DigiLit Sunday


Thanks to Margaret Simon’s DigiLit Sunday Challenge, I have a way to meet my new blogging goals, as I’ve explained here. Margaret also writes for Kidblog, and in her post, “Author’s Comments offer Fame to Students,” she shared some of her reasons for starting to blog:

“When I started writing on a blog, I wanted to share my writing with a wider audience. I wanted to feel like an expert. I was probably looking for fame. I admit it. But as I began connecting with other bloggers, mostly teachers, I actually received much more than fame. I received a connection. These connections fed my confidence more than superficial fame could.”

Writing does build our confidence, and when shared with others who reciprocate with their ideas on similar topics, we all gain confidence and expertise. I remember when I started blogging, it was not because I was an expert, but because I could share how strategies in education, which others had shared, worked for me and those may help others, thereby extending the reach of those ideas. I was but a part of a larger idea.

Margaret’s experiences shared on her blog help other teachers and students learn. The same blog post explains how her students’ blogs about their reading and when tweeted to authors brought them comments and therefore connections to the authors and their stories. Talk about confidence building! And the experience of learning from and becoming experts on their topics. Please read her post about this and other posts to see how blogging with students enhances learning that will live on throughout a student’s life.

Blogging, because it’s writing, has served to guide me when I was a teacher, and now continues to guide my thoughts and ideas as I slip into the elder years in my life. This blog will now serve for many kinds of thoughts: from cooking to art to politics to education. I’m moving on from a focus on education after two sad moments in my life. My son passed on suddenly and I miss him as do his children. And of course the loss of a great country, which once accepted diversity and supported liberty for all. Those things still exist, and part of my role in these senior years will be to support those ideals. The blogging challenges will help me get started. That’s my plan: to be inspired by those challenges to meet the challenges I need to overcome and support. Not as an expert, but as one with experience and knowledge, which together, when shared, can build those ideals again. It’s like the veteran in The Postman, “I know stuff.” I don’t know everything, but I do know stuff, or have the wherewithal to find out. 

And bloggers connect with each other. Like Margaret says in her post, “Cherishing Celebrations,”

In this daily struggle to understand what the hell we are doing here, my online community holds me together, grounds me, helps me to see what is truly important.

The tweets and blogging newsletters brought me back to keep going, grounded me in what is important. Margaret’s blog led me to Julianne’s “Celebrating: My Social Media Bubble.” Her words express exactly how I feel about those I follow and connect with on Twitter, in blogs, on Google Plus: they uplift the world.  Julianne says, 

Social media can be many things. Perhaps it’s a function of where you look. I’ve managed, unwittingly, to craft a social media bubble around people who nurture. Around those who celebrate simple things, who notice and wonder; around poets and teachers; around readers and writers. Around people who spend their energies engaged in lifting up the world, looking closely, and caring. And because of this we continue and grow, even in the darkest times. My wish for 2017 is that we hold tight to each other and our beliefs through the storms and joys.

So you can see why these are “dark times.” When the entire country and the newly elected government has so many examples of the opposite of nurturing and lifting of opportunities, then Julianne is right, we must “hold tight to each other and our beliefs.” We’ve got to share them.

But the ideas must be both online and face2face. We’ve got to have conversations. We’ve got to listen.  Michael Buist in his post “Have you #Eduheard” suggests that in education, we should

Let’s start our own movement. A movement of listening, of truly hearing and reflecting on what happens around us every day.

I think we need to do this for the ideas that matter to us — share yours, share those of others and how you understand them. Get a conversation started to lift us towards acceptance and understanding of our human condition, of our dreams and hopes. For education, it’s #eduheard.  For America, it’s #usaheard. I’m really not suggesting a hashtag, because these ideas are bigger than that. The educational ideas of anti-bullying, of opportunity, of equity, of tolerance and acceptance– these are ideas of the great America. So, for me, I’ve got to talk about them, and understand them in my neighbor’s terms, whether that neighbor is next door or on the next blog or tweet. One connection at a time; one share, one conversation. It’s a way to keep the ideas and ideals alive.

Drew Frank, who started BlogaMonth, wrote a post “Good Trouble” about a presentation from his family friend, Congressman John Lewis, who said in his presentation at Drew’s school:

  1. We all have an obligation to leave this little piece of real estate a little cleaner, a little greener and a little more peaceful!
  2. Get into trouble, good trouble, necessary trouble!

