User Generated Education

Education as it should be – passion-based.

Posts Tagged ‘social networking

A Model for Teacher Development: Precursors to Change

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Too often teachers are passive recipients of professional development rather than being active agents of their own development and change. Several recent reports have indicated that teacher professional development, as it is being implemented in most schools, is ineffective and a waste of time and money.

Several studies over the past few years that have found professional development to be largely ineffective or unhelpful for teachers. Only 30 percent of teachers improve substantially with the help of district-led professional development, even though districts spend an average of $18,000 on development for each teacher per year, according to a new report. Most professional development today is ineffective. It neither changes teacher practice nor improves student learning.

The hard truth is that the help most schools give their teachers isn’t helping all that much. When it comes to teaching, real improvement is a lot harder to achieve—and we know much less about how to make it happen—than most of us would like to admit. (New report reveals that teacher professional development is costly and ineffective)

My beliefs around teacher professional development are that it should be:

  1. driven by the teacher, him or herself.
  2. based on change models which result in deep, meaningful, lasting changes.

Conventional wisdom on teacher development tells us that we already know what works when it comes to professional development for teachers—typically “job-embedded,” “ongoing” and “differentiated” kinds of development opportunities, in contrast to old-school “drive-by PD.” (Do We Know How to Help Teachers Get Better?)

I believe that professional development needs to go even deeper than being job-embedded, ongoing, and differentiated. Teachers need to receive training on models of change. Teachers should be trained in identifying their own professional development needs based on their classroom performance, areas that they aren’t performing up to par based on their own personal self-assessments as well as feedback from students, colleagues, and supervisors followed by intentional processes to help make positive changes in their work environments.

The model being proposed is based on a series of strategies for working with counseling clients entitled 7 Precursors for Change. I modified it to be more in line with teacher professional development. This is just an overview. Each step would need further exploration and explanation if presented as a model of change for teachers. Plus, these are not linear and they are all interconnected.

1) A sense of necessity: The educator must see a need for change; that there is a belief that something can be done better; that some circumstance of teaching is not working. Driving questions include:

  • What do you value as a teacher? What are actions are you doing in the classroom that address those values?
  • What do you want for yourself as a teacher? for your students? What are you doing to get it?
  • What is not working for you when teaching your students?

2) A willingness or readiness to experience anxiety or difficulty: The educator must be willing to deal with the inevitable discomfort which arises naturally with the onset of change. Moving from how one typically behaves to how one would like to behave is a process that often involves a difficult transition or a groan zone. It is an awareness and acceptance that change requires going from one’s comfort zone to a groan zone prior to coming into the growth zone. It is about accepting that failure and iteration are part of the growth process.

Any kind of creative activity is likely to be stressful. The more anxiety, the more you feel that you are headed in the right direction. Easiness, relaxation, comfort – these are not conditions that usually accompany serious work. Joyce Carol Oates

3) Awareness: This is simply knowing that a problem in one’s performance related to teaching exists and then being able to isolate what thoughts behaviors and feelings are connected to the problem. This is closely related to accurately perceiving one’s environment. The big driving question is, “When you think about a specific performance problem or issue you are having, what thoughts and feelings do you experience?”

The first step toward change is awareness. The second step is acceptance. Nathaniel Branden

4) Looking directly at the problem: This is when the educator is willing to focus his/her attention on the problem so s/he can fully understand all of its’ attributes. Essentially this is knowing and accepting all the effects of the problem and admitting the truth to oneself. A powerful driving questions is: “If you were to wake up tomorrow morning and the problem was solved, how would things be different?”

The formulation of the problem is often more essential than its solution. Albert Einstein

A problem well put is half solved. John Dewey

5) Effort towards change is the actual actions taken to solve the presenting problem. This is the actual effort. Changing something that isn’t quite working often takes a series of actions or graduated tasks over time.

We always hope for the easy fix: the one simple change that will erase a problem in a stroke. But few things in life work this way. Instead, success requires making a hundred small steps go right – one after the other.   Atul Gawande, Better: A Surgeon’s Notes on Performance

6) Hope for change: This is having the belief that change will occur. This is a realistic expectation based on rationale thoughts and behaviors. Hope in this sense is not synonymous with wish. Hope involves seeing how things will change and believing they can be accomplished. It is related to having a growth mindset – that growth and change are possible and probable.

