Powerful Learning Practice: Creating Online Communities for Professional Development

July 1, 2008

Powerful Learning Practice: Creating Online Communities for Professional Development
Will Richardson and Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach

Tuesday 2:00 session

As a parent Will says how are my kids being prepared for the world

Why we need to change professional development

Person notes on communication today

Twenty-Fvie days to Make a difference blog
-wanted to do a good deed everyday before Christmas after her grandfather’s passing.
–5th grader
–donating books, clothing, etc to charities
–asked her readers whom to donate the gifts
–Will showed Custr map of viewer ship

–decompressing New Hampshire primary
–Ustreaming, chatting
–person running the show was 13 year old running the show in his basement

Teachers on the same bus as students, but in the back
Realistic goal is to sit next to students, maybe someday sit in the front
Teach student how to use these tools well and properly

Summer Reading–Clay Shirkly Here Come Everybody
Changes will transform groups …everywhere

No doubt that change will continue and not stop
–how do we work with this information and tools

Beyond a unit on-line or information literary
It is Networks
–every connection provides an opportunity to learn

At this point school’s should have as a goal:
students will create personal learning networks in which they can flourish safely and effectively
–if this is not something we can say
–do not know how to leverage this network for their benefit

Anyone can blog, tools are available to everyone
–can create wiki, podcast in minutes
–was is hard is what happens after you create
–how do you use this to gain knowledge
–this is how professional development fall short
–this is where we fall short

Sheryl asking crowd the definition of community

unknown speaker
–any group of people working toward a common goal
@coachnorm said
—community like your house, safe and develop a relationship
—learn from success and failure, both

Def of Community
–soldier sitting in a shack by himself
–connected Sheryl to people around the community
–express different literature for children
–teacher able to use first hand expereinces from people in other countires
–diverse ideology
Wikipedia def

Many approaches and deagogical frameworks for building and sustaining social networks and communities of practice, certain trends and patterns of best practice do exist.
–walled garden
–you know who is in your group

empowering community
–learners who lurk and whom you may not know

Regardless the focus is on interaction
–impacts intrinsic interaction

Emergent Design Model–professional dev model
Conception and Launch
–focus group and needs surveys on design and functionality
–role out and announcement
–assist in helping educators find the community
Emergent design
–community begins to buld shared vision and design
__simple framework of collaborative tools introuced, including profile tools for connection
–multiple options for feedback on design and tools
–sense of trust and development
Adaptive Shift

Social communities of practice need to be designed in such a way that they evolve over time.
what develops is co-created and collaborative multiple opportunities for member feedback and owenership
–very import aspect is ownership
–not a top down thing

Team based
PLCs are our best hope for reculturing schools.
Focus on shifting from a culture of teacher isolation to a culture of deep and meaningful collaboration.

Characteristics of a healthy community
–clear purpose
–active and consistent participation
–shared history and culture
–participant to participant collaboration

How do convince faculty of lasting impact on learning community
–draw in lurkers
–quickly grew
–started w/ 40 schools
–now statewide
–others now replicating model
–picked up by Business Week

Powerful Learning Practice Delivery Model
2 all day workshops that  build capacity, community and develop 21st century skills
–build in celebration time, excitement
–live meetings, webinars
–deepen understanding, network, share resources and grow as a community of practice
–growth of professional community

PLC Conceptual Framework
1) solid foundation of collaboratively developed and widely shared vision, missio, mvalues and goals that align with the 21st Century learner’s needs.
2) Collaborative teams that work interdependently to achieve common goals
3) a govus on results as evidenced by a committment to continuous improvement
–Will notes this can be done locally and globally
–work within district
–many do not know what the teacher down the hall is doing
Basic experiment design…
Seek out schools willing toinvest some time inexploring the challenge of 21st Century Learning
–find some key leaders to put on the bus
–10 for every 100 learners to help the development
Ask the schools to identify small teams of educators who are ready for this exploration
With the support of the PLP Fellows, begin that exploration together
…with the eventual goal of “scaling up” the exploration

