My PLE Diagram

My PLE Diagram
 I love looking at visual representations of information, and I believe I learn best when abstract and complicated topics are displayed in a visual format. Ironically, I have little ability to design visually appealing graphics. Designing anything is tough, but if you want me to display abstract ideas in ways that convey information clearly….watch out. I have the hardest time coming up with an idea. I ask my self questions and post a variety of visual analogies. When none of them seem to work, I do what I tell my students. “Just try something. Once you have something, you can make it awesome.” I found that following my own advice was the only way to get this assignment to move from endless possibilities swimming in my mind to something visual. I tried several tools, some of which I am familiar with, and others I am not. I finally decided to use LucidChart. It was not nearly as easy to manipulate as I expected, but l know that powerful learning comes from persistent struggles. And it was through the struggle that I learned to use a tool I have never used before.

The tool itself was one aspect of learning, but more importantly, I realized how interconnected my PLN learning experiences are. With each group, I share, learn, collaborate, and organize-  all of which allow me to be a better educator. Some of my PLN resources and groups are better for served for some purposes than others, but in reality they all help me grow as an educator. What I might learn in one learning community might be transferred to another learning group or curated in another. What I decide to curate in one learning community might be shared in another group.  The overlapping ideas shown in the Venn Diagram are intended to show the interconnections of each learning group I associate with. No one group is too far from another.

After reviewing a number of classmates’ diagrams, I realized that I could benefit from a graphic design course. But all joking aside, I realized that many of us shared of the same ideas about our PLNs and the manner in which they connect. The ways in which we show those relationships differ, but it is certainly clear to me that we all recognize that each PLN group serves its purpose in relations to the other groups we learn from and share with.

Many of my classmates opted to label their diagrams much like I did. Some tools and groups are used for very specific purposes (i.e. connecting, curating, etc.) while other communities serve several of these purposes at once. One diagram in particular caught my attention. Megan Gooding’s diagram showed the cyclical nature of these learning communities with a simple circle of arrows in the middle of all of her learning communities. That is exactly what I was trying to capture with my Venn Diagram!

Through the process of the creating this diagram, I realized that my PLN is much wider than I realized. I am connected to many communities, each of which provides me with tools, resources, and a platform to share that allow me to grow as an educational leader. I am just now realizing how much of a powerful influence my PLN has been on my development as a teacher.

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Curation Criteria – A Group Assignment

I know many people may feel differently than me about this, but I love working with people on assignments. I know that there are obvious challenges to group work, but I learn so much more when I work with others. Overall, our group assignment creating the curation checklist was a success. Melodie took charge, started a document, and the collaborative efforts from the team followed her lead.

I am amazed at the variety of tools we  have that allow us to communicate. Facebook chat, Google Docs, and email were being used to share ideas, ask questions, and clarify information. Interestingly, I don’t think that there was a time that all there was a time when our three person team was working on the assignment at the same time. Sometimes we worked alone, only to come feedback upon our return the document. Other times there may have been two of us working at the same time. I loved that we were able to question one another’s work. When working alone, there is no one to question what I produce except for myself, and that is very limiting. Ideas were put on our list that I never would have considered, nor did I come across in my readings. As result of group work, the checklist covers a number of items that would have never been on a list had I worked alone.

Each member contributed time, effort, and energy to assignment. As a result, I think we have a polished product to be proud of!

It’s like I always tell my colleagues at school…Teamwork Makes the Dream Work!

An Action Plan: My Digital Footprint

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1. Establish My Personal  Mission Statement – When thinking about my online presence, I am very much in the mindset of a youthful adolescent trying to figure out who he is, how he fits into the world, and how he establishes himself as an individual. Until I was asked to create a plan for establishing my Digital Footprint, I was wandering a path of uncertainly about my online identity. Who am I? How much of myself is and should be made public? What do I really want people to know about me? And perhaps my own struggle results from me not knowing whether the online me is and should be the same as the professional me. In a powerful blog post, Eric Stroller (2012) )writes, “The manner in which we engage, share, promote, and present ourselves online has become a major facet in many of our lives. No longer seen as being separate from ‘real life,’ an individual’s digital identity is intricately connected to their overall identity.” This statement made things clear to me. My mission statement for life should be the same one for my digital identity.

2. Conduct a Personal Audit – I’ve Googled my name. From what I can tell, I am the only Cinnamon Johnsrud in existence. And the first several links after Googling my name were all directly related to me- my Twitter account, my personal (and private) Facebook account, my Boise State work, etc. The images were also pictures of me, but they also included pictures of my co-workers and Will Smith. Yes, the Will Smith. What I want to do is to find out exactly how and why these pictures are associated with my name. Taking an inventory with a “dig deep” approach will be beneficial as I work to establish my name as a professional (Ragone, 2006).

