Friday, December 5, 2014

December and January Chats 20-25% Off!

With the holidays upon us, chats are reduced in half for the next four weeks, but that's not a bad thing. In fact, taking a break from our normal Thursday night routine can be healthy.

Before you disconnect, we do have two weeks of collaboration ahead of us:

December 11: Michele Eaton, who moderates our virtual and blended strand, is planning a chat around the often debated question, How do we prepare students for online/virtual learning? Join us in determining what needs to be in place so that virtual learners are getting their instructional needs met.

December 18: Say it isn't so! This is the final chat in a series focused on the ISTE Standards for Administrators. Back to co-moderate with Kim Hendrick is Amy Heavin. They made quite the team last month and we are sure to gain new perspectives in this discussion on Digital Citizenship for leadership.

After you are recharged (we decided everyone deserved New Year's Day off), we'll resume chat on January 8th. Our topic that night will be student voice and we are encouraging Hoosier Student Digital Leaders to be a part of this special chat. This will put a little twist on our regular weekly order, but since January is a 5 week month, we can still fit in all our strands. The 15th will be our blended/online learning focus, the 22nd will be all about digital leadership and we'll wrap up January on the 29th with a emphasis on 1:1 and coaching.

If we don't catch you in the next two weeks, happy holidays! We look forward to continuing to learn together in 2015!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Archive of 11/13 Chat

For November 13th’s #INeLearn Twitter chat, the group discussed designing and delivering online professional development.  It was a great discussion full of lots of productive brainstorming.

What does your self-directed online professional development look like?

Twitter and Pinterest were of course on the top of many self-directed online PD plans.  Matt Miller (@jmattmiller) loves finding ideas and links on Twitter to help him curate the vast number of resources and articles online.  Ms. Worthman (@CAMMediaCenter) uses Pocket to keep track of these links.  Following various hashtags on Twitter (especially conference hashtags when you can’t physically attend) were great ideas shared.

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The #INeLearn Voxer group is a new tool for informal professional development.  Contact Michelle Green (@mrg_3) to get added!  It’s a great way to add a personal touch to your PLN.

In addition to social media, our group shared they valued reading blogs, articles, research organization publications, and webinars to further their own learning.

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What are the benefits and potential pitfalls to creating structured online PD for teachers?

To start us off, JD Ferries-Rowe (@jdferries) reminds us that online PD should not be used as a shortcut.  Relationships are still important.  This can be accomplished online, but must not be overlooked.

Susie Highley (@shighley) encourages us to think about why we go online for PD.  We value the lack of structure and the choice it gives us.  Something to keep in mind when designing personalized online experiences for other staff.  Kelly Scholl (@SchollHouseRock) agrees that this platform gives us the opportunity to provide flexible, individualized support for teachers.  

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Seth Ponder (@SethPonder) said that online PD would be a great tool to connect teachers from various school districts.  This is especially relevant for smaller school districts.  Scholl agrees that this is powerful regardless of the size of your school.

Ferries-Rowe reminds us of another potential pitfall to keep in mind when designing professional development opportunities.  He says that “PD by Social Media can lead to a lot of confirmation bias. Need some skeptics to keep it real. Keep the focus on learning.”  

Many shared that a good starting place for online PD is the rote learning that happens.  If it is a repeat of information or something that just requires memorization or understanding of content, start by trying to put it online.  Green suggests that we “keep F2F (face to face) for culture building.”

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Nancy Ellis (@naellis1202) understands that engaging PD that models good online instructional time takes time and skill though.  She says this type of PD “must be interactive, engaging, and collaborative.”

Considering the benefits and pitfalls, what does online PD look like to you? What form can/should it take?

Scholl suggests starting small to not overwhelm the designer and to ensure that there is not a negative reaction from participants.  

Regardless of where you start, Jason Bodnar (@APJasonBodnar) emphasizes the importance of differentiation.  He says to “ask teacher what they want to learn and provide them resources and time to get there.  Teachers have different needs.”

When asked if they imagined starting with synchronous online professional development like webinars or with self-paced PD opportunities, the responses varied.  Worthman is interested in self-paced PD because of the convenience and flexibility.  I (@lyonmi) like this approach too, because it’s nice to be able to share that PD over and over with a simple link.

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We generated some interest in flipping PD.  We would love if you could comment below or share on Twitter with #INeLearn of any resources you have on this.  

