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2011 Project 365

Happy New Year everyone!   On this first day of 2011, I share with you my  commitment to participate in 2011 Project 365.  Each day I will take a photograph and post on my Flickr Photostream as well as share on the Twitter PLN 365/2011 and 52/2011 Group.

This will be a great way to document life from many perspectives on a daily basis.  Time moves surprisingly fast and often we capture moments mentally that merit a snap.  Taking images will allow me tell stories and share messages that might remain untold otherwise.  On another note, I hope to become a better and more creative photographer.  The Twitter PLN group has already inspired me!  I have enjoyed viewing and commenting on their twelve  images today.

I’m excited to get started and so please enjoy my very 1st photo of 365 photos.
My dog, Bill.   He is the best! My dog, Bill on January 1st, 2011.


Next Steps: Lifelong Everyday Learning

On Friday April 30th in Toronto, I was honoured to spend time sharing with my continuing education colleagues from all over Ontario re:  how building a PLN can empower you to grow as a professional each and every day.  The goal was to demonstrate how it is possible and essential to go beyond F2F networking and learning and move to everyday learning with each other through the use of web 2.0 tools such as wikis, twitter and video conferencing.

For two hours, we navigated our  Networking 2 Learn wiki  discussing these questions:

  • What are 21st century skills, and why do they matter?
  • What does it mean to be literate in the 21st Century?
  • What is a personal learning network (PLN)?
  • How can growing a PLN make me a better educator?
  • How do I use web 2.0 tools to build and maintain a PLN?

In terms of context, it must be stated that our group creates programs in adult, alternative and continuing education in Ontario and most of us have staff who are in many locations and it is very challenging to bring them together onground and often impossible due to the geographics, etc…  Also, another reality is that we as professionals have very unique roles in our own school boards and do find that we are different.   Our staff is different, our schools are different and hence, we often don’t fit  in with the K-12 learning community.  We did conclude on Friday April 30th, 2010 that creating a PLN and starting out slowly and using web 2.0 tools would not only allow us to collaborate and network but it would also keep us in tune with the many students we serve.  In fact, my colleague, Becky Howse from TVDSB debriefed at the plenary on our behalf and in her own unique and candid way stated that “it was time to tweet!”

As I reflect this weekend, I am jazzed and optimistic as my provincial colleagues did agree that it was time to be on board as a collective in using web 2.0 tools and building PLNs. YEAH!  My next steps will be to encourage, model, position and invite  my “con eddies” in Ontario to be online with me.  I promise to keep it going with our small group.  I will be there when  they tweet me for the first time or share in  #conted.  I promise to celebrate with them when they begin to contribute in our wiki.   My promise is to be open, to support, to share, to encourage, to celebrate and most of all to collaborate and to learn with them.   This is my promise to them and all others who join us!  Lifelong everyday learning in continuing education – makes sense to me.

TedxOntarioED Event – Amazing!

I’m sitting here at home, peacefully by myself, with a very busy mind still reeling from last night’s AMAZING TedxOntarioEd event in London, Ontario!  It was so inspiring and magical as each speaker shared their thoughts and stories of how they live in “The Element”.  I was in awe of the speakers and yet felt very comfortable with their talks as I can relate to their sense of passion and share their sense of commitment to learning and making a difference in our world.   I can say that I am inspired and motivated to be more true.  Be more true to my passion and purpose as I learn with everyone.

Here are some captured themes / thoughts from the some of speakers:

How doing the impossible and sharing it with others motivates, teaches and inspires. Ray Zhab from Impossible2Possible.

Lee LeFever of Commoncraft talks about what it takes to be a good explainer.  Take something complex and make it easy to understand.  Three steps:  build connections, adjust to the curse of knowledge and make it memorable.

Joel Savoy talked to us about how students are empowered to own the messages  in their classrooms, school and community creating voice and community through  LINC – Local International National Classroom.

It all started for Zoe Branigan-Pipe with her mom in both family and teaching life instilling in her the importance of being connected, socially aware and active.  Zoe carries on the tradition in the 21st century with social networking in her classroom.  Both generations whether it having been onground and now online fostering global thinkers in their classrooms who are active participants in their learning.

Tim Long, creator of the Simpsons, makes the distinction  between hard work and productive work.  Schools focus too much on hard work to the detriment of motivation.

TED Video:  Alex Ohanian from Reddit  shares how the internet creates a level playing field and costs nothing.  Go for it and lose control.

Learning together is fun and leads to lots of amazing things. PortableRadio.ca with Nathan Toft & Jane Smith.

Jesse Brown, host of TVO’s Search Engine speaks about how constant imagery in the 70s and 80s, 90s to today = the importance of visual literacy for the 21st century.  Let students speak with pictures and see that they have alot to say.

The focus for Danika Barker is using NING.  She believes it is imperative to find ways for students to express themselves in the way that express themselves outside of the classroom. Using social networking as “trickery” to engage students in their learning.

Alec Couros shares how schools today must keep the learning open and use technology, social networking to create that openness.

Autonomy, Mastery and Purpose are necessary for people to be engaged in their work.  Satisfaction and Motivation are powerful allies in our thirst for ongoing learning and collaboration.  Kathy Hibbert & the Salty Chip.

Tim Ludwig – The Student ended the evening with a compelling and passionate message about how not all students are the same.  The room was riveted  by his key messages:  let us speak and listen to students like me, make learning relevant, get to know us as we are intelligent, real and caring people who want to learn.

List of Speakers

PLNs and HWDSB Aspiring Leaders

On March 30th, HWDSB hosted a full day of workshops for 70 aspiring leaders.  Zoe Branigan-Pipe and I had the privilege of presenting a workshop on Personal Learning Networks. Our PLNs wiki organized our time together and shared
how PLNs allow one to make connections and collaborate within HWDSB (schools and system) from around the province, country and world.

An amazing highlight to the afternoon was when Alec Couros skyped in to comment and field questions on the importance of PLNs and how they build our capacity as learners and leaders.  Our session ended with a tie back to the Ontario Leadership Framework for Principals and Vice-Principals.

As leaders, we must take the risk with our time and create our own PLN.  Note:  everyone’s PLN will be and is different.  PLNs are customized to what and how you want to learn and  become a part of  one’s everyday learning and practice.