Hey, Over Here!! Connected Learning and PLNs

Connected LearningIn my view, connected learning and PLNs are the best things since personal computers and blogs. My PLN looks like a major league baseball all-star team. I know that many of the people like NASCAR versus baseball, but I will stand by my metaphor. I think Steve Anderson will maybe forgive me.

I follow some of the biggest names in education and educational technology and some of them even follow me back! I often times feel like a really little fish in comparison. I mean the people in my PLN are located all over the world, have presented at numerous conferences (many of them keynote speakers), and some have won awards such as teacher of the year, best blogger, or top innovator in education.

I share my PLN by being totally open on the web. I make sure that my digital footprint stays on a mostly professional level, my Facebook page does include some people that I went to high school with and I do not share a lot about my family. I also will be sharing my PLN with people at a conference I will be presenting at next month. I haven’t presented at a conference in about ten years, but I feel so strongly about the power of PLN and twitter that I feel obligated to go out there and share.

I also want to share how I use my PLN as I begin studying for a self-directed EdD in the open and how the educational theories of heutagogy, connectivism, and peeragogy help to form me and hopefully inform my PLN. I am also trying to get a presentation spot at the TIC Technology Integration Conference in Dubuque, Iowa in June. I am hoping to meet one of the people in my PLN face 2 face. Vicki Davis, one of the co-creators of the flat classroom project will be the keynote speaker!

Every classroom should be able to support collaborative connected learning. I truly believe in the ideas supported in the flat classroom project, especially the idea that we can knock down the walls of the classroom by involving students in real life, real time, global education. It doesn’t matter if there are just a couple of computers in the classroom or if you have a total 1:1 program at your school. Global educational experiences are at your fingertips.

Connected learning should be a part of every curriculum. Whether it is part of standards, the core curriculum, or not at all, every teacher has a responsibility to lead their students to becoming connected learners.

Photo courtesy of By carlaarena at http://www.flickr.com

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I’m Feeling Tired

I feel like I have been left in the wilderness to wander. I know, I know, Moses did it for forty years and I have only been doing it for four. I enjoy #etMOOC and all of the interactions with people who I feel are superstars in education. People like Alec Couros, Dean Shareski, Dave Comier, Cathy Anderson, Sue Watters, Alison Seaman, Doug Belshaw, Patrick Larkin and the list goes on. The downside is that everyonComputer2e I am interacting with is teaching in some way shape or form. I sat at a computer terminal for nine hours today with two fifteen minute breaks and a half hour for lunch. I use that one hour of time at work to peer into the lives of those who are living the dream via social media.

Everyone is so engaged and working on projects and sharing things and gearing up to present at conferences and I think to myself, where did everything go wrong. Instead of listening to kids engage in creative projects and problem solving or skype-ing with other classrooms around the world. I get to over hear one person talk about her divorce and another talk about money. My only relief is to retreat into my set of earphones and listen to podcasts, audiobooks, or music.

In my line of work creativity is discouraged. Everything is laid out and pretty straight forward. Oh, I have problems that I encounter, Puerto Rico is a tough island to get paperwork from, but it’s just not the same as working with students and teachers who are energized and willing to take on the problems of the day.

There is really something special about the field of education. Something about watching learners uncover an interesting nugget or even discover a gold mine. Talking with kids about the big game on Friday night, how the fishing tournament went over the weekend, how the new Hobbit movie is compared to the book. I have found out how much I miss the students, my colleagues, the drama, the suspense, the little interactions in the hall at passing time, that wise cracker that has a witty come back for just about any occasion.

The funny thing is that the kids I miss the most are the ones that gave me a hard time, who challenged me, who were labeled “difficult.” People wouldn’t label them as difficult and complain about them if they realized how boring their lives would be without them. Hey, you could be stuck staring at a computer screen for nine hours a day and the only impact you make is that you get to collect a pay check at the end of the week. That’s about the only positive thing I can find about what I do for a living, I get to collect a check at the end of the week.

