Curation Quick Guide to Hit Stands Soon

In a few short weeks Professional Learning in the Digital Age: An Educator’s Guide to User Generated Learning hits the shelves. (and the kindle store!) As the majority of the book argues that some of the best professional learning occurs in the digital space, many people have asked me why I elected to write a hard copy book on this topic.

In short, here’s why:

  • Finding the Newbies- Many teachers who are beginning the digital professional learning journey are still most comfortable with printed books. Believe me; I asked a lot of people! I’m hoping that this format will reach many newbies out there.
  • Creating Coherence- I love blogging. It allows me to explore and experiment with new ideas in real time. However, short blog posts don’t always add up to a coherent whole. Trying my hand at an entire book forced me to organize and prioritize my thoughts in a new way. I’m excited about the ways that this book takes you from “soup to nuts” regarding digital professional learning.
  • Building a New Community- This site will feature a virtual book club for people to share their successes, tips, and tricks as they try out strategies in the book. It’s my hope that the book will provide a common language and common experience that allows all of us to learn together more effectively.

If you are interested in joining me on this learning journey, follow this blog for upcoming events and ideas. Thanks!

Speak Up Report 2011: Educators and Twitter

The Speak Up Report, published in May 2012 by Project Tomorrow, seeks to help educate the nation about teachers’ comfort with digital technology.

In their report, they state that 8% of teachers, 12% of principals, and 20% of district administrators are using Twitter to communicate or follow others.

While that’s a good start, imagine how much richer the Twittersphere would be if we boosted the number of teachers on Twitter to a meager 15%!

Teachers, find a friend, introduce them to Twitter, and help cultivate connected educators!

Free Online Conference: Learning 2.0

Looking to attend or present at an online conference? Join passionate educators at Learning 2.0, a virtual conference scheduled for August 20 – 24, 2012. Click HERE for more information.

A description from the website states:

The Learning 2.0 Conference is a unique chance to participate in a global conversation on rethinking teaching and learning in the age of the Internet. Subject strands include changes in the classroom (social media, 1:1 computing, “flipped classrooms,” digital literacy, maker spaces, gaming, open educational resources, digital textbooks), in student learning (individualized learning, student-directed learning, “hacking” education, personal success plans, ePortfolios, and building a digital presence), in teacher personal and professional growth (lead learning, personal learning networks, peer / open / self-directed PD), inschools (virtual and online schooling, mobile learning, blended learning, MOOCs, immersive environments, learning spaces, entrepreneurship, school leadership, big data, assessment models), and in pedagogy (from teaching to learning, social learning, social / educational networking, passion-based learning, learning how to learn, brain-based learning).

Edcamp Organizer Hangout On Air

Interested in learning how to run your own Edcamp? Join the Edcamp Foundation on September 19th at 7pm EST for a Google Plus On Air Hangout. Details are embedded below. (Click here if you can’t see the embed.) Hope to see you there!

Being Present in Virtual Spaces

Have you ever been part of a virtual team that accomplished NOTHING? (Yea, me too.) After reflecting upon several of the projects and committees that I’ve worked on, patterns started to emerge.

Here are my top 3 ways to SQUELCH productive work in the virtual setting:

1. Don’t keep an archive or record of progress. When working virtually, you rarely “run into” people with whom you work. If there is not an archive of conversations or a record of progress, people can inadvertently think the project is “dead.” Once people feel like “no one’s working on the project,” they too give up. Regular updates are critical.

2.  Don’t acknowledge large contributions. In the virtual space, it is easy to forget how long people spend working on projects. When a sizable chunk of work is completed, it’s important to acknowledge it positively. For example, when financial reports are submitted at the nonprofit for which I volunteer, everyone quickly chimes in with words of thanks and acknowledgements. Even if you don’t have time to review the work at that moment, a quick “thanks for doing this” message can go a long way.

3. Forget about meetings. Virtual work has to be done on your own time.  While the virtual space is more flexible, it does have deadlines. Meetings via Google + or Skype can help keep everyone on track. They don’t have to be long, and you can access many video conference tools right from your phone.

While I’m sure I’ll revise these thoughts over time, I felt they were worth sharing now. What do you think?

CC Photo Credit: Time Flies by Neal