With increased focus on global collaboration in our world, educators are leading the way by connecting with international classrooms. Each day in schools of the world, teachers seek out ways to share perspectives, develop meaningful relationships, and grow together as professionals. Through innovative methods of networking and connection, educators are using collaborative tools, such as Google Hangout, Twitter, Voxer, and Periscope, to engage in impactful discussions. This week, educators from around the world together will be sharing their voices in the EdCamp Global virtual conference. Recently, I had the pleasure of joining my fellow EdCamp Global planning team members, Jaime Donally and Cassie Reeder as we discussed the topic of Global Collaboration with Billy Krakower on the BAM Radio Network podcast #SatChat Radio. Together, we explored the question of how do we prepare students and teachers for global learning. With education going global, we acknowledged in our discussion that professional development also is changing, and even more so, evolving at rapid rates to allow for the open sharing of perspectives from educators of the world.
EdCamp Global, an international, 24-hour virtual “unconference” is an example of professional development that truly embodies this notion. Starting with a simple idea, EdCamp Global has quickly turned from a concept to a movement with a widespread global following. Currently, there are over 1,450 attendees registered that represent 33 countries. With over 170 sessions offered, there is something for anyone in education that may be looking to learn or share. Scheduled topics cover areas such as Apps for Learning, Digital Citizenship, Maker Movement, and Google for Education. Sessions centered on global collaboration seem to top the lists of high interest for both sharing and learning. As the mission of EdCamp always encourages participants to move freely in and out of sessions by using the “rule of two feet,” the attendees of EdCamp Global that kicks off this Friday at 8pm CTZ will definitely have to use the “rule of the mouse” to ensure that they can share their voices in all of these amazing sessions on connecting students with the world.
In efforts to “not miss a global beat,” I scanned the schedule and started noting all the sessions I could find that raise the topic of connecting students internationally. I asked a few EdCamp Global facilitators to get our “global collaboration” gears turning with some conversation previews!
Making the Case for Global Competence in Your Community
Facilitator: Heather Singmaster
Twitter Chat: #globaled
You know that to be successful in the 21st century, students need to be globally competent. But does the rest of your community agree? This session will explore ways to make the case and advocate for global education with key constituents such as parents, business, administrators, and other community members. In this Twitter chat session, participants will look together at different arguments and can share examples of what has worked – and what hasn’t!
Go Digitally Global
Facilitator: Stephan Hughes
Twitter Chat: #GoDigital
Web 2.0 tools abound inasmuch as the resistance among teachers to use them in the classroom for diverse reasons. Understanding the rationale and acquiring the mindset of a digital pedagogy will set teachers on their way to make their own edu-digital footprint so they can help their students hone their 21st-century skills. Join Stephan Hughes, an extraordinary language consultant from Rio de Janeiro for this globally connected Twitter chat! Go global, and #GoDigital!
Globally Connected Classrooms
Facilitator: Brian Host
This session, facilitated by EduHero Brian Host, will offer educators an insight into some of the best practices in connecting educators and classrooms globally. In this Google Hangout session, best teaching practices in global collaboration will be highlighted, including class blogs, reflective professional blogs, video conferencing (forms: expert in the room, author guests, virtual excursions and mystery locations), global projects, the use of social media. Brian will also be joined by Craig Kemp, Bev Ladd, Jena Ball, Marty Keltz, Brett Salakas and leading educators Sunny Thakral, Alex Le Long and Viv Hall. This "Crossing the Seven Seas" #ECG2015 session is not to miss!
Engaging Student Voice: Top Tech Tools for Global Collaboration
Facilitators: Jennifer Williams & Fran Siracusa
Twitter Chat: #GlobalLearning
Let's explore ways to collaborate globally and engage student voice with tech tools. In this fast-paced, Twitter chat session, participants will discuss how to empower students to share knowledge, experience, life passions, and individual perspectives through use of digital literacies. Qs will guide the sharing of stories of success in the classroom and will offer practical examples of digital tools and instructional practices for inspiring students to be creators of content and agents of change in the world.
Four Seasons of Collaboration
Facilitator: Billy Krakower
In this Google Hangout session, Billy Krakower, moderator of #SatChat Radio and the #SatChat Twitter chat, will facilitate a discussion on the “Four Seasons of Global Collaboration.” In this session, participants will explore different ways to connect students of the world!
