Beyond the Glass

Reflections on education in a connected world. Jackie Sakatch

I am a Networked Professional


When it came to write this last blog post for the first time this term I felt stuck. It is not the first time in my Graduate program that I have felt like I do not know how to put the words on the page to explain my thinking but it was the first time that when I had felt that way before writing a blog post. I turned to Facebook to help me clarify my thoughts. As I started to comment back and forth I realized that I was living as a networked professional. I was using my network to help me move forward.

How have I become a more networked professional?

Blog Posts that document my development as a Networked Professional

Blog post that demonstrate Getting Help to Connect

I asked Sue Waters to look at my blog and provide me with feedback.

Hi Jackie

Always happy to help!

I’m thinking it is probably worth moving the Subscribe by email option and options to how you can connect (with you) higher on the sidebar.

I feel conflicted about the theme.  This is a very good theme and I like it.  It’s also a popular theme.  But it is hiding your tagline. If you are happy with the theme I would keep it as it is clean and easy to read.

Those are the main things I can spot!  Hope that helps?

On Sun, Nov 10, 2013 at 1:27 AM, Jackie Sakatch <> wrote:

Hi Sue,

If you have a moment I was wondering if you could look over my blog and make any suggestions for improvement.  I would appreciate any advice that you have.  I am looking forward to connecting with you again on Monday.

Thank you

Jackie Sakatch

Blog Posts that demonstrate my connection with others through comments

Blog posts where I explore Open Access and Open Education

Blog post that reflect on course content and explore new ideas and tools.

Examples of my Professional Learning Network

My class partnered with a grade 11 class from Johnson Collegiate this term. My class and I sent a tweet out about our reading buddies experience. The following is what happened on Twitter once I shared our story.

I used the #eci831 hasttag and shared interesting articles and my blog posts on Twitter.  I used the #eci831 tagboard to help me keep track of tweets from my peers.   I asked questions and commented on posts of my peers on the Google + community.

The blog has had views from a variety of countries around the world including Spain, Australia and the United States.  I currently have twenty people following my blog.  My blog stats tell me that my blog has been viewed 629 times and 149 comments have been made.

Over the last few days I have had a conversation with my administrator about starting a school Twitter account. I have used Google Earth to take a virtual field trip. At the beginning of the term I felt that the filing cabinet was closed but now I feel that I have started to integrate technology into my teaching practice. I also feel that I have found supportive connections to help me when I am stuck.  I am proud of my accomplishments and I am excited to see how my teaching practice will continue to transform.

cc licensed ( BY ) flickr photo shared by Karl Koenen



Summary of Learning

My goal for this term was to develop an understanding of how to use social media and open education with children in grade one and two  and to begin to use the material I was using in my classroom and at home with my son.  When I thought about creating my Summary of Learning, I felt that it was important to stay with the theme of working with children online so I decided to have my son interview me about my experiences in #eci831.   Below is the interview outline that I created.

Today we are going to about my mom’s social media and open education university class. 

What did you learn about social media? 

What did you learn in your class that you can use in your classroom? 

  • Updated the classroom blog, added Twitter, and have started tweeting with my class.
  • I am thinking about how I can experiment with the Makey Makey in my classroom.
  • I talk to kids about Mindcraft and other games that are important to them and try to include the things that kids learn from games in my teaching.

How do you help your kids stay safe online? 

  • Model how to be safe
  • Talk about being a good citizen – on and offline – you need to be the same on and offline.  Both interactions are real.
  • Monitor students activities
  • It is important not just to create content but also to comment on other people’s content.
  • Computer equipment stays in an open place in our house.
  • Monitoring and posting Ben’s videos on YouTube

What is open education?

  • Sharing and using materials that have been licensed to be used.  You need to look at the license that a picture or song is put online and be respectful of the person that posted it.  You need to be aware of copyright.  Creative Commons Search
  • Do you know when you brainstorm – and one person has an idea and then the next person adds to that idea – being an open educator means you are part of a community where you add to the ideas of others, you might reuse their materials in a different way and you let others use your materials.  You use pingbacks in your blog to build on and support ideas in your blog.  You are generous with your ideas and materials.
  • MOOCs – Massive Open Online Courses – Two types – One that focuses on teaching you content from a prescribe course outline and the other where you work as a community to generate and support each other.

cc licensed ( BY ) flickr photo shared by Mary St George

My Commitment to Further Learning

  1. Continue to use Twitter in the classroom.  Develop a 140 square grid to help my children create tweets.  Add a Twitter job to our classroom jobs so that tweeting becomes an embedded part of my instructional practice.
  2. In my classroom follow and comment on other classroom blogs and learning.
  3. Continue to work with my son to develop his digital identity and YouTube channel.  When he is ready, I would like to help him develop his own blog.
  4. Be respectful and mindful of copyright.  Search for and use materials that are licensed through Creative Commons.
  5. When I upload material, I will use a Creative Commons license so that I communicate my intentions for that material.
  6. Continue to be an active community member on Twitter by adding members to my Professional Learning Network, contributing materials and ideas, and participating in chats.
  7. Explore and experiment with new online tools and ideas using my PLN for support if I require help.
  8. Continue to follow and read blogs created by other educators.
  9. Continue to blog.

