“Building the Western Australian Twitter PLN” #ECAWA13

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On Friday October 11, I was lucky enough to co-present the #WApln Twitter workshop with @KerryMuste at our State ICT Conference – ECAWA13. We had a great turnout for the session, and the chocolate bribe offered for the Friday afternoon slot went down a treat 🙂 (Thanks Kerry!)

#iEARN13 Workshop & Presentations

 

I am still coming to terms with the fact that I travelled halfway around the world to share my social media journey and experiences with The Global Classroom Project at #iEARN13.

Qatar was the venue for my first (three!) international presentations, including my first Global Classroom Workshop, and the launch of my first iEARN project.

Here they are, with links to explore further if you wish.

Connecting Globally via Twitter and the #globalclassroom Chats (Workshop)

I still can’t believe that nearly 50 people attended this workshop, which was live translated from English into Arabic. It seemed to make quite an impact, judging by the frequent informal sessions I held with new iEARN twitter teachers over the days which followed!

It was a pleasure to present in front of the @iEARNAustralia management team, who now have a much better understanding of what I’ve been trying to do with our organisation’s Twitter account.

This workshop was also the first time I experimented with a bilingual “Find Someone Who” activity as a brief 5 minute introduction to the ‘essence’ of Twitter – short, rapid fire conversations with global partners around a range of issues.

A huge thank you goes to @rawyashatila in Lebanon, who generously translated the document into Arabic! 🙂

Workshop Notes

Workshop Handout & (Crowd Sourced) Twitter Tips

@mgraffin Twitter Workshop
Via @FrisoDoornhof

 

Social Media Panel Contribution

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One of the unexpected surprises of the iEARN Conference was the invitation to contribute to the Social Media Panel Keynote, created by Khitham Al-Utaibi (@khitamah) and Rebecca Hodges (@ProfHodges).

Presenting alongside 3 academics, and one of the most globally aware high school students I’ve ever met (@AndrewNasser), was quite an experience. We had around 450 people in the audience, and I received some very positive feedback on my contribution. I suspect I went over my time allocation slightly, but I think this tweet sums it up nicely:

 

Building the Global Classroom: A Substitute Teacher’s Twitter Journey from Michael

iEARN Travelling Scrapbook Project Launch

This turned out to be one of the more productive sessions of the conference, where I took the opportunity to share the story of the #globalclassroom travelling scrapbook project, and discuss plans for an iEARN version.

I took away some hastily scribbled notes / suggestions, and a list of potential partners. I’m hoping to get this project running by September 2013, and will have to try and sort out the planning / organisation approach over the next week or so.

Building a Western Australian PLN (#WApln)

Halfway through last year, a Twitter conversation with @suewaters raised the prospect of building the Western Australian online teacher community, with the goal of running our own professional development through unconferences led by educators, for educators. (There is a BIG event in the works, more details coming here soon).

One of the key issues raised out of our early discussions was our difficulty in finding local Twitter teachers,and the need for a specific Western Australian education Twitter hashtag. At the time we only knew of around 10 people, but with the recent efforts of @LouCimetta in the Catholic Education school system, there are now more than a 100 Twitter teachers here in the West.

In what we believe is the first step of a long journey, we are launching the #WApln Twitter hashtag. This is intended to be a universal Western Australian education hashtag – we welcome contributors from primary, secondary, and adult education – across the government AND private sectors, and in metropolitan AND rural areas.

Get Involved

1) Tag your tweets with the #WApln hashtag, and add it to your Twitter client (Hootsuite, Twitterific, Tweetdeck).

2) Subscribe to @mgraffin’s WA Educator’s Twitter list – instantly follow 100+ local educators!

3) Please help spread the word – through your blogs, school communities, and Twitter networks!

Learn More

What the heck is a PLN?