Classroom Makeover: Learning Spaces that Foster Global Collaboration
Facilitator: Jennifer Williams & Fran Siracusa
Periscope Chat: @jen___williams paired with Nearpod
Interactive Periscope/Nearpod session that demonstrates the importance of using the learning space of the classroom to promote collaboration, innovation, and exploration. Five easy-to-implement ideas help to transform rooms to spaces that promote global collaboration and seamless integration of technology. Come for fun and inspiration!
Engaging Students in the Globally Connected Classroom
Facilitator: Craig Kemp
Twitter Chat: #globaled
In this one-off Twitter chat, the hour will begin with an exploration of the term “global classroom.” Over the course of the hour, participants will discuss ways to specifically connect classrooms to the world and ideas on how to use global connections to make an impactful difference in the world today. For more information on this highly anticipated ECG Twitter Chat, check out Craig’s blog post at http://mrkempnz.com/2015/07/globaled-a-one-off-twitter-chat-spectacular.html.
Listing of #ECG2015 Sessions Discussing Global Collaboration:
What does it mean to be a Florida connected educator? Today, I was honored to join Tanya Avrith, Lisa Dabbs, and Tammy Neil in in Remind’s first ever #RCEChat Webinar to explore this question and discuss our personal journeys as connected educators. With opportunities for networked collaboration at virtually the fingertips of every educator in the state of Florida, the potential for connection is limitless. For me, being a connected educator is truly about personalizing my network and nurturing the bonds that have been created. My journey to becoming a connected Florida educator has been powerful; the experience transformational; connections developing into friendships and then friendships into bonds to last a lifetime.
Quite literally, with plenty of warm sunshine and lots of beautiful, blue water, the state of Florida is fertile ground for planting the seeds of connection. Supportive networks fervently and selflessly charge themselves with helping new-to-Twitter educators to connect with the acts of sharing and supporting ultimately represent defining features of connected educators. If you are looking for ways to develop connections in Florida, here are some ideas to grow as a connected educator in the sunshine state.
1. Twitter Chats
Twitter instantly appealed to me as a professional because I was able to customize my Professional Learning Network. I sought out educators that brought a sincere, genuine, and positive voice to the conversation of education. More, I was drawn to teachers that offered student-focused solutions to challenges instead of placing focus on problems. With like-minded individuals, I quickly was able to engage in conversations that positively changed me as a teacher and, more as a person. Twitter chats allowed for expanded and focused discussions on topics that were personally significant in my life. If you are a Florida educator new to Twitter, here are three not-to-miss chats:
2. Expand Conversations
Twitter is a wonderful entry point to ignite ideas and spark discussions. There are other amazing tools that allow for conversations to be expanded and further explored. Check out these interactive and innovative connection tools:
3. Connect at Conferences
With a focus on networking, learning, and growing, Florida conferences offer wonderful opportunities to connect personally with educators and innovators. Check out these great Florida conferences and be sure to follow each of them on Twitter:
4. Focus on the Relationships
As we concluded in our discussion and webinar today, it was clear that we all were certain that the key to being a connected educator is to keep focus on developing, supporting, and nurturing connections. Relationships are key, and any thriving PLN is built around people first, not places, programs, or tools. With a focus on relationships, unconferences and informal meetups have become movements of empowering educators to share their choices in professional growth. With Remind #CoffeeEdu connected chats and EdCamps all over the state, Florida educators are changing the model of professional development and encouraging the voice of the teacher. To find your local Florida Edcamp, visit http://edcamp.wikispaces.com. All Florida educators are invited and welcomed to EdCamp Tampa Bay coming up on October 10, 2015! We would love to have you join in our fun. To register, visit www.edcamptampabay.com.
Many thanks to Tanya, Lisa, Tammy, and Remind!
Vision. It allows us to outline a path for which to follow. It not only reflects the culture of an organization through statements of goals and aspirations, but it provides the “how” and the “why” to place purpose and framework. In recent months as I have worked to prepare for EdCamp Tampa Bay, the local EdCamp in my area that I together with Fran Siracusa have worked to develop, I have often looked to the vision and the mission of the EdCamp Foundation as a guiding force. Though simply stated, I believe the words so clearly substantiate the original and thoughtful intentions of the founding members.
Vision of EdCamp
We are all self-directed learners, developing and sharing our expertise with the world.
Mission of EdCamp
We build and support a community of empowered learners.