The Strength of a Professional Learning Network.

cc licensed ( BY ) flickr photo shared by Colleen McMahon
Throughout this term I have discovered the power of a Professional Learning Network (PLN) and Twitter. This weekend I have experience the benefits of having a strong PLN. I twitted out my last blog post The Gift of Openness and Alec Couros commented on my tweet

The next thing that happened is that the number of favorites and retweets that I received in a short period of time was phenomenal.

Blog explosion

I decided to check my blog stats and this is what I found.


Thanks to Alec’s retweet more people viewed and decided to follow my blog. The process of developing your PLN may take some time to establish but the more effect that your invest the more opportunities you will have to share and influence.

My classroom twitter account is slowly being used by families. After report cards went home on Friday this was the response I received from one of my families:

My classroom Twitter following is small but for the families that use it powerful. Just like an ant.

cc licensed ( BY SA ) flickr photo shared by AnnaNakami

Hopefully it goes to many

cc licensed ( BY SA ) flickr photo shared by Charles Lam


The Gift of Openness


Slide from:

David Wiley will be presenting to our #eci831 class on November 26, 2013.  In his Ted talk, he speaks about openness, generosity, and sharing in education.  David Wiley concludes that the more open we are in education the greater the improvements will be to education.

In the #eci831 class, we have experienced and benefited from the generosity of openness from these presenters:

Each of these presenters has exemplified their understanding and commitment to open education by sharing of their time and talents with us.

I believe another example of openness occurs on Twitter during a chat.  This Saturday morning I participated in #satchat I was looking through the overnight tweets, saw the hashtag and thought it was a great opportunity to follow the conversation.  The topic of the day was how to engage your staff in free professional development.   A few things that I thought during the chat was how consistent the message of the importance of educators being connected.  I was impressed with how open and giving the people participating were.  People shared strategies and blog article freely, and how it was easy to participate.  I think many of the people participating in the chat understood the concept of openness in the advancement of education.

Robert Munch  shares a humorous look at how we encourage sharing in the Kindergarten classroom in the book We Share Everything.  Occasionally I have worked with teachers who view sharing as a negative and wish to keep materials and ideas to themselves. I wonder what happens as we move through educational institutions and potentially become less willing to share resources, time, and energy than we expect a five year old in Kindergarten to share.    During his presentation on Open Education Alec Couros mentioned the website Teachers Pay Teachers a website where teachers can purchase materials created by other teachers.  Alec also shared the Open Educational Resources (OER) organization where content is  Creative Commons licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non-commercial-ShareAlikes unless otherwise noted that teachers may access  instructional materials.  I plan to spend more time exploring the resources available on the OER website.

At the beginning of the course Alec Couros asked us to consider how are you contributing to the learning of others?  At first, I thought this meant commenting on other students’ blogs and being active on Twitter.  I think it is broader than that now.  I think what needs consideration is how you will be open and generous as you educate.  What will you be willing to share to advance the education of others?

cc licensed ( BY SA ) flickr photo shared by Gideon Burton


Pigtails? A Piggy Back? No a Pingback!

When I first read the course assignments for #eci831 and read that I need to include pingbacks.  I admit the first thing my brain thought of was pigtails.

Pink Eye and Pig Tails

I quickly realized we weren’t going to be spending our time learning how to style hair (unless of course you choose that as your learning project).  My brain quickly jumped to the idea of a piggy back.  Now the more I learn about a pingback the more I think that the visual image of a piggy back ride is not so far off.   Sue Waters explains a pingback as including a link to another blogger in your post.  (Just like that!)

Piggy Back

How do I connect a pingback to a piggy back?  Well when you are brainstorming we often “piggy back” off of an idea of what the person before us says.  We add, modify or give an example of the idea that the person before us has suggested and deepen our understanding and perhaps create a new idea that solves the problem that lead to the brainstorming session.

