A Learning Timeline

Yesterday I needed help on a project so I put out a request to my PLN on twitter.

To which Sarah responded:

I did a little research on twitter and came up with interesting options such as paper.li, and this list (perhaps somewhat dated: 2012 (!)) from daily tekk.

Based on Sarah’s suggestions, however, it didn’t take long before I settled on Flipboard and began putting together my first personal magazine of curated content.

It is a source of surprise and amazement to me that yesterday I created this.


Using Flipboard on my iPad proved extremely easy, intuitive and straightforward.  I had no problem locating and positioning the content I wanted to share.  I did not need to bother with formatting issues. The credits show up immediately as to who tweeted what, when and where they got it from and it is always easy to add more content or start a new magazine. I can hardly describe how liberating it was to feel competent, at ease and free to create without experiencing the  decisional overload that I typically encounter with publishing software.   At the end of the day I was blown away by the beauty of my first Flipboard magazine.  The content of the mag is what I feel strongly about and yet what resonated first with me was the highly professional and polished visual impression.

There’s more to this story.
While engrossed in my Flipboard project, this tip arrived:

So without much ado, once I finished the Flipboard, I moved on to explore Tackk.  And while Tackk offered a different user experience, I discovered a new resource I will gladly use and share with colleagues and friends.

There a few key points in this whole episode which are worth highlighting:

  • The process began with a clear and specific request for help.
  • Experience has been a great teacher.  I have used this technique before (ask the PLN, get a lead, run with it) with tremendous success.
  • I contacted specific people whose expertise I trust.
  • Throughout the process I received support, encouragement and positive feedback. (Sarah’s cheerleading was the bomb!)  And…
  • I surprised myself with my sense of adventure and willingness to risk confusion and disappointment. In fact, I got really excited about experimenting and sharing my work-in-progress with pride.

Once again, I look at my learning and think about what made this process a successful endeavor: positive relationships, a clear goal, an open mind, knowing where to look for help, acting on wise suggestions, time and space to follow through, and a finished product which can be evaluated and shared.

This is Project Based Learning on a small scale and it is real world adult personal and professional learning.  Are we seeing the connection here?

What does you personal PBL look like? I’d love to hear about it.




“You had to be there” is history

I was not at ISTE2014. And that is not really so important. Thanks to my twitter feed, however, I felt as if I was there on several counts. Serial tweeters @BethStill, @RafranzDavis, and @Angela_Watson kept me abreast of successful sessions and major insights, not only through their own tweets but through rapid-fire retweeting with the #ISTE2014 hashtag.

This generous retweeting introduced me to numerous other great contributors such as @chrislehmann, @carrierossTX, and @aimeegbartis.
In fact, it was Aimee Bartis who retweeted this link: http://gettingsmart.com/2014/06/ignite-sessions-new-faculty-meetings/ about using the Ignite session as a template for energized faculty meetings.
That post by John Hardison @gettingsmart was a further gold mine of ideas, presenters and enthusiasm – all coming out of ISTE.

I also have to salute Bill Ferriter (@plugusin) for tweeting on behalf of the all-important analog connections through face to face interactions and keeping the focus on our kids’ learning in the midst of so much tech hype.

I wasn’t at ISTE2014. Yet, thanks to my growing PLN, the idea that “you had to be there” is history. #ISTE2014 provided enough access to inspiring messages and powerful speakers so that even if ed tech is not my highest priority, I can feel well informed and included in the conversation.

Back in

After a long hiatus, I’m back.
This summer I joined twitter and imagine this: I was pleasantly surprised. Pay no attention to the mindless chatter of celebrities, there’s a wonderful world of exciting contributions to all dialogues educational. I don’t follow many and am not sure how I feel about being followed, yet I have made some excellent discoveries and come across too many great resources to count.

And still I find myself returning to my central belief: it’s the people who count. All the technology in the world will not save us if we fail to respect and appreciate the wonders and weaknesses of being human.
Below is a response I wrote to Tom Whitby regarding his post: Flipping Connectedness to Circumvent Resistance. http://tomwhitby.wordpress.com/

Thank you for this thought-provoking post among many others I have been able to read here. Like Jill and TMVine, I am new to twitter and PLNs and have been delighted to cull so much wisdom from a variety of sources. I appreciate your idea here that maybe our students can lead the way and perhaps many already are – whether we as educators acknowledge it or not.
I understand your frustration about essentially “preaching to the converted.” What finally got me to join twitter was an invitation from a trusted colleague. Which leads me to believe that the key to relevance of PLNs is an emphasis on personal. When colleagues reach out to other colleagues, the critical elements of empathy, compassion and care are ultimately what make the difference between genuine connection and potential disconnect. Connecting people takes much more than technology and even as we widen our perspectives to further our learning, may we remain mindful of the human elements we all need to best serve our students and our societies.

I am grateful to Tom and those like him who invest substantial time and energy into making education better for kids now by adding their voices to the conversation. To my own surprise, I find that I, too, have a few words to share.