This past week, I was honored to be a part of the nationwide EdCamp event, EdCamp Leadership, that brought educational leaders together in multiple areas across the United States to discuss topics of critical significance that are affecting classrooms and educators today. EdCamp Leadership Melbourne, the Florida event organized by Susan Bearden (@s_bearden) and Cathy Koos (@ckoos1) and held at Holy Trinity Episcopal Academy, was an extraordinary day of learning and sharing. And true to the foresight of the EdCamp pioneers, the day was indeed one of great vision.
“We are all self-directed learners.”
For me, one of the best parts of EdCamp is the creation of the “board.” As an organically developed schedule of sessions, the board embodies the EdCamp vision in that we all, for one day, become somewhat of conference coordinators. I am fascinated by EdCamp session boards and always watch with anticipation as they develop. Educators directing their own learning—essentially modeling what I hope is happening in classrooms---students part of the process of inquiry and at the center in their search for knowledge. At EdCamp Leadership, something quite simple, yet profound happened that I believe is the essence of EdCamp. That morning, as I left the introduction hour, I quickly took a picture of the session board and headed off to the first sessions. During one morning session, I noticed a teacher next to me, a teacher I had never met in person, creating a sketchnote of the conversation. I was immediately thrilled as learning to sketchnote has been on my “personal learning bucket list” for the year. As I followed along with the session and the hashtag #edcampldrFL on Twitter, I noticed that my neighboring teacher had posted a picture of her sketchnote as the session continued. I introduced myself and learned that her name was Lali DeRosier (@LabCoatTeacher) and, by her Twitter history of images, I could see that she was an avid and talented sketchnoter. I quickly retweeted and then replied asking her if she had a sketchnote session on the board for the day. What happened next was pure EdCamp "magic” in my mind. We met after the session, and she said that though she had thought to put it up, she had decided not to. Soonafter, she visited the board, found an opening, and added her session…Sketchnoting 101! At Lali’s standing-room-only session, I created my first-of-many sketchnotes. The creation of this session happened in the moment and based on interest and engagement. “We are all self-directed learners.” Vision!
“We are all developing and sharing our expertise with the world.”
I love Periscope, and as an early adopter, I knew instantly that the possibilities were distinctive and endless for use in education. For the second session of the day, I was thrilled to watch the power of Periscope play out for the world to see. As facilitator Tanya Spillane (@TanyaSpillane) started to demonstrate Periscope and to walk everyone through the basics, Jerry Blumengarten (@cybraryman1) jumped right in to make his first “Scope.” Very quickly, Jerry had 10, 20, 50, 70 people from around the world tuning in on Periscope for the #edcampldrFL Periscope session! They were asking questions and engaging as participants. Next (and as Jerry continued his “scope” video), Tammy Neil (@TG_Neil) shared ways to connect with Voxer. Within minutes, a mutual EduPal that was watching on the Scope, Voxed Tammy and, they together yet divided by distance demonstrated the interactive nature of the Voxer tool. It was one connected conversation between session participants that were there in person, on Periscope, and on Voxer. “We are all developing and sharing our expertise with the world.” Vision!
“We build and support a community of empowered learners.”
As the overarching purpose of EdCamp, I believe this mission statement speaks of the vision the strongest. EdCamps offer inclusive learning and sharing moments that are transformational. So similar to the instant and deep bonds that we found as kids in our childhood summer camps, the relationships formed at EdCamps somehow create connections that continue and flourish. You become one united front. Empowered to have a voice and inspired to make a difference. Through sessions such as Twitter 101 with Jerrry Blumengarten, Tammy Neil, and Jerry Swiatek (@jswiatek) that encourage teachers to build and develop Professional Learning Networks, to conversations that seem to resonate and stay with you for days, such as Rebranding Digital Citizenship with Tanya Avrith (@TanyaAvrith), EdCamps truly “build and support community of empowered learners.” EdCamp Leader, I believe, allowed each of us time, space, and moments to consider the “hows” and the “whys” of our individual worlds, and left us each to ask “What is our own vision for the future of education?” As we each work to develop the hows and the whys, I am thankful for opportunities to connect with visionary leaders of our world of education.
Four years ago, as I started in my doctoral program, I was ready and prepared to make some life sacrifices. Quickly, sleep was replaced by studying, social events were replaced by writing, and words in my life, such as relax and unwind, were replaced by words like quantitative and qualitative. I immersed myself in research and was ignited by the way one study would lead me to five more. However, along the way and without notice, my reading identity had changed and reading for pleasure was lost. Though I am always reading, I realized recently that something was missing. So, I started to reflect and quickly found that it was the connection that I so missed. Connection to characters, connection to stories, connection to other readers. Book clubs just don’t seem to exist in my current world of academic research and educational studies.
