Learning Leader Session 3 (Overview and Information)

Welcome to the 3rd session for the Learning Leader Project.  Your blog posts have been fantastic and I greatly appreciate the sharing of ideas, apps, challenges, and success in such an open forum.  Thank you for your dedication to the project!

Shared today by Tara Burvill, here is a great resource for iPads to be used with students:

The iPad As…

Here is the itinerary for our 3rd Session.

  1. Remind101 – This is a great service to keep students, parents, stakeholders, or whoever you like, up to date with updates that can be sent directly to their email or mobile device.  It is a nice way to share things with students without them giving their cell phone numbers to a teacher.  Please sign up by either using you mobile device or email for the Learning Leader Project updates by reading the following:
    Learning Leader Project remind101.
  2. Google Apps –  In this portion, we will do a brief overview of Google Apps, focused on Google Docs and Google Reader.  Please follow the following steps:
    a)  Login to your PSDblogs Google Apps account.  (Your password will be provided if this is your first time logging in.)
    b)   Watch this short video on “Google Docs in Plain English“.
    c)   Create and share a “Google Doc”.
    d)  Go to “Google Reader“. (Short video)
    e)  Subscribe to the following Reader Bundles.
    i.  Education Blogs 1
    ii.  Education Blogs 2
    iii.  #PSD70 Blogs
    iv.  Educational Leadership

  3. Zite – This is a great app to get a personalized magazine to read and share content.  It is also free.  You can also use “Flipboard” as well. (MobileRSS is free but sometimes not as stable as other applications. It is also just used for Google Reader and does not pull in any other content to my knowledge.)

Please remember to post a blog between this session and the next (April 24th and 25th).

For your reading pleasure, you should download the “Kindle” app and you can read Seth Godin’s newest book on education entitled, “Stop Stealing Dreams” (kindle version is located on the page).

Have a great spring break!

Learning Leader Session 2 (Overview and Information)

As we continue to move forward in this program, you are starting to build a Personal Learning Network (PLN).  This is something that we have done with our colleagues for years, but now it can be further and more widespread, creating a more diverse network of learning.  Below is a great video to get you thinking about PLN’s:

We are going to focus on some tools today so that we can continue to utilize cloud technology and share our learning.

1. Dropbox – This is a great video on how to use Dropbox.  Dropbox can be on devices as well as your computer which makes sharing items quite easy.

2. Hootsuite – There are several Twitter clients out there which you can “tweet” from without using the actual Twitter website.  Tweetdeck is my preferred application for a computer but I prefer Hootsuite for my iPad.

We are also going to use Twitter for this session.

For the final part of the session, we are going to watch Dean Shareski’s video on “Sharing”.  While we are watching, please share any insights or comments that you have using the #psd70llp hashtag.  This is a good practice to understand how students can use this technology to share learning and be more active participants in any lecture type sessions.

The video is below:

Please let me know if you have any questions regarding this or any other initiatives so far.

Between now and the next session, please write one blog post on something that you have either found helpful or challenging during this project.  If you want, you are more than welcome to share on any of the articles/videos below:

1.  How YouTube is Driving Innovation

2.  Banned in School

3.  The Time Question


Learning and the 7 Stages of Grief

By Kathryn Kindrat – Middle School Teacher, Seba Beach School

Throughout my life I have learned so many new things, I continue to learn every day, and I am excited to continue learning… that doesn’t mean it has been easy. I recently read a Twitter post about a poetry project, made by a university student doing her practicum in Calgary. She and her cohort student teacher partner developed an incredible inquiry based poetry unit, the likes I have never seen before. In her words:

Our Grade 6 Humanities classes completed a three step writing method that culminated in a kinetic poem. Each phase required students to delve deeply into their thoughts and wonders, broaden their knowledge of poetry and powerful writing, become familiar with different computer programs and websites, and tap into their creativity.

Students documented their work using the online notebook program Evernote which was synced and shared so we could monitor progress instantaneously. We placed emphasis on the process rather than the product and assessed students by giving them formative feedback on their written reflections completed after each phase. The student’s ability to communicate their understanding and experiences was our evidence that meaningful learning took place.

To bring their poems to life, students used Keynote to create text animation. I was amazed how quickly they mastered the program and how they naturally collaborated to share their knowledge. Watching the finished products proves that richer language was used to communicate deeper messages and this makes these poems worth producing.

– University of Calgary student teacher, Lisa Nguyen           http://calgaryscienceschool.blogspot.com/2011/11/poetry-that-moves.html

I must note, I consider myself to be fairly current in both new technologies and teaching practices, still I was blown away. I think you will understand what I mean if you check it out. Here is a blog post that will give you a quick intro and some product examples: Poetry that Moves.  And here is the actual class website that outlines the complete process: Poetry Project.

