Tag Archives: Personal Learning Network

“Social Networking and Literacy” at #Teach21c

http://teach21.theschool.columbia.edu/

http://twitter.com/teach21c

As I wrote in my last post, Teach21 was a professional development institute for 21st Century educators organized by faculty and administrators at The School at Columbia University. Every day there was a keynote speaker (Sree Sreenivasan, Howard Gardner, A.J. Jacobs, Karen Cator) and many half-day and full-day concurrent offerings.

Thursday, I offered a session about “Social Networking and Literacy.” We started the 2.5 hours together with a discussion about literacy. I used to think literacy was just the reading and writing of text. Nowadays literacy is about learning how to comprehend/research/navigate/communicate/cite/re-mix/share all sorts of media.

We started off the session with a conversation about the new literacies and looked at a couple of sources:

Then I showed a couple of projects where students publish individual and group work online and collaborate via shared access, commenting, hyperlinking, and other interactions. We looked at The Independent Reading Site that I set up with Marisa Guastaferro three years ago and the To Kill a Mockingbird book groups set up by Eve Becker for her 8th grade English classes. Both projects are described in this post: http://karenblumberg.com/social-networking-and-literacy-on-2511-at-600

Then we looked at ways to set up similar projects with other available technologies.

Resources from this and other Teach21 sessions are here: https://sites.google.com/a/theschool.columbia.edu/teach21-resources/

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Educon + Twitter = Reunion

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As many have stated before, the education and technology conferences feel a lot like reunions these days. This is mostly due to Twitter, though attending conferences begat more Twitter contacts which begat knowing about more conferences which begat attending and/or speaking at said conferences which begat gathering more Twitter contacts and so on and so forth.

Tomorrow I’ll join the hordes already at Educon. This is the third annual education conference taking place at The Science Leadership Academy in Philadelphia. [Philly is my hometown, and as a result, I garner strange looks whenever I ask for a glass of “wooder” at a restaurant.] Chris Lehmann is the dynamic, phenomenal, and brilliant principal of SLA, and it was a pleasure to meet him at last year’s Educon and host him at the inaugural TEDxNYED in March 2010.

As per Educon’s homepage,  EduCon is both a conversation and a conference. And it is not a technology conference. It is an education conference. It is, hopefully, an innovation conference where we can come together, both in person and virtually, to discuss the future of schools. Every session will be an opportunity to discuss and debate ideas — from the very practical to the big dreams.

This year, I am thrilled to be co-leading two conversations at Educon. Based on experience, I know the attendees are smart, engaged, innovative, and tech savvy, so I am understandably intimidated. It’s hard to hide behind my camera when I’m one of the presenters. However, I’m too excited to learn a ton, gather resources, and reunite with people from my personal learning network to dwell too much on my insecurities. Plus, I am paired with awesome collaborators who are people I genuinely like and highly respect: Meredith Stewart (@msstewart) and Basil Kolani (@bkolani). My two sessions are listed below:

Crafting Character

Who: Karen Blumberg, Meredith Stewart
When: Session One
Where: Room 309

Students need to recognize that their communications and actions contribute to their character. In an age where everyone uses Google (including high school counselors, college admissions, and employers), it is more important than ever to initiate conversations with students about how their immediate online choices have potentially permanent ramifications.

Grassroots Professional Development

Who: Basil Kolani, Karen Blumberg
When: Session Five
Where: Room 303

Every teacher needs professional development, but not everyone has the resources available for it. The good news: You don’t need massive resources for great PD.

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Me and @PaulieGee (or How my Twitter feed feeds me)

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In the midst of a night out in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, I stopped to sup at Paulie Gee’s. Paulie serves up delicious brick oven pizzas with poetic names and ridiculously tasty combinations. It is worth ordering more than one Baconmarmalade Picante, as this is one you don’t want to stress about sharing. I checked into Paulie Gee’s on Foursquare (which I link to Twitter and Facebook). Contrary to what my less public friends believe, I don’t share everything, and I’m mostly selective about what I do choose to post.

The pizzas were delicious, and when I finally came up for air, I noticed a man in the open kitchen area looking at his iPhone and doing that tell-tale thumb-scroll down the screen. Then this man leaned over to talk to one of the servers, and she motioned over to my table. I immediately deduced this guy was Paulie, and he had just read my tweet. He came over, shook hands with us all, told us we ordered correctly (as he was almost out of kale and figs), and gifted me my bacon marmalade vanilla ice cream sundae for dessert. I’ll be back in a heartbeat.

I’ve been trying to get my faculty to use Twitter for a few years now, and not for just desserts. I follow hundreds of educators and technologists who share ridiculously awesome project ideas, websites, gadgets, hot topics, survey data, blog posts, humor, and personal insights. I forward tons of links to my faculty, and I try to always include the Twitter username of the original poster to reinforce who to follow for great resources.

I frequently explain the concept of a PLN to teachers at my school. I am blessed with multiple Personal Learning Networks, and I tell how Twitter introduced me to many people in my field or who share interests in food, music, technology, New York, travel, photography, etc. At Educon, EdCampPhilly, NAIS, TEDxNYED, TEDxDenverEd, TEDxEast, and ISTE, it was such fun to finally meet face-to-face people that I’d been following for minutes, days, months, or years. I show how the convention of Twitter hashtags makes it so much easier to find new people to follow, join thematic discussions, and virtually attend a conference/meeting. Finally, I differentiate between aggregators and aggravators; One gathers news for me, and the other gets an eventual unfollow.

Ultimately, Twitter is a microblogging tool and a social networking site, and I hope I reach some sort of balance between using it socially and professionally without alienating/annoying every one of my contacts. Or perhaps I’m kidding myself. Last month, I was on a tour of Pearl Harbor. The guide asked if there were any celebrities amongst us. I deadpanned, “I’m a minor celebrity on Twitter.” Another lady in our group returned, “Only in your own mind.” I would have preferred a retweet.

 

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