Saturday, January 31, 2009

My 21st Century Learning Interview on EdTechTalk

I was honored to be interviewed by Alex Rangone, Arvind Grover, Vinnie Vrotney, on their EdTechTalk show 21st Century Learning.  This show focuses primarily on the Independent School world. It was a lot of fun. Alex, Arvind, and Vinnie ask great questions! I also appreciate everyone who was in the chat room.

If you haven't checked out the shows on EdTechTalk I highly reccomend that you do. They have several shows each week on various education related topics. The shows run with a live chat room and can also be accessed and downloaded at anytime. This is another great way to build your network.

Monday, January 26, 2009

8 Stages of PLN (Personal Learning Network) Development

I've been thinking about my recent learning journey and how my relationship to my personal learning network has changed and developed. One year ago I attended the Educon 2.0 conference. Having just returned from Educon 2.1, I am struck by the the difference in the experience. It was just as meaningful, powerful and thought provoking as it was the first time. But my relationship to the people there had a different and deeper quality. Linda Nitsche's session, Reflections on Personal Paths of Change particularly helped me to look back on my journey and to think about the ways it has grown and changed.

It occurred to me that I might be able to connect the stages of my development to other psychological theories. Here is my attempt to do that. I apologize to Erik Erikson (and to all who have studied his work), for my very broad interpretation of his Stages of Social - Emotional Develoment in Children and Adolescents.

The path I describe below is very linear. I know I have and will circle back and forth through some of these stages. I wonder, is what I have described a common experience? Can you relate to my progression? What similarities do you see to your own experiences? What differences? I hope you will share them with me.

1. Learning Basic Trust Versus Basic Mistrust (Can I trust the world?)
When I first started venturing into social networking, through Classroom 2.0 and blogging, I wasn't sure how much I should reveal about myself. As I started to meet people online, I was afraid to trust in those relationships. I wasn't sure if they were real or not. But I chose to hope that they were real and took some risks and put my trust into a group of people that I did not really know.

2. Learning Autonomy Versus Shame (Is it OK to be me?)
Once I took my first few steps into building a network, I had to test my autonomy and put aside my fear of being embarrassed or ashamed of what I had to contribute. This is a frightening stage. It required venturing away from the people I already knew in my personal life and reaching out to widen my learning circle. At times it felt lonely out there. I might write something and receive no response. I took the chance of revealing my weaknesses and asking for help. I was able to build my own voice in the blogosphere and found myself supported in my opinions.

3. Learning Initiative Versus Guilt (Is it OK for me to do, move act?)
Once I had established a group of people online who I felt I could trust, I started to push those boundaries. At times I would take on issues that might be less popular. I became comfortable enough in my network to play or joke around, to add a silly comment here or there and to reveal more of my true self among people I don't "really" know.

4. Industry Versus Inferiority (Can I make it in the world?)
As I became comfortable with my network, and more and more impressed with the people and their contributions, I began to feel more responsibility for my own contribution to our collective intelligence. I took more time writing my posts. I become more aware of the impact of my tweets, comments and the discussions I started in various networks. I also began to feel a desire to succeed and excel. To build a readership and a "following" that would respect what I had to say.

5. Learning Identity Versus Identity Diffusion (Who am I? What can I be?)
In this stage I really began to question my role in my PLN. I wanted people to know me, to recognize me. I wanted to be part of the "cool" crowd. I became very aware of the structure of power within my network and explored my own place in that hierarchy. Some of my relationships became deeper and more intimate, while others revealed themselves to be more superficial. At times I felt rejected or ignored and at other times I felt empowered and affirmed.

6. Learning Intimacy Versus Isolation (Can I Love?)
I feel I am now in moving towards the end of this stage. My relationships with the people I have met online have deepened. In Philly this weekend, I felt I already had a strong core of people who cared for both my ideas and for me as a person. I feel the same way about them, I know many of the people I learn from both as educators and as people with families and personal successes and disappointments.