That’s what is important. That’s a plan. For my grandchildren, it’s a necessary plan. I hope to see you in the conversation for the great America that strives for those  ideals. 

Are you in the conversation

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Image: Thanks to Margaret Simon’s DigiLit Sunday Challenge

Jan 8 Blogging Challenges


I’ve been out of the loop, detached, lost.

But A J Juliani’s newsletter reached out and shook me up: Keep going. 

I love thinking and writing: my fingers tapping the keys while thoughts form typed words where something new or remixed comes alive. It will be how I keep going in these, my sad times.

Challenge Info from A J Juliani: a very open 30 day blogging challenge #30daysblogging

What to do: 

1 Sign up on the blog: A J Juliani 30 Day Blogging Challenge.

2 Set goals in the comments.

My Goals:

“Thanks AJ. I’ve been taking a break, and it’s time to start the new year with this great push to write.

1. Write at least 140 words a day (some may be personal writing)

2. Publish on my blog 2 to 3 times a week: Tuesday Slice of Life; Thursday poetry post; Friday reflection post or DigiLit Sunday post with Margaret Simon who blogs here.

3. I’d like to incorporate new media…video or audio.

Thanks to Julie Johnson’s comment for the blogging ideas.”

3. Start.

Since AJ’s blogging challenge is 30 days, I found two more challenges that might inspire you as well, especially if you’ve been distracted or distressed and need new inspiration for looking forward, planning forward, and developing forward progress. And what about the critics? Read AJ’s post here on “Fighting Fear and Anxiety Sharing Your Work with the World.”  And, just maybe, you need to a way to keep forward progress in these confusing times, a way to do what Drew Frank shared from John Lewis: “Get into trouble, good trouble, necessary trouble!”

So, just keep adding good inspiration to your “30 Days” or add these challenges:

The Edublogs Club, which I found from AJ’s comments leading to this story; It’s a weekly challenge [you can do this!]

#BlogaMonth with Drew Frank [for sure, you can do this!]

Just remember: keep going.

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Image: Sheri Edwards

Everyone is Writing a Book

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Ross Cooper wrote a post entitled, “Everyone is Writing a Book, or Everyone Has a Voice,” and I tried to write this comment [but was blocked as a bot]:

And I choose carefully the books that I read based on how it applies to me. I’m glad to have so many resources to help me think through and apply standards based grading — or no grading; quality formative assessment– and student self-assessment. This is important because no one magic bullet exists, so adding to my playlists and setting them to the melody of my classroom helps me write my own song.

So I’ve been thinking about the same thing– everyone I admire is writing a book, and what I say to myself is: I can do it too, and so can you!

Everybody is writing a book, because everybody has experiences and ideas that can help someone else. One little nugget in a book can set me on a new path of exploration for my teaching and learning, and I love that.

So your experience on a project, your example of professional development, or your strategies for student engagement— all of these and more could be a short book that just might help the movement towards more connected learners and more authentic learning closer to reality.

Besides, with all the information out there, as Steve Hargadon once said , “in order to cope, we must give a little bit of our own” [ITEC Keynote 10.18.11].

After years of innovating, modeling for others, and blogging, these authors are able to publish their experiences so we can all learn. The bloggers and authors are giving a “little bit of their own,” voicing their ideas, wonders, reflections, and successes, and I appreciate it.

Isn’t it wonderful that these opportunities are available to us- to hear the voice of others and add to our own– to read and to publish?

So, go forth, get reading and do your own writing.

PS: I am not a bot.


Image by mrsdkrebs

From Extend the Conversation

by Denise Krebs and Sheri Edwards

Connected Educator Month, 2012

A response to Digital Writing

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Digital Writing

My friend Kevin Hodgson [@dogtrax] considers the definition of digital writing on his blog, Kevin’s Meandering Mind. He thoughtfully considers “writing,” “composing,” and “digital writing.” I agree with all his assertions, except one.