So, as I prepared for my 40th birthday coming up next month in March, I decided that I needed to find a way to do both. Research is part of me now and will be a constant in my life. It energizes me and keeps me questioning and searching for knowledge. Therefore, I needed to find a way and find the time to re-connect to my identity as a reader that I used to know; one that devoured books and stayed up late because the pages just seemed to continue turning without me even realizing.
What happened next was magical and truly exemplifies the power of reading and the power of connection! And it all started with a tweet!
This past weekend, in efforts to inspire my “re-connected to reading” self to books, I sent out a tweet to my PLC on Twitter asking for great book recommendations. Soon after, the amazing Sean Gaillard @smgaillard responded with a suggestion. This sparked a connection with Connie Rockow @crockow8 and Lena Rockwood @Dr_LMR. Connection turned to conversation. Conversation turned to collaboration. And collaboration turned to creation. Within hours, #Read4Fun was formed! Together, the four of us were energized and eager—each motivated to share our excitement surrounding books! We tweeted to each other from the grocery story, the beach (sorry northern friends---yes, the weather here in Florida was nice enough for a beach day yesterday), and then from bookstores. We gathered books for our reading lists and started to tell others. Very soon, more people started sharing similar stories of how they, too, missed the readers they were years ago.
One day later, #Read4Fun, a concept that was built on both books and connection, had organically developed. Something that started simply with a birthday wish and a tweet was bringing me back to my reading self. And, don’t you know, I stayed up way too late last night--lost in a book with pages that just seemed to turn themselves into the early morning hours!
Looking forward to our inaugural chat this Sunday at 7pm!
The countdown is on and I am working this week to start preparing! Here is a list of my Top 5 Tips to Prepare for #FETC15! Can’t wait to meet new tech friends and see past tech pals!
#1: Identify Your Goals
For each conference, I always try to clearly answer these two questions:
“What do I hope to learn?” and “What can I look to share?” This year I was able to answer these questions pretty easily. My first goal this year is to find out how universities are preparing preservice teachers to integrate multimodal and digital literacies. I also am excited to see how teachers are finding ways to empower students to guide their own learning through use of technology. After my action research this year, I am eager to share what I have discovered about learning space design at my poster session on Thursday from 2:30-3:30. I am also setting out to find all teachers that are interested in “Going Global” and connecting their students with students from around the world!
#2: Plan Your Schedule
This year’s conference schedule is available and ready for download at http://fetc.org/Events/Educational-Technology-Conference/Information/HOME.aspx. This year, I am trying to befriend my 3-hole puncher! There is nothing like newly printed papers, hole punched, and organized into a binder! Today, I took out my highlighter and started selecting sessions. Since I work best through brainstorming and collaborating, I always love attending session with my colleagues and friends. Contact friends this week to plan out must-attend sessions, workshops, and times to meet at the exhibit hall, Makers’ Hub and STEM Demo Area. After presenting in an IGNITE session at ISTE, I have a new obsession with these new, innovative, and fast-paced style sessions. This year, I can’t wait to get to all the ASPIRE sessions to get ready-to-implement ideas from transformational leaders and experts in the field!
#3: Identify Your “Must-Meets” & Start the Conversation
At each conference, I always set out to meet three or four change-agents that have inspired me to be a better teacher and leader. My “must-meets” always tend to include an influential educator and also an organization or company that has made my teaching practices better! Next, after I find my “must-meets” and identifying their sessions, I start the conversation. I reach out on Twitter and through email and let my “must-meets” know I am looking forward to connecting!
#4: Set Out to Share & Connect
I have seen first-hand the importance of connection and collaboration and firmly believe that strong relationships and friendships are key to happiness and success as a teacher. So, for FETC, set out to share and connect! Print up some simple business cards or contact cards with all your information including school, email, Twitter handle, and research interests. A headshot or QR code are also great add-ons. Make sure to update all your social media accounts with your current information and then start sharing! You can use the hashtag #FETC to share your plans for the conference.
#5: Meet up with Your PLC & Celebrate!
FETC is a great time to celebrate your accomplishments and share your goals for the future with members of your Professional Learning Community. I love how hallways and corridors of the conference center are alive with conversations and any moment at FETC is a great time to develop relationships and meet new friends. Utilize the scheduled social events and lunch and dinner hours to meet up with friends from the past!
Can’t wait to see you all next week! Let’s keep the conversation going! What are your goals for FETC 2015?