I want to do more than merely collect a check. I want to make a difference in the lives of kids every day. I want to look forward to the challenges of the day without knowing what might transpire. I want to be surprised and inspired by kids craving to let their creativity out. I want a messy working classroom full of life and joy.

Photo: Wwalczyszynhttp://wwalczyszyn.deviantart.com/

By Tim Scholze Posted in etMOOC

What? Squirrel! What did he say? Who’s that? Why’s that so Funny?

I have to say that after my first encounter with a MOOC, am I the only one this slow on the uptake? I felt like my head was spinning for the whole hour. Links whipped by so fast in the chat portion of the screen that it seemed pointless to try and keep up. When the MOOC director left a screen up for more than a few minutes, it got so plastered with comments that it eventually became un readable. It was disorganization on a massive scale.

Obviously, I am a new comer to MOOCs. However, I have been studying teaching, learning, and technology for fifteen years. This hootenanny that transpired last night was filled with “inside jokes,” people who knew each other rather well, and antics that quite honestly an “outsider” like me just didn’t get. I am beginning to wonder if free and massive equates to let’s just have a good time, roll with it, and hopefully you pick something meaningful up along the way.

I know that many of you think I’m just being a stick in the mud, an old fuddy duddy, or someone who takes life too seriously. Most of you taking this course are teaching in various capacities. Many of you know each other by name, reputation, or f2f. And, many of you have been blogging, presenting at conferences, and tweeting 24/7 for some time now.

So sorry to be raining on your parade. I would love to be at your level but the truth is, I’m not. I only know some of you from seeing your tweets and blogs for the past couple of months. I used to present at conferences years ago, I’ve just started blogging  and tweeting, and I haven’t been inside a classroom for over three years now.

I look to you as the leaders in educational technology. Many of you whom I follow on twitter are like the educational equivalent of the dream team. I want to learn from you.

I’m going to try and cool my jets now and give it a second chance tonight. We’re supposed to keep an open mind, so I’m going to try. I may even try the Serenity Prayer before we begin.

#etMOOCs Official

I’m Tim Scholze and this is my very first MOOC. I have been involved in social media on a regular basis for about three months now. I have, however, taken online courses from the University of Wisconsin – Stout. I have a graduate certificate in instructional design and I begin the third in a five course sequence for a graduate certificate in eLearning in a couple weeks.

I taught eighth grade U.S. history for fourteen years with some seventh grade introduction to the social sciences, freshman U.S. history, sophomore world studies, and junior/senior psychology thrown in for good measure. I left my secure education career three years ago for three reasons; 1) My wife had taken time off to raise our children and now wanted to get back in to education and I felt it was my obligation to move wherever she got hired (after all, I have a Masters degree in education I can get a job doing anything, right)? 2) My mother was diagnosed with uterine cancer. I wanted to be closer and be able to help. Turns out that my mom and dad really don’t care how close or how far away I am from them they tend to depend on themselves and each other. 3) Administrative hidden agendas. I do not want to say much more than I was not fully informed.

I am married and have four wonderfully precocious children aged 13, 9, 7, and 5 (all verbal linguistic). My primary interest is education, but I also enjoy traveling, attending conferences, and geocaching. I am beginning a journey toward an EdD in Educational Technology. I am particularly interested in emergent learning, peeragogy, connectivism, teacher professional development, flat classroom, badges, and Open Educational Resources.

I love technology. I love education. I love research. Yes, I am a geek.

MOOCs A Comming – #etMOOC

This week begins the official start of my EdD program. I just completed a poll on twitter about what issues teachers feel need more research concerning educational technology and student learning. Today begins my first MOOC. I am excited to be involved with so many great people!

#jiscwebinar What Is A MOOC? @dkernohan @mweller @jonathan_worth @loumcgill @daveowhite [visual Notes]

photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/gforsythe/7549370822/”>giulia.forsythe</a&gt; via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/”>cc</a&gt;