Archive for the ‘openpd’ Category

Our OpenPD session this afternoon was designed to introduce blogging, my hope was the conversation would be beneficial for those in the class who are new to the concept and thinking about starting a blog of their own. Well once again my expectations were exceeded, and I am so grateful to all of those who participated today. Sue Waters was asked to join us and speak to those participating in class why she blogs, how she got started and if she would share any thoughts, and tip, for writing good posts. Well, Sue wrote a post about our OpenPD session, the topic for class, asking others contribute a comment on the impact their own blogging has had on them, their learning. It is full of interesting stories and suggestions, please take some time to read it. Sue also invited some other bloggers to join in the conversation as well; we were fortunate to have with us the following people:

Thank you all for making another session of OpenPD so worthwhile, I learned a great deal once again. I am grateful for the true sense of collaboration, and sharing everyone brings with them to class, what we are able to learn from one another is phenomenal. This is a wonderful experience for me. Sue thank you for all of your wonderful contributions to this class as well as your work in the edublogger world. On the wiki we do have an assignment for this coming week, look at and respond to 4 other blogs we have some listed on the participants page as well. Also to set up a blog at Edublogs so you are ready to start. Hope to see you all again next week.


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On Wednesday we completed the second week of OpenPD Round 3 and it was a great success. Conversations centered wikis, widgets, how to embed objects / widgets into a wiki. I learned about customizing embed codes when placing videos in a blog or wiki.
Jamie Gustin explained when embedding video clips from YouTube/TeacherTube you should customize the embed code so you do not inadvertently copy and paste code which allows for related videos to be embedded. I had no idea related videos could be pulled in through an embed code, very valuable information.

  • When you have a YouTube or TeacherTube video you would like to embed, to the left of the video there is a space where you are able to copy the embed code, well if continue to look to the right of the word embed you will see a customize link.
  • Click on the customize link and there is a radio button to check which says don’t include related videos. I would suggest always having this checked.

Scott Weidig and Bud Hunt also joined us in class and in our Skype call. Each has had experience using Zoho, another online collaborative tool with many components similar to Google. Zoho contains a wiki as well as many other features as well. Never having used Zoho myself, they both made excellent contributions to our session on the features of Zoho they use and their experiences.

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Tonight begins round three of OpenPD, we have made a few changes this round. The class will be held from 5:00 – 6:00 PM EDT, check your time zone here. We will have another face to face session joining us from the Magnolia School District in Texas. Jamie Gustin, who attended our last session of OpenPD, is now inviting teachers in his district to participate. All of the connection information is available on the wiki, we will be using Skype and Ustream as we have in the past, sign up for accounts if you have not already and plan on joining us. The agenda is posted, we will be starting with creating you own wiki and hope to move ahead to more advanced options in both wikispaces and also blogging.

We are looking forward to teaching the course again and also to having more people join us. It has been a wonderful experience and we anticipate the same for the following 5 weeks, see you tonight!

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OpenPD is in its second offering, the course has been going very well, wonderful participation, all those attending engaged, tools working extremely well. We had an activity planned for this week as a review of what we had covered last week. The assignment was to create a Google presentation in groups; members of the groups would be mixed, face to face and virtual. All sounds good, right? Well it did turn out great; all groups were successful in creating their presentations and sharing them, working through editing. The downfall was the communication during the creation of the presentation. We decided to use Skype chat, all had Skype accounts, but not all were as familiar with group chats in Skype, myself included and I screwed up. I had difficulty adding people to the group chat, I didn’t have everyone’s contact information, and not all were logged on to Skype so when I tried adding them to the chat it didn’t work. I felt as I did the first night of class in the fall, clumsy with the tools, and rather than assist those in the class with what the assignment was I felt I had the reverse effect and proved to be a hindrance instead. I should have been better prepared, and I apologize for that, at the same time it was a true picture of what it is like for a teacher to be a student in their own class.

It has been suggested it may be in the best interest of my co teachers for me to step aside and let someone else take my place, someone savvier, and someone more literate with the tools. I know I don’t have a string of accomplishments associated with my name, not a blogger that is read or subscribed to, and not someone who falls into the category of any kind of name recognition in the world of education. I do believe strongly not all of us are made of that mold, but we all do contribute in our own way to challenge those we come in contact with to open their eyes to the possibilities we believe are relevant in the shifting landscape of education. I have felt being part of OpenPD has been a contribution I have been able to make, a time of collaborative learning for anyone interested. I have a lot to think about.

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My head is still spinning from the weekend spent in Philadelphia at EduCon held in the Science Leadership Academy. So many have written such memorable accounts of the weekend I am not sure I can say anything that has not been said already many times over. For the entire three days I felt as though I was totally immersed in an educational community of caring. Caring for students, for each other, for our practices, for the future of education – both students and our own. The common thread, which brought us all there in my opinion, whether in person or virtually, was our commitment to expanding conversations centered on how to improve our classroom practices, our thoughts on professional development, building community with our colleagues, in our own district or around the world, as well as with our students. Throughout the weekend I kept thinking how wonderful it is to be part of such a supportive, passionate community of educators and students. I thank you all for stretching my thinking, for renewing my spirit to continue being an advocate for change, for pushing the envelope day in and day out because it is the right thing to do for students, and because I know I am one node in a network of dedicated learners and in our own ways we are all agents of change. I truly believe we can make a difference.

Darren Draper and I lead a session in the morning called OpenPD based on the online class we teach. The class is an introduction to using social software in the classroom and we use social software to teach it. We had a room full of people interested in professional development, interested in best practices involved in providing it, wonderful conversation flowed regarding successes and challenges we all face. If you are interested here is a link to the archived Ustream broadcast of our session. Be patient, it takes a bit to download and the audio doesn’t begin for the first 15 minutes. In talking about new tools for teachers and students, new levels of comfort, shifts in thinking, we model the use of the tools we talk about with those who attend. We believe we’re on to something here, and invite all of you to come and participate with us as we learn best practices in teaching how to use social software in the classroom.

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We are preparing for our second round of Open Professional Development – Social Software in the Classroom. Our first round was very successful and we are inviting anyone who would like to learn more about the free online tools available to use in your classroom teaching or building collaboration to join us in this learning experience as well. The class in the fall was collaborative and engaging in both conversation and the sharing of ideas, we look forward to the same atmosphere and hope to see you there.
When – Class will begin on January 23rd and continue for five consecutive weeks beginning at 6:30PM Eastern Daylight Time, please check your time zone here.
Skype – If you don’t have a Skype account you will want to create one ahead of time, it is free is what I will use to moderate discussion during class via a chatroom. To join please send a message to me, robin.ellis1, so I will have your contact information before we start. We recommend you use a headset to participate in class conversations; this will decrease the likelihood of an echo effect.
Class Wiki – Our class wiki (with the schedule and participant portfolios) is located here http://openpd.wikispaces.com. To join us, please join the class wiki.
Attendance – For teachers who are not taking the course for in-service credit, perfect attendance is not required.
We have geared this class for those new to using web 2.0 technologies in their classroom practices, but all who have experience with online tools are welcome to as well help us demonstrate what we have all found valuable. Hope to see you all soon.

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