I’ve had the opportunity to talk one-on-one to David Warlick in the Blogger’s Café at NECC 2008 this morning. Wow. I’m thankful he took the time-when several were vying for his attention-to visit with me. I talked to him about what we’re doing at BHS with the 21clc team. Basically, I wanted to bounce the idea off him to see if I’m heading in the right direction, to ask where we should go next.
He affirmed that we’re basically forming a personal learning community (PLC), a trend that’s happening across the nation and that this is a good starting point. I explained our group we’ll be meeting for a second time in about two weeks, and that I’m thinking of focusing on really teaching them how to blog (and use del.icio.us), beginning with a book study of Understanding by Design. He gave me a good bit of advice:
- Encourage them to find (via Google Blog Search) and start reading (via Reader) other blogs they’re interested in-blogs about the topics that affect them. I should note he recommended NetVibes rather than Google Reader, so I’ll have to do some research.
- In doing so, they’re forming their own personal learning networks (PLN), taking control of their own learning and professional development-something Web 2.0 empowers us all to do. Warlick has an excellent resource page on PLNs, resources to help anyone start creating his or her own PLN.
My Application of Warlick’s Wisdom
In our first session, I pointed our 21clc team to a blog I’ve created about blogging (blog2learn), which houses links to sample blogs of all kinds: teachers, principals, edtech leaders, students, non-educators. They were visiting these blogs to learn about blogging-what blogs look like, how educators use them, what information (and widgets) they include in the sidebars, what they write about, how they respond to comments. I think we need to return to that list (and to the Google Blog Search), this time looking for bloggers we-each individual of the team–can begin following. I’ll need to also explain the power of commenting, of entering the conversation-the avenue by which we begin forming our PLN, establishing relationships with others who share similar interests.
Lehmann and Kittle, author whose latest book is Write Beside Them which she’s currently discussing in a book club wiki with a group of us teachers from around the world, have taught me that modeling progressive pedagogy-to borrow Lehmann’s term–even in teacher trainings, is quintessential to learning. Perhaps, I need to begin by sharing my own PLN, walking the team through what I’ve done over the past year, explaining how my PLN has taught me more in one year than I learned in seven years of formal undergraduate and graduate study. Then, scaffold them as they work to begin building their own PLN.
Twenty-first Century literacy means using Web 2.0 tools to communicate and collaborative globally. Our 21clc team is a local community of educators convening face-to-face and online (via blogs and our wiki). But, the cool thing is that each of us can form our own global network collaboration. Though we might not be able to meet face-to-face–as I was so fortunate to be able to do this week at NECC 2008–we can use digital tools to meet online. For ZERO dollars. That’s powerful.