7. Learning Generativity Versus Self-Absorption (Can I make my life count?)
I feel myself moving into this stage. As my network has become established, I am trying to keep open to new relationships. It is easy to feel content with the wonderful people I have already met and stay safely within their circle. That complacency is challenging to overcome. As I become more "known," I don't want to seem unapproachable or above anyone else. As I move into a different place on this developmental spectrum, I feel more of a responsibility to help others in my network who are at earlier stages, work their way through to their own deepening connections.

8. Integrity Versus Despair (Can I contribute?)
Finally, I am still striving to get to this "peak of adjustment." I hope to reach a stage where I can feel comfortable with my own success and my place among my peers. To let go of some of my own striving and to focus more on helping others. I admire and look to the others in my network who have found this equilibrium.

Please share your thoughts.

Photo: My notes from Linda's session.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Two For Tuesday 1-20-2009

In the spirit of today's Inauguration of our 44th President, Barack Obama, here are a few links I thought you might find interesting.

1. Twitter: #inaug09

(Here is something you may not already know about Twitter.)You can search Twitter by going to and searching for a particular "hash tag." A hash tag is simply a search term prefaced by the # sign, which is also known as a hash symbol. You can see the most popular hash tags here: You can use the link above to see the latest Tweets about the inauguration, or go to the Twitter Search page and search for #inaug09. (If you aren't familiar with Twitter, check out this blog post, or this screencast.

2. Inaugural Words: 1789 to the Present
Thanks to Maureen Tumenas for this great link! The New York Times has created an interactive look at the presidential inaugural addresses from 1789 to the Present. You can click on the time-line to choose any president and see an interactive Wordle of the most used words in each speech. If you click on the word you can see it in context. The site also includes the full text from each address. You can also check out Maureen's collection of inaugural Wordles. Check out Linda George's blog for lots more inaugural resources. I especially like this one.

Monday, January 19, 2009

How has your Personal Learning Network Changed Your Life?

I am about to head down to the Educon 2.1 conference in Philadelphia. Last year this conference was a life changing experience for me. My online personal learning network came alive. My internet friends became real live friends and it felt like I already knew most of them.

In general, I learn so much from my blogging, twitering, plurking, deliciousing, facebooking network. They lead me to new ideas and tools, they help me when I'm in trouble, they inspire me when I'm stuck. I honestly don't know how I survived without you all.

Last year's Educon also introduced me (in person) to Lisa Thumann who has become a great friend and cherished colleague in the last year. She and I have so much in common, despite the hundreds of miles that separate us. It seems fitting that this year we will be presenting two sessions together. I hope to see some of you there.

I asked my Twitter network how their PLN has changed their life. Here is what they had to say. Please share your thoughts on the subject (I feel like I never get any comments anymore - I could use some comment love).

Jean-Louis Bontront
jeanbont @lizbdavis Getting lots of new ideas, finding web2.0 applications I didn't know existed, started a blog, getting colleagues involved too!
MagistraM @lizbdavis No longer working in isolation - always have resources for answers, ideas, suggestions. My PLN inspires me.

