EdTech 543 – Final Reflection

Self-Reflection EdTech 543 (3)Reflecting back on the last 7-weeks, I have grown more than I had anticipated. Prior to taking the course I believed I would learn a little bit about using social media with students, but I wasn’t prepared for the way this course would change my professional connections. I believe building on and seeking purposeful members to my own PLN has changed my position as an educator for the better. I firmly believe this should be taught to teacher candidates in undergrad. It is amazing how motivated I am to work and learn with my PLN now and to think I didn’t have these supports as strongly in place just seven short weeks ago. This course exceeded all expectations.

As a technology instructional coach, I am responsible for delivering a lot of PD to my school site and district. I appreciated that we were able to tailor our projects to what we wanted to learn and develop for our own role. Not only that, I will never give a PD session again without curating some of the best resources I have found. I think that curating through Scoop.it, Storify, or others allows for differentiation for teachers as well. As teachers are at all different levels, if I am teaching a particular topic and a teacher already knows this, they can look through the curated topics to learn on their own. This is so powerful, to give the teachers your own curated list, not to mention than to encourage them curate and have their students curate also!

I was surprised by how much I took to Twitter and Webinars. I had been using a Twitter account sparingly, but now I understand the true purpose for educators. My only worry is that lack of time will limit my participation in Twitter chats. My goal is to set time in my weekly schedule for both curating, Twitter chats and participating in the Google+ communities that have been beneficial so far. I hope to find and participate in Webinars during my lunch period as much as possible. Not only that, as a coach, I will also be finding and recommending topic-specific Webinars and Twitter chats to teachers with whom I work. This course has changed me and my motivations about working with a PLN and social media in the professional and school setting.

Finally, reflecting on my blog itself, I am proud of the documenting and reflecting I have done for this course. I thoughtfully approached all entries and worked to apply them to my professional setting to make the most meaning. If there is one thing I would strive to do differently would be to engage in conversation with classmates more through our blogs. Especially with respect to the culture of social networks, I could do a better job of responding and commenting to others’ posts. However, we were able to do some of this in our class Facebook group as well.  With this being said, I would give myself about 95% (72/75).


Social Media Policies

School Level Policy

Our most recent assignment had us explore the idea of a social media policy within our district or school. I was able to find the DCPS Student Safety and Use Policy for Internet and Technology (2009) which provides rules and guidelines for students. It is not however specifically geared toward social media usage. The only portion, from the policy, concerning this topic states:

"Students are prohibited from accessing social networking sites, 
including, but not limited to, My Space, Facebook, and Twitter."

This is a very limited and outdated policy surrounding the idea of social media in schools. The policy that I have created is one that I plan to introduce at the school-level in the upcoming year. I think, more than anything, this will get the social media conversation heading in a positive direction.

I chose to create a policy for staff first, as this is an elementary school. I will propose the plan to administration and staff first, as it is a policy that applies to them. Once feedback is collected, by way of a Google Form, I plan to have our Academic Leadership Team revise and implement the plan. From here a student and parent policy can be created as deemed applicable. The plan will be reviewed on an annual basis that coincides with the Staff Handbook review. It may even be a good idea to adopt the plan into the handbook if acceptable by school leaders.

Here is my proposed Social Media Policy and Guidelines:

Anderson, S. (2012). How to create social media guidelines for your school. Edutopia. Retrieved from http://www.edutopia.org/how-to-create-social-media-guidelines-school

DCPS. (2009). DCPS student safety and use policy for internet and technology. Retrieved from http://dcps.dc.gov/sites/default/files/dc/sites/dcps/publication/attachments/DCPS-INTERNET-SAFETY-USE-POLICY-APRIL-7-2009.pdf

PBWorks. (2011). Social Media Guidelines for Schools. Retrieved from http://socialmediaguidelines.pbworks.com/w/page/17050879/FrontPage

Pajaro Valley Unified School District. (2012). PVUSD Social Media Policy. Retrieved from http://www.pvusd.net/tup

Social Networking for Teaching and Learning

Social Media is Elementary

IMG_20150128_102600As a technology instructional coach for an elementary school, I was a bit nervous about finding resources surrounding social media and young students. I wasn’t sure what resources I would find if any. So, I begin by posting in a few Google+ communities to help gather information circulating about this topic. I was pleasantly surprised both with the response and the content.

