Educon 2.3: Focus Question 2

What examples do we have of personal learning networks leading to a change in classroom practice?

One group in our Educon conversation managed to group all the responses to this focus question into four main categories:


The proliferation of Twitter-based hashtag chats was mentioned in our presentation, and that resonated with our attendees.  #Spedchat and #BlackEdu were mentioned specifically as far as influencing “how we speak about students” and “finding edunerds of color on social media”, respectively (side note: if you’d like to join the fun on Twitter, see Ben Wilkoff’s excellent resource for keeping track of all edu-related Twitter chats).  The National Writing Project and their Digital_Is offshoot were also recognized as being highly valuable resources that have had significant presences on Twitter and Facebook.


With one of the EdCamp founders in our session, it came as no surprise to me that this grass-roots event – one that started in Philly and has gone nationwide in less than a year – was one of the top examples of a social media-driven face-to-face event for resource sharing, discussion, and professional growth (similar in many ways to Educon itself).  Folks also spoke about learning about existing events such as TEDxNYED through their social media connections, or by attending conferences and extending the conversations that started face-t0-face into the online space, well past the chronological end of the event.

Resource Sharing

The SciDo and EngDo collaboratives were both borne of teachers discussing sharing lesson plans and activities over Twitter.  Given the limitations of the medium, it made sense to move the discussion into action in a different forum altogether, and thus were born SciDo and EngDo.  These wikis, aimed at science and English educators, allow folks to browse, take, and also contribute their best/most fun/most exciting lessons.  Many of the folks involved in EngDo and SciDo also share documents via Google Docs, thereby opening the door to fellow educators to browse, pick, and choose resources at their leisure (and to return the favor to the community as well).

Beyond these two examples, participants talked about resource gained via the aforementioned hashtag chats on Twitter, reading blogs of fellow educators, and participating in Nings such as Classroom 2.0 for resource sharing and discussion.

Collaborative Problem Solving

There was some overlap between this group and the others; again, we see the conceps of soliciting feedback via participation in hashtag chats, Nings, and blogging.  One attendee said that “‘arguments’ or discussions between other people in my PLN help me to clarify my own position on things like “homework”, etc.”, and that’s probably one of the biggest reasons I stick with this.  Even in the “echo chamber”, there is still a multiplicity of attitudes and perspectives, and I rely on them to continually push my thinking and help me to grow and hopefully become a better educator.

Once again, the full list of responses:

* Digital_Is (see NWP)
* Teacher networks #NWP
* #spedchat – how we speak about students
* #blackedu – finding edunerds of color on social media

* Edcamp – ultimate in just-in-time learning
* Found out about TEDxNYED on Twitter & speakers there helped me to clarify positions on:
**attending conferences (eg AASL/NJASL & continuing conversations on Twitter afterward)
**#TEDxNYED Finding ppl who aren’t educators but are allies in innovative educational ideas

Resource Sharing
* #mathchat – pooling best & biggest resources for classroom math
* Ning for asynchronous portion of yearlong PD – classroom practices where ?? skills can flourish
* Dan Meyer’s blog helped 5 students to pass a state exam they had previously failed
* Requests for activities & labs on subjects where my stuff was lacking
* w/Paul Allison & Chris Sloan #NWP
* Ning – exchange lesson ideas and receive feedback
* collaboration from #engchat & #engdo
* #scido collaborative – – resource sharing and collaborative hub
* #hcrhs chat – develop lessons for integrating web 2.0 tools, made interdisciplinary connections that resulted in collaborative units

Collaborative Problem Solving
* #ARCSFloatOn – book reviewers pass on adv. reading copies to teachers
* blogging w/students and gathering feeds on netvibes helped me formatively assess
* #sbg and #sbar
* switched to SBG based mostly on connections/examples thru blogs/Twitter
* Classroom 2.0 – getting assistance w/ed questions re best practices; implementing in classroom
* student 1:1 pilot group
* reworked lessons/units to incorporate web tools and develop inquiry-based lessons/projects
* “arguments” or discussions b/w other people in PLN help me to clarify my own position on things like “homework”, etc

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