Reflections Continued on Salman Khan’s One World Schoolhouse

Ray  (my teaching partner) and I have continued reading One World Schoolhouse and sharing our thoughts on the book. In the spirit of taking turns, Ray has put some thoughts together for us after our discussion on the next few chapters.

“Nurturing the sense of wonder should be educations highest goal; failing to nurture it is the central tragedy of our current system.”

Khan, Salman, 2012.  One World Schoolhouse.  Retrieved from http://www.audible.com/pd/Nonfiction/The-One-World-Schoolhouse-Audiobook/B009HVNGQI

In order to nurture his students, Khan has developed his vision on a few simple ideas.  As I listened to his founding methods I found myself agreeing with his ideas.  His most interesting founding methods included the idea of mastery learning and personal responsibility.  In each case Khan does not take responsibility for developing the ideas.  Instead he explains how through reflection and in some cases necessity he came to develop Khan Academy into a resource that has been used by 10 000 000 students.  What is truly interesting about Khan is that though he does not have a teaching background; he understands how to meet the needs of students in order to create success.  

According to Khan, his method allows students to learn and master skills at their own pace.  This concept known as mastery learning is the idea that all students can learn if they are provided with conditions appropriate to their needs and that curriculum should not be based on time, but rather targets.  Students should move at their own pace in order to comprehend the skills they need to master new concepts.  In theory, all teachers agree that comprehension or understanding of skills is the key to learning; but in reality due to the amount of content needed to be covered, time often wins out.  Are we doing a disservice to our students when we move them on thinking that they will develop the skills needed as time goes on?

With the use of technology, Khan feels that despite resistance, the time is right to change from a time driven curriculum to a target driven curriculum.  As is with new ideas, some teachers find it difficult or are unwilling to change  their teaching methods.  Many teachers continue to follow methods that do not reflect our changing world.  As teachers, we need to be leaders and change teaching methods by using and embracing technology in order to meet the needs of each student.  Khan states that his videos allow students to learn, rewind and review content as needed. Without the pressure of time, students can absorb the content in order to get a deeper understanding.  Also, by using resources outside of the classroom, students can come to class with prior knowledge.  In a recent science class, I had the students go online and read a few articles and play some online games before a lesson.  What I found was that more students were engaged in the discussion.  They were eager to share their knowledge and I did not need to teach concepts, rather we consolidated their ideas.  Student were able to go through the material at their own pace.

Khan also discusses the notion of the need for students to take responsibility for their learning.  This is a topic of discussion in my class often.  We discuss how much more we learn when we are interested in the topic.  Khan suggests that we learn by committing and that learning is connecting concepts.  Students need to know where they have been and where they are going.  In order for students to do this they need to be able to access resources at all times.  Khan also believes that students need the freedom to determine where and when their learning will occur.  This brings to mind the blended learning model where students access material in class, at home and have face to face time with the teacher.  Once again, Khan feels that with technology and the internet students have access to the material they need to facilitate their learning when they need it.  By taking responsibility students become active learners and develop greater knowledge and skills.  I have shared the idea of self paced learning when talking to the students about being responsible for their learning.  The students seemed to be fascinated by this idea and it seems to appeal to all.  Through the expressions on their faces, it seems that there is almost a sense of relief for those who struggle and a sense of excitement for students who excel.  Every student gets what they need to master their learning.

How can we further the idea of self paced learning using technology so students can master skills?  Can self paced learning exist with our current teaching system?  How can we consciously ignore self paced learning when we know many students fall through the gaps because they do not fully grasp concepts in the amount of time allotted in the classroom? How do we overcome the drawbacks, such as our current curriculum guidelines, when trying to support a self paced learning model?

 

HWDSB Creating Policy that is Working to Enhance Learning with Technology

The Hamilton Wentworth District School Board has been making technology a greater priority over the past few years with an effort to change the learning environment in its schools. Expecting teachers and students to move to a 21st Century learning approach where technology is embedded into practice regularly is a enormous task. Currently, they are working at moving all of our schools to a wireless environment; they have created a role called ‘instructional coaches’ to support schools in their learning; and they are attempting to bring social media into each classroom by investing in devices and designing platforms for teacher and student use which resembles social media tools such as twitter or Facebook. Another part of the change that has come as a way to support the move to this new learning environment was the shift from an IT team to the ‘21st Century Learning Team.’  While the IT team was connected to computer services and provided technical support for teachers; the 21st Century Learning Team are now part of HWDSB’s Leadership and Learning Department. This team is in place to provide interdisciplinary support to school, so as to work with staff or students to increase knowledge around 21st Century tools and support inquiry based learning through technology.