 

Introduction to Twitter (via @KerryMuste)

An Australian Teacher’s #GlobalEd Update

It is hard to believe that I am only a few months away from celebrating the second year of my first professional blog. As time has gone by, the topics have changed, and my readership has fluctuated, but I’m still here. I personally think that’s quite an achievement, considering all that has gone on behind the scenes …

In light of what has been a very busy to start to the year, I thought I’d share my first (occasional) Global Education Update

 
cc licensed ( BY ) flickr photo shared by woodleywonderworks

 

Global Classroom 2011-12 is coming to an end

Nine months after the official launch of the Global Classroom Project (2011-12), we are planning its conclusion. There are feedback surveys to prepare, a few VoiceThreads to create, a wiki showcase to work on, and the final webinar(s) to organise …

Yet, as I look back, I’m happy. This project, and the people I work with, have helped me through the ups and downs of the past year, and led to some amazing new opportunities and connections. It has been a wonderful experience, and I’m certainly looking forward to taking a few months break!

We are currently working on the final project, building a commerative wiki (http://globalclassroommementos.wikispaces.com), and sending several #globalclassroom scrapbooks around the world. It is time to celebrate our teachers’ & students’ achievements in Global Classroom 2011-12.

 

The May #globalclassroom Twitter chats start this weekend (in a few hours)

This month marks the first time our newly-formed chats team have organised the monthly #globalclassroom chats.

I’d like to thank Jennifer Fenton (@jennysfen), for organising this month’s chat, and to Andrew Thompson (@1AndrewT63), who bravely put his hand up to help out, and is on the list for next month 🙂

This month’s topic is: Getting a global project started … Where do you begin, and how do you make it meaningful and sustainable?, contributed by Laurie Renton (@RentonL).

I hope you will take a moment to explore (and bookmark) our new Global Classroom Twitter Chats wiki, which you will find at http://theglobalclassroomchats.wikispaces.com

The chats start today, Saturday, May 12, and run until Monday / Tuesday next week. Please see the wiki to find out when they run in your timezone. I hope to see you there!

 

Exploring new opportunities with iEARN Australia 

And finally, in what was one of the most satisfying moments of the year to date, I’ve joined the iEARN Australia management team, where I’ll help run the Australian branch of the world’s largest and longest established global collaboration community.

Drawing on my experience running Global Classroom, I am looking forward to helping grow the iEARN Australia network, raising awareness about the benefits of global education and collaboration within the wider Australian educational community. I’m determined to make the most of this very special opportunity, so stay tuned! 🙂

How One Tweet Initiated A Global Partnership

I’d like you to meet Deb Frazier, a Grade 1 teacher from Ohio, USA.

You’ll find Deb on Twitter as @frazierde, and she blogs at Primary Perspective.

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Deb and I have yet to meet face-to-face, yet over the past few months, we have become global partners, and good friends, through our close collaboration in building The Global Classroom Project.

I first met Deb in May 2011, through Twitter; and looking back, it seems it was meant to be. Deb was relatively new to Twitter, and was interested in extending her students’ learning beyond her classroom walls.

I was a second year teacher, and relatively established user of social media, about to embark on a 4 week relief placement in a Grade 6 class – the first class I’ve ever been able to call my “own”. Following the success of my first global project in March 2011, when I ran the World Water Day International LinoIt Project, I was keen to further experiment with web 2.0 tools in education.

And then, late one night, I came across a tweet and a blog post which would change the course of my career:

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The Global Classroom Project (2011) was born …

 

Deb Frazier, from Ohio, USA was looking to connect her Grade 1 class with children around the world via VoiceThread. As Deb blogged here, the idea was born in the minds of her students; yet it was Deb’s vision, and use of social media to connect with fellow global teachers which made it a successful global reality.

As I prepare to explore the development of the Global Classroom Project over the past months, and my role within it, over this upcoming series of posts, I am still struck by the simple fact that Deb and I met, and collaborated via social media and Web 2.0 tools.

We hear so much negativity about social media in education, yet this global collaboration, this global partnership bears testament to how connections made through social media can change our
worldviews, our teaching, and our students’ lives.

