Tuesday, January 17, 2012

You’re invited to the Flat Classroom Book Club!

Global collaboration starts with connecting yourself to the world. Students are the greatest textbook ever written for each other. The same is true for teachers. We are passionate about connecting and facilitating effective collaborations between classrooms because we’ve seen the power of how it can engage students and teach them the skills they need to be successful in the 21st century.
We want to bring in people who are nervous, who don’t know how, or who have tried to connect and were frustrated. We also want to bring back those teachers who tried it and got burned out. Now it is time to enlarge the circle of global collaborative excellence in a massive way.
It is our vision that if we can have enough educators linking together and learning about this at the same time, that a natural byproduct will be the creation of many new, exciting global collaborations. It is time to get past the cute stories of global collaboration into the nuts and bolts of the pedagogy that makes it happen. (Although there are a lot of powerful stories to tell.)
To help facilitate this conversation, we felt like that it would be best if we, the authors (Julie Lindsay and Vicki Davis), step aside, and invite our friends Ben Curran and Neil Wetherbee of @engaginged to facilitate the conversation. They’ve done book clubs before and this is another pedagogy that we want to work out: that of having a book club that is truly global. We’d like to do this to promote conversations that transcend borders. The easiest way to get this out of the box is to get out of the classroom and connect with other educators.
Every week for 10 weeks we will meet at an alternating time - 12 hours apart. (For the East Coast USA it is Sundays at 6 pm Eastern or Monday mornings at 8 am eastern - Visit our Book club calendar to convert these times to your Time Zone. Subscribe to this calendar via Google calendar to keep up with events.) This is Sunday evenings at 22:00GMT alternating with Monday mornings at 10:00GMT in our Blackboard Collaborate room http://tinyurl.com/BookClubRoom . It is free and everyone is welcome.

#flatclass Book Club Meeting Times

Topic of Conversation
Sunday March 11
22:00 GMT (6 pm EDT)
Chapter 1 - Flattening Classrooms through Global Collaboration (p 1-17)
Chapter 2 - Impact on Learning: Research in the Global Collaborative Classroom (p18-30)
Monday, March 19
10:00 GMT (6 am EDT)
Chapter 3 - Step 1: Connection (p 31-61)
Sunday, March 25
22:00 GMT (6 pm EDT)
Chapter 4 - Step 2: Communication (p 62-96)
Monday, April 2
10:00 GMT (6 am EDT)
Chapter 5 - Step 3: Citizenship (p 97-125)
Mo meeting 

Sunday, April 15
22:00 GMT (6pm EDT)
Chapter 6 - Step 4: Contribution and Collaboration (p 126-157)
Monday, April 23
10:00 GMT (6 am EDT)
Chapter 7 - Step 5: Choice (p 158-196)
Sunday, April 29
22:00 GMT (6 pm EDT)
Chapter 8 - Step 6: Creation (p197-214)
Monday, May 7
10:00 GMT (6am EDT)
Chapter 9 - Step 7: Celebration (p 215-234)
Sunday, May 13
22:00 GMT (6pm EDT)
 Chapter 10 - Designing and Managing a Global Collaborative Project (p 235-267)
Monday, May 21
10:00 GMT (6 am EDT)
Chapter 11 - Challenge-Based Professional Development (p 268-293)
Chapter 12: Rock the World (p 293 - 304)
We’re also inviting the educators featured in each chapter to be with us for the conversations about “their” chapter. You’ll meet people from all over the world just like you who are doing wonderful, amazing things. This is a global story that transcends just one project, although we’re mighty proud of ours.
While you are welcome to just “drop in” you can register with the Book club mailing list  and we’ll remind you each week about the session, let you know who is coming, and we’ll mention any special events that we’ll be having as part of the launch. If you run your own book club, you’re welcome to come by the club anytime for ideas and discussion points.
The hashtag for our conversations is #flatclass and the book club is, of course, free. Anyone can join us. There’s no homework - just conversation and learning. We’ll all be there to discuss the future of education with each other. We hope global collaborators from around the world will join us and share their stories too. Conversations will hinge around our new book, Flattening Classrooms, Engaging Minds. The book will be available in ebook format, although we’re not sure yet which ebook formats.
So, to get ready:
  1. Order the book
  1. Amazon
  2. Barnes and Noble
  3. Pearson Publishing
  4.  ebook format
  1. Sign up for the book club - run by Ben Curran & Neil Wetherbee from @engaginged
  1. Mark your calendar with the dates and times
Thank you to everyone who has made this possible 
Ben Curran & Neil Wetherbee @engaginged
4th and 5th Grade teachers and Co-founders of Engaging Educators LLC

How will this global book club work? Will it really transform my teaching?
Have you ever read a book about teaching and thoroughly enjoyed it, only to get done and ask yourself "Now what?" Or maybe you've read something that was motivating, inspirational and chock-full of ideas, only to find after sharing it with colleagues that they "just aren't that into it?" If so, this book club is for you. We hope it will be a gathering of inspired, motivated, similarly driven friends from around the globe. 

Here's how it will work...each week we will focus on approximately one chapter.  Each meeting will be divided roughly into three parts. The first part will focus on implementation--how all of us have or can implement the main theme of the week. We'll also dive into and discuss the activities (Vicki and Julie refer to them as "challenges") that are embedded in the book. The second part will be more of an open forum for everyone to discuss other topics in the chapter or other issues pertaining to the subject. This will be a great time for making connections with other teachers for possible collaborations and getting answers to questions that you have. Finally, and perhaps what we are most excited about is that each week we hope to be joined by the friends mentioned in each chapter.  They will be able to share their firsthand insight on the weekly topic as well as stories from their own experiences.

