21st Century Teacher & Blogger....a summer of re-thinking my thinking about teaching and getting CONNECTED!

posted Aug 8, 2013, 3:46 PM by JoAnn Delaney   [ updated Aug 9, 2013, 1:43 AM by Arie Wels ]
 During my summer vacation, I have Awakened and become a Connected Learner! Mid-summer I took a week long 3 credit ipad class that I found invaluable (http://eduspire.org/).
It exposed me to hundreds of apps and put an ipad in my hands that I now own and can take back to the classroom! My final project incorporated the use of students collaboratively using the Explain Everything app. Upon finishing my work for the class, I started to critically look at the plethora of apps I was exposed to. I needed to decide which apps would best suit my students' needs for learning, but which apps to utilize, there are so many! I became distracted and found myself moving in yet another direction. I made a Twitter account purely for educational purposes and started to search out my colleague's handles. I looked to see who they followed and then added educators that grabbed my attention. I decided to look for educational hashtags. I found #edchat, and #edtech and many more. I noticed in my feed that there were active conversations happening. I followed the hashtag and joined in. I found myself making connections with more educators. As a result of the tweet content, I added and followed more individuals and many began following me too. I followed a past principal to a MOOC and engaged in their live conversation, very cool! I began signing up for and participating in Webinars. I began connecting with educators who are very active in the Twitter community , as well as going to National Conferences, authoring books, and even creating shows like EduAllstars and EduSlam who hold live online interviews in locations like the Google HangOut. I've learned so much to say the least and became ultra inspired and motivated! I found my brain engaged 24-7 and my creative juices flowing. My PLN (Professional Learning Network) is growing everyday. 
 
 
  I saw that someone posted a link for Sophia which offered a free certified "Flipped Classroom" online course ( http://www.sophia.org/). I signed-up and found myself watching videos, viewing resources, taking assessments, and creating my own Flipped lesson. Each evening I would view a hashtag calendar and join in the discussions. I came across the #TLAP (Teach Like A Pirate). This hashtag discussion group was focused on Dave Burgess's ( http://www.amazon.com/Teach-Like-PIRATE-Engagement-Creativity/dp/0988217600 ) AMAZING book, Teach Like A Pirate. Everyone was surging the discussion platform with creative ideas. I needed to read this book too. So I did!  Teach Like A Pirate should be a required read for all teachers! One piece from the book that had a powerful impact on me was his talk about "The 6 Words." He focuses on the fact that creativity is lying dormant and waiting to be tapped. His powerful story flooded my senses and propelled me into deep thinking--and emerged as creativity--in fact it came while I was on a run. I saw a tree with a blue bird box and a tag. All of a sudden creativity flooded every part of my being.
I thought of using QR codes, GPS mapping, Google Earth, putting the newly learned apps into a meaningful science lesson that would hook learners! I took my iphone and recorded my ideas immediately and taking to heart another piece of advice from Dave Burgess, the "Law of Attraction." He stated, "To put the real Law of Attraction to work for you, you must create a vision of what you want and define the goals you want to achieve--and then you must start working for them. I immediately went back to work.
Sophia offered another free certified class, Ipad Prepared, so I sign-up and began honing additional ipad skills. The lesson I created was an integration of many things I had recently learned (http://www.sophia.org/science-is-all-around-our-town-tutorial ). This lesson incorporated use of the camera on a personal device, QR Stuff, GPS locations, I-Nigma QR reader, Side by Side app, Google Earth, Chirp, Educreations, Google Docs, & Moodle. The lesson (ex. http://www.educreations.com/lesson/view/hibiscus/9420174/?ref=app) will be facilitated using a blended learning technique-flipped classroom and traditional classroom environments. I am very excited to challenge the students with this learning opportunity. So much so, that I applied to present the lesson implementation results at the K-12 Online Conference (http://k12onlineconference.org/?p=1233 ). Hopefully in a future post I will be able to share the lessons learned with my readers. I successfully completed the Ipad Prepared class and assimilated my ideas into a powerful lesson I believe students will immensely enjoy while collaborating with peers and using their devices for learning! 