Hope is a vision for a new reality. Hope means to become a steward for a new reality. Again, to hope is not just a wish. It’s full-on engagement with vision and potential. Alfred Adler

Instilling a sense of hope can occur when the educator finds, listens to, and/or reads about colleagues who have gone through similar challenges and change. It provides a type of support as s/he takes action to make changes which directly connects to the final step.

7) Social support for change: This is about finding people in the educator’s life that are supportive of the relevant change to be made by the educator. This is where establishing, connecting with, and proactively using a professional learning network comes into play. Educators working through this model of change should be encouraged to and provided with strategies for building both face-to-face and online professional learning networks.

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Implementation of this model  is not a quick and easy fix to teacher professional development. Implementing it will take time, commitment, and struggles but what is the alternative –  costly and ineffective teacher professional development?

You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete. R. Buckminster Fuller

Written by Jackie Gerstein, Ed.D.

August 6, 2016 at 5:14 pm

Sharing: A Responsibility of the Modern Educator

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In a past post blog I discussed the idea that every educator has a story and that they should share those stories:

Educators are doing amazing things with their learners in spite of the standards-based and accountability-driven movements. If all educators publicized the accomplishments they had in their classrooms using technology, hands-on activities, global collaborations, project-based learning; then an informal qualitative research project would result.  When educators are asked to provide evidence of efficacy to administrators, parents, other educators, funding sources, they could share these success stories.  This aggregate would become the collective narrative – story of education of our times in the beginnings of the 21st century. (https://usergeneratededucation.wordpress.com/2011/11/23/every-educator-has-a-story-just-tell-it/)

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As a follow-up to that post, I am amplifying my call to action to say that I believe it is the responsibility of every educator in this era of learning to share . . . resources, ideas, success, challenges, ahas, student insights, anything education related.

Sharing takes on many forms. Educators can talk to colleagues, write blogs, tweet, present at conferences – both virtually and face to face, talk to the media, and/or create a media product – video, podcast, photo essay – and post online.

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On a personal level, sharing assists the educator in becoming a better educator. The act of sharing requires reflection and preparation. The educator needs to reflect on his or her own practices to identify which ones they want to share and also needs to put that sharing artifact into a form (e.g. writing, images, audio, video) that will understood by an authentic audience. This process tends to help the educator improve instructional practices.

On a broader, more systemic level, sharing one’s experiences benefits other educators which, in turn, has the potential to advance the entire education field. It is the collective responsibility of all educators to create the change that they want to see in the education world. There really is no they in education. The they is really we-us. The we-us now have the means to have a voice.

The educator becomes a connected educator and through sharing, is an active participant and contributor to the connected educator movement.

Being a connected educator means connecting with other teachers to exchange ideas, improve your teaching practice, and in turn, make a change in education. It is only through being connected that we can collaborate and help to foster learning for the 21st century and beyond. (Being a Connected Educator)

The gap between what is and what could be in education is larger than it ever has  been.  I believe this is largely due to technology and the ability to establish global connections because of social media. Educators are more connected and more aware about education trends than any time in the history of public education.

Imagine how education could be transformed if all educators use their own personal, often passion-driven voices. The bottom line is that if any individual educator believes there are flaws in the education, that it can be done better, then s/he has the responsibility to say something. I reaching the point that I am starting to believe it is a moral imperative for educators to share what they know to be true with other educators; and with administrators, students’ families, community members, politicians . . . the larger global society.

Written by Jackie Gerstein, Ed.D.

March 29, 2015 at 11:09 pm

The Importance of Authenticity Inside and Outside the Classroom

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I teach graduate educational technology courses at Boise State University to mostly in-service teachers.  One of them is Integrating Technology Into the Classroom.  It as a course with a project-based learning framework.  Learners are given a series of course projects and asked to develop learning activities for their particular content areas and grade levels.  Examples include developing a video library and associated lesson for their content area; developing a lesson for their content area that uses social media, etc.

