Tuesday, January 29, 2013

My Awesome Classroom Door

Participating in #etmooc has my brain bouncing from one great idea and challenge to another.  One challenge that is resonating with me is the idea of accepting the responsibility of sharing and connecting more purposefully and deliberately with other educators more often, inspired by Dean Shareski

At the same time, the idea of a personal/professional learning NEIGHBORHOOD (PLN)—started by Ben Wilkoff who inspired Sheri Edwards who in turn inspired Laura Coughlin (who named me as a person in her personal neighborhood—I am honored) and shared the concept with me—caught my attention.  This interaction resulted in the creation of Connect in the Middle Neighborhood a place where middle level teachers of students from grades 5-8 can connect and share on a deeper level.  Sheri created the wiki because she was inspired by what she has learned so far from #etmooc and Ben, to create a neighborhood where residents could “support each other in efforts to transform education, to make changes for our students’ futures.”  Wow!  It amazes me that such meaningful connections have occurred in such a short amount of time, but do you see what I mean about my brain bouncing from one great idea or challenge to the next?     

None of this interaction would have been possible without technology, particularly, Twitter.  Twitter via Tweetdeck is my classroom door.  When I walk through it, I have unlimited learning possibilities.  From January thru March I will be learning with and from other #etmooc participants.  At the same time, I can walk through my classroom door and follow and virtually participate in such awesome learning experiences as last weekend’s #educon and/or numerous #edcamps (thanks, Cybrary Man).  Through my classroom door I am able to volunteer to help out at #EdCampSTL, which takes place on February 9, 2013 (shameless plug).  My classroom door also allows me to participate in #edugood A Project 365 to Focus on the Good in Education begun by Krissy Venosdale.  Yes, Twitter is a pretty awesome classroom door. 

So, when I walk through my awesome classroom door:

Am I in the ‘…process of establishing myself as a node in a broad network of distributed creativity’ (paraphrased Joichi Ito)?


Am I a resident ‘…in a neighborhood who rather than demonstrating the far reaches of my network, should be introducing my connections to the "locals" or my neighbors’ (paraphrased Ben Wilkoff)? 

Are these two views of connected learning saying the same thing, or are they vastly different?  Is it important to distinguish between the two? 

Monday, January 21, 2013

Social Bookmarking vs Content Curation

I just finished watching the archive of "Introduction to Social Curation."  The session opened my eyes to yet another reason why the development of a PLN is important and why it is so important to 'give back' or 'pay it forward.'  One of the slides shared during the session stated, "It is based on reciprocity and a level of trust that each party is actively seeking value-added information for the other."  As the instructional technology specialist for a K-8 school, I considered it my job to collect (or curate) information for my teachers, parents and students on a variety of topics and subject areas.

I first began the process collecting websites for students and posting them on a static webpage called Mrs. Fucoloro's Favorite Websites (actually my second website).  Those sites took a long time to find as search engines weren't what they are today.  Then, wikis burst onto the scene.  I moved all of the content from my old webpage to the interactive Mrs. Fucoloro's Wiki.  I began using the social bookmarking tool, Delicious, instead of saving my bookmarks to my computers at home and at school, a very confusing process.  Not to mention the panic that would ensue if a computer crashed and all of my bookmarks were lost!  Then, there was a rumor that Delicious was going out of business, and I switched to Diigo.  I am a Diigo fan because Diigo allows for highlighting and commenting, my favorite features.  The problem with Diigo is that it is a bunch of words.  I find that I rarely go back and revisit or browse the content I have saved unless I am specifically looking for something.

Enter, Pinterest!  I LOVE Pinterest!  It is visual, fun, and easy to browse.   I am not a fan of Learnist, though I am giving it a shot.  I am also giving EduClipper a try, which is a safe space for younger students and is similar to Pinterest in usability.

So, what's the difference between all of these tools?   What's the difference between social bookmarking and content curation?  Well, honestly, I think I have been using the social bookmarking tools, Delicious and Diigo, for content curation as well as simple bookmarking.  However, content curation according to the session seems to be more deliberate and focused, where as social bookmarking is archiving content over time.  During the session, Jeffery Heil said that Pinterest represents a hybrid of the two.  I actually save all pins to Diigo, but I don't save all Diigo bookmarks to Pinterest.

I don't know, the lines seem to be blurred to me.  Perhaps the difference is the manner in which content is shared.  Shared.  That is the key word.  That reminds me of what Jeffery said at the beginning of the session, 'It's not about the tool--it's the community.'  Adam Bellow once said, "Date the tools, marry the abilities."   The important ability is that you can connect with a community of people who you trust, collaborate and laugh with, and learn with and from.  It doesn't matter which space you choose as long as it has the ability to be easily accessed, explored, and shared. 


Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Day 2 of #etmooc - Like your first ski jump?