I consider blogging to be digital writing. The blog post could be the central focus of a presentation, linking to images, resources, and videos that extend and enhance the author’s message. It requires much more thought and creation than simply writing an essay; the images and links chosen must be thoughtfully considered as part of the design to explain, argue, and present ideas. And as Kevin’s post does, it asks readers to interact with those thoughts by adding their own considerations. The record is displayed in post and comment, available always for further analysis. A blog also shows our thinking — and how our ideas change as we consider the ideas presented by the information we gather in our quest for understanding the world’s ideas.

I’ve been thinking, too, about “What is digital writing?” I’m still deciding, but a few thoughts I shared with Kevin [I added a little here] so far are:

  • When I record assignment directions, I have often stopped myself when the directions are to “write” when I really mean “type” or better yet “compose.” Even here, instead of “write,” in this bullet, I chose “record.” Because the digital assignment directions are recorded in a document for reference. I think of digital writing as something that is both composed and curated or recorded.
  • I’ve also used the word “compose” with students. Looking at the dictionary definitions of compose and write, a crossover exists in their use, but compose includes the words create, invent, produce, orchestrate. I find that more inclusive to my definition of digital writing. I want my students not to regurgitate information, but to produce artifacts that explain or argue their analysis of their learning, using words, images, videos, surveys, interactive media, etc.
  • Margaret Simon [@MargaretGSimon ]mentioned “audience” in her comment on Kevin’s blog. She said, “I must be aware of audience in the digital world. Perhaps it’s that immediate audience that makes it digital.”  The focus on the audience is critical. The writing will be shared for an audience one has considered carefully so that the writing clearly promotes the message; digital writing provides authenticity and meaning to topic, audience, and purpose, the meaning behind the writing.
  • Design is a word I use most often with my students: I want students to consider the reader, the information, the student’s purpose and message, and the presentation — how will they best explain and argue their ideas using text, image, video, interactive media, etc.? It is the digital that allows all of us to design the presentation of our discoveries so others understand how we make sense of the world of information around us, and how we invite others into our journey of understanding.

Digital writing allows students — all of us — the opportunity to present our understanding of the world. Writing is all about clarifying our thoughts, making the learning visible. Digital writing includes tools to make this easier: immediate definitions and searches, curation of resources, surveys to gather information, documents on which we can collaborate with others, grammar corrections, hyperlinks to our resources, sharing options [slides, blogs, videos, annotations], communication with experts through texts and webcams, archiving all our digital gathering of resources.

So, considering those tools as part of our quest for knowledge, is digital writing then a system, a  process, and a product available in many personalized forms as needed by and designed by the author?

The focus for my Language Arts classes are these essential questions:

  • How do researchers investigate successfully?
  • What strategies and processes do collaborators need for success?
  • How do readers and writers determine and develop relevant, accurate, and complete topics?
  • How do publishers design and organize content for their audience and purpose?
  • Why and how do editors and speakers use and edit with the rules for standard English grammar and language ?

It is the availability of digital tools that allow us to consider our ever-growing understanding of these questions.

Digital writing is a personal, systematic organization of tools and strategies that allow for an enhanced  and enriched process of study, curation,  and analysis, often in collaboration with others, to design a multi-faceted publication of the author’s ( or authors’) ideas for a chosen topic and audience, be that audience oneself, a group, or the public.

I’m still thinking about this… and thank you, Kevin,  for always presenting the questions that focus and clarify our work as learners.

#edblogaday 1 Lots of Cs

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Why is blogging important to teaching and learning?

Consider

Teaching is all about learning, and discovering what works to inspire learning is a thoughtful, reflective process. What works? What doesn’t? Will it work next time? Will this lesson work for each learner? Blogging helps teachers consider the how and what and why of their craft to improve for the next day and the next learner. Blogging — writing — helps us think through our process as it affects our learners. Blogging about teaching and learning allows me to critically think about my plans, processes, lessons, successes, and failures to improve my craft to improve the learning in my classroom. Example: Considering Feedback

Communicate

Blogging about teaching and learning communicates to others what could be if adapted in their classroom; we communicate our ideas so others may learn. And we read others’ posts to learn and share how we adapted others’ ideas. We communicate our stories so others may discover the real world of teaching and learning. Example: Communicate an idea: Drama

Create

As educators consider, communicate, and reciprocate their ideas, they create strategies and lessons which others can adapt. The act of writing is an act of creating: it sets in words for others to consider the possibilities and opportunities for everyone’s growth. When I read someone else’s idea, I consider my own place and adapt and remix the ideas to fit my world. I reflect and credit others who then may try my idea or the original, and remix to fit their world. It’s a reciprocal, creative remixing to improve the experience of learners. Example: Create and Remix: Notetaking

Connect

Educators blog to connect on different levels: connecting educators in similar disciplines, connecting families to schools, connecting classrooms for collaboration or conversation. Blogging for teaching and learning creates a connected web of resources, a virtual online library of ideas for educators, disciplines, families, and students. Example: Connected Classrooms = Connected Writers

Blogging about teaching and learning connects us to learn life together.