This morning I received the following communication from a co-instructor:

Jackie, I thought you would want to know this.  I teach 514.  I ask each student to reflect on a “best learning experience” and this semester I have a student in 514 who wrote the following:

My experience of EDTECH 541 stands out for me as the best experience I have had in learning. I say this for many reasons, and they start with how the structure of the course allowed such creative freedom along with the exploration and experimentation of new tools. With every assignment, I just remember thinking how fun it was, and how great it was that a school class could engage me so much.

Each assignment just seemed to get better. It also seemed like everything just flowed, and the work I was doing had some real impact. I was using the skills I practiced and learned the night before working on the project, the next day in my workplace. I even helped coworkers based on some of the things I learned in the class.

A major moment in this course was some validation of my work that I was not used to. A few of my assignments were used as examples, and some were even tweeted out, and retweeted! The fact that a professional in this field (the professor) and others thought my project had real value and took the time to share it thrilled me. That has been one of the best moments in my education, because for the first time I felt my work extended beyond the gradebook. I also felt like my work gave me some validation and confidence that I just might be able to put some things on a resume that might land me a sought after position someday.

I also remembering throughout the course how great it would be to do that kind of work for a living. It validated my choice and the months I spent trying to find a master’s degree I wanted to pursue. And it was a vast amount of time. I looked for nearly 4 months trying to find something, and just by chance I discovered this program. The EDTECH 541 experience I had was worth it.

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Of course, educators love getting feedback like this.  It is affirming, but more importantly are the rewards the learner received.  Note that the tone of this communication was not about me as the educator but her as a learner and student.  This is what excites me the most.  Messages gleamed from this feedback:

  • Learners need to be given authentic tasks which asks them to put their “selves” into the learning projects.
  • As noted in this communication, school should be fun and engaging.
  • Skills being acquired by learners should be relevant and usable in their lives outside of the classroom (regardless of age).
  • The educator should help learners establish authentic audiences where the learners can share their work to authentic audiences outside of the classroom, to audiences of their peers.  (Note: peers aren’t necessarily others of the same age.  They are those who share the same interests and passions, who have similar perspectives of the world.)
  • Social-emotional gains are important.  Learners gaining confidence in themselves and their abilities should be an intentional goal in all learning environments.
  • The bottom line, which I have stressed in the past, is that the educator should set up the conditions for learners to say, “I am a good and confident learner,” rather than “You are a good teacher.”

Written by Jackie Gerstein, Ed.D.

August 30, 2014 at 9:33 pm

Self-Regulation: The Other 21st Century Skills

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Due to the interest of my post The Other 21st Skills, I decided to individually discuss each of the skills or dispositions I proposed that are in addition to the seven survival skills as identified by Tony Wagner.  This post focuses on self-regulation.

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Self-regulated learning is the conscious planning, monitoring, evaluation, and ultimately control of one’s learning in order to maximize it. It’s an ordered process that experts and seasoned learners like us practice automatically. It means being mindful, intentional, reflective, introspective, self-aware, self-controlled, and self-disciplined about learning, and it leads to becoming self-directed (The Secret of Self-Regulated Learning).

Self-regulation is a cyclical process. Students who are motivated to reach a certain goal will engage in self-regulatory activities they feel will help them achieve that goal. The self-regulation promotes learning, which leads to a perception of greater competence, which sustains motivation toward the goal and to future goals. (The Role of Motivation in Self-Regulated Learning)

Self-regulation is not only an essential part of healthy emotional development, it is also vital for academic success. Many studies, like the 2010 research conducted by the University of Virginia’s Claire Cameron Ponitz and Oregon State University’s Megan McClelland, show that children with high levels of self-regulation do better on tests when compared to children with low levels of self-regulation. Some researchers even see the inability to self-regulate as the root cause of the economic achievement gap. (Supporting Self-Regulation in the Classroom)

Some of the characteristics of self-regulation include:

  • Uses metacognitive processes
  • Self-monitors frequently and adequately
  • Regulates and controls emotional and cognitive processes.
  • Possesses unique and situational problem-solving abilities
  • Manages time for one’s own benefit
  • Self-motivates
  • Self-evaluates
  • Self-consequates

