Friday, January 25, 2013

Reflections: Connected Learning from an "#etmoocer"

Digesting after attending the archived webinar from Alec Couros's Introduction to Connected Learning and Dean Shareski's session Sharing = Accountability. (Both terrific sessions)

And... after pondering on the blog "starters" - the questions posted by Alec:

  • What does my PLE/PLN look like? How can I share it?
  • How important is connected learning? Why?
  • Is it possible for our classrooms and institutions to support this kind of learning? If so, how?
  • What skills and literacies are necessary for connected learning? How do we develop these?
  • What are limits of openness in regards to privacy & vulnerability? Are we creating or worsening a digital divide?
  • How do we expand this conversation?
for two days now, I can ponder no longer. So here goes.

My PLE/PLN is probably looks like the most disorganized environment ever (even though I am a fairly organized sort of individual)! It is very organic and fluid, depending upon the day. It probably resembles the diagram of participants in an open online course by Alec Couros as shared on Debbie Morrison's blog post How to Create a Robust and Meaningful Personal Learning Network (PLN), as there are now hundreds of people who are helping to shape my understanding and drive my commitment to continue on this path! Some I seek for curated lists, others for their open classrooms, some for their reflective thinking, so they are somewhat loosely grouped. They have become my teachers and my inspiration, along with many classroom teachers I engage with in SBISD!

I began on this journey more than a handful of years ago when as an assistant principal I was scouring the web for ideas on technology integration in the classroom. I believe one of my earliest major influencers was Kim Cofino who opened my mind and thinking about coaching teachers. From there I found Vicki Davis, Julie Lindsay, Karl Fisch and Anne Smith, Miguel Guhlin, etc., etc., etc. Needless to say, this #etmooc experience has been another influx of influencers! I can hardly comprehend the shear numbers of talented and creative educators out there - Will add links shortly.

I share my learning (some of it) through this blog, through our SBISD Ed Tech Google+ community, my Edmodo group (code: nknmvo), my twitter @justlk, and through conversations with teachers and administrators. However, I will admit, for the most part in the online world, I have been more of a lurker (as my kids would describe it) over the years than a contributor. I thought Dean Shareski's two tenants for professional learning as shared in his #etmooc session Sharing = Accountability (definitely worth the time - see archives),  LEARN, then SHARE.  I am where I am today thanks to those hundreds who have lived by those tenants!

I started reading Prensky's book Brain Gain last night. He believes that we are all becoming better thinkers as a result of technology and I have to agree. Technology has afforded me the opportunity to ideas and thoughts that I would have never found. Without technology, Karl Fisch and Anne Smith would have never come to our district to help shift our thinking.

To me two of the biggest skills necessary for connected learning are curiosity and curation.

PS. I feel like I am always a day late and a dollar short! I just went to pick my part of the song, and I've missed the deadline! Maybe next year... :-(

Monday, January 21, 2013

Recent "finds" for the iPad

Having a hard time keeping up with new apps for mobile devices? (Not to mention trying to keep sharing what you come across on all of your media platforms, this is a topic for another post.) Anyway, here are a few that I just have to mention:
Knowmia - This free app is great for creating video lessons. Use photos, drawings, text and animation to create slide decks. Record your lesson. Use a pointer. Add picture of picture of your face while teaching. You can also add videos to your lessons. There are more options than in Show Me and Screenchomp. Import and export between Dropbox, Box, Google Drive, pdfs. Complete the Lesson info, provide tags and publish to  Here's a link to the iTunes Preview page.
If you are looking for app that will record and allow you to save to your camera roll (export mp4s), then Explain Everything ($2.99) is still your best solution.

Haiku Deck
Haiku Deck - Create beautiful presentations on your iPad. Select images either by searching (Creative Commons licensed images), using the camera, or upload from Facebook. Share you decks via email, Facebook, Twitter or export and send via email. You can also grab the embed code from the website once uploaded (see below). It is viewable on any web-friendly computer, tablet or phone. Here's a link to the iTunes Preview page. As always, you would want/need to limit student information that is shared for the under 13 crowd. I chose to just share by first name and last initial and my twitter name.

Created with Haiku Deck, the free presentation app for iPad

For more apps to share content/understanding you may want to take a look at my training for Top 10+ Creation Apps. And, as always, feel free to comment on your experience!

And, if you're an Edmodo user, feel free to join my group of curated resources for the classroom - complete with folders! Group code: nknmvo