Beyond the Glass

Reflections on education in a connected world. Jackie Sakatch

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.

Blog_stats

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

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The First Tweets from my Classroom.

26-10-2013 8-40-08 PM

This week I started to send out tweets with my class.  We are learning about bats and we received a tweet about bats in Saskatchewan that we viewed as a class.  I found the children to be more engaged and excited about connecting  on the internet.  We decided on a background and a theme as a class.  We added our class blog to our twitter profile.  I look forward to exploring Twitter more with my class.

Cory Antonini emailed me an article about establishing a twitter routine in my classroom.  The poster in the article is a great visual reminder of the skills that I need to teach my class.

I added literacy and numeracy links to my classroom blog which I was able to share with parents during our open house.

Work in Progress

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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.

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Moving Forward by Starting to Make Connections in Grade 1/2.

Blue Glow
This week I met with Cory Antonini a consultant on our school team to discuss connecting my classroom.  I wanted to make sure I had a clear understanding of what the polices were for Regina Public School regarding individual students blogs and the use of twitter.   I described to Cory the experiences that I had last week when I tried to have my classroom connect and comment on other classroom blogs.  Cory and I viewed my current classroom blog and created a classroom Twitter account.  When we tried to add a Twitter feed to my current blog we were unable to.  After some discussion about wanting to eventually add individual student blogs and have a variety of security options available I decided to use Blogger because it is linked to the Regina Public Schools Google account.  Cory also showed my the Kidblog website and suggested that I explore it for when I want to add individual student blogs.  I want to find a tool that is easy for young children to use and is easy to manage.  Cory encouraged me to continue  teaching my children how to comment on other classroom blogs.  He also suggested that we start creating content as a classroom through shared writing experiences and posting them on Twitter and our class blog.  Learning another blog format is a bit of a challenge but experience is the best teacher!   If you are using Blogger or Kidblog I would love to hear about your experiences.

I am currently in the process of creating content for the new classroom blog.  I was excited to be able to add a translate function to the blog.  I teach a large number of children who are new to Canada and English is an additional language in their homes.  I hope that this tool allows families to receive information from the school in the language that they are the most comfortable.

ipad

Another step forward that our school took this week was to have a technician come to our school to set up our iPads.  We now have a way to add apps to our iPads and have ordered cases to keep them safe.   I welcome any app suggestions that you might have.

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