Self-Regulation

The Secret of Self-Regulated Learning
self-regulated learning is the conscious planning, monitoring, evaluation, and ultimately control of one’s learning in order to maximize it. It’s an ordered process that experts and seasoned learners like us practice automatically. It means being mindful, intentional, reflective, introspective, self-aware, self-controlled, and self-disciplined about learning, and it leads to becoming self-directed. – See more at: http://www.facultyfocus.com/articles/teaching-and-learning/secret-self-regulated-learning/?ET=facultyfocus:e56:223522a:&st=email#sthash.zz2jDBUT.dpuf

Helping Learners Develop Self-Regulation Skills

Educators can play a key role in assisting learners in building upon and expanding their self-regulation skills. Strategies include using metacognitive reflection questions both prior to and after learning tasks to assist students through a process of guided inquiry:

  • What is the best way to go about this task?
  • How well are my learning strategies working? What changes should I make, if any?
  • What am I still having trouble understanding?
  • What can I recall and what should I review?
  • How does this material relate to other things I’ve learned or experienced? Supporting Self-Regulation in the Classroom)

Self-regulated learning has meta-emotional and environmental dimensions, which involve asking oneself questions like these:

  • How motivated am I to do the learning task, and how can I increase my motivation if I need to?
  • If my confidence in my ability to learn this material sags, how can I increase it without becoming overconfident?
  • Am I resisting material that is challenging my preconceptions?
  • How am I reacting to my evaluation of my learning?
  • How can I create the best, most distraction-free physical environment for the task? (The Secret of Self-Regulated Learning).

In order to effectively “teach” or demonstrate these questions, educators can practice and model using these questions him or herself.  S/he can verbalize these questions and responses while modeling a learning task.  In other words, the learners can benefit from observing the educator engage in this metacognitive process.

Educators can also directly teach learners the phases of self-regulation:

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  1. Phase 1. Forethought/pre-action—This phase precedes the actual performance; sets the stage for action; maps out the tasks to minimize the unknown; sets realistic expectations and helps to develop a positive mindset
  2. Phase 2. Performance control—This phase involves processes during learning and the active attempt to utilize specific strategies to help the learner become more successful.
  3. Phase 3. Self-reflection—This phase involves reflection after the performance, a self-evaluation of outcomes compared to goals.

This material was taken from an excellent online self-regulation teaching module developed for-by the UConn Gifted Program – http://www.gifted.uconn.edu/siegle/selfregulation/section0.html

Building self-regulation skills is an ongoing process. Educators can use the 5 R’s to provide this continual support:

  • Regularity – Schedule time to practice daily
  • Repetition – Builds neural pathways that become habits
  • Reflection – Noticing sensations strengthens neural pathways
  • Research – Support kids in becoming prescriptive with which tools work best for them
  • Reach Out to Families – Share tools with parents/ care-givers to use at home (Supporting Self-Regulation in the Classroom)

Self-Regulation as a 21st Century Skill

Creativity and in-disciplined learning requires balancing the forces of order and chaos. Learning environments need to provide students a flexible structure within which students can experiment, collaborate, and problem solve. These are contexts that allow students to learn from both success and failure. Such open-ended environments, however, can be challenging to learners as well. They can appear chaotic and offer little guidance to students on how to navigate them. (Creativity, Self-Directed Learning and the Architecture of Technology Rich Environments)

Self-regulation has always been an important skill for learners to master, but changes in the learning landscape due to technological advances and open access to information have increased the necessity for this skill.

Learning Activities for Young People

Here are some activities for students to learn more about self-regulation:

 

Self-regulated learning also has meta-emotional and environmental dimensions, which involve asking oneself questions like these:

  • How motivated am I to do the learning task, and how can I increase my motivation if I need to?
  • If my confidence in my ability to learn this material sags, how can I increase it without becoming overconfident?
  • Am I resisting material that is challenging my preconceptions?
  • How am I reacting to my evaluation of my learning?
  • How can I create the best, most distraction-free physical environment for the task?

Metacognitive questions include these:

  • What is the best way to go about this task?
  • How well are my learning strategies working? What changes should I make, if any?
  • What am I still having trouble understanding?
  • What can I recall and what should I review?
  • How does this material relate to other things I’ve learned or experienced?

