Sunday, June 26, 2016

Nurturing Learning Communities Reflection 7 (the last)

The LAST prompt EVER (can you tell I'm excited to be done?): Are you getting burnt out yet? What is making you feel that way? How can you sustain momentum? After you finish this course will you continue? Why or why not? Have you made any connections to other school districts or universities? What are you learning from them?

I write this as I wait for the opening keynote at ISTE 2016.  So, am I burnt out on connecting with other educators?  Am I burnt out on my Master's program?  Um...yes.

Don't get me wrong.  It's been very enriching to go through this program (there were a few exceptions).  But, I'm ready to be DONE.  It was very hard to balance my education with creating time to enrich my students' education.

I've already talked in previous reflections about the connections, or lack thereof, that I've made.  I won't stop participating in PLNs and getting involved on Twitter and Google+.  Despite Bill Selak's suggestion during today's Ignite session, I'm wary of Snapchat.  I think I'll be a holdout.   I carefully straddle the line between giving to much access to my students of myself and trying to be an innovator. I tend to err on the side of not giving too much access.

I'm sure I'll learn a lot from them in the next few days at ISTE.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Nurturing Learning Communities Reflection 6

Here was this week's reflective prompt for my class: Do you have any global connections? How did you acquire them? If you don’t how will you try to make global connections? What do you hope that your global connections will do for you? What can you do for them?
Virtually, that is

I know that I have "global" connections, but they are indirect connections through PLNs and such.  I have one person from Germany that recently added me to one of their lists and followed me on Twitter and one from the Dominican Republic.  Is that global enough?

This did make me think about the fact that I don't think you can force connections.  This is a world of lurking more than dialoguing between each other.  At least that how I feel right now, as I tried to engage people last week in various discussions with questions posed to various hashtags.  I got no response other than people adding me to lists or favoriting my tweet.  I'm not trying to scold anyone with that, but it is a bit hard to make connections, at least meaningful ones when people don't respond.

Like I said last week, I think Google+ might be better for making connections.  At least if you are a part of the EdTechTeam's Google+ community.  I really enjoy EdTechTeam.  I went to one of their FutureReady Summits last summer, probably a year ago today actually, and right around Thanksgiving, I went to one of their GAFE Summits.  I'm going again in August as it's in my neck of the woods.  

It was during the last summit in Temecula, that I started making some of my connections.  I was able to do that through the GEG SoCal Google+ Community.  At both the summit and at CUE, they did a meetup, which is both intimidating and fun.  If you wanted to get started with finding a GEG (Google Educators Group) for your area, start here.  I highly suggest it.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Nurturing Learning Communities Reflection 5

This week's journal prompt asked me about what tools I'm finding most beneficial to my learning community.  By tool, I'm assuming they mean what platform.

I would have to say that right now, I'm finding Google+ the most beneficial.  At the very least, it's being the most communicative.  I feel a bit like I have to be a little spammy to get a response, and I'm not entirely comfortable with that.  Google+ won't allow for sending one post to multiple communities, so I have to make a public post and then share it with the communities I think the post would apply to.  I may be irritating those in multiple shared communities.

Depending on what communities respond, I may just start sharing with those communities in particular.  Right now, it looks like the winner is +EdTechTeam's community.

I've purposely asked specific questions on Twitter with PLN hashtags and gotten no direct response.  I've had a lot of people add me to their lists, but no actual responses to the questions I posed.

This is in anthesis to what I've read and been told about Twitter.  I wonder if it has something to do with the end of the school year.  Maybe Google+ is taking over as the educator's preferred way to interact with groups of like-minded educators?

The prompt also asked me about Open Education Resources (OERs) that I have found.  As part of my requirements for the NEA Foundation grant I received, I had to sign up for their OER site, Curriki, and contribute.  In using the search term "open education resources", I found the OER Commons site.

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Nurturing Learning Communities Reflection 4

This past week was...sad and scary. I didn't really do much in trying to connect and got myself out there on my PLNs. Maybe after sharing this blog post, I'll go out and ask a question about trust and see if I get any responses, which I can then discuss next week.

So why did I fall short in participating in my PLNs this week? Why was it both sad and scary?

On Monday, Memorial Day, I got an email from my principal that a senior (whom I had as a sophomore) had passed away from an apparent suicide. I've since had this weird vague sadness about it. There is some disconnect because I don't have an empty seat to remind me of his absence every day, but I do have my memories of two years ago of a smart (if not slightly apathetic about school) kid rapping and beatboxing under his breath. I have my memories of the student who spoke so eloquently and philosophically about life and music; though I didn't always understand what he was saying, I got the meaning behind the words.  

I also have my anger. I will admit. I have my moments where I'm angry at him for doing it. Also my anger at the school for only telling his current teachers about the services and not the entire school. He had teachers all four years he was at our school. He had other teachers who cared about him.

His family started a GoFundMe to help with expense, they are almost at their goal. Please consider donating.

That was the sad (or part of it) so on to the scary. On Thursday, after school, I had just done a walk around the school and sat down to gather my things to head to class when a shelter-in-place call went out over the loud speaker. I went to lock my door and pulled a teacher and about 20 kids from the hallway into my room, turned off the lights and pulled down the shades. I called the office to let them know I had 20 kids in my classroom and to ask what was going on. I was told an armed intruder.

It took about 20 or 30 minutes before we were given the all clear to resume what we had been doing. Luckily, there hadn't been an armed intruder, but the possibility of one. The suspect turned himself in to police before he entered the campus.

So, how do you deal and cope as an educator when life gets real?