Tag Archives: Personal Learning Network

Guest speaking about being a Tech Coordinator & growing my #PLN. @TC_CMLTD @TeachersCollege

I’m proud to be an alumna of the Communication, Media, and Learning Technologies Design Program at Teachers College, Columbia University where I earned my MA (2001) and EdM (2016) in Instructional Technology and New Media. (The next step would be a Doctorate, but unless I get an honorary one like Bono, I’m not sure I have the willpower to do so…)

Professor Chang, my patient and helpful thesis advisor, invited me to speak with her core seminar students tonight about my “experience and expertise in implementing and learning with technology in the classroom.” I prepared the slides above to lightly outline and illustrate why I think curating a Personalized (or Professional) Learning Network is super valuable. I also included suggestions for how to locate and connect with people synchronously and asynchronously, online and offline, personally and professionally. For inspiration about what to talk about, I turned to the abstract for my EdM paper which is pasted below:

This paper considers that investing time in growing a Personalized Learning Network (PLN) by interacting with other professionals in the field synchronously and asynchronously, online and offline, socially and professionally will lead to the ultimate reward of being a more engaged, informed, and connected educator in the 21st Century. This inevitably will enable access to people and information that will further enrich the educator and their community. There are distinct advantages to building and leveraging a PLN to learn, share, network, and collaborate as a career teacher both online and offline. Additionally, maintaining a personal portfolio is a valuable resource towards professional growth and building your network as it helps educators engage in a metacognitive study of their own teaching and learning, legitimize their online presence, and expand their PLN. Much research points towards the value of growing a PLN and digital portfolio curation and the role these play in a 21st Century educator’s practice.

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Cardboard, MakeyMakey, @Scratch instruments with @EmilySticco and 8th graders. #GlobalCardboardChallenge

Emily Sticco is one of the stellar music teachers at The School at Columbia University, and I’m excited to co-teach an 8th grade mini-course, #BitsOfMusic, with her. Emily was inspired to do a music/tech project for her 10-week elective and reached out in late August to start planning. She wanted “the students to compose an original piece of music and based on the music have something move, light up, or just respond to the music they composed.”

I discussed two possible projects with Emily. We’re in the middle of the first project now — the students are building and programming a Cardboard Jam Band. This can be super simple or more nuanced depending on the students. The tasks:

1. Design a 2D or 3D instrument with 5 “keys” that are conductive and provide input for the MakeyMakey to inform the Scratch program.
2. Create chords or notes in GarageBand or some other music program or choose notes/chords/sounds in Scratch.
3. Adapt Eric Rosenbaum and Jay Silver’s  amazing  MakeyMakey Scratch Piano program to include 5 chosen sounds. (Students decide the note, duration, octave, instrument, etc.)
4. Hook up their instrument to a MakeyMakey and jam with a few classmates.
5. Shoot a music video (possibly optional).

Thank goodness for the wonderful #MakerEd community and multitude of educators, crafters, and students who share tweets, videos, and blog posts of their projects. One of my students is making a cardboard trombone. I told him to Google and see what’s out there, and naturally we immediately came across @JoshBurker‘s awesome blog post about just this very project! Josh is a master tinkerer, Maker-in-Residence at the Westport Library, and author of The Invent to Learn Guide to Fun. I’m very lucky to have him in my PLN.

Our second project will entail having students compose original music either independently or in pairs and then have their music launch… something.  I still have time to pin down the specifics, and I’ve told Emily we have a few options when it comes to having a sound sensor (microphone) input and motors/light output. We can use LEGO WeDo kits, LEGO NXT kits, littleBits, Arduino boards, or even Stephen Lewis’s Make!Things kits. I like the idea of the microphone sound sensor being placed near the computers’ speakers, and then based on the bass or loudness or some chosen variable, their sculpture or wall piece (or even a tshirt) would light-up and have moving parts. It occurred to me that this could even be an autonomous self-running piece, like some sort of installation, that reacts to any sounds. So, placing it in the cafeteria during lunch would make it go bonkers…

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Slides from “Our Blogs, Ourselves” at the inaugural #SpringBlogFest

Dr. Nellie Deutsch (@nelliemuller) is busier than I am. That’s saying a lot. She invited me to present at the inaugural Spring Blog Festival that she co-organized with Sylvia Guinan (@ESLbrain) and Shelly Sanchez Terrell (@ShellTerrell). I titled my presentation Our Blogs, Ourselves, because I’m a child of the 70s and a sucker for a pun.

Curation is a 21st Century skill, and I have been curating my digital presence for years. I encourage people all the time to claim their virtual real estate even if they won’t be using it actively. My goal for this session is to share how and why I gather archival evidence of my professional endeavors and classroom projects in a digital portfolio and offer some tips to get started. Also, in the spirit of using social media socially, I will suggest ways to build and optimize a Personalized Learning Network (PLN).

The Spring Blog Festival will all be held online on WizIQ. The link for my session is here: http://www.wiziq.com/online-class/1680258-sbf-our-blogs-ourselves

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