– See more at: http://www.facultyfocus.com/articles/teaching-and-learning/secret-self-regulated-learning/?ET=facultyfocus:e56:223522a:&st=email#sthash.zz2jDBUT.dpuf

More formally, self-regulated learning is the conscious planning, monitoring, evaluation, and ultimately control of one’s learning in order to maximize it. It’s an ordered process that experts and seasoned learners like us practice automatically. It means being mindful, intentional, reflective, introspective, self-aware, self-controlled, and self-disciplined about learning, and it leads to becoming self-directed. – See more at: http://www.facultyfocus.com/articles/teaching-and-learning/secret-self-regulated-learning/?ET=facultyfocus:e56:223522a:&st=email#sthash.zz2jDBUT.dpuf
More formally, self-regulated learning is the conscious planning, monitoring, evaluation, and ultimately control of one’s learning in order to maximize it. It’s an ordered process that experts and seasoned learners like us practice automatically. It means being mindful, intentional, reflective, introspective, self-aware, self-controlled, and self-disciplined about learning, and it leads to becoming self-directed. – See more at: http://www.facultyfocus.com/articles/teaching-and-learning/secret-self-regulated-learning/?ET=facultyfocus:e56:223522a:&st=email#sthash.zz2jDBUT.dpuf

Written by Jackie Gerstein, Ed.D.

August 24, 2014 at 3:08 pm

TED for Teens or Ted-Ed Talks As They Should Be

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If I were to subtitle this blog post, it would be something like “reclaiming science education” or “making TED talks palatable and very tasty for young people.”

Cafe Scientifique

I recently become the Cafe Scientifique coordinator for Santa Fe, NM.  I realized after the first session that this program is what TED talks could or should be especially for teens and tweens.  The background and description of Cafe Scientifique . .

Science Café programs engage scientists and the public in conversation on interesting science topics in a highly social setting. The model was established in England, and its popularity led to rapid spread in various forms throughout the world. It has proven very effective in engaging people from all walks of life with science and scientists  In 2007, Science Education Solutions, with a grant from the National Science Foundation, began an experiment to see if the model could be adapted to appeal to high school teenagers. The program, Café Scientifique New Mexico, has proven highly popular with teens in four towns of diverse character in northern New Mexico for the same reason as adult programs: the blend of engaging with scientists informally on interesting science topics and the high degree of social interaction. Café Scientifique New Mexico provides teens a new perspective on the nature of science and a picture of scientists as real people leading interesting lives. The program has proven to be a rich—and fun!—complement to the science they learn in the classroom.

The Cafes contain the following elements:

  • Scientist Talk – about 20 minutes
  • Teen Interview of the Scientist
  • Q & A with the Scientist
  • Hands-On Activity
  • Food

Scientist Talk

Real scientists are invited to do the talks.  Real is this case means that they are practicing scientists working in labs, research settings, etc. Here are 10 Tips for Finding Great Teen Café Presenters and a blog post Preparing Scientists for a Teen Café.

Once selected, scientists are prepped about how to give a talk to teens.  They are given some guidelines – see Cafe Scientifique New Mexico Guidelines for Presenters.  Scientist presenters are also asked to give a dry run with the program organizers who offer feedback about how to better present to the teens.

The Café Scientifique model has proven to be effective for communicating science to a high school teen audience. Their process for achieving effective science communication between scientist-presenters and teens focuses on overcoming the “information deficit” mode of presentation that most scientists are trained for. Their coaching stresses that effective science communication requires engagement on a personal level that meets the audience where it is in terms of both prior knowledge and social context, while making connections to the teens’ daily lives. (http://teensciencecafe.org/resources/science-communication-in-a-cafe-scientifique-for-high-school-teens/)

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Teen Interview of the Scientist

One of the teen leaders (for more information about the Cafe Scientifique teen leaders, see http://cafenm.org/ylt.html) often interviews the scientist. They develop their own questions and use those to interview the scientist.

Example Interviews:

Phillip, a high school sophomore at the Santa Fe Indian School, interviews Nina Lanza, a geologist working on the Mars Curiosity Mission.

Youth leaders conducted an interview with Dr Morton’s pathway to becoming a neuroscientist and zombie expert.  Listen to a lively interview of Dr. Russell Morton, neuroscientist and zombie expert: http://cafenm.org/downloads/podcasts/Dr_Russell_Morton_Interview.m4a.