And to think that it all started with One Tweet, and One Blog Post …

Looking Forward to #RSCON3

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Six months ago, I’d never heard of the Reform Symposium Virtual Conference; the fantastic, FREE, online global education conference presented by teachers for teachers.

That all changed when I attended #RSCON11 in January this year; an event which attracted 4 100 global participants, and marked the birth of my Twitter PLN.

And, now to my amazement, I find myself presenting alongside some world-leading global educators at the next Reform Symposium (#RSCON3) in late July 2011.


So, what’s it all about?

The Reform Symposium e-Conference is about sharing, learning, and connecting with inspiring educators around the world. You don’t need to pack a bag, catch a plane, or pay a cent. You can even attend in your pyjamas! All you need is an Internet connection.

To find out more, visit the Reform Symposium website; where you can:

  • Find the official #RSCON3 schedule for your time-zone
  • Meet the presenters, and
  • Download the flyer to share with your colleagues and staff.


My #RSCON3 Presentation:

“What the heck is a PLN?” – Personal Learning Networks for Educators

  • Are you a new teacher, feeling isolated and alone?
  • Are you an experienced teacher looking for new ideas and inspiration?
  • Are you interested in sharing ideas and collaborating with other teachers on global projects?
  • Are you tired of falling asleep in boring professional learning seminars?
  • Have you heard about Personal Learning Networks or PLNs? Feeling lost, confused, wondering where to start?

Then please, join me at #RSCON3, as I

  • Share my ‘new teacher’ PLN story, and explain “What the heck is a PLN?”
  • Explore the technologies which underpin my global connections
  • Explore some of the global projects and learning made possible by my PLN; and
  • Facilitate a global discussion about how PLNs have influenced teachers’ professional practice around the world.

This is an opportunity for new and experienced teachers alike to learn, share, and connect.

I’d love to see you there!


When?

For Australian teachers, Reform Symposium 3 runs from July 30 – August 1, 2011.

I will be presenting on Day 1 (just before the closing Keynote) at 8.30AM – Saturday, July 30 (GMT/UTC+8). 

This time and date will VARY depending on your time-zone. Please click here to find out what time this is for you.

Where?

I will be presenting virtually in an Elluminate Conference Room. To participate, you’ll need to click on the (soon-to-be-published) “Webinar Links” in the RSCON Schedule.

In the meantime, I urge you to check out the Reform Symposium website, follow the #rscon3 hashtag on Twitter, and share the official Conference flyer with your Principal and colleagues.


Please, spread the word!
This is the only serious professional learning which you attend in bed! And it’s worth it!

I’ll be attending #RSCON3. Will you?

Why I Connect


I’M A TEACHER

I was once an idealist. Now I’m more of a realist.

I once believed that our political leaders could positively change the face of education in my country. No longer.

I have dreams. They’ve been shattered – twice.

My first year of teaching left me feeling alone and disillusioned.

 

BUT, 2 YEARS ON …

I once believed I could make a difference. I still do.

I’ve rediscovered my passion for teaching.

I believe that effective literacy teaching and ICT integration is critical to prepare my students to communicate and interact on a global stage.

I’ve finally had the opportunity to practice what I preach

I’m a blogger, with a supportive global audience.

I’m becoming a more competent and effective teacher.

My teaching and learning is changing because of my global connections.

MY FUTURE

Is unclear.

I’ve yet to have a class of my own.

I’ve got a lot to learn.

I’m not an expert teacher … yet.

That’s why I connect, learn, share, and collaborate with experienced, expert teachers around the world.

My PLN has reawakened my passion for teaching

For this, I thank you.

What the heck is a PLN?

I’m a new teacher, returning to relief / substitute teaching after 3 months in (several) classrooms.

My PLN has changed the way I learn, and the way I teach, for the better. Yet, I am still to meet a new teacher in my part of the world who’s ever heard of, or has a PLN.

Perhaps this post will help to change that.