understanding of the transformative potential of Web 2.0 tool in global perspective
understanding of the shifting learning literacies that hte 21st Century demands and how those literacies infomrm teacher practice
the development of sustained professional learning networks for team members to being experimenting and sharing w/ other team members an d online colleagues from around the world. (Within school, districts, global)
–create feelilng of coaching/mentoring rather than evaluation
–50% of new teachers have never seen their mentors actually teach
creation of long term plans to move the vision forward in participating districts at the end of the prgram
an increase in teh abilities and resources of individuals, teams and the community to manage change

Where are You:
Know Nothing
Path Finder
Power Users
Know Everything
–at the beginning one nothing and mostly newbie or explorer
–at end mostly explorer, path finder, power user
–at end on know everything (wow)
–Will laughs

How big is too big
–100 to 120 people to make an impact
–can break down in to sub communities
–send them out to larger community
–lose trust and become small town rather than community

Importance of Face to Face
–crucial to building and working these communities to grow

What about parent component?
–need to get parent buy-in
–can be powerful component
–some groups have taken this model and done so

Handouts available on both blogs and NECC site

Wikinomics: How Mass Collaboration Will Fundamentally Change Learning

June 30, 2008

Yvonne marie Andres, Global SchoolNet Foundation with Lucie deLaBruere
Google Doc Presentation
Monday Concurrent Session Four

1994 Cisco, IBM Came to Global SchoolNet to create Cyber Fair
Student collaboration and publish on-line project
Peer review of content produced by students
Few programs having student evaluate digital media
–key to learning, students understand the effectiveness of project

Global SchoolNet
-always been about collaborative learning
Message they have been screaming forever
Wisdom of crowds

Online Expedition
–Virtually follow along with explorers

Wikinomics Principles

–excel in any field
–create a community with our peers
–No longer is it possible for any individual to learn all they need to survive.
–willingness to share
Acting Globally
–phrase has been re

How did this come about:
–cell phones, even grandparents own these now
–Always connected
–Web 2.0 Tools
Net Generation
–kids who have grown up collaborating
–kids who are texting to others who are not even in the same room
Global Economy

Always connected
–Web, iPod, Tvio, PDA ,GS, Cell phone, Wireless
–first it was nice, now we are annoyed when something is now availble on demand

Net Gen Ethics
Reality is that students are using collaborative tool at home with a lack of education on collaborative skills.
Schools block things because of fear.

World is Flat
If you are not giving your students these skills they are lacking and behind.
Students should participate in a collaborative global environment in every grade level.

Mindmapping Wikinomics
–collaborative site that rates movies

How Will Wikinomics impact Learning?
–textbooks outdated by publication
–students do not use them
–program is open, collaborative
Co-created content
–music programs
–getting information from others with specialize experience
Virtual Field Trips
Global Competitions
–more winners of these competitions from outside the US
–not done enough within the US
–critical thinking trying to evaluate how other schools beat them
Collaborative Tools
–twitter, twitter, twitter
–twitter literacy, start of a book, student find book
Project Registery
–not fun to do a collaborative project alone
–find a group to collaborate with
—similar to PrintShop OLD SCHOOL
–multiple photo sharing tools
Social Bookmarking

Blended Learning
Global Exhibitions

My wife also attended this session and probably did a better job at taking notes than I did.
Session also reportedly podcast and should be available.

NECC–Information Literacy

June 30, 2008

Eric LeMoine, Beaverton School District
Monday 830 Concurrent Session

What do you think of this website?


Dihydrogen Monoxide Research Division

Calls for the ban of water because of its high connection to death

Importance of Information Literacy

-Information literacy Defined

-Ability to identify, locate, evaluate information effectively (including presenting it..)