Image Credit: Sheri Edwards 

WC: 342

Please join the 140WC challenge — see sidebar

 

#sol15 Bloggers

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So excited. Students ask to blog. Yesterday, they bounded into the room, only to see an entry task.

“Aren’t we s’pose to ‘slice’?”

“Yeah! We’re s’pose to do our challenge.”

Sigh.

“You’re right. Let’s get started,” I replied.

Today, the same thing, but now they were excited to know we have blogging friends in Japan. One of my #clmooc #etmooc colleagues and friends, Bart Miller, shared his students’ Kidblog. My fifth students were amazed at the videos and food and ideas on their posts; they read posts together, watched videos together, and then wrote comments.

The best part: the posts from our new friends gave my students ideas about what to write.

Two too good days — real days with real readers and writers. Not test prep, but life prep.


sol

Image Source Student Drawing

For more slices, visit the gracious hosts at Two Writing Teachers to read other “slices.”

#140WC #ilearnfrom #C4C15

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#ilearnfrom

As I look back on 2014, I thank those who have inspired my thinking. Ben Wilkoff started the #ilearnfrom hashtag, and I use it frequently in thanks to those that share so that others like myself may learn, grow, and share too.

One way I learn is by writing my thoughts, reflections, lessons, strategies, etc. in my blogs. What #ilearnfrom Ben recently is that although communicating is good, sharing is better. He’s starting #C4C15, a community to share — share comments to blogs to begin a conversation– “Comments for Community in 2015.” He is expanding the power of blogging by creating conversations. It’s an idea I’ve pondered before in a post about “conversations.” It’s why I often blog about the tweets that direct me to think about or do something, which is how I can write my #140WC 140 word count blog posts — I carry on the conversation of others’ ideas. Ben carries it further by formalizing it. Read his post — and join– as you can. That’s the other thing about challenges and ideas, modify them as needed to fit your situation. But do add your ideas from other’s ideas — comment on their blog [or reply to a tweet], and post your ideas. Get the conversations rolling!

From where will you get your ideas?  

Ben offers several ideas — Go to the blogs listed in Twitter profiles, look at the recommendations in sidebars of other bloggers, use Nuzzle and/or Feedly. And, for 2014, here are 14 of my favorite blogs:

TeachThought – Learn better. Thought Leadership and Practice

Edutopia | K-12 Education Tips & Strategies That Work  Strategies That Work

Blog | Educator Innovator  Strategies in Practice

Edudemic – Education Technology Tips For Students And Teachers  Tech Tips

Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day… | …For Teaching ELL, ESL, & EFL  Reflection on Teaching

MindShift | How we will learn  Strategies, Leadership, and Practice — The Future of Learning

Free Technology for Teachers — Tech Tools and Tips by Richard Byrne

Digital Is Blogs by Educators in the National Writing Project’s Education Community

User Generated Education | Education as it should be – passion-based. Leadership and Practice by Jackie Gerstein

wwwatanabe  Strategies, HowTos, Leadership, Lessons by Tracy Watanabe

Learning is Change “frame the shift toward authenticity in all learning spaces” by Ben Wilkoff

Reflections on Teaching by Alice Mercer

A blog for reflecting on the opportunities and challenges in open education – K12 Open Ed by Karen Fasimpaur

Starr Sackstein, MJE, NBCT – Changing the world, one mind at a time and Kasey Bell’s Shake Up Learning – Shake Up Learning Blog  Learn Google Apps and more

Will you join the conversations?

Even if not for each day, how about once a week? twice a month? Set your goal and help build a more connected blogosphere. And write your own #ilearnfrom …. as you stand on  the shoulders of giants.

WC 458

Join the #140 Challenge! See sidebar.