The Hamilton school board has made the decision to evolve because “change is constant.” They are looking to move away from old thinking, toward new thinking that uses technology as a way to enhance learning, rather than using technology as an add-on.

HWDSB tech policy.jpg

http://www.hwdsb.on.ca/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/Changing-the-Learning-Environment-in-HWSDSB.pdf

The board has implemented a 21st Century Learning and Technology Policy that is intended to:

  • Increase understanding of how the use of technology can enhance learning and working for all

  • Increase understanding of blended learning

  • Provide pathways to systemic adoption of tools

  • Enhance teacher instruction and assessment, educational research, and professional development

  • Provide pathways to understanding the importance of authorship and ownership, of managing identity in digital spaces, of recognizing credible sources of information, participating in positive ways, and respecting the privacy of self and others

  • Develop skills for students to critically evaluate information technology, tools and resources

  • Develop the 21st century learning skills of all students and staff

http://www.hwdsb.on.ca/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/21st-Century-Learning-and-Technology.pdf

One of the challenges with implementing this policy will be educating staff on mass to the extent that is required for these skills to become a regular part of their practice. The board has been great at providing a platform (D2L) for teachers to access self-directed learning videos and reading materials. This is useful because with such great changes come a vast amount of new learning for everyone; meaning such a great number of topics that make it difficult to cover everything in a face-to-face PD session. The drawback to this support and thus to implementing the new policies is that this self-directed learning requires a certain degree of comfort and knowledge with technology. Many of our boards teachers are still very unfamiliar with how to navigate using certain technologies and many are intimidated by learning these tools; thus easily overwhelmed by such a plethora of self-directed ‘digital’ learning instruction. In relation to that, HWDSB is looking to increase student use of social media. Before students can be taught how to use social media sites like twitter safely, our teachers must first be comfortable with using this and understand how to be safe.  With a goal of one-to-one learning by 2019, I wonder how the board will go about ensuring all teachers become comfortable with 21st Century learning tools, so as to ensure the money spent on devices isn’t wasted as an ‘add-on’ technology?

An Educators Role in Protecting Students Online

caution computer

Click for photo source

As the year unfolded this year, my teaching partner and I were committed to getting our class blogs up and running for our respective classes.  As we discussed what this would look like on a computer screen and in the classroom; we knew that we would need to consider our students needs.  The things we considered were how to keep students safe, did we want the public to access and share on our blogs, and how do we ensure the students are acting appropriately online.  As we continued our discussions, colleagues began to inquire about our methods.  We found that not only were we working at ensuring student safety, we were also dialoguing and sharing ideas with our peers.

According to OCT Standards of Practice, teachers should promote and participate in the creation of collaborative, safe and supportive learning communities (OCT Standards of Practice).  At times, participation in learning groups happens in formal settings and other times it happens informally.  The two of us have been involved more with informal learning.  As I have stated, we often discuss the learning that is occurring in class and where we are heading with the students.  I had one colleague ask one day, “What do you two talk about each night?”  One of the things that I shared with her was how we were working on getting our blog started.  This sparked an interest in her as she had attended a tech night, put on by our board that dealt with classroom blogging.  Suddenly, our informal group of two grew to include another member and we had begun to create our own personal learning network. It has since grown further with a few other staff members who are venturing into blogging and other 21st Century learning experiences with their students.

Within our PLN, our main focus was how to manage the blogs with our different grade levels.  We wanted to expose students to the world of blogging while keeping them safe.  According to the ethical standard of Care, teachers are committed to students’ well-being and learning through positive influences, professional judgement and empathy (The Ethical Standards for the Teaching Profession).  It is with the Ethical Standards in mind, that we began to share some of the knowledge we had gained in our Integration of Technology Course Part 2.  We began to share lessons we had created with our colleagues and we continued to discuss the importance of ensuring the safety of students.  Using our professional knowledge, we decided that with our primary grades, we would create a blog that would be worked on as a class in a type of shared writing opportunity. We would focus mostly on sharing our information and comments within our immediate community of students and parents. Our juniors would start blogging as a shared experience as well, with the goal of eventually interacting with our blog independently from home and by interacting with other blogs globally.  This decision was based on our knowledge of students’ ability and their access to technology.  With in class support and modelling, we felt that this was the best way to ensure the safety of our students.  The next step would be putting our theories and planning into practice.

