Educon 2.3: Focus Question 3

Moving forward, we hoped that this focus question would get our attendees thinking about where to go with all this once they returned home:

What steps / structures can be taken / created to foster improved classroom practice through PLN interactions?

I didn’t see any common themes emerge from these answers (but see below and judge for yourself), but one attendee raised the question (and I’m paraphrasing here), “Why must there be structured steps toward tangible goals?  Can talking/thinking about issues be enough?”  I was sympathetic to this view – I have been influenced in my thinking by several folks in my PLN, but not every philosophical POV translates into specific classroom action.  I would argue, however, that these shifts in mindset will eventually manifest themselves somehow – in the quantity and quality of work assigned, in the decision whether or not to assign homework regularly, and even in how you interact with your students.

I think the SciDo/EngDo collaboratives discussed in my last post are probably the best examples of improved classroom practice as a result of PLN interactions.  It seems that having a more “permanent” (for lack of a better word) structure than the admittedly ephemeral conversations that take place on Twitter is necessary – a wiki to which people can contribute, a Ning such as Classroom 2.0, just something more established than a hashtag chat or random discussion.

See anything in the responses that I’m missing?  Agree/disagree with the need for an established structure like a wiki?  Leave a comment!

Our attendee’s verbatim responses:

* feels natural to translate it
* allowing yourself to fail miserably in front of V-PLN
* challenge yourself
* provide support to teachers who are ‘new’ to social networking.  Make time during school day for this type of engagement.
* Learn to work asynchronously.  Catch kids when they are ready to learn, not when they are scheduled.
* “@ – as much as possible”
* “tweacher”
* how do I find people I want to follow?
* contribute constructively and positively to edu-trends
* triggers from other social interactions – timely
* what is the real value of discussion?
* low opportunity cost!
* if expected value is high, then I will follow up on it
* get to 80%, go, figure out 20% (or more) w/kids
* allowing yourself to fail miserably in front of your v-pln
* challenge yourself
* ask questions and find people (like- and not like-minded) to help you answer them
* get many opinions & views on issues & problems
* my as home page
* “needs to be in front of me or I’ll forget about it”
* greater sharing can lead to greater opportunities for learning “give to get”
* demonstrate the value in connecting
* sharing is caring
* speak up but speak well
* see it -> self-evaluate -> do it
* is just talking about it enough to make you think in new ways?
* start a blog where you reflect & ask questions.  Use it to link up to other educator blogs and start conversations
* vlogging as often as possible
* follow a Twitter chat
* share lessons & resources – request great lessons from other
* join a professional online community
* co-develop methods with your PLN; all implement – focused crowdsourcing
* create an online portal to share resources among staff.  Have a place where colleagues can ask questions and receive feedback.

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