dmcordell @lizbdavis Instead of being a solitary librarian, I'm part of a group. I have mentors, teachers, friends from around the world.
cehyde9 @lizbdavis WOW. You all are so much on the cutting edge of everything! Links, resources, news, troubleshooting, answers, support. U name it!
C Hollingsworth
chollingsworth @lizbdavis my new PLN has re-energized me. I was getting bored and needed to start learning for myself again. Never knew what I was missing!
Holly B
h011y @lizbdavis My learning curve is doing loop-de-loops. Gained/offered ideas and resources. Enjoy "knowing" folks at other online events.
mrsbrowndog @lizbdavis In terms of 140 characters I can's immeasurable. I am more reflective & willing to ask for help here than anywhere else
jason_everett @lizbdavis I believe I have more focus because of my PLN.
Cathy Nelson
cathyjo @lizbdavis it has opened UNBELIEVABLE doors for me. My PLN will take me farther than I ever dreamed of going. Im now a global thinker.
Lori Feldman
lfeld52 @lizbdavis My PLN has given me new outlets for interests and given me a bigger "toolbox" to use at school
Theresa Murray
tamurray @lizbdavis I think my new PLN has helped me look at more sources and try some new things. Expanding my classroom resources.
Beth Still
bethstill @lizbdavis I'm a better teacher b/c of my PLN. More connections=more ideas for new and improved lessons. PLN=more personal fulfillment.
vtdeacon @lizbdavis as someone who uses project based learning it has really made me look at and helped me find more options for kids 2 present
Patrick Woessner
pcwoessner @lizbdavis For me? Best learning resource I could imagine. For most educators? I daresay it hasn't:
Neal Cross
nealcross @lizbdavis was pondering that some today; it seems like I can easily be overwhelmed by Good Information, the only bad is the distraction.
Nadine N
nnorris @lizbdavis I am so much more aware of recent research, best practices, new tools, high quality resources - I'm just plain smarter!

Image Citations
Thanks so much to Frank for this awesome PLN graphic!
"Get Connected" metaweb20's photostream on Flickr

This is the best image of me (in the hat) and Lisa (on my right) that I can find. Thanks to Kristin Hokanson for taking the photo. kristinhokanson's photostream on Flickr

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Two For Tuesday 1/13/08

1. Pandora: Internet Radio
"Pandora is a music discovery service designed to help you enjoy music you already know, and to help you discover new music you'll love." You choose an artist or song and Pandora will create a "station" based on your song choice. Pandora will suggest new music to you, you can play and then rate that music. Over time Pandora gets to know your musical taste and can introduce you to new artists as well as play old favorites. There is even an iPhone App that will allow you to stream music on your phone.

2. Just Hear It: Search the web for any song in the world.

Just Hear It is an on-demand music discovery service. You can search for and listen to any song in the world without signing up or paying anything. You can create your own playlists and legally stream your songs right from your desktop. They pay for licenses from all the major performing-rights organizations. Just Hear It is currently in private beta, you can search and play music without an account. Members (by invitation only) can also create a media library, multiple playlists and keep track of their play history.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Two For Tuesday 1/06/08

1. Daily Lit: Read Books by Email (or RSS)
If you spend hours each day reading your email, but find it hard to find the time to read a book, Daily Lit is for you. Daily Lit will deliver an email to you each day with an installment from your chosen book. They have over 1000 free titles available, including many classics like Crime and Punishment and The Count of Monte Cristo. You decide when and how often you want your installments delivered and Daily Lit does the rest.

2. John Maeda: My journey in design, from tofu to RISD

In this video John Maeda, president of the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), talks about connections between technology and design. He tells the story of his path from working in his family tofu business, to MIT and then to RISD. He explains, "The problem isn't making the world more technological, it is how to make the technology more humane."

...One more for fun, try typing "find Chuck Norris" into the Google search page and then clicking "I'm feeling lucky."

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Beam Me Up Scotty!

My favorite part of the TV show Star Trek was the transporter. I loved the idea that in a few seconds you could be anywhere in the universe. Lately, I've been trying to think of metaphors to describe my professional learning network. I've been thinking that tools like Twitter, Plurk, Ning and Facebook have the power to beam me up to a world of learning whenever I need to be there.

I step in front of my computer, type the required Web address and in seconds I'm beamed to a location surrounded by interesting and intelligent people from all over the world. They offer me answers when I'm stuck, share their nuggets of wisdom when they are inspired and appreciate my excitement when I discover a new tool or have an idea. Thanks to all of you in my personal learning network for transporting me to so many fabulous places.

Do you have a metaphor for social networking, for personal learning networks, or for tools like Twitter? Can you help me complete these sentences?