The following questions were posed by Alec Couros in the Welcome & Orientations session held on elluminate:
  • How do you make your learning visible? 
 My learning becomes visible as I develop a digital presence.  It doesn't have to be anything formal, and it doesn't have to all be in one space.  My learning is visible when I participate in the #edugood365 project on Flickr, share images on Instagram, presentations on Slidesare, videos on YouTube, pins on Pinterest, bookmarks on Diigo, and infographics on Infogram.  My learning is visible when I comment, post updates and share interesting links on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.  It is visible when I write a new blog post.  Most of all my learning is visible when I write a reflection, which is the transformational piece that takes all of my thoughts and experiences and produces something new or creates change.  "Small tools loosely joined" will allow me to share my #etmooc learning journey as I explore Educational Technology and Media with other curious educators around the world.     
  • How do you contribute to the learning of others? 
 I contribute to the learning of others when I share knowledge and resources, comment on postings, discuss ideas, collaborate on projects, challenge to think deeper, encourage and support when needed, and celebrate the victories of the educators that I work with as an instructional technology specialist, the people in my PLN, and hopefully some participants in #etmooc.

  • What are your learning goals for #etmooc?

I am most interested in the digital citizenship piece of creating change in the world.  Alec spoke of using this 'collective privilege' for good, and this speaks to the social re-constructionist part of my being.  Teaching all of the #etmooc participants how to use our 'collective conscious' for good reminds me of the 'butterfly effect' only more powerful because we are already a global community of learners.  So, here are my goals for #etmooc: 

Goal #1: I will learn how to use digital citizenship to create change in the world, country, state, city, community, or school; Goal #2:  I will learn more about the open movement; Goal #3:  I will learn more about the new digital storytelling tools available.

Alec showed this video for inspiration as we begin the #etmooc journey.  Enjoy!

Monday, January 14, 2013

#etmooc Introduction

Here is my introduction to #etmooc. MOOC is the acronym for massive open online course. Educational Technology and Media or #etmooc was started by Alec Couros. I originally signed up to be an organizer and was able to see the planning of such an endeavor in action, but I think I will simply be a participant/observer this time around. There is much excitement and buzz today, the kickoff day for the course. I am enjoying seeing everyone's introductions. There is so much creativity being shared. I am impressed and inspired!


So, what am I doing to procrastinate from writing letters for jobs that don't exist, yet? 1. I have created a new professional blog - goal is to write posts about education technology, technology integration, professional development, social media, curriculum & instruction, and media literacy. 2. I've created a new group on LinkedIn called #phdchat - an extension of the Twitter group - mainly a way for people to stay connected after they have earned their Ph.D.s 3. I am co-organizing the after lunch activities to be held at #edcampstl on February 9 at Hixson Middle School in Webster. - LOVE this unconference platform. 4. I am sort of an organizer (there are many) but really just an observer/participant of a MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) that begins today--called Educational Technology & Media or #etmooc Just like the title says, it is an open, online learning experience. Can't wait to see what it's all about. Might be the future of higher education. I might be procrastinating, but I am also still learning because that is what I do. It's what I like to do--learn.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Reflection: Favorite Things of 2012

Celebrating @ Cyranos after my successful public dissertation defense

Inspired by Kelli Refer, here are my 10 favorite things of 2012:
  • After 6 year, I completed my Ph.D. I am so thankful to my family, friends, students, and co-workers who encouraged and supported me throughout the process. Hopefully, I will have much more to report on the career front this time next year. I am looking forward to participating in the graduation ceremony or hooding in May 2013.
  • "Congratulations. Your submission, 10545 has cleared all of the necessary checks and will soon be delivered to ProQuest/UMI for publishing." December 18 message from SLU. This means my Ph.D. is almost published.
  • Public Oral Presentation of the Ph.D. Dissertation: Successfully defended my dissertation on December 4. This meant that I presented my findings to my committee and anyone else who was interested. I invited Steve, Gwyn, Lynn, and Mary Jo. The girls went out to celebrate at Cyranos afterwards.
  • Participated in my first photo challenge (November): The 30-day gratitude challenge. Really enjoyed taking time to look at the world through a 'different lens.'
  • Celebrated my daughter's wedding with lots of friends and family--many of whom traveled from places like San Diego, Las Vegas, Denver, and Seattle (Tom & Kelli, yippie!). We were blessed with a beautiful day, ceremony, and reception.
  • Attended four lovely bridal showers for Katie (and Matt). The first one was given by the Pollihan's, the second by the bridesmaids, the third by Gwyn, Lynn, and Mary Jo, and the fourth was given by the Fucoloro's. Katie and Matt are certainly loved and supported by many wonderful people.
  • On June 18 we decided to commit to visiting with Tom via a weekly Skype turned Google+ Hangout on Thursdays at 6:00 p.m. This has been awesome! As Steve said, "We have our son back." We also often get to connect with Kelli on these 'visits' making the distance between St. Louis and Seattle seem a little closer.
  •  After 19 years as a classroom teacher and 9 years as an instructional technology specialist in K-8 Catholic schools, I have chosen to move onto the next stage in my career. I'm very thankful for all of the students I have had the extreme pleasure to have learned with over these years.
  • Advance to Candidacy: Passed my doctoral oral exam (proposal) on February 16. This meant that I was was allowed to perform the research necessary for my dissertation. The proposal consisted of the first three chapters of my dissertation.
  •  Participated in my first #edcampstl. An edcamp "is a FREE event that brings together those interested in learning and sharing more about best practices in education in an "unconference" format. This innovative format allows the knowledge and interests of those in attendance to lead the conversations of growth." 
What are your favorite things of 2012?