When blending your PD, what situations are best for F2F, webinar, asynchronous virtual learning, flipped PD, etc.?

Many of our tweeters like to do F2F when teachers are learning something new.  Human interaction is still very powerful.  Tim Kasper (@TimKasper) prefers face-to-face “for sensitive/social issues; virtual may be best for technical skills.”

Ferries-Rowe breaks it down like this: “F2F- new material, discussions with emotions/support; Webinar - the details from experts who are not around; Asynchronous - Follow-up.”  Sounds like a good plan!

Others use webinars for scheduling conflicts.  Sometimes the best time to meet is at 8:00 at night.

We discussed how relationships can be maintained and grow online, but if that culture is not in place, building in some F2F time to a blended approach could be a good starting point.  

What tools and resources are essential for creating engaging and meaningful online PD?

Here are the tools and resources that we discussed:
  • Voxer
  • Twitter
  • IMs
  • Email
  • Blogs
  • Wikis
  • Google Docs
  • Google Hangouts
  • Screencasts
  • LMS (learning management system)
  • Blendspace
  • 3D Printed Coffee (still working on this one)
  • PD hashtag for your participants
  • Anything collaborative!
  • for quick feedback

Are time requirements the most ideal way to measure and credit teacher training?

We agreed that while convenient to measure in seat time, we know that measuring completion via product or reflection is better for this type of professional development.

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Shout out to Matt Miller for creating a great sketchnote while participating in the chat.  This is a wonderful visual depiction of our conversation.  
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Thank you again to all of the #INeLearn participants.  We would love for you to share any additional thoughts on designing and delivering online professional development on Twitter.  Please tweet your ideas using #INeLearn.  

Friday, November 7, 2014

Introducing #INeLearn Voxer Group

The INeLearn network is claiming another social media tool in addition to our spaces on Twitter, Google+, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram and Blogger. (I think I got them all! ) This time it’s in the form of a productivity app, Voxer. The Voxer group is a new way to extend the conversations that take place on Twitter.

If you are not familiar with Voxer, Matt Miller provides a comprehensive look at the app in his recent post Trying professional development “walkie-talkie style” with Voxer.

I had been playing with the idea of starting a Voxer group since my Google Teacher Academy experience this summer. Although, it wasn’t until #EdCampKY a couple of weeks ago, that I was confident enough to put the plan into action. Here are the notes from the session I attended. You will find a lot of ideas that were shared in the session as well as how-to resources in the Google Doc. It’s collaborative, so if you have something to add, please feel welcome to do so.

Our INeLearn Voxer chat is beginning with a Question of the Week. Depending on how the conversation goes and the size of the group, we may raise the stakes to a Question of the Day, but it’s early yet. I am looking forward to seeing where our responses take us over the course of the week. I don’t really expect to end up where we begin given the complexity of most technology integration topics.

Our first question was taken directly from a Tweet that Alec Couros sent out to #edchat #TLtechlive (see screenshot). One tip I learned at EdCampKY was to create definition between discussions by entering a Vox text message as a visual marker. This way you will be able to see where new topics begin with a quick scroll through the group list of posts.

I won’t repeat all the tips that I learned as they are in the notes, but another one of the other key suggestion made was to try and use the voice option as your primary means for sharing. This enables group members who want to listen to Voxs while commuting or multi-tasking to hear everyone’s responses. An added bonus is that we get to know each other on a new level by speaking. It’s like characters in a book you’ve been reading have come to life. For example, I’ve met Matt Miller on a number of occasions and recognized his voice right away. On the other hand, when Amy Heavin introduced herself, I learned that I’d been mentally mispronouncing her last name for months! I’m really looking forward to getting to know my INeLearn PLN in a new way.

If you are interested in being added to the group, simply Vox me at mgreen1204. I will add you as a contact and as a member in the IneLearn Voxers group.

I can’t wait to hear from you!
Michelle Green

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Indiana boasts a number of school and district wide Twitter chats. For the final week of Connected Educator month, we are inviting everyone to come together on #INeLearn and share local collaboration as a means to build capacity across the state.

We will be applying the National Center for Literacy Education's framework for capacity building to our discussion. You can check out their very short (reader-friendly) literature review on the topic here.