-Searching and critical thinking skills are vitally important

Ban news

-students lacking information literacy skills, especially w/ regard to technology

ETS reports:

35% of students selected correct revision when asked to narrow an overly broad search

Additional data telling us that students might know technology but they are lacking critical thinking skills in a technological environment to:






communicate information

Overviewed the difference between Search Engine v. Search Directory


Advancce seaches and Boolean searches

Evaluating Websites, consider:

Accuracy (verifiable, sources)

Authority (author, url domain)

Objectivity (goal, bias, advertising)

Currentcy (last updated, links current)

Coverage (viewable, fees, special software required)

Information Literacy Skills, part II

Managing Overabundant Information

-Give Students Clear Project Criteria

-PBL needs check-list

-Using Outline Modes, Inspiration/PowerPoint


URL to Page on NECC Website. From this URL you can locate PPT handout, Two TrackStar website that guide teachers through Information LIteracy process.


Power of a Collective Voice

June 23, 2008

During any election year it is common to hear the importance of making your voice be heard. Many in the educational technology community demonstrated this act last week when an unpopular and outdated policy came to light. The policy in question regarded the auido/video recording of presentaitons. As of last Thursday ISTE’s policy stated that the practice or recording presenations at NECC was prohibited unless the person recording the presentation has express writen consent from both the presentor (reasonable) and ISTE (???).  It is understandable to gain consent from the presentor. Eventhough these presentations are open to any registered atendee of the NECC conference with the goal of reaching large audiences, some people do not like to be recorded. I understand that some people like to control the availability of their presentations. What I do not understand is why ISTE would require consent. One would assume they have already approved the presentation and presentor as they have reviewed the submitted presentation proposal. This issue is not the focus of my writing, as this issue has be modified already.

The focus of my writing is the actions of those members opposed to this policy. I am not sure when this policy first became public, but I became aware of this policy last Thursday when the disucssion became lively by those I follow on Twitter.  With the conference beginning in just over a week, little time remained to follow old school means of addressing this issue. From my understanding this policy is a recycled policy from previous years. This policy was not clearly advertised last year as I recorded several presentations I attended last year in Atlanta. As I previously noted, I am not sure exactly when this policy was made public prior to last Thursday. I submitted a proposal at the beginning of the school year, my proposal was rejected but that is a topic for another post, and I do not recall any literature on this issue at that time. From the reaction of those on Twitter it seemed as if ISTE had only recently published this policy.

As a teacher one of my responsiblities is to teach my students to made use of all proper channels available to them. The limited time available prior to the start of the NECC conference stressed an immediacy to those opposed to this policy. As a result, many leaders in educational blogging began to publish postings clearly identifying their opposition to this policy. Example of these are here, here, here, here, here, and here. The previous is just a sample of the blog posting I read within hours of the orginial conversation on Twitter. In additional to the posting many of these bloggers addressed the proper chain of command and made good use of their ISTE memberships and emailed the decision makers within ISTE. I agree with the positions of these and other educational bloggers and intended on send an email and post the email to this blog on Friday. By the time I returned to my laptop and concluding a wrestling camp I was pleasently surprised to find out that ISTE had addressed the issue. As a result of the grassroots efforts, to rehash another election season phrase, ISTE changed the outdated policy.

To me, this is a great example of members of an organization who oppose the decisions of the groups leaders having a meaningful conversation. I am aware that some people do not full agree with the quick reaction of many of these bloggers, but to me this was a proper response. I do not agree with the claim that the changed policy was outdated and overlooked. I feel that it is the responsibility of both the leadership and the members of a group of bring awareness to policies that have expired their need. This incident reminds me of a website that my college roommates and I would use for entertainment. Dumblaws.com is a website that lists laws, according to this website, are still on the books in the indicated states. While some of these laws have lost their neccessity, others are simply ignorant and harmful to our progress. It is our responsiblity to bring awareness to our leaders when these policies exist in a time when they should no longer.

