EdCamp Home 2.0 – Wow!

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EdCamp Home badge created by Kevin Ashworth.

I am a huge fan of the EdCamp model for professional development. I was able to attend EdCamp Philly last year with three colleagues and it was an amazing experience. For those of you that don’t know, EdCamp is an unconference or open space style conference for educators. Unconference style conferences are unique because the content is driven by the participants. There are no pre-planned sessions.

I first heard about EdCamp Home from Markette Pierce, whom I know from Twitter. EdCamp Home is an online version of the conference, meaning all of the attendees would participate from home. It was held on January 4, 2014. Each attendee registered and was then invited to a private Google+ Community. The day before the conference, attendees generated topic ideas. There were two sessions. During each session multiple topics were being discussed in different Google Hangouts. There were a total of 47 different sessions at EdCamp Home. It seemed a little crazy, and it was. It was crazy awesome.

The first session I attended was the “EdTech Coaches Meetup.” We had fun connecting and sharing ideas about how we work with teachers. All the notes from that session can be found here (thanks to Markette for creating the document). Here are the videos from all of the different topics held during session 1: EdCamp Home Session 1.

The second session I attended was called “Helping Teachers Build a PLN.” (I am passionate about this topic and even presented on it at NYSCATE with colleague Amy Oliverihere is a link to our presentation.) There were so many good practical ideas shared in this session. Here are the videos from all of the topics held during session 2: EdCamp Home Session 2.

Here are some links from EdCamp Home 2.0:

  • Snagit – an awesome Google Chrome extension and app for annotating any image you can take a picture of on your computer.

  • Atlas Learning – Too hard to explain but cool, click the link.

  • Lucid Press – Awesome templates that link to Google Docs, available in the Chrome Web Store.

  • Haiku Deck – A new innovative app and online presentation creation tool.

  • PLN Yourself – Great personal learning network resources.

For more ideas check out the EdCamp Home Slam!

You can also catch up on the entire Twitter conversation via the TweetChat link#edcampHome

Experiencing EdCamp Home 2.0 has given me some new ideas for delivery of professional development with the faculty at my school. I was part of the organizing committee that introduced the unconference style of professional development to our faculty for our Professional Day last Spring. It was a huge success. If the EdCamp Home 2.0 organizers can create a robust online environment for collaboration on such a large scale, why can’t I create something similar on a much smaller scale with the faculty at Allendale Columbia School? Why not create Google Hangout PD sessions for faculty? The sessions could be based on faculty interest. Expert guests could attend the hangouts to chat with our faculty in small groups. Would you as a teacher attend a scheduled PD Hangout in the evening? I can’t wait to give this a try.

Kudos to the organizers Karl Lindgren-Steicher, Kelly Kermode, Shawn White and David Theriault, for putting together an amazing event. I can’t wait for EdCamp Home 3.0!

Tech Tuesday 11.26.13 – How to Build a Personal Learning Network (PLN) You Can Manage

Guest post by Amy Oliveri:

In preparation for our presentation at NYSCATE 2013 we practiced with our faculty. You may remember last weeks post encouraged any available AC faculty to join in on a PLN conversation. If you were there, we thank you for your time and feedback. We also apologize profusely. Our presentation, in our eyes, was a bit of a FAIL. You gave us amazing feedback and we got right to work to fix and update it with new information. On Sunday, we presented at NYSCATE. Our presentation is called Building a Personal Learning Network You Can Manage and it was a huge hit. We engaged both brand new users as well as sharing new information with intermediate and advanced users. We have included the slideshare of the presentation below which is filled with links that you can interact with. Let us know if you have any questions and we hope to present this content to you soon.

[slideshare id=28557057&style=border:1px solid #CCC;border-width:1px 1px 0;margin-bottom:5px&sc=no]

Thanks to Howie DiBlasi for suggesting Slideshare as a way to share our presentation.

Tech Tuesday – 11.19.13 Personal Learning Networks: Why and How?

On Sunday, 11.24.13, I am presenting on how to create and manage a Personal Learning Network (PLN) with Amy Oliveri at NYSCATE.  I firmly believe that you can’t continue to teach and be relevant without some sort of a PLN. The amount of information available is truly transformative for educators. You are doing yourself and your students a disservice by not investing some time and energy into creating a PLN. Here is why,

  • It’s personal to you.
    Your PLN is made up of information and people that have meaning to you and to what you do.
  • It’s free.
    It costs you and your school or district nothing.
  • It’s available when you are.
    No scheduling issues to contend with EVER.

Think of your PLN like a phenomenal conference that is always relevant, continually evolving, and growing.

Thanks to Larry Ferlazzo for creating and sharing a phenomenal guide for helping teachers create a PLN.
The Best Guides For Helping Teachers Develop Personal Learning Networks

Happy creating! If you have questions about PLNs or you have some great resources in your PLN please share here in the comments section!

Still not sure what a PLN is? Watch the video below.

Please use the hashtag #pln4ed to share relevant PLN information .

Tech Tuesday 10.22.13 – Connected Educators Month – Twitter Chats

Twitter chats are a great way for educators to stay current in a specific content area, or about educational topics in general.

THE Journal was the first magazine to cover education technology. In September, Susan Bearden wrote an article called, 13 Great Twitter Chats Every Educator Should Check Out. If you are unfamiliar with Twitter and or Twitter chats, this is a great place to start.

