Twitter: True or False?

Twitter.  It’s a social media tool used by millions daily for many different reasons. No question, twitter is powerful.

When I ask ASPS students (grade 7 and 8)  how and when they use twitter their responses are most often connected to following famous people or checking out what is being said around possibly a particular event.  I’m not sure they see it a tool that can help them learn and network with others in the world. Continue reading

To Share Is To Learn

Knowledge is power. NO. Knowledge is power when it is shared with others. YES.   Sharing your knowledge and thinking can be done in many ways.  It can be done using words, images, actions and numbers.  Why do we share?  We share because it is social and we are social beings. Sharing is learning and about helping others.

What we know, what’s around us, who we are, what we do and why we do it, who we connect with all helps to define us and build our knowledge. Our life experiences shape who we are and sharing about them allows us to learn, reflect and grow.  To share empowers us to all to be learners.

So, how do we share?  It can be done face-to-face and online. We listen, discuss, question, read, demonstrate, create, inquire and so much more. In today’s world, social networking tools have made the sharing of knowledge so open, transparent, accessible and global.   A key benefit of participating, engaging, and sharing your knowledge leveraging social networking tools is that you build a portfolio, a digital footprint and legacy that is open.  Openness. Continue reading

My First MOOC – CCK11 – Connectivism and Connected Knowledge

This week I began to participate in my very first MOOC.  A MOOC is a Massive Open Online Course.  So, why am I doing this MOOC?  I want to  expand how I connect and network with others.  In addition,  I am interested in learning more about the theory of connectivism and networked learning with participants and the course facilitators,  Stephen Downes and George Siemens.

For me, this MOOC, CCK11 will offer me the opportunity to continue my stance in the journey of lifelong learning in a very new and different way. I will begin to negogiate and navigate my way through this course, expanding  flows of new knowledge through the use of technology in an open yet paced way.  As I begin to orient myself to the course and digest the readings, I  underline that learning is social, contextual and complex.  I was encouraged by George’s words when he suggested that “confusion is a good thing” and I’m certainly figuring out my role and how I will engage in this course.

I look forward to my learning ecosystem evolving as I network with course participants. Stephen Downes shares with us that “Knowledge is a set of connections.  A mind is a learning thing.  A computer is a learning thing and society is a learning thing.”

In today’s digital world, learning is powerful when:

  • it is open, flexible and connected
  • it builds networks of information, contacts and resources creating growth and development in the mind
  • it is participatory, networked and builds in choice and personalization
  • it maximizes the use of technology and tools

Learner control and freedom is integral to 21stCentury lifelong education and learning.  As an educator, my goal is to grow my thinking and understanding of being a connected learner.

A question I have:
How do we create responsive and connected  K-12 learning models that encourages lifelong learning in today’s networked world?

I look forward to connecting and growing over the next weeks.

3 Words: Personalize, Blend, Balance

In today’s era of lifelong learning, we can and do learn anywhere, anytime and with anyone.  Ideas such as 24/7, JIT and learning now all imply how learning is open, personal and social.   More than ever, today’s professional development (our learning) must be ongoing and is integral to continually improving our practice which has a  direct impact on the engagement and learning of our students and staff.   Today’s PD must be about customization, responsiveness, collaboration and most importantly,  learning must be practiced in a job-embedded way.

Three words continue to surface for me as I connect with staff and discuss how we learn as professionals today. Developing  as a professional is best when it is personalized, blended and balanced.

From these threes ideas, professionals develop holistically:

  • personalized learning  is contextual, self-directed, reflective and meaningful to you and your work
  • blended  formal and informal learning differentiates  the ways, the  tools and the learning spaces; combining job-embedded learning with face-to-face and online
  • balanced learning involves the self and others; alone, 1:1, group, PLNs, critical friends and mentors

Think about PD as a  ILP – individualized learning plan.  Yes, you can be a free agent learner and take charge of your own learning.  Mix up how you learn everyday.

PLNs and HWDSB Aspiring Leaders

On March 30th, HWDSB hosted a full day of workshops for 70 aspiring leaders.  Zoe Branigan-Pipe and I had the privilege of presenting a workshop on Personal Learning Networks. Our PLNs wiki organized our time together and shared
how PLNs allow one to make connections and collaborate within HWDSB (schools and system) from around the province, country and world.

An amazing highlight to the afternoon was when Alec Couros skyped in to comment and field questions on the importance of PLNs and how they build our capacity as learners and leaders.  Our session ended with a tie back to the Ontario Leadership Framework for Principals and Vice-Principals.

As leaders, we must take the risk with our time and create our own PLN.  Note:  everyone’s PLN will be and is different.  PLNs are customized to what and how you want to learn and  become a part of  one’s everyday learning and practice.