Within our PLN we have had many discussions about how students today are part of the ‘digital generation.’ Most of them are online on a regular basis (whether their parents like it or not). This year when surveying our students, we learned that most of them are online at least once a week and many of them are online daily. We feel that not only does this show us that using online tools is a motivating factor for our students, but that it is also becoming more and more important to have conversations in the classroom about online safety and digital responsibility. As well, a quick conversation is not enough to instill good habits into our students. Rather, frequent modelling and practice of these skills is what will help ensure safe and responsible use for our students.

With doing so much activity online at school, we have developed lessons to start the year off to introduce safe online activity. In addition, we have continued to revisit these concepts with our students each time we get online or use our class blog. Our students have now become ‘experts’ at pointing out when someone else in the online community has done something poorly to impact their digital footprint or when someone else has provided information that may not be keeping them safe.

Without us intending on doing so, this has become great sharing and modelling within our PLN. Our colleagues see how our students now naturally think about their actions online. They see how much students online activity increases through the primary grades into the junior grades and they have come to recognize that early discussions about safety and online etiquette help to shape responsible digital citizens. While our lessons and ways of teaching are newly developed and will need tweaking in the future; they have provided some of our colleagues with a jumping off point or with an idea of how to create their own lessons on internet safety and digital responsibility. Our informal discussions within the PLN have encouraged others to agree with our views that tackling these issues in the classroom is important and valuable. Hopefully this suggests that we ourselves are becoming good leaders with respect to our online actions.

In the spirit of sharing, here are some of the things we have done to help ensure the safety of our students online, as well as some of the lessons we’ve used to encourage them to be good digital citizens. It is our hope that these actions are ensuring the safety of our students.

  1. Discuss the value of blogging with students and parents – WHY BLOG

  1. Create blogging guidelines for our students to follow and send this home with a letter letting parents know what will be involved in our online activity at school

  1. Teach lessons on what information should not be shared online – STUDENT SAFETY ONLINE

  1. Teach lessons on creating Quality Comments so that students are safe and so that they are kind to others online

  1. Teach lessons on how to copy work properly, so as to respect other online users and the original authors of online work – COPY THE RIGHT WAY

We have come to see the value in teaching the skills of online safety and digital citizenship to our students and will continue to do so; but we wonder if this should become a mandated part of programming for all teachers? How much of a role do parents play in teaching children these skills that are so essential for the 21st Century and how does that balance with role educators have in teaching these skills?

Co-written with Ray Swinarchin

Understanding Creative Commons Licenses

In an effort to add to previous posts I have had discussing the value of the Creative Commons, I have put together a brief handout that Ray and I can share with our staff and students to help them understand the various licenses available under the creative commons. I have shared it here.

 Creative Commons

Previous Posts

Modeling Fair Use in the Classroom and Learning From Your Mistakes

There is Value in Modeling Fair Use

Creative Commons – A Shared Culture

The One World Schoolhouse: Education Reimagined – I’m Now Filled with Questions

“It’s my belief that each of us has a stake in the education of all of us. Who knows where genius will crop up? There may be a young girl in an African village with the potential to find a cancer cure. A fisherman’s son in New Guinea might have incredible insight into the health of the oceans. Why would we allow their talents to be wasted? How can we justify not offering those children a world-class education, given that the technology and resources to do so are available— if only we can muster the vision and the boldness to make it happen?” Khan, Salman. 2012. One World Schoolhouse. Retrieved from http://www.audible.com/pd/Nonfiction/The-One-World-Schoolhouse-Audiobook/B009HVNGQI

As I begin to listen to the audiobook, One World Schoolhouse: Education Reimagined, my passion for helping students succeed is reinvigorated. It’s hard for anyone who listens to the radio, watches television, or reads on the internet to say they’ve never heard of Khan Academy. However, I wonder how many are like me? They have heard the name Khan Academy several times, they know it’s receiving lots of attention, but they don’t really know what it is.

The book is written and read by Salman Khan, the founder of the Khan Academy. Khan believes in a world where education is free and available to all. As I listened to his ideal world that got him started down this journey, I thought to myself; yes, I want that for everyone too. In fact, I think most educators would agree with me. However like me, many of us stop there; unwilling or unsure of how to make change to the system we live in. I was impressed that in such a short time frame that Khan, someone who is not even a teacher to begin with, has started to make strides and bring learning to people in all parts of the world. Well, at least to anyone who can access the internet.

