Whenever I meet educators at EdcampNYC or engage in Twitter chats (#scichat, #edchat, #edtech, and #kinderchat are my favorites), I shake my first at the sky and say “Man, I wish there was a way to engage in a structured and collaborative Professional Learning Community with these people!”. I have similar needs during in-house professional development, Professional Learning Communities, and grade level meetings. By the time we’re really digging into a topic, it’s time to leave. There isn’t a central place we keep notes, action calendars, or resources. Engagement needs a place to live. This week, I’ve been experimenting with Coursekit – an engagement manager that’s useful for a variety of digital and in-house professional learning communities.
Coursekit has features we’ve seen before – gradebooks, a place to submit work, and calendars. The innovation is the focus on peer to peer interaction. The case studies on Coursekit’s website feature professors teaching hands-on classes in a university setting. As a primary educator, I am drawn to Coursekit because I can use it to support my Professional Learning Communities whether participants are at my school or the other side of the world. I’ve created a mock Professional Learning Community coursekit called “Professional Learning Community: Integrating Social-Emotional Content into K-2 Lessons“. I’ve left the coursekit open so anyone can join. Have at it! Pretend you’re a part of this learning community – post questions, links, and media.
Coursekit is free. Create your own and comment with the link. Do use Coursekit? Are you as excited about it as I am?
Pro-teacher tips: People engage in communities when they feel a sense of belonging, significance, and fun. (Crosspost from Candaceopinion)
I wrote this post for my new blog that has a digital community management focus.
Ryan Arndt’s post 7 Ways to Put LOVE Back Into Your Community Management has great advice for community managers AND teachers (it turns out Ryan used to be a teacher! Go figure.). This post made me wonder which elements of my teaching philosophy and practice I apply to new community management roles.
I’m lucky enough to teach at a school that has a social-emotional approach to education. All classrooms use a community-building model called Responsive Classroom. The end goal of Responsive Classroom is to create engaging communities of intrinsically motivated learners who care for the social, intellectual, and emotional health of their classmates. I can (and will) write many posts about how my classroom management plan is similar to my community management plans. The focus of this blog post is the core belief of Responsive Classroom. In order for learning to happen, people must be engaged. For people to engage in a community setting, they must feel a sense of belonging, significance, and fun. Belonging is the feeling that we are important to our community. Significance is the feeling that what we say matters to our community. Fun is when we experience joy with our community.
In my experience, most brands go for the joy factor first. Schwag, booze, and food are thrown at potential community members in the hope that they will engage. The Responsive Classroom framework helps us understand that this approach is superficial. Slightly better brands combine social opportunities with joy: exclusive and intimate networking events (with booze, schwag, and food). This is better but not sufficient. Brands tend to forget that people will not engage in a community if what they say or do isn’t significant. In the past few years, we’ve seen brands start to tackle significance with their customer service outreach (JetBlue, for example). In the past year, I’ve noticed brands take this a step further and create opportunities for community feedback to change brand operations. Mashable’s article 5 Fitness Brands Kicking Butt on Social Media gives a case study of a contest by Under Armor that ended in users being crowned social media experts for five weeks.
What are the innovative ways your brand (or brands you love) make you feel significant? (Please comment!)
I’ve been in sick in bed for 6 days. After exhausting all of the “Sh*t _____ say” videos, I decided to clean-up my social media outlets. I found a post in the draft section of my dashboard: “2009 Resolutions: Work out. Blog more. Survive student teaching.”
Well, I survived student-teaching and 3 years of teaching in my own South Bronx classroom. I have a healthy approach to fitness – long Bed-Stuy walks and longer 5 boro bike rides. I’ve decided to change the focus of this blog so it’s a relevant place for me to facilitate meaningful conversations. My Classroom Management Plan on Scribd has over 20,000 hits and continues to start conversations about what it means to create lively intellectual, social, and activist communities in our classrooms. Community-building is the foundation of my professional practice. On the side, I’ve begun to engage in the world of Community Management. In the digital world, Community Managers are people who build and facilitate communities around brands and causes. Most think social media is the primary focus of Community Managers. Like good teachers, good Community Managers foster meaningful collaboration amongst small groups of people. They help members build community norms and roles generate meaning and value for participants. From now on, this blog will focus on community-building from a teaching perspective, a digital perspective, and of course, an edtech perspective. Stay tuned, folks!
Whether you are catching up on your professional development reading, filling carts with school supplies at Staples, or planning your curriculum, you will find great minds blogging about fascinating topics.
Shielding himself from the sun in the computer lab, Chris Mark is helping teachers perfect the use of web-blogs. His article Using Web-Logs in the EFL Classroom posted at Students’ Page. This blog post contains a Slideshare presentation from a recent conference and a list of links to related presentations. Next to him, Burcu Akyol helps “blogger wannabes” find their place in the blogosphere. Check out her article My Blogging Adventure – Some Ideas For Blogger Wannabes (Part 1) posted at Burcu Akyol’s EFL Blog.
On the obstacle course, drill instructor Shelly Terrell leads teachers through a strenuous bootcamp. The focus of this bootcamp session is wait time. Check out her video and instructions in Wait! Don’t Tell Me! posted at Teacher Boot Camp.
You’ll find Lucy Bertoldi at the bookstore adding to her classroom thesaurus collection. Her article Context Explanation and Synonyms Versus Translation posted at ESL-EAL and More. This concise article helps educators coach their students when they cannot come up with words in English. In the checkout line, she strikes up a conversation with Larry Ferlazzo about ESL/EFL/ELL terminology. Check out his article The Best Guides To ESL/EFL/ELL Terminology on Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day.
Cool drink in hand, Mathew Needleman engages in a debate about curriculum and responsibility. His article, It’s Not the Curriculum, It’s Us posted at Creating Lifelong Learners is a direct response to Scott McLeod‘s It’s not ‘the tests.’ It’s us.
At the bank, Miracel Juanta is depositing her blog revenue. She teaches educators how to make money off of their blogs in the article How to Add Google Adsense to Your Blog posted at On Blogging and Social Media. Nice way to make summer cash…
Karenne Sylvester (of Kalinago English) is at the comic book store looking for seed ideas. Her article Murder Of A Superhero. Weapon? An Item Of Office Equipment is an example of a formal and informal language lesson.
At the principal’s office, David Deubelbeiss explains how his lesson about lies helps students understand the emotion behind language. Check out his article Using Lies in the EFL Classroom on EFL Classroom 2.0 – Teacher Talk.
During a conference, Mary Ann Zehr presents a study about Latino teens, parenting, and culture. Her article, Study: Latino Teens Benefit From Sharing Two Cultures With Parents is posted on the Edweek Learning the Language blog .
I’m scraping the cobwebs off of this blog and hosting the ESL/EFL/ELL Blog Carnival on August 1st. You still have a few days to submit your work via this this easy submission form (deadline: July 31st). The carnival welcomes anything related to teaching or learning English – from class blogs to student work samples and reflections about your teaching.
To learn more about the ESL/EFL/ELL Blog Carnival, check out this page on Larry Ferlazzo’s blog.
I look forward to seeing you on the midway!