I was surprised to learn that there are many resources out there of teachers utilizing Twitter, blog sharing, and Skype in the Classroom at the elementary level. I was surprised to find a lot of examples and support came from early elementary, both kindergarten, and first grade. I choose to curate my findings with Storify this time around; you can check it out here.

I learned that teachers utilize a classroom Twitter account, for example, and draft posts together as a class. Some teachers train their students well enough that eventually students are posting to the class account independently with teacher posting permission. Teachers at the elementary level, like to match up with other classes through Twitter or blogs to respond to one-another. Sometimes they even plan on doing projects and predict and share results with their “buddy” classes all over the world.

I was so pleased with my findings I have added a lot of these teachers to my PLN and shared the resources with teachers in my building. I look forward to opening up this idea with the elementary teachers I work with.

Joining Online Communities

From Lurker to Participant (or at least working on it)

group-42917_1280Over the past week, I have worked to join a few more online communities. While I may not keep up interactions in all communities, I appreciated exploring some new groupings. I will have to decide over the long-term that will be most helpful as I learn and grow in my profession. While I was already a member of quite a few groups, I was surprised at the avenues there were new to me. Professional educators are very motivated in online communities.

Over the past week, I explored Google+ Communities, Pinterest, Classroom 2.0 and edConnectr (through Connected Educators).



For edConnectr, you have to sign-up and wait for verification. From there you fill out a fairly extensive profile, for the platform to match you with educators you can help and who can connect and assist you.  When you have completed your profile, it shows you all of your “matches” with you being in the center. You can sort by job position and look between the quadrants: “My role”, “I can help with”, “Interests”, and “I would like help with”. You can also join groups within edConnectr. I joined the “Teaching with Tech” group. Unfortunately, it seems inactive as a post hasn’t been made since 2013. EdConnectr also suggests reaching out to individual people connections called “pins,” I have contacted a few, and I am waiting for a response. I did appreciate you could search by school district, of which I found one librarian in my district.


Google+ Communities

Prior to this assignment, I had never looked into Google+ Communities. Searching through the groups there are so many choices. I was careful to find groups there were more active than others. I joined four groups through Google+ communities, two of which were free to join and two others I had to wait for approval. Communities2My interactions through the Google+ Communities have been most beneficial.  I have felt comfortable contributing and asking questions or seeking help. Members of these communities are quick to respond with suggestions or help. It has been amazing the resources people are willing to share with you.

Here are some interactions I have had with my Google+ Communities:

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I had some educators offer some very helpful tips and advice almost immediately and I wanted to share the permalinks to those interactions as well.

Microsoft 365 Help

Interactive Whiteboard Assistance

Adobe Voice Interaction

Twitter Chat Archive


A few years ago I was active on Pinterest, but it was mostly a place for me to pin recipes to try some evening down the line. Or I would pin the latest appetizer recipe that I hoped would not be another Pinterest fail. However, my experience with Pinterest lacked any sort of community interactions. Of course, I had “followed” friends boards, but we didn’t comment on each others. It was a way to pin, bookmark and collect, that was it. For this activity, I attempted get back on Pinterest to experiment with the networked community as an active participant. I followed some EdTech boards and found posts and resources I liked. I posted comments to educators posts and thanked them for the resources. I also tried to ask people a few questions, of which I received one response. I am happy that I experimented with Pinterest again. Will I rely on it for PLN in the future? Probably not, but there are good resources there if you don’t mind getting lost in the scroll!



The final online community that I joined was Classroom 2.0. This community is a place for educators who are interested in social media, classroom technology use and the Web 2.0 to interact and engage with one another. I definitely still have some exploring to do with this platform. There are groups and forums as well recordings, videos and guest speakers. I like that they have video and FAQ resources for educators who haven’t posted to forums before. Classroom 2.0 also has RSS feeds that you can utilize to stay on top of new blog or forum posts and comments. I will have to play around with he happy medium on how much of this I want notifications about. While I do use Feedly for RSS feeds, I need to decide how to organize my new online community notifications so that they don’t overwhelm, but become an asset to my PLN.