Enjoy your day,

Making Decisions

October 7, 2007

So I was all geared up for the school year. I had roughly outlined my lessons for the semester, pretty happy about this since I have two new classes this year. I had outlined several blog article topics. I had also help several new teachers set-up ClassBlogmeister accounts. My summer of planning new ideas and learning new methods was ready to unfold. Then I logged-in to my school computer.

Blocked. Website Problems

In reviewing many of the sites I used last year and some of the new sites proposed for this year this is what I saw. I do not mean to add to the growing list of educational blog articles complaining of filtering; however, I must express my frustration and plan for this school year. I spread to many people at NECC this new blog site because I was frustrated with not being able to update my EduBlogs site; a problem since corrected by the addition of a new server. I choose WordPress because it is what my wife uses and I previously could read her blog at my school. This is no longer the case.

My dilemma is two fold: blogging and wikis

What to do about my blog:
I like the use of both sites, especially since EduBlogs has upgraded with the addition of a new server. However, I shared with many people my WordPress site. I also transferred my postings from EduBlogs to WordPress. Unfortunately the WordPress site looks horrible at school. I am trying to demonstrate the advantages of such applications, but the site looks bad. But if I transfer back, then what about those readers outside of my school? Will I loose readers, all twelve of them, if I just back to EduBlogs?

After weeks of debate I have decided to post on both sites. I realize the time I will waste, but until a proper solution can be determined this is what I have resolved at the best action.

I have grown to find several applications of wikis in the classroom. Since this type of site is often new to my students I must demonstrate its use. I also had a grand idea of using wikis to share lesson plans between teachers at not only my school, but other schools. Unfortunately Wikispaces and PB Wiki are blocked. I found it interesting that while I began debating my options I stumbled upon an article in Today’s Catholic Teacher an article specifically siting these sites as preferred wiki sites. Nothing against Susan Brooks-Young, the article is great and she is clearly educated in this topic, but I found it interesting that a site devoted to Catholic teachers, I teach at a Catholic school, notes for use the sites I have been told are not appropriate for education.

I have looked into creating a new wiki on a different website; although I feel that Wikispaces and PBWiki are great sites and hate to leave. Then in browsing various wiki sites I noticed that in over thirty wiki sites the only ones blocked are those I made popular at my school. I wonder if our filtering service would even know they exist had it not been for my students. I know they do not know the power within these sites. At least Susan knows and I trust that someone is able to enjoy the sites.

I am working without webmaster to integrate wiki technology within the schools web server. He tried MediaWiki and the requirements exceed our current system. However, Miguel Guhlin recommended to me PMWiki. You will know if this works because I will be ecstatic.

This is where I am. Now back to sharing the ideas from my class.

Preview of posts to come:

iPod magic–students actually reviewing vocabulary
SMARTBoards–I get to play with some fun new products and so do my students
NECC 2008–proposal is in, now we wait

Enjoy your day,


July iPod session

July 13, 2007

Earlier this week I presented to some faculty member at my school the various ideas on how to use iPods in educational settings.  I shared some of the ideas from my classes and ideas that other teachers used in the Freshman courses last year.  I also showed off the iQuizmaker that I learned about at Tony’s presentation at NECC.  While I have not created any quizzes yet, I love the idea.  This is definately an application that I will use in my courses this upcoming year.

To further promote what we are doing and to document some of the lessons and ideas I created an iPods in Education wiki.  If you are curious about how you can use an iPod to enhance your class take a look.  If you have ideas that you want to share, log-in.  The password for the wiki is education.

I am off for an anniversary trip with my wife.  I will check back after our trip.

Enjoy your day,

NECC Podcasts are ready

July 2, 2007

The first two recordings from NECC are ready. You can either revisit the posted notes from Tony Vincent’s iPod presentation or Alan November‘s global learning presentation or visit me on iTunes at the Final Curve podcast. Look forward to a few more podcasts from NECC and future podcasts from Dallas.

Enjoy your day,