The Educator's PLN

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Scrambled Eggs! Reflections of a Beginner on Web 2.0.

My brain feels like scrambled eggs! 6 months ago I didn't know what web 2.0 was. I asked my school ICT teaching and learning coordinator to set up a blog page for me and my students (I was not even sure what a blog page was) because instinctively I knew that it would be a great way for my students to communicate with each other, and for me to communicate with them in a logged, written format. My only previous exposure to blogging was due to the purchase of an iMac (you gotta love a piece of technology hardware that comes with NO instructions! I mean, I was always a 'read the instructions' kinda girl). Well, the paperless world of Apple, and online support opened me up to the world of information beyond Google Search!

My ICT coordinator pulled through though, and created a class blog for me on Sharepoint (I am still not sure what sharepoint is, but I think it is some kind of platform that the school network can support). SEE WHAT I MEAN? I AM A NOVICE, scared and excited at the same time, hungry for more, frustrated that I can't make some things work. What I can say is I am becoming an expert on determining the ease of the 'user interface'. Anyway, I was launched into the web 2.0 world (at least within my little school, because of worries about going public with ANYTHING work or student related). I learned a little about how to create a wiki (and what a wiki actually was), how to use the blog to store documents, make announcements to the class, and share photos. Needless to say, my first foray into setting up a class web page compared to what I am doing now is like comparing the size of a grain of sand to the planet Jupiter!

Although my school is not' teaching and learning' web 2.0 savvy, they have been smart enough to set up a fully wirelessly networked system, and have removed all filters with the idea that we as teachers and students must be fully responsible and ethical with the use of the network in the school. We are not a tablet school, or a laptop school, but we have enough laptops on portable trolleys and open plan learning stations that using ICT is possible 100% of the time in 90% of the classrooms. Pretty good, if I do say so myself. And yet, I feel that the wonderful resources that have been made available are way underused. There are really only a handful of us in the school who are really ready to take the risk and lead the school into 21st century learning. And guess what, yours truly, THE NOVICE, is helping to lead the way - the Web 2.0 world is my oyster!

So why is this post titled scrambled eggs? Well, in 1 month I have acquired 80 twitter followers, and am following 175, I have 2 lists, and have been listed 6 times, I have diigoed, delicioused, facebooked,vodpoded, animoted, you-tubed, yahoo'd, g-mailed, PLN'd, classroom 2 'd, webinar'd edchatted, edteched, edublogged, wikispaced, wordpressed, linkedin, - I HAVE SO MANY ACCOUNTS I CAN'T KEEP TRACK OF THEM ALL! And the problem is, that this wonderful, exciting, motivating, energizing world of social networking and professional development, and the amazing people and websites I have visited in the last month are turning my brain into SCRAMBLED EGGS!

Don't get me wrong, I am not complaining, just need a little help in moving to nice little organised groups of poached eggs! Just making this post, my very first on PLN, has lightened my load. Stay tuned for more eggs to follow.....

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Comment by Neal Davis on January 12, 2010 at 9:02am
Hi Jennifer.... I'm several months behind you in this adventure. I just started on Twitter mid Dec 2009; followed it up with Facebook, because that seemed to the place where all my corporate English language learners were. They certainly weren't reading my cutsey email "English training"updates anymore. And, funnily enough, I just signed up here at The Educators PLN a couple of hours ago, saw your post, and had to chuckle. Why? Earlier today I decided that the very first thing I needed to do was decide how to handle the information overload. Diigo and Delicious are my hopes ... but now I gotta study them, too. Everywhere I turn, I see something interesting, useful, applicable, intriguing, etc. I haven't yet decided what to do exactly, but your scrambled eggs situation sure described my fried brains. Onward through the fog. What should I do next, I wonder. But, am still smiling about it all. Cheers, Neal Davis
Comment by Carolyn on January 9, 2010 at 6:37pm
Hi Jennifer - Thanks so much for this post! I couldn't have said it better myself. It's exactly how I feel. However, none of my support came from colleagues or anyone at the colleges I work at - in fact, quite the opposite in one case. So I have been finding people to follow on Twitter and, as you put it, "PLN'd". It has been very helpful, but also very overwhelming. The way I figure it though, is that in spite of my "scrambled eggs" brain, I'm much further ahead than I was six or seven months ago. So upward and onward....
Comment by Jennifer Potier on January 3, 2010 at 10:42pm
Thanks Sue - Just want to say that in the last 2 days, you have been a real influence on my 'getting it altogether'! Thanks for the invite to the wave. Participating in the sbc 10 wave has shown me that I still have a lot to learn before I can be a really useful participant. However, sometimes ideas from novices come out of left field - so their participation is always valid!
Comment by Sue Wyatt on January 3, 2010 at 9:24pm
G'day Jennifer. I think the process you have described is something all teachers need to go through to get the best out of the internet. Yet many don't want to take that risk and are satisfied to teach with textbooks and use the computers for word processing.

I joined a couple of nings, tweeted in twitter, delicioused and began my own personal and class blogs outside of sharepoint as I wanted my students to connect with the world not just the people within the sharepoint. My students have skyped with Canada and east coast USA; taken part in blogging challenges; translated Portuguese so they can comment back to other students; used tools such as wordle, mystudyio and surveys and learnt how to embed in their own personal blogs.

But without me taking that risk and having a go, most of the students would not know anything about blogs and how to connect to the global world.
Comment by Ann Carnevale on January 3, 2010 at 9:09pm
So are you using just Delicious now? That's what I've been using for quite a while, and LOVE it! Quick, easy, and such a good way to network and find new resources!
Comment by Jennifer Potier on January 3, 2010 at 8:50pm
Explored diigo first, it had lots of explanation on how to use, but I wasn't really sure what IT was! Then I found delicious, and in one simple click of button, everything was done! I love how I can bring together the bookmarks from the 4 different computers I use!
Comment by Ann Carnevale on January 3, 2010 at 10:22am
Nice to "meet" you! It can definitely be overwhelming to try to keep up with it all, and do it all. I'm curious why you're using both Delicious and Diigo, aren't you having to bookmark/annotate the resources twice?


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