     As a result of listening to Erin Klein's interview by Todd Nesloney on "EduAllStars" podcast ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uFc6VB_okJc ) I found value in Todd's question to Erin (time 32.10), "What are you really passionate about in education." Erin's answer, "Finding out what kids want, period." She went on to say that she likes to ask her nieces and nephews questions like what kind of technology they are using and how they are using it. (Erin's Blog http://www.kleinspiration.com/ ) I was inspired and decided to use the Socratic app to create a survey to use with my students. I want to find out what technology they have access to, what they enjoy doing with the technology, and what they know about digital citizenship.
My questions include:
1. Do you have Internet access at home?
2. Do you have a mobile device with Internet access, what kind?
3. What are your 3 favorite apps and why?
4. Do you have a social media account? List and tell which is used most often.
5. How do you use technology most of the time?
6. What do you think the purpose is for using technology in the classroom?
7. What is digital citizenship?
8. What level of experience do you have using technology?

The survey will be a great discussion platform and give me a great deal of information about my students and their technology needs.

As a result of following Matt B. Gomez (http://mattbgomez.com/ ) on Twitter and reading his blog (http://mattbgomez.com/why-i-am-using-facebook-in-the-class-again-this-year/), I became empowered to create a class Facebook page. Matt uses Facebook to communicate daily with the parents of his students. Parents are able to see pictures of the awesome things students are learning and doing in his class. He is able to share timely information too, in fact in an instant! Parents commented to Matt that the Facebook page provided an overview of what was happening in school and it allowed for parents to ask their child specific questions about their learning and school day. One parent wrote, " I am not sure how I would have been able to communicate effectively with my son, on a daily basis about school, without the FB page."  It motivated Parents to use social media. A parent also stated, " I appreciate how you kept in mind that not all parents are tech savvy or use facebook, and helped me utilize this tool that turned out to be so special!"   So of course I needed to set up a class Facebook page too ( http://www.facebook.com/joann.delaney.98). The power of parents, students and teachers working together is immeasurable!

     I have a few more learning notes to share with you. I created a ScoopIt account ( http://www.scoop.it/t/sciteach21cscoop ). I am now able to curate and publish educational content. I am connected with others and collect the best and most relevant articles to share with other educators. http://www.scoop.it/t/what-is-scoop-it . I created a YouTube Channel to curate video resources too ( http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCbx4Iq8st4BLGEfqZsDqOrw ). Pinterest  is great place to find and exchange ideas (http://pinterest.com/joanndelaney98/boards/). I've begun creating bulletin boards and pinning educational resources! Each year my students in 6th grade are entering a middle school building and are anxious about getting and being able to open lockers. Using the educations app, I created a locker tutorial. I will be able to show students rather than tell them how to open a combination lock http://www.educreations.com/lesson/view/locker/9407429/?ref=app. I struggle with recalling student names, using Haiku Deck, I created a class set of students pictures with names for each of the four classes I facilitate. It's fantastic, I run through the deck and practice looking at faces and names. We have an ice cream social which is a time for parents and students to meet the teacher prior to school starting. During the social, I will be able to know the child's name when I see their face. I'm planning on having some fun with that! 
 
     Finally, I'm BLOGGING for DoMoreEdu! Being a connected educator, I surely want my students to be connected learners. I plan on having my students blog too ( http://kidblog.org/MrsDelaneysScienceClass ). I'm putting my experiences, thoughts, ideas, passion, everything out there for all to see and critique. I am taking risks, thinking, reflecting, learning, rethinking and trying to be the best I can be. My experiences this summer have fired me up, inspired me, and I cannot wait to bring it ALL back to my students! I thank my online PLN. Together we can be great educators!