about it anymore. But for someone new to it all, it can be intimidating.
Tips to Get Connected:
- Start slowly, it won’t all come together at once.
- Join one of these networks – Twitter or Google+. Just one. See how it goes. If you like it, keep going. If not, try the other one.
- Ask others who are already connected to help you.
- Observe, watch, lurk.
- Put your toes in the water and send out a tweet or a post in a community.
- Take risks. No one will judge you. Instead you’ll be welcomed.
There’s a whole wide world out there full of educators who are sharing and connecting. Join it. It will change how you view education and your work, and then have an impact on your students as well. Get smarter- connect.
Image originally from: creative commons licensed (BY-NC-SA) flickr photo by jspad: http://flickr.com/photos/jspad/3349733909
Then adapted with pixlr.com
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Post 23 on the Teach Thought 30-Day Blogging Challenge: Write about 1 way that you “meaningfully” involve the community in your classroom. If not, write about 1 way you would like to bring that into your curriculum.
As I mentioned in an earlier post, a few years ago we created a school-wide goal to publish, share, and communicate with an audience beyond our classroom. We believe strongly in the power of connecting and broadening our audience. I translate that, on behalf of this post, to our community. In this case, community is not only our local community, but also the global community.
Some examples of how that’s happening so far this year :
- Classes using Skype to connect with a professional photographer in California. Last year this same teacher set up a Skype meeting with a pathologist in Boston who also shared his microscope slides live with the group.
- Another teacher is using Skype to connect with a group of teachers in New Zealand with whom she’s been collaborating on a project.
- At least two of our first/second grade classrooms collaborate with other classrooms here in Vermont as blogging partners.
- Some middle school classrooms regularly blog and seek feedback from the world – they often use the #commentsforkids hashtag on Twitter.
- We have many classrooms at a variety of levels who tweet as a class- to share what they’re doing in class and to connect with other classrooms for collaborative projects.
- Other classrooms are sharing images of what’s happening at school with a broader audience via Instagram.
- In a few weeks, we’ll be partnering with our local educational access station, RETN, to video and live-stream our Candidate Forum hosted by students. Candidates for different positions around the state come to our school to participate in this event. Students will also be in control of all of the cameras and control boards at this event.
- One of our kindergarten classrooms always has Skype open and welcomes calls and visits from parents and other classrooms. This teacher also connects with others globally for collaborative projects. You can read about what they’re doing in Sharon Davison’s blog.
I’m sure there are many more examples that I’m not yet aware of and haven’t included here. We are committed to collaborating with our communities near and far. We bring them into our schools and classrooms in ways that connect to and enrich learning.
image: creative commons licensed (BY-NC-ND) flickr photo by Send me adrift.: http://flickr.com/photos/sophiadphotography/8103704644
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Posted in audience, classroom, collaboration, learning, relationships, sharing, teaching, tagged audience, comments, feedback, growth mindset, mistakes, Responsive Classroom on September 14, 2014|
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Post 14 in the TeachThought 30-Day Blogging Challenge: What is feedback for learning and how well do you give it as an educator?
Feedback is critical for learning. However, there are some important elements that must be in place for feedback to be effective.
1. First we need to build community. Whether adopting and implementing the principles of Responsive Classroom or building community in other ways, students need to feel safe, trusted, and respected. They need to know how to communicate and collaborate.
2. We need to develop a culture in which students know making mistakes is part of the learning process. Edutopia shared this post a few years ago that still resonates with me, The Role of Mistakes in the Classroom.
3. We need a growth mindset and clear definitions of how we grow and learn. I’ve been revisiting Jackie Gerstein’s post, The Educator with a Growth Mindset, a few times in recent weeks.
4. We need an audience. It can’t only be the teacher and classmates. Here’s a quote from How Digital Writing is Making Kids Smarter, that illustrates the value of a larger audience.
“Academic studies have found that whenever students write for other actual, live people, they throw their back into the work -– producing writing with better organization and content, and nearly 40 percent longer than when they write for just their instructor,” Thompson writes.
5. We need to learn about feedback and commenting. This is something we intentionally teach. What are the parts of a good comment? How do we give one another feedback? How will it help us and impact our work? How do we interact with others in person and online?
I rely on the classroom teachers with whom I work to establish these elements in the culture of their classrooms. When I get the privilege of working with them, I see the impact that learning feedback has on their experience in school. When these elements are in place, the real learning happens. Feedback truly is for learning.
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Posted in 1:1, audience, Chromebooks, collaboration, connected, iPad, teaching, tech, tagged change, Collaboration, ePortfolio, future, innovation, personal learning plan, prediction on September 12, 2014|
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Post 12 in the 30-Day Blogging Challenge: How do you envision your teaching changing over the next five years?
I’m going to borrow a format from another blogger in the challenge.
5 years Ago:
I was just getting underway in my transition from classroom teacher to Technology Integration Specialist. We were adopting a new platform for our school website and about to move toward implementing our Google Apps for Education domain. I was adapting to not having my own class and instead, working with students and adults. We had not yet heard of iPads or Chromebooks.
I’ve definitely settled into this role! As a teacher, I enjoy working with students and adults, but have definitely been doing more with adults for professional development. I miss the classroom, but am constantly challenged by the frequent innovations with technology. We’re implementing our first 1:1 with Chromebooks. We’re connecting, collaborating, and sharing a lot with a broad audience.
In 5 years:
Because technology changes so quickly, it’s hard to predict what life in schools and in the ed tech realm will look like in 5 years. I hope to be teaching teachers, as I am now, but perhaps more online. Students will each have their own Personal Learning Plan, ePortfolio, and will be more involved in designing their academic programs, with guidance from educators and mentors. I envision future schools looking something like the what’s featured in the video below, which was a selection of the White House Film Festival for 2014.
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Posted in audience, collaboration, integration, learning, professional development, sharing, tech, tagged Collaboration, Educational technology, Learning, Sharing on August 28, 2014|
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Yesterday, I came across this post about a 30-Day Blogging Challenge for Teachers. It includes a reflective teaching question for each day in September to get educators blogging. Given that I haven’t blogged in too long and have too much to share from a full summer of learning, connecting, and teaching – I think I’m going to accept the challenge.
Plus, it’s about ‘reflective teaching’ and my blog is ‘Reflections on Ed Tech’; it felt like a good match.
Starting on Monday, I’ll try blogging daily. That will be quite a change for me, but I see it as a great way to get back into blogging, to share about recent experiences, and to model for others.
Anyone else want to join me?
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