Twitter is like a _______________ because __________
Social Networking is like a ____ ___ because __________
Personal Learning Networks are like ___ because _______
RSS is like ______ because __________

I look forward to hearing your thoughts on this! I feel if I had some good metaphors, it would make it easier to explain these things.

Image source: from tkksummers' photostream

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Ten Tools to Manage your Life

Happy New Year!
Ten Web 2.0 tools to Make your Resolutions a Reality
Please share your favorites!

1 - Lifetick
Lifetick is an online goal setting application that helps you to define your values, set goals, create tasks, stay motivated, track your progress, measure your performance and reflect on your experience. The interface is easy to use and also includes an iPhone app. The free version allows for 4 goals, while paid version costs $20 per year and allows for unlimited goals, and more journaling features.

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2 - Project2Manage
Projects2Manage is a free project management application that allows you to manage an unlimited number of projects, manage to-do lists, create milestones, write collaboratively with team members and post messages to keep colleagues informed. It will send out messages to remind you of tasks that are due and help keep you on target to meet your goals.

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3 - Planzone
Planzone is a Web-based workspace that allows you to manage your projects. You can set up a timeline, calendar, milestones and a schedule for completion. Planzone also integrates a wiki, discussion forum and blogging. You can also upload files. There is an RSS feed for your to do list so you can keep track of your project outside of the Planzone website. The free version supports 2 projects, up to 5 users and includes 25MB of storage.

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4 - Teamworkpm
Teamworkpm is an Online project managment system that allows you to set milestones, create task lists, upload documents, track time spent and manage people. The free version allows you to manage 2 projects at a time with an unlimited number of users and clients. The paid plans provide more storage space, a greater number of projects and security. You can pay monthly and cancel at any time.

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5 - Scrumy
Scrumy is a very simple task management application that helps you manage your projects by creating a "story" and creating the tasks necessary to complete the story. It is a lot like using virtual post-it notes and moving them around as your tasks move to different stages of development. The basic version doesn't require a password, you just create a URL and get to work. Anyone who knows the web address can add to the project. The Pro versions provide more functionality, such as password protection and includes features like burndown charts and sprints. The Pro version costs $7 a month.

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6 - Remember The Milk
Remember the Milk allows you to manage your tasks online. It integrates with iGoogle, Google Calendar, Twitter and Jott. There is also a free iPhone App. This is for simple task management and does not offer the project management features of some of the other apps listed here.

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7 - Remindr
Remindr is an online application that will send you reminders via Twitter, text messaging, IM and/or email. You simply go to the Website and put in the task you want to be reminded of and how you want to be reminded. If you follow the Remindr Bot on Twitter, it will DM you remindr messages on the time and date of your choice. This is a great tool for daily tasks that you don't want to forget, but not really effective for long term projects.

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8 - Slife
Slife is a free download that helps you keep track of what you do Online. It runs in the background and graphs where you spend your time both Online and off. You can see how much time you spend on particular websites, on email and on other applications. You can set productivity goals for how much time you would like to spend on an application and Slife will tell you when you've reached your limit. If you've ever looked up and found hours have passed and you don't know what you've done with them, Slife is for you. There is also a team version. As far as I can tell both versions are free.

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9 - Soshiku
Shoshiku is designed to help students keep track of assignments. You can add assignments and tasks, create reminders and also work with partners. Shoshiku allows you to attach files and share messages and chat with your partners. It will send you emails and/or text messages to remind you of things you need to get done.

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10 - Traineo Fitness and Weightloss
Traineo is a free community designed to help you lose weight & get fit. After you join you choose up to 4 friends or members of your family who will help you to stay true to your goals. There are traineo members who vollunteer to help motivate you, or you can invite friends and/or family to help keep you on target. There are also groups you can join and a forum where you can post questions.

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I hope you find these tool helpful. Do you use any of them already? Have you found them useful? Please let us know.