Launching into the River of Information

We had a wonderful second session of the Virtual Book Club discussing Flattening Classrooms, Engaging Minds by Julie Lindsay and Vicki Davis.  Our focus this time was Chapter Three and Four which discuss ways teachers and students can connect and communicate with a global audience. If you weren’t able to join us, listen to the recording here: Virtual Book Club Jan 22nd/23rd and please share your thoughts on this blog: Virtual Book Club.

We had fun exploring different social media tools that we each use to broaden our PLNs. Some of the tools that were highlighted were: Google Reader, Flipboard, Zite, Diigo, Twitter, LiveBinders, Scoop.It, Storify and two that were new to me: and Feedly. We all agreed that these tools helped us curate the web and share what we are learning with others. However, we also discussed the feeling that as we reach out to take a drink from these nourishing waters, we are sometimes met with a firehose blasting back at us with an overload of information!

Suggestions for dealing with this “River of Information”

  • from Michael in Australia – “Follow Quality, Get Quality, Quality Beats Quantity.” That might mean only following 4-5 blogs in your Google Reader or using hashtags to search in Twitter instead of following 1,000 people. (#globalclassroom, #flatclass, #sschat, #2ndchat were all mentioned)
  • from Flattening Classrooms, Engaging Minds by Julie Lindsay and Vicki Davis – designate two times a week where you read through posts and links for 15 minutes. Think of it as a PLN workout.
  • many thought that starting with Diigo was a good plan. Here two groups to follow: Flat Class Educator’s Group and EdTechTalk.
  • from Sharon in Mumbai – don’t suffer from FOMO (Fear of Missing Out). You can’t read everything.  It is okay.
  • from Theresa in IL – sometimes you need to “Mark as Read” and move on. See above point about FOMO.

After sharing what the term “teacherpreneur” meant to us, we engaged in some thoughtful conversation about how to work with Standards, Administrators, Colleagues and Hardware limitations. There was definite collective agreement on the following:

  • “teacherpreneurs” can and should embrace state or national standards for their curriculum and expertly weave these in with innovative, collaborative projects.
  • reaching out to administration and colleagues is important and necessary for long-term sustainability of projects but it is hard and takes resilience
  • hardware might  not be exactly what you want, but make it what you need
  • connecting with other “teacherpreneurs” keeps you motivated and inspired. As Michael said:

when you are part of a community, you will surprise yourself. This is not something you need to do alone

Finally we talked about getting started with global projects. Here are some of the resources and projects mentioned. We will definitely talk more about these as the weeks go on. And remember to check out the numerous projects mentioned in the book!

Thank you to everyone who joined us or who has been posting on the blog. It is wonderful to hear and read the insights, doubts, mantras and beliefs of teachers who care about the work they do with students. Your students are lucky to have you!

Our next meeting will be Monday, February 4th at 7:30pm EST (that’s Tuesday, February 5th at 3:30am GMT). For your time zone, click here. We will be discussing Chapters Five and Six. Hope to “see” you there!

Join us for Session #2 of Virtual Book Club!

I am looking forward to our next meeting IN A FEW HOURS, Tuesday, January 22nd at 7:30pm EST (Wednesday, January 23rd at 3:00AM GMT), for your time zone, click here. We had a great session two weeks ago and I am excited to hear thoughts from teachers about connecting and communicating with teachers around the world, being a “teacherpreneur,” and advancing “technopersonal” skills of our students and ourselves.

To join us and discuss Chapter Three of Four of Flattening Classrooms, Engaging Minds by Julie Lindsay and Vicki Davis, please use this link:

If you missed the first session, no worries, the recording can be accessed here: Virtual Book Club January 7th

If you can’t make the live event, share your thoughts with us on this blog! Click on the chapter you want to comment on and add your ideas, questions, connections and thought grenades!

Connecting and Communicating

I am looking forward to our next meeting on Tuesday, January 22nd at 7:30pm EST (Wednesday, January 23rd at 3:00AM GMT), for your time zone, click here. Please note, this is a change from the original schedule. Thank you all for shifting your schedules around so that we can meet on a Tuesday/Wednesday this time around.

