Thursday, March 15, 2012

"Making Classroom Walls Thinner"

Wow. To say that the information in the first 2 chapters was overwhelming for me is an understatement! I thought I was pretty technologically literate, but the first two chapters made me realize how much more is out there for me to learn.

· On page 20, the authors described two snapshots. One black and white depicting the more traditional role of a teacher/student relationship. The second was a full color video of the same student not only learning from their teacher, but also interacting with teachers from all over the world.

· This quote from page 24 really spoke to me and how we, as educators, really need to get on board with all that technology has to offer in order to prepare and give our students the skills they need to function in this fast changing world: “What is defined as literate today may not suffice tomorrow, given the fast-paced changes in technology.” If we take too long to embrace the current, new technology is right around the corner to make us feel even farther behind.

· In the traits listed beginning on page 27 of schools immersed in global networks, trait 6 really spoke to me as an elementary teacher. The trait discusses how “students are safer” and how to go about teaching students beginning in the lower grades how to be safe when they are online including what information is appropriate to share.

· I appreciated how the authors spoke of having balance (p. 36) in this “constant access to information” world we live in. While I think this balance is SO important, I don’t know what I would do if I did not have online access. I feel strange if I go more than a day without checking my Facebook, Google Reader, Pinterest, email...everything. It certainly can get overwhelming to say the least! The “regular reflection” noted on page 37 reminded me that I need to weed out some of those Facebook pages that I “liked” a while ago that I no longer need to keep up with, as well as the MANY blogs in my Google Reader that either do not post anymore (or seldom) or just don’t fit my life interests anymore.

· I loved the tips on using Diigo starting on page 36. I came across my first website with sticky notes from other Diigo users. I looked up the website for the tree octopus and saw several stickies on the page.

Chapters 1 & 2 were difficult for me to get through simply because I had to wrap my brain around all of the different tools and strategies mentioned. Chapter 3 was a breeze! I loved reading about the many different ways teachers have created wonderful learning experiences for their students through networked learning. I wrote down so many websites to check soon as I get this blog entry posted J.

· I love the analogy the authors used on page 76 comparing teaching students how to make smart decisions when they get behind the wheel of a car and teaching them how to also drive on the web. They have to know that almost all of the rules that apply to face-to-face conversations apply online as well.”

· I had the chance to look at the Creative Commons website and read a bit of information. I am really interested in getting deeper into this topic. The librarian at my school always spends a few lessons at the beginning of the year (and sporadically throughout) talking about copyright. To be honest, it goes right over my 3rd graders heads. As a future librarian and technology specialist, I want to find a way to explain this topic to kids at the elementary level that makes sense in their world.

· I appreciate the reminders and hints at the end of chapter 3 starting on page 81: it starts with you; start small; embrace uncertainty and failure; model, model, model; remember the goal. Oftentimes, I find myself wanting to jump right in to something new.

After reading these three chapters, I understand that this is a process I must take step by step for myself before I can begin the journey with my students.


  1. You are exactly right is a process and it can get overwhelming, so you have to find the balance. The time and effort you put into building your PLN in this course will all be worth it!

  2. It's easy to understand the need to be an active participant in our PLN's. It brings to mind the phrase, "surfing the web" which implies that we just out there taking in information supplied by others. Successful PLN's transform that phrase so that we become suppliers as well.

  3. I have to agree that balance is incredibly important. I know when I first start something new and exciting I tend to jump in and immerse myself in the project. However, this level of activity can only be sustained for so long without simply burning out. I was almost relieved to read that it was okay not to have to read EVERY post or tweet. I cannot imagine finding the time to keep up with every single one. However, even in the short time I have been following some blogs, I have come across useful information I know I will use.
    I think balance is important in all aspects of our lives. Students need a balance between academic and social time. Teachers need a balance between work and personal committments. Life is one big balancing act. I think integrating all these new tools will become easier as we find our center and are able to find a successful balance.