Still to Go…

Every summer I get in a frenzy about this time of year. There are only a few days left before back -to-school PD begins. Panic! The summer sales are on, many of the jobs around the house are as yet undone, I haven’t gotten to visit with all my friends & family as much as I want, and I haven’t read all the books I meant to! Whew!

Here’s what’s still on my “to read” pile! I’ve started 2 of them already, so I might have a fighting chance…so what am I doing here! Gotta go read!

Reach!


I’ve read Jeff Utecht’s blog, The Thinking Stick, for a long time. I follow him on twitter. He’s one of the many amazing people that I think of as my Personal Learning Network. SO, I’m very proud to have his new (and first, I think) book on my shelf! I bought a copy of Reach: Building Communities and Networks for Professional Development, even though he very graciously allowed free downloads for the first few days of publication. I did that too, but thought that it was only right to support the effort of a member of my PLN. I’m glad I did, too!

Although I was familiar with many of the tools and techniques for creating a PLN that Utecht focuses on, I found that his book provides the basis for a great “how and why to start” discussion. Reach is a book that I definitely plan to share this year with faculty members. Utecht explains how to find people to follow on sites like Twitter and Facebook, how to use RSS to make it easier to connect to your “tribe,” and more! It’s the why and the how of building a professional learning network or community online–and it’s a very hands-on, practical approach. I think that it will be helpful to many of my colleagues who might be just about ready to begin reaching out for professional support, and building a unique community of learners for themselves. It could form the basis for a great PD series too, if I can find some teachers in my world that are ready!

Thanks Jeff for your work in writing this book, and for so freely sharing with your network!

Twitter & PLN

Right now, just about any media outlet, product, celebrity or local business seems to have their Twitter name prominently displayed, yet in my everyday life, almost everyone thinks I’m a bit…odd…to even bother with twittering. I think this is so odd, because some of my most valuable professional colleagues are people in my Twitter network! I find useful websites, I get great ideas to try with our students, I discover articles and current research or advocacy tips–all from this valuable network of people that I’ve cobbled together for myself on Twitter. I’d say it’s the most valuable tool I have in my toolbelt! There’s great comfort in finding that I’m not the only one in the world that spends time thinking of things like core common standards vs. AASL standards or “new and emerging tech to promote reading,” which brings me to an important point!

As has been said many times over, the reason that most people who try but end up being puzzled and disdainful of Twitter is that they do not have a relevant group of people to share with & learn from. Hashtags help with this dilemma, and for the teacher librarians out there, Joyce Valenza’s suggestion of using #tlchat could make the difference!


Here’s how to use the hashtag to create our own Teacher-Librarian learning network:
Go to Twitter.com and type #tlchat in the search box. You don’t even need to log in!
Up pops a list of recent tweets by teacher librarians about….library-ish stuff! At right, look at a typical example of tweets–they’re from tonight.

There are so many links to be found that you could easily lose an evening just learning. Then, once you see who is tweeting with the #tlchat hashtag, you will have a number of interesting people to follow!

Once you find a few people to follow, you can see who they follow, and you are on your way to building your own network! Wildly valuable, and quite addictive….

K12 Online 09 is Here!

Hooray!
It’s time again for the K12 Online Conference to begin! I can’t wait! This is one of the most useful and exciting conferences around–and it’s FREE! Thanks go to Wes Fryer and the many conveners that have put in so, soooo many hours making this conference happen! It is a lasting and significant professional learning experience for so many of us all over the world!

Join the sharing and learning, starting Friday, Dec 4! ( Schedule is here.) Until then, enjoy Kim Coffino’s thought-provoking PreConference Keynote presentation, Going Global: Culture Shock, Convergence and the Future of Education. Be sure to join the discussion, sharing and learning on the K12Online Ning as well!

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