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Reflecting on My PLE



I enjoyed the process of creating this representation of my PLE. I usually shy away from artistic projects, feeling inadequate. However, the use and exploration of digital tools gets my creative juices flowing. This assignment, rightly so, turned into an extremely self-reflective activity.

While creating my PLE, I learned that I have come a long way. It wasn’t that long ago that none of these tools was around. And now look at the learning, networking and connections that have been formed. In creating the “Guide to My PLE” I found there were a lot of connections I have made and at differing levels of success.

I decided to divide my PLE into four main categories all of which are interconnected. I questioned putting the same icons into multiple circles then decided to place them where they fit by definition and then connect each category as they really can go between all categories.

I learned that there were a few tools that I use or taught I used well. For example, Diigo has been my go to bookmarking app for a few years personally, but the social aspect was new to me for this class. While I have been on Twitter for a year professionally, Twitter chats were new to me for this Module. I learned that I can keep honing my skills in most all of my PLE tools. That is one of the reasons I am pursuing a Masters in Educational Technology, to focus really on my skills and continue to learn and research in directed areas.

I also learned that while I am getting better, I definitely continue to be a lurker more than I want in many areas. I will read online resources from a whole host of people for hours, but contribute far less. This is a pattern I need to work on. Reflecting on this is a great step to being a more active member in my personal learning network.

Comparative Analysis

Having the opportunity to explore my course PLN’s PLE posts, as well as other classmates creations, I come away feeling positive and that I am doing the right things to build my PLN. There are so many similarities that I noticed throughout our representations. Differences were mostly program specific, not different in the idea itself. We all find it important to communicate/share, organize, learn and collaborate. The tools we use may be different, but the reasons for using the tools are universal.

There were definitely tools that I utilize, however, forgot to include in my own PLE. Reviewing my classmates representations reminded me of these resources as well. A big one that I left off was Tweetdeck. I think a major reason I hadn’t been successful with Twitter in the past, was the lack of organization I had made around hashtags or ways to follow a Twitter chat. This tool should have made my diagram for example.

This might be a good process to use with teachers at my school when I work with them as a coach. We could explore their PLN and areas they want to grow.  This would be a work in progress, but this process was definitely beneficial to reflect on my PLE, what it is and what I want it to be.

Real-Time and Live Virtual Professional Development

8477893426_9181cdabc4_oLive Twitter Chats

Before this module, I had never tried my hand at a Twitter chat. I was always intrigued, but mostly intimidated and apprehensive. I was thrilled to be pushed over the ledge with this assignment; I had no excuse but to give it a shot.

I enjoyed my experience engaging with other professionals and educators through the Twittersphere. In the future, I can see myself being a regular with a topic or two that interests me. I even shared the curated Google calendar with other teacher friends of mine and encouraged them to find a chat topic of interest to them. I was so surprised by how many types of education chats occur daily.

Real-time professional development was meaningful for me. As contributors share resources, I found myself opening a lot of tabs to review further after the chat. I think that real-time PD can be very useful, but it is important to reflect and review after the collaborative chat time.


Twitter Chat #resiliencechat

6Thank goodness we had already sent up a Tweetdeck through this class. I don’t know how you would follow a chat without being able to streamline the collection system. The host for this chat centered the conversation this time around student travel during the school year. This discussion followed the Question and Answer protocol that I had seen in my Twitter feed at times.The conversation hinged on the benefits of family travel, school responsibilities and equity across the country. I was able to contribute by sharing my experiences working with migrant communities and transient communities. My experiences offered a different take on student “travel”. I interacted with educators that I had not previously encountered through my PLN.  It was a successful first experience.


Twitter Chat #educoach

Ca444ptureI was also able to participate in this chat with other instructional coaches. The facilitators welcomed everyone and centered the chat around “instructional coaching with the end in mind”. This chat was a faster pace than the first one I had participated in, but having multiple facilitators felt very interactive and engaging. That was awesome to “meet” other coaches; I grew my network here. Many of the coaches seemed to be on the same page as me, so it made me feel confident participating. I wonder how I would feel if I had had a very different view on the topic. I would like to schedule a time to try out the technology coaching chat in the future.