I sent Alec Couros an email asking him about plagiarism and group discussions.  Some of the text of the email is below:

 I remember last year in a class I was taking we were put into groups to discuss our plans for our final project. People were really reluctant to share their ideas. Then we started to talk about why they were uncomfortable and it came back to the new online program that they had to take before they started their Master’s program about plagiarism. One of the things that someone in the group shared was that it was considered plagiarism to use an idea a group member shared in a discussion in your paper or project. I was in my Master’s program before the online course was implemented so I am not 100% sure of the accuracy of that statement.

It’s not accurate. If you cite where you got the idea from if it fact it is not your own idea, then it is definitely not plagiarism. I think most people are simply not confident enough about their ideas, or they think that they have nothing new to contribute. I often show them this:

I participated in a webinar hosted by The Daring Librarian where Sue Waters was presenting.  One of the points that people at the webinar made was that you should never apologize for what you are blogging or how often you post.  This reminded me of the blog post by Shauna Drackett where she questions if what she is blogging about is interesting enough and relevant?  Shauna concludes that in her blogging all she can guarantee is the satisfaction of a completed blog post and the thinking that she has done to complete that post.

As I was thinking about education and the idea of how intellectual property and wondering if one person owns an idea or if all ideas are a reworking and built on ideas of those who came before us.  I discuss some of these ideas in my own blog post Creativity, Play, Technology and FUN!

My email continues

If it is a true statement it opens up for me the idea of how education is changing to something much more collaborative and connected. I know that through this course I was intentionally looking for new/different content because I did not want to copy an article/idea that my peers had used. I think this might go back to the social constructed learning you were talking about. Oh. Might be an Ah-ha moment.

You may want to look at Stephen Johnson’s book titled, “Where Good Ideas Come From”. Here are quotes from the book. Also, here is a short video about the book.

After watching this short video clip I was curious about what Stephen Johnson had to say about ideas.  I found a longer TED talk and I purchased his book.

I started to reflect on what Dr. Richard Schwier had said about communities and how a community is a community it doesn’t matter if you spend most of your time online or in person the core of the interactions and the connection with people is what creates the community.  I then thought about what George Siemens‘ ideas about the relevance of higher education and what will happen as Open Education becomes more common place to universities as we know them today.  What information will be considered relevant?  Will the type of assignments and examinations that students complete be different?  Will the research essay lose it relevance and be replaced with work that incorporates the classical theorist but is then used and adapted by students and scholars today to meet the needs of the 21st Century?  As Stephen Johnson says in his video is this what we have been doing for centuries?  With the inception of the internet we are able to connect faster and farther than ever before. We are able to brainstorm and piggy back (and pingback) on the ideas of minds of academics and the person you would meet in the coffee shop.

On the first night of #eci831 Alec showed us these two slides
Carteasen_view_of_learning                                                           Socially_Constructed

When I first saw these slides I understood them and I thought I comprehended what socially constructed learning was.  Now that I have experienced building knowledge socially through the blog hub and my Professional Learning Network (PLN) on Twitter I realize I have experienced the power of collaboration and being connected.  Here is one concrete example

This blog post gave me six new ways to use a teaching strategy I currently use in my classroom and make it better. I was able to have instant professional development that linked a current teaching practice with technology all before I had finished my morning cup of coffee.  I realize my responsibility once I have tried these suggestions is to leave a comment on the blog post so that I can move forward the learning of others.

The pingback allows you to cite and acknowledge where an idea comes from and it also allows you a window into the conversation to make suggestions and build onto the ideas of others.  I joined the Google + Connected Classroom Workshops  the number of members and posts that arrive in my inbox is amazing.  The desire to connect and be connected is strong and educators are finding ways to make those connections possible.

I think your idea still holds up. I believe that education IS changing to something much more collaborative and connected. I would love to hear more about your thoughts on this.

I hope this helps!


Thanks Alec, it does help, in fact it has begun to transform my teaching practices.


Frustrated and Inefficient

I retweeted this link this morning. I thought that 100 Twitter accounts for Teachers would be a wonderful way to build my Professional Learning Network.  I did find a few people that I was already following like Sue Waters  , Alec Couros, and George Couros.  I found a number of interesting people to follow on twitter including Angela Maiers and Chris Wejr.  As I was going through the list of suggested Twitter accounts I must admit I became frustrated by the process of clicking on a Twitter account listed on the website, following them on Twitter and then returning to the Tweet to get back to the website to click on the next account to see if I was interested.  I wished a subscribe to all accounts option was available and then I could have looked through the new followers and unfollowed accounts I did not want to connect to.