Q & A with the Scientist

The teens are encouraged to ask questions of the scientist.  Some of the scientist presenters ask questions during their presentation, but time is always provided at the end of the talk for the participating teens to ask questions of the scientist. Many of the scientists also engage in more informal Q & A sessions following the more formal presentation.

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Hands-On Activity

Typically as a follow-up to the talk (although sometimes it is done as an introduction to the talks), teens engage in some hands-on activities that support the concepts presented by the scientist.  A sampling of these activities can be found at http://teensciencecafe.org/resource-categories/hands-on/.

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Food

To increase the social nature, food is provided with time given for socializing and eating.

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Past Cafes and Scientists

Developmental Appropriate for Teens

The problem of using guest speakers or videos like TED and Khan Academy is that they ask the teens-students to be passive recipients of content.  This often is not the best method for learning especially for today’s learners who are used to grabbing content from online venues whenever they choose.  The Cafes are more appropriate for teens (and many adults) because:

  • The talk is limited to 20 minutes to lecture.
  • The slides developed by the scientists are visual heavy and slide light.
  • The teens are encouraged to develop and ask questions of the scientists.
  • Hands-on, multi-sensory activities are used to support the science concepts.
  • Food and interactive activities encourage socializing – a huge need and desire of teens.

 Another Model: MIT Blossoms

Another model for using scientist talks with hands-on interactives to engage and immerse students in science is the MIT Blossoms.

The BLOSSOMS Video Library anytime to browse and download lessons to use in your classroom. Every lesson is a complete resource that includes video segments, a teacher’s guide, downloadable hand-outs and a list of additional online resources relevant to the topic. We carefully craft each BLOSSOMS lesson to make your classroom come alive. Each 50-minute lesson builds on math and science fundamentals by relating abstract concepts to the real world. The lessons intersperse video instruction with planned exercises that engage students in problem solving and critical thinking, helping students build the kind of gut knowledge that comes from hands-on experience. http://blossoms.mit.edu/about

Written by Jackie Gerstein, Ed.D.

January 9, 2014 at 1:52 am

Personal Learning Environment Assignment and Reflections

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I teach a graduate course for the Boise State University’s Educational Technology program called Social Networked Learning.  I discussed it in Educators as Social Networked Learners and Educator as a Social Networked Learner: Presentation Materials.

One of the assignments later in the course is creating a diagram of one’s personal learning environment.  Some previous activities students completed prior to this assignment include: joining Twitter, using Facebook for our class communities, following and contributing to Twitter hashtags and Tweet chats of their choice, attending live webinars of their choice, and joining additional online communities related to their professional interests.

These are the directions provided to the students:

Now that you’ve added more online communities to your PLE, create a diagram to represent them.

  1. Create a PLE diagram of your online communities.  See examples PLE Diagrams at http://edtechpost.wikispaces.com/PLE+Diagrams.
  2. Represent at least 10 different online communities in your graphic and explicitly show connections between the communities. You can be as creative as you’d like with this depiction.  You can hand draw and take an image, or use any type technology.  Post a link and screenshot of your PLE so you classmates could view it on Facebook.
  3. Complete a Reflection:  Via a blog post answer the following questions:  What did you learn about yourself when looking at your PLE? Visit your classmates’ PLE posts.  How does your PLE compare to other peers in class? Write a self-reflection and a comparative analysis that discusses similarities and differences between yours and your classmates’ diagrams.  This analysis should be in terms of content not the type of creation.

For some students, the image spoke volumes, for others it was their reflections on the process and insights that occurred through reflecting on the process of creating the PLE diagram. Below is a sample of the students’ work.

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My personal learning environments have been an eye-opening experience. I have been so empowered by everything I’ve gleaned. My experience with this type of learning has been life changing. My teaching method and the way I instruct my students has taken on a new form of strategy. Learning through my personal learning environments, as well as my contributions, has been awesome. I never thought that I would ever tap into all these resources but what it has done for me, personally, has been very rewarding. I was very apprehensive and wary before, but now I feel very comfortable within these social networks.  Who says that a person 54 years of age cannot learn something in the social network realm? I have.  http://gregandradedesign.wordpress.com/edtech-543-social-network-learning/ple-diagram-reflection/