Cybrary Man, Jerry Blumengarten, has a great site with resources for educators. Here is a link to his page for Educational Chats on Twitter.

Below are some direct links to Twitter Chats. You can use a tool like Twubs to filter a specific chat or hashtag like #edchat. You do NOT need to have a Twitter account to access the conversation. You do need an account if you wish to participate.

Education – EdChat

Math – MathChat

English – EngChat

Educational Technology – EdTechChat

Kindergarten/Early Childhood – KinderChat

Elementary Education – ElemChat

Tech Tuesday – 10.15.13 – Connected Educators

Finding good reputable sources to connect with can be difficult. Here are few connected educators that I respect and learn from on a regular basis.

Eric Sheninger – Eric is the Principal at New Milford High School located in Bergen County, NJ. He is passionate about establishing and fostering learning environments that are student-centered, collaborative, flexible, and prepare all learners to succeed in the 21st Century.

Edna Sackson – Enda is a Teaching and Learning Co-ordinator at an  International Baccalaureate PYP school in Melbourne, Australia. Her blogs is full of great ideas for all grade levels.

Vicki Davis aka Cool Cat Teacher – Vicki is an IT Director and author of Flattening Classrooms, Engaging Minds: Move to Global Collaboration One Step at a Time (Pearson). She is a great resource for teachers at every level.

George Couros – George  is currently a Division Principal of Innovative Teaching and Learning with Parkland School Division, located in Stony Plain, Alberta, Canada. He works with children of all ages.

Louise Morgan – Louise is a 2nd grade teacher from Fort Worth, Texas. She uses her blog to showcase classroom projects and activities.

Tech Tuesday – 10.08.13 Connected Educators Month (CEM)

Edutopia is one of the best resources for educators. They have put together a great page of Connected Educators Resources.

Resources for Connected Educator Month 2013 | Edutopia.

I hope you find it as useful as I did. Check out Connected Educators.org. The have a great tool for helping you connect to other educators called edConnectr.

Still not sure what it means to be “Connected”. Watch the video below.

Pinterest In My PLN

Illustrated by Peter Grundy From Scholastic Instructor

I would consider myself to be a heavy user of social media maybe even excessive at times. I have written a blog post about using it as a PD (professional development) tool and presented on the topic of connected educators. I actively use Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Instagram, YouTube and LinkedIn. I used Google Reader, now Feedly (a post for a different day) to keep track of blogs I follow. I use a variety of different apps, Zite, FlipBoard, Feedly, Pocket, WordPress, Evernote, HootSuite, and Summly to keep track of my content.

Notice I didn’t mention Pinterest? Pinterest just didn’t seem to fit into my workflow. I didn’t understand at all how I could jam one more social network into a very busy, sometimes messy flow of information. Colleague, Amy Oliveri, a member of my PLN (Personal Learning Network) and high end social media user has been bugging me for at least a year to start using Pinterest. I just didn’t get it. How do pictures of somebody else’s stuff help me? I was somewhat hesitant given the concerns related to image copyright. I want to be an example of appropriate use of copyright and the web (another post for a different day).

Finally, something clicked. Amy and I manage social media for Allendale Columbia School and she sent me a post from Brendan Scheinder’s blog about using Pinterest as virtual viewbook. Amy insisted that we start doing this and she would manage the entire page (click here to see what she has done so far). So, I decided to give Pinterest another look for professional use. I had to be missing something.

I now understand how Pinterest fits in my workflow. I have started using Pinterest as a place to store important information. I don’t use Delicious anymore. I “pin” everything I want to keep, articles, blog posts, inforgaphics, TED Talks, education sites…I keep adding boards as new ideas pop into my head. It’s also an amazing place to find information. There is so much information available from top resources like Edudemic, Edutopia, Richard Byrne, Eric Sheninger…there are too many to list. Unlike Twitter, Pinterest is easy to browse and search. Everything displays in a nice organized format.

As with all social media, you can’t force it on people. I remember back when I first realized how powerful Twitter could be as PD tool, and how wrong I was about it’s use. Pinterest too has it’s place in your PLN.

To read more about Pinterest in education, check out our Tech Tuesday blog post titled, What is Pinterest?

Spring Break Day 4

Today I watched the TED Talk, “Doctors make mistakes. Can we talk about that?” by Brian Goldman. I love this talk! It applies to all learning in every discipline. Doctors aren’t the only people who make mistakes. We all do! Teachers and students do all the time. Instead of using mistakes as a way to learn, we penalize students by making everything about a grade. Why is failure and the process of learning from failure not an option? How can we make failure a safe place for people to learn? Can people learn without experiencing failure?

Please share answers, comments and questions.

Spring Break + PLN Time + TED Talks

Spring Break week is a great time to catch up on some things (check out my short post for some Spring Break ideas). For me, that means getting serious PLN (personal learning network) time. One of the goals I have for the week is to watch at least one TED Talk a day. I thought this would be a great way to share what I have watched.

Allendale Columbia School computer science teacher Kristen McKenzie tweeted this talk to me the other day. Every educator should take the 16 minutes to watch this.

After watching this talk, I was incredibly inspired and depressed. Here are some of the questions I have. Can education change? How can we change fast enough to help our current students? What is stopping education from changing? Do we need to change at all? I think education does need to change do, but I also think it’s an important to answer that question. Why change?

Answers, comments, and any other questions are always welcome!