So many of the questions Khan asks in his introduction are valid and important questions. Questions that I know I have asked myself before; “Does the standard classroom model—broadcast lectures in school, solitary homework in the evening— still make sense in a digital age? Why do students forget so much of what they have supposedly “learned” as soon as an exam has been taken? Why do grown-ups sense such a disconnect between what they studied in school and what they do in the real world?” Khan, Salman. One World Schoolhouse. While reading these questions I was reflective of my own practice and was left thinking about many of my struggling students. I often spend many nights lying awake thinking of how I can better help them. More questions came for me: How do I support their different way and pace of learning when I have 28 students in a class? If I provide video to view at home, as I know the Khan Academy has many of, will this help? Is it enough? If I want to change my practice to better fit the digital age (which I am trying to do, by the way), how do I still do this within the confines of the curriculum and confines of the public school system I work for?

At one point in the book he talks about the challenges that a student faces when the class must move on to keep up with curriculum, but the student is not ready to do so. In Ontario, we have tried to curb this problem with the Individual Education Plan (IEP) that allows students to move forward with their peers, while still working at their learning level. However, I’m not sure this process is truly helping these students get the learning they need. Often students must sit through lessons that are above them before the teacher can work one-to-one with them to support them at their own learning level. Otherwise, they are left off to the side during these lessons to work through some work at ‘their level’ while this lesson is happening; allowing for distraction, isolation, and little instruction. Do you think we are meeting the needs of our IEP students in the standard classroom? What strategies do you use to support these students? What new strategies should we be trying?

Khan’s book has definitely caught my interest and I’m eager to hear all of it. I hope that not only will I learn about the fascinating direction of the Khan Academy, but that I might walk away with some insights into how to evolve my own classroom practice within the walls of the current school structure that employs me. I don’t mean to write a post with so many questions, but having only begun the book I am left feeling curious. I hope in the comments below that some of you will feel brave enough to address some of the many questions I have asked. I will continue my read and share more of my thoughts as time goes on.

 

HWDSB Virtual Library Resources

Ray and I have looked at Hamilton’s Virtual Library Resources in a previous post. Below, my teaching partner Ray Swinarchin reflects on our new findings after revisiting to see what is new.

Guest Post:

In a previous post I shared some interesting resources available in the HWDSB Virtual Library.  I recently revisited the site to see if any new resources grabbed my attention.  I have created an infographic to share some of these resources.

 

Did you know that HWDSB’s Virtual Library allows teachers to request or suggest online resources.  A form with a request of the resource is available through the Virtual Library side bar menu.  There is also a tab on the side bar that allows teachers to evaluate the resources being offered through the Virtual Library.  The virtual library is a tool that is an underused tool as many people are not aware of all the resources available to them.  It is important to make peers and colleagues aware of tools available in the virtual library and to evaluate so that this is not an under used or overlooked resources.

I was wondering how often you share information or think about your virtual library with colleagues when planning?As a side note, while I explored Venngage Infographic, I found it easy to use.  Adding images and text was as simple as clicking and dragging content into the infographic.  There is also a link that allows you to share your infographic using such social networking tools as twitter, facebook and google+.  However, as I have shared these links it has come to my attention that the link does not allow you to view the document.  This may be due to the fact that I may need to upgrade my membership to a premium page.  By upgrading, I will have the ability to turn my creations into pdf files so that I can share them with others.
Links to resources:

Teaching Kids News –  With this site, teachers can access news articles written in kid friendly language.  The news articles are presented in a way so that kids can understand it, think critically about it and then apply their knowledge to the real world.  Along with a daily article, grammar and curriculum based questions are included with each article.

CGF Learning Free – GCF is a site that helps individuals learn skills needed to live and work in the 21st Century.  The resource offers 125 tutorial and over a thousand lessons on topics such as math, reading, and microsoft.  There are instructors who can support online classes.

The Red Book – The Red Book is a database of community, government, volunteer and health sector programs and services in and supporting the City of Hamilton.  By typing in key words users a lead to a list of support services available within the city.

Media Smarts – Media Smarts is a comprehensive collection of digital and media resources.  Media Smarts develops digital and media literacy programs and resources for schools.  The site offers information and tools to help children develop critical thinking skills they need to interact with the media they love.

Pop Culture Collection – Gale Cengage Learning offers content, tools and services to libraries in order to promote learning  and information discover.  One of the tools offered is Pop Culture Collection.  One interesting feature is Term Cluster.  When a subject is searched, related links and data is included.  For example, when I searched Harry Potter, linked data included J.K. Rowling, movies, books, London, New York.