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Creating the PLE diagram was an interesting and informative process. At first my networking participation felt totally chaotic. I decided to group my connections within my core interest areas. This helped me gain a better sense of how my PLE is working to support my goals and further my interests. Since I have been in education a long time, I want have a clear picture of my learning and contributing goals. I see my PLE as a way to extend both. The 3D diagram I created with blocks provided a structure and metaphor for the continued construction of my PLE as I continue to explore and build connections.http://olienr.wordpress.com/2013/10/27/edtech-543-module-5-ple-diagram/


my-ple-diagram

To create, present and share my PLE diagram I tapped into my real world community and tools (art paper, scissors, pencil, and a “real” student model) and my on-line community and tools (iPhone apps, Facebook, and blog) too. My graphic representation of the body and the major arteries reflects how my personal learning environment (PLE) has become my lifeline. I placed the learners (and their social media networks and Web 2.0 tools) where the heart is because they are why I do what I do! They motivate me to connect (to make that vital fluid circulate from head to toe). They motivate me to become a better learner and a better teacher. My students and I often “learn and grow” together, and these tools enable us to do that.  http://blog4itech.wordpress.com/2013/10/27/ples-real-and-virtual-world-lifelines/


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Through a long bout of self-reflection, I went to task on creating my diagram. Going against my comfort zone of using technology to create my diagram, I used wood, paint, and a rusty saw. My background for my diagram is a piece of plywood, kona stained, and my icons were painted with their corresponding colors and designs. The creation begins with cloud bubbles, each containing 2 or more PLN icons. Within each cloud, I scripted words or phrases that represent each PLN. This is the part where I acknowledge that a good amount of these PLN blocks do crossover into other clouds. This is the beauty of PLNs, because if used correctly, one can find a way to use that PLN as a multi-faceted resource. (http://www.edtechlearning.org/?p=224)

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In my graphic, the educator is represented by the bee. We usually participate in Professional Development as an individual, or as a group. The flowers act as the sources of information an educator collects. When a bee visits a flower, it collects nectar. Given enough time, that nectar breaks down through enzymes and chemical processes within the bee to produce honey. For me, I see the educator attending training, workshops, and finding information on their own, and like the bee, when given enough time to process the information learned, new products are made. The hive can be many things: the school, the classroom, a PLN, etc. The bee/educator takes the new product they have made (or information learned) and comes back to the hive to share. For bees, the hive is a place to store honey. For teachers, however, I think the hive represents ways that information can be shared. Of course, the final product–and ultimate goal– is the creation of honey, or content learned in action. (https://alannashaw.wordpress.com/2016/10/20/the-lifecycle-of-a-ple-a-diagram/)

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The first thing that I learned about myself as I created my diagram of my PLE was that I’ve come a long way since the beginning of this class when it comes to being involved in social media and actually forming a PLE! To be honest, I’m not sure I even knew what a PLE was. Not only do I see myself evolving, I see myself growing as an educator because now more than ever I am inspired by educators from all over the world. I think what makes this new-found knowledge even better is the fact that I am not intimated anymore; I’m having fun, and I’m not “afraid” of making a mistake anymore! http://cynthiamills.wordpress.com/2013/10/26/refelection-on-ple-diagram/


forestple

When I think about my PLE I see it as something that is constantly growing and will continue grow for the rest of my life. I embraced the theme of professional growth while creating my Diagram and so I thought the idea to represent it through the shape of a tree. I would note that my PLE is not just a facet of my professional growth or tool for learning however, it is also an outlet for sharing my ideas and facilitating social interactions. http://forrestdoud.wordpress.com/2013/10/28/ple-diagram/


ple-online-communities

The diagram represents the Internet and my social media connections. The light at the top of the picture is the Internet. It contains the information that is created by on-line users. I don’t mean to overstate the power of the Internet, but it is source for much of what we do in our society. From it come all of the social media sites that we access. They are becoming the pillars for what we learn and what we share. That is the reason that I put them on the cables that hold up the bridge. The city in the background symbolizes the world that accesses the internet and its social media sites. You can vaguely see a person with a smart phone. That represents me. I really liked the picture. I actually discovered it when I was on a Twitter chat one evening. The picture really spoke to me and I knew that I wanted to use if for this project. The picture, to me, shows that social media is a very important aspect of the Internet. My professional learning environment is becoming increasingly dependent on social media. http://chrismason1.wordpress.com/2013/10/27/chris-masons-ple-of-on-line-communities/

Conclusions

As evident in the student reflections, they find value in social networking for professional development.  Those of us who are connected educators find value in being as such.  We often discuss how to get educators who aren’t connected to do so.  We encourage them to become active on Twitter.  I have learned that it more difficult than just showing them Twitter.  I don’t know what the magic “it” is that draws some of us to being connected.

