Saturday, January 31, 2009

Where to begin--

"A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step." --Confucius

"The real world is about distances keeping people apart. The Web is about shared interests bringing people together. Now, if connecting and caring are what make us into human people, then the Web - built out of hyperlinks and energized by peoples interests and passions - is a place where we can be better at being people." --David Weinberger

Where to begin-- a question posed by an administrator attending a workshop on 21st century learning--

My response-- by taking the first step on your journey into 21st century learning with the development of your own personal learning network (PLN). Alec Couros says of personal learning networks:
"The most important part of PLNs, in my opinion, is how they can help us connect to other humans, to help us better understand the world, to negotiate knowledge and meaning, and of course, to help us to learn."
Start small. Add an additional step, perhaps each month. Go as fast or as slow as you choose. You'll find that, as Alec says, it is all about connecting-- to people and their ideas, then adding yours to the mix-- toward an accomplished global practice in the best interests of all students.

There are many resources on the web that lay out plans for developing a PLN. Google "build a PLN +educator" and take your pick. Or see if these brief suggestions which flow from the steps of my personal journey don't work for you. You may decide to skip a step here or take two steps there-- But do take that first step!!!

What if--
  1. You begin to read posts from a few bloggers each week. You might want to start with the ones below or check out the list of edubloggers they read on their blogrolls for additional suggestions.
    1. PracticalTheory-- Chris Lehman
    2. 2 Cents Worth--David Warlick
    3. weblogg-ed-- Will Richardson

  2. You continue to read varied blog posts and join in the conversation by commenting on the ideas in their writing.
  3. You begin to use a social bookmarking service such as Delicious. You tag your bookmarks; you encourage your colleagues to do the same; you use the network feature of delicious increase your number of resources to assist you in your work.
    1. Delicious

  4. You begin to use RSS and a reader. You want to save time and have the content on their blogs come to you.
    1. What is RSS
    2. Readers: Bloglines, Google Reader

  5. You begin to blog yourself. You share your ideas. Setting up a blog can be as easy as one, two, three. You might want to try:
    1. Blogger
    2. Edublogs

  6. You begin to look to the web for professional development. For example, the K12 Online Conference, the totally online, free conference that never ends, has 3 years of archived presentations.
    1. K12 Online Conference

  7. You begin to collaborate with your fellow administrators or teachers on a wiki or Google doc.
    1. PBwiki
    2. Wikispaces
    3. Google Docs

  8. You decide to explore Twitter, a micro blogging tool which limits what you say to 140 characters.
    1. Twitter
With your first steps, aren't you likely to leave a path for your staff to follow? One foot in front of the other on the way to capturing, connecting, and sharing--

Photo Credit


Lynn Ochs said...

As I read your thought-provoking post it occurred to me that I'd add one more example under "You begin to look to the web for professional development". In addition to the K12 Online Conference, I would add podcasts to the list. They are a great way for administrators on the go to take advantage of free and relevant professional development. There are so many great sources including iTunes U and Scott Mcleod's podcasting site -

emapey said...

Hi Lani, excellent post. I blogged Save and Share Bookmarks, Start Blogging and Only Then Use Twitter I have updated my post to include yours