Twitter Chat #ipadchat

When I first arrived at the chat, there were a lot of bummed Tweeters as we were all figuring out the facilitators were not in attendance. However, we quickly realized we could still have a chat, albeit impromptu. One person started off asking what apps and resources we liked for formative assessment and the discussion rolled from there! It was neat to take the conversation where we wanted it to go, but I could also see how this would be harder the more participants were in attendance. I appreciate the role of the facilitator. I even encountered a fellow EdTech 543 classmate here!



Twitter Chat #Nt2t

#Nt2tI had wanted to do this chat earlier on in our Modules but didn’t get to join in until my fourth chat attempt. I was feeling a bit weird to chat at “New Teachers to Twitter”, as I didn’t exactly know what “new” meant. I was glad I stopped it, I met a lot of great educators and now have lots of ideas of how to introduce Twitter to my school staff. I also learned tips I want to take on into my practice. #Nt2t had new and veteran educators willing to network and share.


Live Webinars

Empowering Digital Citizens: Embracing Social Media in Schools


During this webinar, Principal Jason Markey presented on his high school’s use of social media as a positive for his community. He urged for all to, “Take ownership of your school’s story and then you aren’t just going to see the few negative news stories out there.” He explained that it took about two years to get Twitter unblocked, but it is such a positive for the school and students. Principal Markey told how you could scrub out negative tweets by inviting positive momentum. This webinar did have a backchannel of which questions were collected and answered at the end of the presentation. I was able to ask a question and the presenter even followed up with me through Twitter. I appreciate how real-time PD breaks down those barriers of separation. C333apture


Nearpod: GoToWebinar – Best Practices for Implementing Technology in your Classrooms

This webinar was used to show the basics of Nearpod. I was hoping it would go beyond the basics as I have previously used Nearpod in my classroom. I did appreciate how easy it was to interact with the presenter, who also followed up through Twitter after the presentation. I was able to ask a few questions around Nearpod vs. Classflow, which was helpful to me.



Webinar: Planting the Seeds of Belief

30 Goals eConference speaker Barbara Bray presented on Univeral Design for Learning as the framework for personalized learning. She spoke from the heart about wanting teachers to “bring problem solving and joy back into the classroom.” She explained one way you do this is to help unburden teachers, by moving from traditional to learner-centered education. She explained that teachers need to make the learners responsible and accountable for their learning, it shouldn’t be on the teacher alone, it should be on the learner more.


Webinar: BBWorld15

Panel Discussion: Powerful Professional Development to Prepare Teachers for Digital Learning

Moderator: Dr. Allison Powell

The fourth webinar I attended was through the BbWorld Conference. It was a panel discussion focusing on online professional development for teachers. The panel talked about theories of adult learning and taking this into accoutn when looking at blended, online or face-to-face professional development for online teachers. It was neat to watch the panel online while they presented just down the road here in Washington, DC. This was another backchannel were questions were saved until the end. The chat moderator offered to take questions to the panel if they were unable to get to them in the time allotted.

This experience was so positive for me. I will continue to look for webinars and Twitter chats to be a part of in the future. All of my experiences were authentic and real.

Image Attribution: “Multiple Tweets Plain” by mkhmarketing is licensed under CC BY 4.0

Criteria for Effective Curation


Before creating our group’s Curation Criteria Strategy document, I wouldn’t have been able to define educational curation. In my limited understanding, to curate something had always be saved for galleries and museums. Having now explored curation, it is evident that this method of sharing organized topic-specific content that been beneficial in education as well.

The online collaboration process ran smoothly as we utilized first Google Sheets to collect our findings and then Google Docs to organize and fine-tune or final criteria. Using these collaborative products, allowed for easy contributing alongside my PLN (Carol and Ty) as we could view and discuss each others contributions. Early on in the week we broke up the work and Carol initiated by created the sheet to house our findings. We then determined we wanted to break the criteria into three categories: Find, Feature and Facilitate as a way to group our list.

I look forward to using our criteria as I review my PLNs curations. I am excited to see the topics they chose and method(s) for sharing!

Image Attribution: “Curation of Information” by G. Couros is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0