Chapters Three and Four begin to really get into the urgency of providing digital opportunities for our students to connect with other classrooms and communication effectively. There is a tremendous amount of information about how to become a connected teacher: push and pull technology, developing a PLN (Personal Learning Network), using social bookmarking. If you are new to these ideas, don’t get overwhelmed. Pick one thing you want to start using. If you can, begin before Tuesday night so you can ask questions and share experiences with the group. Chapter Three and Four also give lots of ideas about how to start getting students connected. I’m looking forward to listening to what teachers have already tried and how we can support each other as we move from collaboration in our classrooms to collaboration with other classrooms.

Please add thoughts or quotes or questions to this blog as you read – we can follow up in our live sessions. And if you are just stumbling across this project – please join us – more voices make us a more vibrant

learning community.



Virtual Book Club has Launched!

What an exciting start to the Virtual Book Club! If you couldn’t attend live, here is the recording to the event: Virtual Book Club January 7th. Our next meeting will be Tuesday, January 22nd at 7:30pm EST (Wednesday, January 23rd at 3:00AM GMT), for your time zone, click here. Please note, this is a change from the original schedule.

We had over 30 teachers participating live from five countries and four continents and “a whole mess” of states across the United States. It was lively with a very active chat, loads of folks taking a turn at the microphone and more than a couple of technical glitches. Here are some highlights:

  • A huge thanks to Theresa Allen for co-moderating with me. She kept things rolling when my computer decided to challenge me and supported new-comers with Blackboard Collaborate tips and tricks.
  • Another big shout-out to Lisa Durff for setting up the Blackboard Collaborate room and checking in on us to make sure things were working, and for spreading the word about the club.
  • Big virtual hugs to Michael Graffin and other Global Classroom Project teachers for jumping in and sharing ideas and inspiration about how global projects can be tackled by anyone, anywhere.
  • Deep and heartfelt thinks to author Julie Lindsay for being a part of our first discussion. Your presence added depth and meaning to the conversation.
  • ACPS super-teachers that reached beyond their own comfort zone to try out new technology, shared their challenges, asked their questions, and connected easily and powerfully with educators around the world
  • Each educator that took time out of their busy lives to spend an hour sharing stories, connecting and lending their digital support to the concept and work of global projects. As we said last night “We might all be crazy, but this way we can be crazy together.” *smile*

Highlights of the discussion:

  • Finding ways to show that all students, all ages can be empowered by and be powerful through global projects
  • Being creative with the technology that is available and maximizing what you have
  • Learning about successful projects that are already running and available to join
  • Thoughts about how to have global project running in many grades so that students have repeated exposure to the opportunities to collaborate across classrooms
  • Stages of global projects, from exchanging information between classrooms to have students co-creating with classrooms around the world
  • The challenges of researching global projects, specifically what needs to be measures in education and where higher ed is vs. K12 teachers
  • How global projects will continue to evolve with new technology

If you couldn’t join us, we hope you can make it next time or leave some comments on this blog!

Countdown to our first meeting!

The Virtual Book Club will begin a short 48 hours (-ish) from now! It has been so much fun to see folks begin to post on this blog, tweet comments on the book, email with ideas or even call when they had a question. One of the wonderful things about a global Professional Learning Network (PLN) is that you have colleagues and friends from all around the world sending you great snippets of wisdom and encouragement at all times of day. Thank you everyone for your active participation already!

If you haven’t already, a quick reminder to make sure you computer is ready for our first session on Monday, January 7th, 7:30PM EST (that’s Tuesday at 3:00AM GMT), for your time zone, click here. To check your computer, go to this page by Blackboard Collaborate, it lets you check your computer to make sure you have all the software you need.

The link you will need to join the session is:

Please plan on logging on 20 minutes or so before the start of the book club so that you can make sure all is working and complete the Audio Wizard before we get started. If you haven’t used Blackboard Collaborate yet, you’ll find it is a great tool and pretty easy to use, but you’ll want some time to explore it before we get started.

Anyone who can’t make our first meeting or has some ideas to share before then, feel free to begin commenting on Chapter One or Chapter Two. We have some folks from time zones that can’t make the live meeting but will be following our conversation through this blog.