Kids InfoBits – Kids InfoBits, also by Gale Cengage Learning, offers children age appropriate content covering a broad range of educational topics.  Content includes books, magazines, news and images.  InforBits engages students with interesting facts along with connections to current events.

 

Share With Others and They Will Share With You

“ It is one of the most beautiful compensations in life that no man can sincerely try to help another without helping himself.”
- Ralph Waldo Emerson

As a leader or even as someone’s equal in the education world, you would be doing a disservice to not only others, but to yourself if you did not choose to embrace the beauties of what we now call web 2.0. As noted in an early post by my teaching partner, Ray Swinarchin, the web has evolved from being just a static resource with read-only material (web 1.0), to being a tool that allows for reading, sharing, collaborating, and interacting (web 2.0). I have spoken before about the importance of embracing interactive social media tools as a leader in education (see Leading by Example). To further elaborate on this, I think by using web 2.0 tools such as twitter, blogging, instagram, etc. leaders are not only encouraging other educators to lead by example for their students, but they are also helping to open the door for those educators to a much greater wealth of knowledge and expertise. In addition, as per the quote from Ralph Emerson above, leaders are also able to gain something for themselves. By creating and using platforms that encourage sharing, leaders will naturally build networks that they too can rely on as a further source of knowledge. In the age of information it is not possible to know everything about everything in education. Building a network fostered by the sharing of information means leaders can manage this. They can simply turn to their network to ask questions and seek information about the topic they are focussing on at any given moment. They inevitably will benefit from the process as well.

In an effort to follow this message, I have created my first wikispace. It’s a bit of a mash up of ideas that all pertain to where I’m at in my teaching and learning. Included are sections on split classrooms, blogging, and other tech related ideas for the classroom. I hope that you will consider sharing in my creation of this wiki, and add anything that you have created for your classroom. Thanks!

https://21stcenturyclassroom-splits-blogs-tech.wikispaces.com/

 

The Evolution of the Web

As we reflect on our practice, my teaching partner Ray Swinarchin and I have been thinking about how the changes in technology, specifically the internet has changed our approach to teaching and learning. Here is a great guest post that Ray put together to explain how the web has evolved and continues to evolve.

“…because your knowledge and my knowledge, based on what search results are served, may be very different.” (Silva Vaidhayana) This quote reminded me of an article I read a few years ago about the way people conduct searches. The gist of the article stated that people will search out information that supports their point of view and disregard other information. In a sense we search for the information we want and discard other related material if it does not meet our needs. The evolution of the web will change the trend of only looking for data that suites ones opinion. To understand how this evolution is changing the trend we need to examine how the web was used and how it will be used in the future.

The Evolution of the Web

preparing-for-the-impact-of-web-30-40-638

Click photo for source

Tim Berners-Lee, who launched the world wide web in 1989, wanted to change the way we used information and how we worked together.  Berners-Lee wanted a global resource that would allow people to access information.  In its beginning, the web, referred to as Web 1.0, was known as a read only web.  In other words, the consumer was limited to only reading information presented on a website.  Since these static websites do not permit interaction or communication, it was difficult to discuss the credibility of information or to present different points of views.

To allow for communication and interaction, new tools needed to be developed.  In 1999, a company called  Blogger  was started which helped usher in Web 2.0.  Over time more social networking tools were developed (i.e. facebook, youtube, twitter, etc.) which allowed the user to read, write and publish.  This allows the consumer to become active and share feedback with the creator of information.  As this interaction occurs; communication, collaboration and creativity increases.  The problem that users now face is that there is so much information available that it is difficult for consumers to sift through all the data in order to find appropriate content.

Berners-Lee’s new vision for the web is to have individuals put data onto the net.  His vision is that as more data is placed on the web it becomes linked to other data because machines will be able to read the data and link it to other sources.  In Web 3.0. the user will be able to do a search that will start in one database and then move through other databases which are connected or related to the search.  According to Berners-Lee, the information you get back is data with relationships to other data.  As a result, the linked data will come from diverse sources giving the consumer a better understanding of the content.

The following youtube video by Kate Ray, gives an overview of Web3.0.