If your school or district is collaborating via a hashtag, please retweet this invitation to them! We will include a little friendly competition to see which school, district, and region are contributing to this massive effort to build capacity through our state edchat.

See you on #INeLearn, Thursday night at 8CST/9EST.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Archive of the Chat: How Do You Incorporate UDL into Blended Learning?

post via Michele Eaton, moderator of #INeLearn's Online and Blended Learning Strand

In the October 9 #INeLearn Twitter Chat, I (@lyonmi) moderated a discussion on using Universal Design for Learning in a blended learning environment.  Joining me this week were several of the wonderful people from Indiana PATINS (@PATINSPROJECT).  

Our chat started in a typical fashion.  I planned out several questions to lead the conversation.  Soon after we got started though, we all realized that as a group, we had more questions than answers.  So we decided to flip this chat on its head.  We took advantage of the UDL experts that had joined us and the participants were the ones asking the questions.  Lots of information and resources were shared.  

What is Universal Design for Learning (UDL)?

Daniel McNulty (@danielgmcnulty), Director of PATINS, started us off with a slide sharing the formal definition of UDL.


Paula Neidlinger (@pneid) shared that the “basic concept is learning that is designed to meet the needs of all students.  Many echoed the same idea that UDL is a framework which allows us to design a curriculum to provide equal opportunities for all students.  Sandy Stabenfeldt (@ss4122) adds that “UDL reduces barriers in instruction, provides appropriate accommodations, supports and challenges.”

Take a look at this UDL Guidelines website and/or take a look at the chart below for the three main principles of UDL instruction.
For an in depth look at this idea, the PATINS crew recommends this 22 minute video unwrapping what UDL is and how it is beneficial for students: PATINS DOE 2014 Webinar

How is this different from what I’m already doing?

First of all, it’s important to know that UDL is not something that can be purchased and it is certainly not a piece of technology.  It’s a framework.  

McNulty shared the following slide that compares UDL with assistive technology and accessible instructional materials.


Can you give examples of what UDL looks like in the classroom?

Michelle Green (@mrg_3) shares this cool Powtoon illustrating an example of a UDL vocabulary lesson for elementary students.

Kim Hendrick (@evolvewithkim) suggests “including closed captioning” or “text that can be read by a screen reader.”

Flexibility in space and pace is another example of a strategy that can be used to help all learners.


Sandra Mahl (@smahlstuff) agrees that it’s all about multiple options stating the “key to making any learning UDL, blended or not, is the availability of multiple ways for the learner to interact with curriculum.”

JD Ferries-Rowe (@jdferries) says he loves having students determine the grading criteria for assignments.  Good example of student voice and choice!

If you are interested in the flipped model, Jennifer Marien (@Jennifer_Marien) shared this article on UDL and the Flipped Classroom.  

Here’s what it DOESN’T look like:

What do I need to get started?

First of all, check out the resources available in this UDL Toolkit.  Lots of great tools and resources.  Stabenfeldt also shared this UDL Lesson Plan Template with the chat participants.

For those leading this discussion in their districts and schools, I shared this presentation I used for an hour long interactive webinar.  It has notes for various discussions and activities.

How can the PATINS staff help?

Request free accessible materials here:  Indiana Center for Accessible Materials
Borrow assistive technology for free here:  Online Lending Library

Feel free to contact them for free webinars and other training opportunities!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

We Always Celebrate Connected Educators--especially in October!

Each week in October our topics are tied to one of the Connected Educator Month themes. Plan on joining us!

October 2 A Time and Place for Professional Learning with guest moderators from @ICEindiana

October 9 How Do You Incorporate UDL into Blended Learning? Our moderator and online learning expert @lyonmi, Michele Eaton, welcomes guests from the PATINS Project to lead this critical conversation.

October 16 Excellence in Professional Practice is the third in a series on the ISTE Standards for Administrators. Join @evolvewithkim, Kim Hendrick, for this chat focused on Leadership for Change.

October 23 How do teachers encourage students to monitor their academic progress in a 1:1 environment? Moderator @keshiaseitz, Keshia Seitz, collaborates with guest co-moderator @education_geek to lead this conversation around student agency.

October 30 From Hometown to Statewide: Sharing What Works! Indiana boasts a number of school and district wide Twitter chats. For the final week of Connected Educator month, we are inviting everyone to come together on #INeLearn and share local collaboration as a means to build capacity across the state.