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Why you should begin your own PLNAshley Azzopardi (@ashleyazzopardi)

Defining the Personal Learning Network

As a quick Google search will show, there is a wealth of information already written and shared about Personal Learning Networks available online. So, in writing this post, I’ve drawn upon the collective expertise and thoughts of my own PLN. (A big thankyou goes to @mwedwards and @ashleyazzopardi in particular for your help with this post).

So, what does it mean to have a PLN?

Imagine being able to walk into a room filled with the very best education professionals, selected by YOU, and having a conversation with them!

It can be as long or as short as you want, and as in-depth as you have time for. Perhaps you might discuss ways to teach various concepts, learn about resources that others are using, or maybe even have conversations that challenge the way you think about education and teaching.

This is exactly what a Personal Learning Network (PLN) can bring to you!”

Ann Carnevale in Break Down Walls, Build Up A Community [italics added]


To me, this is the essence of my Personal Learning Network –

Connecting, Mentoring, Sharing and Learning

 



Building a PLN

People go about building or growing their PLN in different ways. I personally started by talking to my real-world colleagues; moved to blogging about my experiences; took the plunge with Twitter; met @clivesir and well, the rest is history!

Your PLN is shaped by YOUR interests, learning needs, technical skills, and ultimately, your contribution. Building a PLN doesn’t happen overnight, but in time, it can fundamentally change your teaching practice (see this excellent post from @InnovativeEdu). Truly, “from little things, big things grow”.

I’ve included a couple of useful videos which may make the PLN building process a little clearer; however, if you have some advice / experiences to share, please leave a comment! Your contributions are most welcome!

How to build a PLN? from Elena Elliniadou on Vimeo.


Ann Carnevale – Personal Learning Networks (shared by @mwedwards)

Sketchy Explanation: Starting a PLN (YouTube)

Coming Up: “The People of my PLN”

Seeking your Contributions!

Dear PLN: The concept of a Personal Learning Network / PLN is not well known in my part of Western Australia, and I’d like to create a PLN VoiceThread to share with prospective employers later this year.

I’m interested in learning more about the “real people” who make up my PLN, and exploring how PLNs influence us as people, and as educators. I’d also love to know if / how my inclusion in your PLN (via blogging and Twitter) has helped or inspired your own teaching and learning.

You can find the “The People of My PLN” Voicethread here (I plan to embed it in a subsequent post).

With your support, I hope to be able to better explain and share the benefits of having a PLN with my colleagues and prospective employers. Thankyou.

 


Further Reading

“Connecting Globally” (@clivesir)

 Casting an eye over my Twitter feeds this morning, I was mightily pleased to see an old ‘PLN  friend’ and mentor back online. 

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Clive Elsmore, or @clivesir as I’ve come to know him, has spent the past few years working in India and Sri Lanka as a volunteer teacher, training local teachers in the use of ICT technologies and Web 2.0 tools like Skype. (He’s now back in the United Kingdom.)

As a very special member of my PLN, and someone with whom I have many educational interests in common, I wanted to take a moment to share @clivesir’s thoughts on how global connections impact on teaching and learning in today’s world.

I first ‘met’ Clive as a newbie tweep around 6 months ago, when he literally took me ‘under his wing’; teaching me the Twitter basics and introducing me to some of the most integral members of my Personal Learning Network or PLN.

While Clive modestly puts this down to the ‘power of social networking’, his encouragement, feedback, and entertaining conversations mean a lot to me; and were a consolation and support as we journeyed through some very exciting, and very difficult times in our respective professional lives.

Today, I’d like to share Clive’s video in which he describes his work and ‘global educational connections’ in his own words. It was my first chance to virtually ‘meet’ this amazing educator, and it provides an excellent outside perspective on my own efforts to form global connections around the world.

 

 

 

Twitter™ for Teachers

A very informative video for Twitter™ newbies like myself – I wish I’d found this earlier, as I contains many of the lessons I learnt by trial and error … as usual …

 

Twitter for Teachers