3. Purchase my Domain Name – Over and over, I found advice that emphasized the importance of having a personal domain name when establishing one’s professional web presence. Perhaps among the most important reasons for purchasing and creating a personal website is the ability to have some control over the content that appears on the web. With my domain name as a central location to house my digital identity, I can take greater ownership of my digital footprint (Lowenthal & Dunlap, 2012).

4. Complete my Profiles on Social Media Accounts – After Googling my name, I learned that many of my social media sites have incomplete profiles. My Google+ profile, for example, only has my picture and my name. This certainly leaves an incomplete picture of who I am. Some of my  accounts that have no profile whatsoever- I certainly have some work to do (Lowenthal & Dunlap, 2012).

5. Create a Professional Blog and Publish my Work- Establishing myself with a domain name and a professional blog can not only provide me with a place to showcase my work as a professional, but it can also give me greater control over my digital footprint. I know that I have ideas, lessons, and resources to share with others. In fact, some of my colleagues have asked me to establish a repository of resources for them. I am not one who likes to put myself out in the open, but because I am convinced of the power that I can have over my digital footprint in doing so, I am ready to take the leap (Carozza, 2012).

6. Protect What Needs to Be Protected -I know that there is a fine balance between making information about myself public while maintaining some personal privacy. Reviewing my privacy settings on social media accounts and identifying ways to maintain personal information private is important (“Protect your privacy on the internet”, n.d.).

7. Be Consistent with my Blog and Social Media Posts– There have been many times that I have come across blog that may have captured my attention, only to lose interest once I realize that the blog hadn’t been updated in quite some time. While many components of my plan to establish and maintain my digital footprint require only minimal time, this is an area that will require a consistent and concerted effort. Given the fact that I only have so much time on any given day, I need to establish a realistic routine and set up reminders (Taub, 2013).

8. Set up a Google Alert and Monitor- It’s one thing to be cognizant of what I write and say about myself when I post online. It’s another thing when someone else writes about me. Fortunately, setting up a Google Alert will keep me informed any time my name is put online. This is a powerful tool that will keep me aware of what is being written about me by others (Hart 2011).

9. Establish an Intentional Web Presence with SEOs- In many ways, the workings of the internet are are still a mystery to me. While reading about ways to improve my online presence, I did learn quite a bit about how to increase the visibility of my established websites using Google’s Search Engine Optimization Starter Guide. After purchasing my domain and creating a blog, I plan to review these steps to increase the visibility of my site (“SEO for Teachers”, 2014).

10. Be Human. Be Me. – Bonnie Stewart’s article (2012),”Digital Identities: Six Key Selves of Networked Publics” left me wondering about how authentic some people are online. Depending on the task or purpose when roaming an online world, we many not always present a complete, accurate  picture of ourselves. Sometimes this  intentional, and sometimes it isn’t. I have no intention of ever presenting myself as something I’m not. Opening up the more personal aspects of my life (without making myself too vulnerable) will simply make me more human, more relatable, and more me.

References:

Carozza, B. (2012, June 9). 5 Reasons Educators Should Blog. Retrieved July 13, 2015, from http://connectedprincipals.com/archives/5835

Hart, S. (2011, October 11). Monitoring Your Name and Your Brand with Google Alerts. Retrieved July 7, 2015, from http://pixsym.com/blog/reputation-management/monitoring-your-name-and-your-brand-with-google-alerts/

Lowenthal, P., & Dunlap, J. (2012, June 6). Intentional Web Presence: 10 SEO Strategies Every Academic Needs to Know | EDUCAUSE.edu. Retrieved July 5, 2015, from http://www.educause.edu/ero/article/intentional-web-presence-10-seo-strategies-every-academic-needs-know

McGinnis, S. (2012, August 23). Online Reputation Management: A How-to Guide by @seanMcGinnis. Retrieved July 7, 2015, from http://spinsucks.com/communication/online-reputation-management-a-how-to-guide/

Protect your privacy on the Internet. (n.d.). Retrieved July 7, 2015, from https://www.microsoft.com/security/online-privacy/prevent.aspx

Ragone, A. (2006, April 15). Google “Your Name” = Your Resume… or Your Life. Retrieved July 6, 2015, from https://alexragone.wordpress.com/2006/04/15/google-your-name-your-resume-or-your-life/

Ramspott, B. (2013, January 15). 2013: The Year of Digital Identity Development in Higher Education. Retrieved July 7, 2015, from http://blog.case.org/2013/01/15/2013-the-year-of-digital-identity-development-in-higher-education/

SEO for Teachers: How to Get Your Website Ranked Highly in the Search Engines. (2014, June 26). Retrieved July 7, 2015, from http://www.teachingeslonline.com/seo-teachers