On top of all this, Engaging Educators will be providing short, free “boot camp” style webinars along the way to help you master some of the topics that might be new to you.

What we hope to facilitate is a perfect companion to Julie and Vicki's book, an experience that goes beyond "just reading" and demonstrates what a network of connected educators can learn and accomplish.

Welcome to the club!

Ben Curran & Neil Wetherbee @engaginged
4th & 5th Grade teachers and Co-founders of Engaging Educators LLC

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The Chaos of Learning EDUC 8842 Module 3 Post

George Siemens said, “Chaos is the breakdown of predictability, evidenced in complicated arrangements that initially defy order.  Unlike constructivism, which states that learners attempt to foster understanding by meaning making tasks, chaos states that meaning exists – the learner's challenge is to recognize the patterns that appear to be hidden.  Meaning-making and forming connections between specialized communities are important activities” (Change. MOOC, 2011).
Therefore, while chaos is involved in connecting the dots on the path to learning, our online communities affect our learning as well.  Siemens echoes the thoughts of Hurst and Thomas when he discusses the importance of trust in collaborative environments.  Without trusting that our collaborative team members will do their share of the teamwork, we lose that sense of trusting in their social presence online.  A social presence, much like your digital footprint, defines who you are.  Most currently, the term is used to refer to one’s online presence as in Corey Eridon’s blog, 8 Universal Traits of a Winning Social Presence.
Palloff and Pratt remind us that education is a social activity when they say, “who we are as social beings drives learning” (2007, p.26).  This can apply online or offline and involves whether we do what we say, treat others well, or are trustworthy.
So if learning online is both chaotic and relies on the social presence of collaborative members, how is a teacher to assess the learning taking place?  Sylvia Tolisano suggests using a process of reflection with 3rd grade students in order to connect to their prior learnings. This fits in with Siemens idea that, “learning is the process of creating networks” (2006, p.29).
Palloff and Pratt (2005) bring up the use of rubrics to assess online collaborative learning.  They further suggest on page 48 that peers do the assessing.  In using rubrics this way in K12, I found students are much harder on themselves than I would be and they encourage each other towards excellence in their collaborative tasks.  If a student is reluctant, Becky DuFour suggests several things to do with professionals, which also relate to students, especially her items under #4.  She lists using MI Theory, providing research on why collaborative work is relevant to a students’ future life, and using authentic learning.
As current pedagogy continues to move towards collaborative environments, Siemens reminds us,“What we know is less important than our capacity to continue to learn more.”   

DuFour, B. (2008, February 14). Moving from a tradition of isolation to a culture of collaboration. AllthingsPLC. Retrieved from http://www.allthingsplc.info/wordpress/?p=58

Eridon, C. (2012, January 3). 8 universal traits of a winning social presence. HubSpot Blog. Retrieved from http://blog.hubspot.com/blog/tabid/6307/bid/30447/8-Universal-Traits-of-a-Winning-Social-Presence.aspx

Hurst, D. & Thomas, J. (2008). Developing team skills and accomplishing team projects online. In T. Anderson (Ed.), The theory and practice of online learning (pp.441-472). Edmonton, AB: Athabasca University Press.

Palloff, R. M., & Pratt, K. (2007). Building online learning communities: Effective strategies for the virtual classroom. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Palloff, R. M., & Pratt, K. (2005). Collaborating online: Learning together in community. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Siemens, G. (2011, October 25). Change MOOC. Retrieved from http://change.mooc.ca/post/290

Siemens, G. (2006). Knowing knowledge. S.l: s.n..

Siemens, G. (2003, October 17). Learning ecology, communities, and networks: Extending the classroom. Elearnspace: everything elearning. Retrieved from http://www.elearnspace.org/Articles/learning_communities.htm

Wenger, E. (2007). Communities of practice: Learning, meanings, and identity. New York: Cambridge University Press.

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Where I commented on the Module 3 blog assignments:

·         Shannon’s blog http://burns8842.blogspot.com
·         Luke’s blog http://lukebilger.blogspot.com
·         Olufemi’s blog http://olufemigordons.blogspot.com
·         Brandi’s blog http://ballinteach44-atl.blogspot.com
·         Marvin’s blog http://fuller8842.blogspot.com
·         Daniel’s blog http://daoprish.blogspot.com
·         Lauramae’s blog http://wojoedtech.blogspot.com
·         Sue’s blog http://sue-educ7102.blogspot.com
·         Joshua’s blog http://shermansdistanceedblog.blogspot.com

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Engaging Games Storyboard - 8842

Engaging Games Storyboard - 8842
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Module 3 Where did I comment on Storyboards
1.      Sue’s blog http://sue-educ7102.blogspot.com/
2.      Luke’s blog http://lukebilger.blogspot.com/
3.      Seane’s blog http://learningsquared.blogspot.com/
4.      Marvin’s blog http://fuller8842.blogspot.com
5.      Olufemi’s blog http://olufemigordons.blogspot.com/
6.      Candice’s blog http://crjoneswaldenu.blogspot.com/
7.      Daniel’s blog http://daoprish.blogspot.com/
8.      Joshua’s blog http://shermansdistanceedblog.blogspot.com/
9.      Lauramae’s blog http://wojoedtech.blogspot.com/

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