Web 3.0 and Education

As Web 3.0 and linked data is created, students will be able to absorb more information and spend greater time analyzing this data.  While researching Web 3.0, I came across Gapminder, which shows the world’s most important trends.  It is a database, that has collected and organized data so that it can be understood by it’s consumers.  Under the For Teachers page, there is an example of how data with relationships can be used in a classroom to discuss world trends.  The conversations are meaningful as students are able to analyze the data and share their thoughts on what the data tells them.  By linking to this, students are getting real world information and can discuss real world issues.

With the linked data of Web 3.0, teachers will be able to fully assess students according to the Ontario Curriculum Achievement Charts.  Much of what is assessed is the students knowledge and understanding.  As the content or data is made available, teachers can go deeper into the achievement chart and assess thinking, communication, and application skills.   Teachers will no longer be feeding information to students and asking for them to restate it.  Students will work with data to come to their own conclusions and thus the emergence of 21st Century critical thinker.

As I was researching the evolution of the web, I became aware changes that have occurred overtime.  However, while we live day to day these changes are sometimes overlooked until we are made aware of these changes and reflect on how these changes can affect our teaching.  I was wondering, as leaders, how often do we make other team members aware of the changing trends in education?

 

Lessons for Grade 4/5 Structures and Mechanisms

5 Lesson Plans for Understanding Structures and Mechanisms Grade 4/5

web-2.0-list

click photo for source

My teaching partner, Ray Swinarchin and I currently teach a combined split grade class of 4/5.  As with most of the work we do, we have discussed and planned for our upcoming science units.  We are currently working on Understanding Structures and Mechanisms.  We have included a brief outline of the lessons and inquiry based learning the students will be doing.  Along with the lessons, we have included some ideas of how to integrate  Web 2.0 tools into the classroom.  The use of these tools has allowed the students to collaborate, communicate, create and to be critical thinkers.  It is our hope that by sharing these ideas with others, by allowing a peek into our classes through blogs and the other web tools we use, that others will begin to explore ways they can integrate technology into their classes and consider sharing their resources as well.

Lesson 1

Key Activity: Google Presentation

Lesson 2

Key Activity: Video Creation

Lesson 3

Key Activity: Collaborating and Sorting Ideas with Lino

Lesson 4

Key Activity: Presenting Perspectives via the Class Blog

Lesson 5

Key Activity: Design and Build (Photograph problems and solutions)

Getting Connected

Note: This is a co-written post by Ray Swinarchin and I.

The essence of 21st Century Learning and Leadership comes down to the idea of becoming connected and one way of doing this is by developing a Personal Learning Network.  Personal Learning Networks or PLNs allow individuals to connect with others to share, communicate, and request.  By creating a PLN, an individual creates relationships with others who have similar interests.  This relationship leads to sharing of ideas and resources, collaboration and new learning.  Over time, the PLN grows connecting the individual to the global community.  Individuals interact in a variety of ways by using social networks and other online platforms.   Networking allows individuals to connect with leaders in education who can support the individual in their own self directed professional development.

When an individual self directs their professional development it leads to greater exploration or inquiry based learning.  In the past, teachers have had little input as to what PD would best fit their needs.  With a self directed inquiry process in mind, a teacher can now create a PLN and seek out leaders for support and guidance.  An example of this is being done within our own school.  Our administrator has asked for our input as to what direction each individual feels they need to develop.  As the  needs of the individual teachers are examined our administrator has created five  learning teams.  In a traditional setting, our administrator would need to facilitate five groups and bring in a variety of experts.  However, with social networking (i.e. twitter) our administrator could bring in other experts to join in discussions.  These experts would share their knowledge and provide prompts for the group to have dialogues that would leads to a deeper understanding.  As the group of learners continue to dialogue and share information the expert or leader takes on the role of co-learner as all members are contributing to the learning.  As the conversation grows in the network, new experts are drawn into the network leading to greater collaboration.  With a wealth of input, a sharing of resources and rich conversation, the original learning group will become leaders.  These new leaders will be encouraged by their peers of leaders to join other PLNs in order to share their knowledge and expertise.

Here is an an example of our personal learning network.  As we continue to develop and grow in different areas our links with others will grow.  In some instances we will be leaders and in other instances we will be the learner.

mind map PLN

Below is a number of links that describe Personal Learning Networks and tips on how to create a your own network.

http://teacherchallenge.edublogs.org/creating-a-pln/

http://gettingsmart.com/2012/01/personal-learning-networks-for-educators-10-tips/

http://educationaltechnologyguy.blogspot.ca/p/create-personal-learning-network.html

 

Have you considered your personal learning network?  Who are the people and how do you access them when you have questions?