Stewart, B. (2012, May 6). Digital Identities: Six Key Selves of Networked Publics. Retrieved July 7, 2015, from http://theory.cribchronicles.com/2012/05/06/digital-identities-six-key-selves/

Stoller, E. (2012, September 12). Digital Identity Development | Student Affairs and Technology | InsideHigherEd. Retrieved July 7, 2015, from https://www.insidehighered.com/blogs/student-affairs-and-technology/digital-identity-development

Taub, A. (2013, June 7). 5 Key Things Needed To Improve Your Digital Identity. Retrieved July 8, 2015, from http://www.forbes.com/sites/alextaub/2012/06/07/5-key-things-needed-to-improve-your-digital-identity/

My Digital Footprint

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As a history teacher, I love to find the individual stories of people’s personal experiences as they live through historical events. Although learning about the major events the past is essential, it is the personal stories that make these events real. I recently spent a week a Library of Congress exploring primary documents. Uncovering letters and documents from real people, and reading about even some of the most mundane daily tasks brought life to the otherwise ordinary events. I learned quite a bit about people and families that are otherwise lost to history. But each document told someone’s story. I wonder about the lives of those didn’t record their stories…

The papers that have lasted over the centuries are better than any treasure. What we can learn about people from ordinary documents is remarkable. But I find myself wondering about how future learners will learn about history. So much of our lives –personal and professional- is being recorded in the form of posts, tweets, images, etc. How will historians be able to sort through all of these digital records in order to tell the story of the past? Is it a good thing or a bad thing for the future historians that so much information will be available? Will anyone care about my digital footprint? These are the questions that come to mind as I think about the digital footprints that we leave.

Have you ever Googled your name? I have, and I must admit that my digital footprint is nothing spectacular. According to How Many of Me I am the only person in the world with my name. Which is both good and bad. There is a slim chance that some other Cinnamon Johnsrud will ever put inappropriate or questionable content online which may lead someone into thinking it’s me.  So in that respect, I am glad I’m the only one.  For now, my digital footprint isn’t particularly revealing. I think if anyone were to Google my name, they would know that I am involved in education, perhaps as a teacher, and that’s about it.

The first thing that appears when I google my name is my Twitter account. My Twitter account is used solely for professional purposes which establishes my role as an educator. The next link that appears is my personal Facebook page which is set to private. Anyone exploring it may see that my profile picture is a picture of my family, but no other information is available. The other links that are associated with my name are by Boise State work including my digital portfolio and my blog. There are also links to the school I work at, the district I work for, etc. Nothing is exceptional or too personal. What I did find interesting was the fact that the images of “Cinnamon Johnsrud” include many images of people I work with and people who I do not know. (How does this happen?)

This leads me back to the essential questions I established at the beginning of this post. What does my digital footprint say about me and how will people in the future understand me as a person? While I am grateful that there isn’t anything questionable, I don’t think that the information online reveals who I am really am, either. As I continue to think about my digital footprint, I wonder how much of myself I should reveal. While I am an educator, there is much more to me than that. Should those aspects be revealed or should I keep that part of my life private? Does it matter?

Keeping my online reputation positive, honest, and safe is certainly a priority. My efforts to make sure that happens begins now!

Image Credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/penbentley/11092069533

Twitter, Tweetdeck, and Hashtags..Oh My!

Tweetdeck Screenshot

I am already somewhat active on Twitter, but that’s not to say that I use it to its potential. Prior to this assignment, I had explored Tweetdeck, and I already had an account established, but never used it simply because it was “one more thing” to add to my ever growing list of tools I want to learn about. With this assignment I was able to explore it in depth, and WOW!

There are a few hashtags I already use regularly, so I decided to use this an opportunity to look for new hashtags. As a result, I added the following hashtags to my Tweetdeck:

#HistEdChat- History Education Chat

#TLChat- Teacher Leader Chat

#EducCoach- Education Coach

#HistoryTeacher- History Teacher

#EduLeader- Education Leader

From the initial explorations of these hashtags, I have come across a few observations and resources. First of all, in the conversation on #tlchat, I loved the dialogue among the educators. Many posted questions asking for specific informaiton, and those questions were answered. How awesome is that? Additionally, the #HistoryTeacher hashtag has quite a few conversations going regarding needs for teaching resources. This will definitely be a go-to resource when I am looking for resource for my classes. I can easily get myself lost in the exploration of the links that people have posted. For example, the site 37 Best Websites for Learning , sent me down an excited rabbit hole or learning!