I believe the more structured activities helped the educators taking the course see the value of being connected and at least some will continue to be so after the course ends.  In essence, this can be a model of professional development.  Educators within their own professional development would be required (hate that term, but sometimes that is what needs to happen) or expected (better option) to participate in a series of connected activities, i.e., Twitter hashtags and Tweet Chats, other online live chats and webinars, live webinars and online conferences.  This professional development activity would be self-directed in that educators would select their own connected activities based on their professional interests within their own self-selected time frames.  Hopefully, an extrinsic motivation or push would help educators find intrinsic value in being connected and would continue to be connected in the future on their own.

Written by Jackie Gerstein, Ed.D.

October 30, 2013 at 2:46 pm

Effective Online Andragogy: Increasing Interactivity in Webinars and Virtual Conferences

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I absolutely love attending synchronous educational webinars and virtual conferences.  It is such a treat to be able to listen to experts from the comfort of my home and chat with colleagues during the presentations.  I am baffled, though, why, with all of the interactive elements within the webinar platform and via the Internet, many of them become talking heads with slides.  The irony is that much of the content of the webinars, in one way or another, suggests improving pedagogy, moving from the sage on the stage to increasing learner participation and engagement in the learning process.  Only the best of speakers can engage the audience and keep their attention for over 20 minutes of non-interrupted talking. See Why Long Lectures Are Ineffective: If students can only focus for 15-minute intervals, shouldn’t we devote precious class time to something more engaging? and my Mentormob of resources: Lectures in the Classroom for more on about this.

It is interesting to me that the feedback I get from participants in my webinars that they appreciated the interactivity, that it was one of the most interactive sessions they have ever attended.  Why I find this fascinating is that I believe this should be the norm not the exception.

Andragogy informs teachers and presenters about how to teach adults (both face-to-face and online) with some of the following key strategies for enhancing learning opportunities:

  • establish a learning environment that is supportive and based on mutual respect and shared responsibilities
  • encourage the sharing of experiences
  • use real problems or tasks, case studies and scenarios are particularly effective
  • provide time for collaborative group work, particularly when problem solving
  • use resources that can be easily identified, and share strategies for using them.

http://toolboxes.flexiblelearning.net.au/demosites/series12/12_09/toolbox12_09/resources/training/book/qg/learntheory/andragogy_strategies.htm

Presenters will often begin their sessions with an interactive element such a poll and then use no interactive elements until the end of the hour long session when they ask for questions.  Why aren’t interactive elements introduced at regular intervals throughout the presentation to support the principles of Andragogy?

Some strategies I use during and throughout my online webinars include:

  • Using polls and self-assessments.
  • Sharing resources via live links for participants to visit while I talk about them.
  • Building in periodic breaks to “live chat share” – to share ideas, resources, questions about the segment of content just covered, and verbally pointing out ideas shared along with using the participants’ names to do so.
  • Asking participants to share their own resources and best practices in the chat.
  • Doing an interactive Web 2.0 tool or game – e.g., having participants share using Padlet so they can easily access this information later.
  • Asking participants to watch a short video or read a short article and report their thoughts in the chat.
  • Having participants create one slide of a shared Google Presentation on one of the subtopics being discussed resulting in a group presentation.
  • Asking participants to a photo of a concept through Flickr (see Using Flickr to Collect Images Captured on Cell Phones noting that this process can be used from any device that permits emailing).
  • Using the webinar whiteboard to have participants draw a significant learning.
  • Ending with an action step – asking participants one thing they will commit to do based on something learned in the webinar.

Here are some addition tips by Sharon Bowman:

As an extension to this this discussion, here a a slidedeck that I created about strategies for development online communities:

Written by Jackie Gerstein, Ed.D.

October 13, 2013 at 3:33 pm

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