Today I started to work with my son to develop his digital identity.  He wants to create a YouTube channel so that he can post videos and share them with the world.  I decided to create this channel through my Google account so that I would have control over the comments and the content that he is able to post.  Before doing this we discussed the possibilities that someone might leave a mean comment and what we would do about it and how it would make him feel.  We talked about the possibility that if the comments made him uncomfortable we might have to change the settings on the account so that he felt safe.

Once I felt he was prepared we started to create the YouTube channel.  He had specific ideas about what he wanted to call the channel he has been talking about this for the last two months.  I went into my Google account to create a channel for him.  Then I started to upload the first  video from dropbox to  YouTube.  It uploaded but it was not full screen.  I then tried editing the video in iMovie and then sharing them on YouTube.  That did not work.  So I saved it to my Camera Roll on my phone and tried uploading from there to YouTube.  That got the video to my account on YouTube but not into the Awesome Tube 2 channel.  After some searching I tried downloading the video from my channel to my computer and then uploading it from my computer to Awesome Tube 2.  The video is still processing.

I imagine there is an easier way.  I hate this feeling of having a bunch of steps to follow but in the end I still don’t end up with the information where I wanted it.  Why is it so difficult to move a movie from my phone to YouTube?

138/365 Frustrated.


The Power of the Retweet – Building my PLN

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On this Thanksgiving weekend I find myself thankful for many things: my family, friends, health,coworkers and the opportunity to be a student.  One of the greatest gifts I have taken away from #eci831 is the power of Twitter.  I am not sure about anyone else but I feel empowered when someone I respect retweets a tweet that I thought was important.  Being a teacher can be a lonely and isolating profession. Twitter provides an opportunity to have your voice heard by people near and far.  When I get a retweet from Todd Parr or other people I respect I feel validated.    I am thankful for this validation.

Happy Thanksgiving!


The Scoop on & Flipping with Flipboard

I wanted to experiment with and Flipboard.

I created a  about Chris Hatfield and Social Media.  I choose Chris Hatfield the  topic for my because following his Twitter feed and You Tube videos inspired me as a teacher.  If he share his experience from the International Space Station what could I share here on Earth.

I found easy to use once I got started.  The one hint I have for new users is to make sure that you turn off the twitter feed when you publish your scoop articles or you will fill your Twitter feed.  My husband thought I was displaying stocking tendencies.

I think I will use in my classroom when I want to collect articles about a topic and share them with my students.  I think  It will be a wonderful way to share current events.

Originally I was going to upload the Flipboards I have created but I discovered that you are unable to access Flipboard from a laptop so I am going to see if I can edit a post I have created on my laptop on my iPad.

Flipboard for android

These are  the Flipboards that  I created.   I created  an Educational Inspiration magazine with a few You Tube videos I like.  I added my Twitter, Flickr andInstagram feeds.  I also created a blog and blogging magazine as well as one for #eci831 Open Education and Social Media.

I will need to do more research to see if there is a way to make the Flipboard Magazines visible in my blog.  I think that Flipboard is a powerful tool but I need to practice more to make the best use of the organizational features it provides.  I am thinking that it is like a big filing cabinet where you can organize your information.  I want to know if it is possible to add your own blog links or other information.  Using Flipboard is a work in progress for me.  I am open to any tips or tricks you might have.



Wordle: Communities

Dr. Richard Schwier shared his insights into communities and the factors that effect communities development online.
Dr. Schwier points out that we all have a need to connect. I think over at the beginning of twentieth century people connected in small localized pockets that they could travel to and from in day. Today I have the advantage of being able to connect with someone in another part of the world within seconds. The speed which I am able to connect may have increased but I believe the basic principles of community have stayed the same. People continue to use boundaries to help make them feel safe and as they begin to trust others in the community they slowly reveal more about themselves and their believes and practices.

I believe an advantage of participating in a community that stretches beyond the confines of registered course participants is that the authentic connections that are made will continue to support the development of my teaching practices beyond the four months of this course. Teaching can be a lonely experience but with an active Professional Learning Network I will be able to ask for and give the support that is needed.

Until Tuesday I had never realized the support that I could receive from developing a strong, supportive Professional Learning Network.


Reddigifts for Teachers 2013

I often think that if it sounds too good to be true it must be a scam.  So when Alec sent out a tweet talking about the Reddigifts for Teachers 2013 program I wasn’t one hundred percent sure what would come of it.  I wondered if I would end up with an inbox or a tweeter feed full of spam.  I am happy to report that neither of those things happened and earlier this week I received a wonderful gift which I appreciate.

My son loves to watch Evan Tube HD  he is particularly thrilled  with the unboxing videos.  So when the package arrived I decided to make my own unboxing video.


I now visit the Reddigifts site to look for other gift exchanges so that I can pay it forward.

Thanks Alec for the great tip.


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