Although I have had teachers question this statement, I believe that Twitter is a powerful source of professional development. I can choose to focus on my areas of interest, need, or passion. I can connect with people who are not simply consultants, but people who actually practice what they share. Yes, there is only so much one can learn in 140 characters, but the real power comes from the sharing of the resources and the follow-up discussions that often occur. One can simply lurk along on Twitter to get what he or she needs from an extended network, but sharing resources allows us to develop stronger connections and therefore stronger learning communities.

Happy Tweeting!

Personal Learning Networks, CoPs, and Connectivism

Image for PLN Connectivism CoP

As I embark on this journey of networked learning, it is important for me to reflect upon the key concepts and theories related to Personal Learning Networks, CoPs, and Connectivism. While each concept is separate and distinct with its own features, there is no denying that strong connections and relationships exist among and between each of them.

With widespread use of the internet, social learning has evolved from something that required individuals to come together in face to face setting to connections and interactions that are no longer constrained by time or geographical locations. Understanding how PLNs, CoPs, and Connectivism are interrelated can help educators better understand their roles and responsibilities in their own learning.

The image above is a visual representation of my current understanding of PLNs, CoPs, and Connectivism. In the center is the brain made up of gears to represent the concept of connectivism. Connectivism is one potential theory  to explain the manner in which individuals acquire knowledge through interaction with others. Around the brain is a small group of people who share a connection by holding hands. This represents a Community of Practice. These individuals are working closely together with a common purpose adding to their knowledge. On the outside, surrounding the CoP and the ever-learning brain, is the much wider group of people who represent the Personal Learning Network. Again, each individual contributes to the overall learning emphasizing the role of connected learning, but the members of PLN are not as tighlty connected as the CoP.

Personal Learning Networks – According to Marialice B.F.X. Curran, a Personal Learning Network is “self-created set of experts, colleagues, and resources…that meet one’s daily learning needs.” The word self-created implies that the members of a PLN have a personal interest continual learning. PLNa allow learners to connect with other teachers on their own time to seek feedback, support, resources, and personal connections with other teachers (Rossett).

Communities of Practice- I would argue that a Community of Practice offers many of the same benefits as a PLN, but there are some distinct features that separate a PLN from a CoP. Specifically, More specifically, a CoPs develop from a learning network and that focus in collaborating and learning together is more tightly focused with a specific purpose. Within a CoP, the actions, discussions, and common goals are coordinated. Communities of Practice share common values and dispearsed leadership, even when there are different perspectives among members of the community (National Council of Teachers of English).

Connectivism– Connectivism has been described as a potential learning theory, but a number of learning theorists argue that Connectivism is not a stand alone theory. Instead, some argue, it is a component of social learning theories long since established. Connectivists argue that the acquisition of knowledge comes as a direct result of our interactions with society. Kegan Remington describes it well when he says, Connectivism presents an opportunity for learners to construct their own understanding of the world around them by associating pre-exisiting knowledge with their own interactions with society.”

Resources: 

“Communities of Practice. A Policy Research Brief by the National Council of English Teachers” Rev. of Performance Title, by Author/Director/Artist. November 2011: Retrieved July 5, 2015, http://www.ncte.org/library/NCTEFiles/Resources/Journals/CC/0212nov2011/CC0212Policy.pdf.

The Connected Educator: Building a Professional Learning Network « Allison Rossett. (2012). Retrieved July 5, 2015, from http://www.allisonrossett.com/2012/07/17/the-connected-educator-building-a-professional-learning-network/

Connectivism: Learning as a Community – Designed:2:Learn. (2015). Retrieved July 5, 2015, from http://lpd.nau.edu/connectivism-learning-as-a-community/

Curran. Marialice. “Creating Personal Learning Networks (PLN) in Teacher Preparation Programs Through Twitter.”  University of Saint Joseph, Mentoring Conference (2013): Retrieved July 5, 2015 from http://www.gonevirtual.org/uploads/6/0/8/6/6086473/creating_personal_learning_networks_pln_in_teacher_preparation_programs_through_twitter_.pdf

The PLP model: Research-based professional learning. (2012, August). Retrieved July 5, 2015, from http://plpnetwork.com/research-based-professional-development-that-works/

“Communities of Practice. A Policy Research Brief by the National Council of English Teachers” Rev. of Performance Title, by Author/Director/Artist. November 2011: Retrieved July 5, 2015, http://www.ncte.org/library/NCTEFiles/Resources/Journals/CC/0212nov2011/CC0212Policy.pdf.

Image Credits:

Puzzle Pieces: http://www.clker.com/clipart-puzzle-piece-top-1.html

People: http://free.clipartof.com/details/7-Free-Teamwork-Clip-Art-Of-A-Circle-Of-Diverse-People-Holding-Hands

Brain: http://www.clipartbest.com/free-brain-clipart-images