Friday, September 17, 2010

September 17 Live Session

Unfortunately I will not be able to attend the live session today since I have been scheduled to work.  I still plan on posting a reflection after I have had the chance to listen to the recording.

If you would like to chat (or e-mail or something else) briefly about the session over the weekend would you please let me know? I am still trying to find ways to stay connected to other course participants . :)


Thursday, September 16, 2010


Hello out there...

It turns out I didn't know the commenting feature on this blog was locked down like Fort Knox.  I apologize if you wanted to comment on something but didn't have the secret special handshake.

I believe everyone out there in my PLN world should now be able to comment easily and even anonymously if you so choose.  I always intended this blog to be an open forum of communication and thankfully I had a lovely e-mail letting me know that I might want to adjust my settings.

Now back to our regularly scheduled program.


Steps I have Taken to Create my PLN

  1. Enrolled in the Personal Learning Environments Networks and Knowledge course.
  2. Created my profile on the course Moodle (the course management system aka learning management system, or virtual learning environment) so that participants in the course can learn about and contact me.
  3. Updated my Google Reader (an RSS feed reader) to include many of the top education websites and blogs as well as some of the blogs from other participants in the course.  (Many of these can be found over here on the right ---> in my blogroll).  I am choosing this method as my primary way to keep current and up to date with the field of education.
  4. Created my very first blog using Blogger.  This is the main way I plan on reflecting on the course material.
  5. Participated in the first "live session" of the course using Elluminate.  Actively participated by interacting with the online white board, the chat feature, and the polling feature.  Learned how to take notes during the session.  Saved a copy of the chat file so that I could try to connect with some of the participants afterwards.
  6. E-mailed a few participants that I had engaged in the live chat encouraging them to visit this blog and stay in contact with me.
  7. Posted reflections on my blog about the live session and one of the readings.
  8. Read some of the other participants blogs.  Tried to comment on a few new blogs encouraging the authors to keep writing and letting them know that someone out there is reading what they write.
  9. E-mailed mentors, colleagues, and friends actively involved in the field of education telling them about my enrollment in the course, this blog, and my desire to strengthen my PLN.
  10. Used Facebook to reach out to additional friends and colleagues.  There are quite a few people who I connect with using this medium instead of e-mail.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

7 things you should know about...Personal Learning Environments Reflection

This is the very first article I have read for my course.  7 things you should know about...Personal Learning Environments.  In this article the author states:
PLEs represent a shift away from the model in which students consume information through independent channels such as the library, a textbook, or an LMS, moving instead to a model where students draw connections from a growing matrix of resources that they select and organize.
Before our students are able form connections they must first know what resources are available to them.  This poses an interesting conundrum.  Even as we encourage students to form their own PLE it will be necessary to provide some scaffolding for them to operate within.  The challenge will be how to provide enough support without limiting our students to an LMS like Blackboard.  It will also be necessary for students to be able to recognize the validity of the resources that they are likely to encounter as they build their PLE, a factor that students today rarely take into consideration.

The author concludes that PLE has a great implication for teaching and learning and that it
marks a fundamental change in the role resources (people and media) play in teaching and learning. In an environment where information is ubiquitous and needs only to be located, there is a greater premium on skills that support fast and accurate access to information and on the ability to assess that information.
I chose to join this course to learn how to better integrate technology into my future elementary school classroom.  Currently in many elementary schools when students get the chance to go to the "computer lab," they mostly practice typing skills or play a computer "game" that drills them in math facts. What I have realized thus far is that the skills we really need to teach are the ones that will enable our students to actively reflect upon the limitless resources that they have available to them.

Given our current education policies emphasizing standards and benchmarks, is it possible to incorporate this PLE philosophy into a public school classroom?


September 15 Live Session Reflection

This blog post is my attempt at summarizing and internalizing today's live session.

1.  The difference between PLE and PLN is a matter of semantics.  Trying to create a clear differentiation between the two will not assist us in any meaningful way.  The term PLN is intrinsically contradictory.  The idea of having a "personal" network declares ownership.  The only reason that the network becomes personal is that the individual is a small piece of the network.  Some participants were trying to point out that the individual chooses their network, but this is not true!  Once you move beyond the first layer of the network an individual has very little (or no) control over it.  An outsider can connect to "your" network without your knowledge. A person you are connected to in "your" network expands the network beyond your individual influence.  It is also important to realize that the individual may or may not be in the middle of their PLN depending on the situation and/or circumstances.  I myself have very little previous knowledge about these topics so I consider myself on the fringe of my PLN as I am trying to form connections and create a network around people who can share their body of knowledge with me.

2.  Does "online" learning provide too much anonymity and a perceived lack of responsibility?  How can PLEs/PLNs be incorporated into "traditional" education?  When so many education leaders and educators (including national policy makers, at least here in the United States) are only concerned with objectives, standards, curriculum frameworks, and benchmarks is there any space for individualized learning to take place in "traditional" public education?  How can we motivate students to want to learn for learning sake when all we stress are good grades and good test scores?

I am sure I will have much more to think about as this course progresses but these were just my initial thoughts after today's live session.


Monday, September 13, 2010

Personal Learning Networks for Educators

This video provided me with a very clear visual representation of a PLN.  I also connected deeply with the idea that professional development is the responsibility of the individual.  As a license elementary school teacher I am not willing to depend on a school (or school district) to determine (or fund) my personal development.  Instead I will look to create my own PLN with the resources I need to become the best educator I can be.


It all started with a post

This morning as I was skimming my RSS feeds on Google Reader a post titled "Are Our Kids Ready for This?" jumped out at me.  After watching the short video I decided to join the course without having any solid idea of what it actually was.  Before this morning I had never even heard of a MOOC.

And so it begins...

Now I am creating a blog for the very fist time as a way to interact with this online course. Yes I really am 26. Seriously, I have never tried to start a blog.  I do NOT Tweet.  Ok it's true, I admit to having a Facebook page but that is as much "social media" as I can handle.  And so I think to myself perhaps our kids are ready for this but I'm not sure that I am.