I am ashamed to say, after the initial feeling of awe wore off, my next reaction wasn’t one of excitement; rather, I boarded a roller coaster of emotion and had one heck of a ride. Naturally, as a teacher, I buried any negativity I had, and swore not to speak of it. Then I thought about the, Obvious to You. Amazing to Others., video that we watched in our first session. I reflected on the idea that perhaps my shameful feelings, and the journey that I went on, are things that others could relate to, identify with and perhaps find comfort in, and maybe, I would feel better about the situation if I said something out loud. So here it goes.

Learning and the 7 stages of grief

Shock and Denial

As I looked over the website, the first thing that popped into my head was, yeah this is great, but… there is no way this is the work of a normal grade 6 class, they must be advanced and highly trained in the inquiry process. And I bet the unit took forever! There is no way to actually accomplish what she did while covering the rest of the curriculum objectives… and on and on. Then came the guilt came rushing in.

Pain and Guilt

I felt bad, like I wasn’t being the teacher that my students needed me to be. I had these physical pangs of guilt, thinking about how a university student is utilizing all the newest technology to its fullest potential, at the same time engaging and guiding the kids through the inquiry process. She not only facilitated some incredible learning, she documented the whole thing online, including video reflections made by the kids that actually showed their learning as it happened. UGH! I started beating myself up, thinking of how I needed to do more, be better…

After a little bit of ice cream and Jersey Shore (nothing makes you feel better about yourself than Jersey Shore), I thought about it again. That is when I got mad.

Anger and Bargaining

I thought to myself, of course she is able to do this amazing unit; that is all you have to do in your practicum! I am juggling 3 grades, with twice that in levels and adaptations, I coach, I take care of a home, I am so exhausted from all the work I do already, how can I possibly do MORE?!! I quickly realized that I was pissed off, not because this girl has it easy because that is not true, but because I care A LOT about the work I do and I feel a tremendous amount of responsibility to give my students the best possible education I can. I just want to find a way to reach all of my students, deliver all of the content, create lifelong learners and maintain excellent relationships with every student. Is that too much to ask? Am I just not good enough?

Depression, Reflection and Loneliness

I was upset. I felt sad and alone, because I was sure that no other teacher would have this kind of reaction to witnessing such a powerful learning opportunity. Somewhere between berating my abilities and wallowing in self pity, I started reflecting on my own teaching practices and the things that I can do well, and realized something… I am not doing so bad.

The Upward Turn

I started thinking about some of the new technology and engaging activities that I have introduced/explored with my students, from using Animoto, Edmodo, YouTube, Glogster EDU, edublogs, to performing comedy routines, hosting critical thinking contests, participating in online debates and group poetry; the list goes on. I started thinking about what I could do, instead of the things I couldn’t.

Reconstruction and Working Through

I began brainstorming ways that I could adapt the unit and the process to fit with my kids, the context of the school and the resources available to me. I started getting excited at the possibility of introducing them to something they have never done before, not only in terms of the final product and technology, but also in the process.

Acceptance and Hope

I realized that before I could truly open my eyes and begin learning from my peer, I had to accept that learning can be uncomfortable at first, it can be downright depressing! I started to think about how it might be possible that kids go through similar emotions when tackling a difficult story, or a new math problem. Do they see other kids going through the motions easily and get mad that they are not yet at the same level? Do they feel bad about their own abilities? With support, can I help them get to that “Upward Turn”? Something clicked for me; I am not alone, learning something new, especially those big learning moments, can be hard, it is a journey, for better or for worse. Now I am at the hopeful stage. I am going to give this unit a try, I have no doubt that it will be difficult, especially the first time around, but I know we can do it.

I will leave you with this final thought, you are not alone. Cliché yes, but also true. I encourage others to talk about, not only their successes but also the journey, including all of the hills and valleys that they encountered along the way. If we tell ourselves or others that new learning should be easy, or come naturally, we are bound to give up if it isn’t or doesn’t. As twisted as it sounds, I prefer to think about learning as grieving, I know I will go through some tough moments, but if I give myself time and the benefit of the doubt, I will pull through and be stronger for it.

How does this relate to specifically to being a learning leader in the area of technology? Though the learning curve with technology is steep, being young and involved, I was naïve enough to think that nothing could scare me, but as I am learning, there is always something new – something better. We always have to be ready for that big scary plunge that takes us outside of our comfort zone, and to embrace all of the crazy feelings that are part of the package.

Learning Leader Session 1 (Overview and Information)

Below is the information for session 1 for you to be able to review, and go over today.  At the end is a little assignment for your “blog post” between now and the next session.

1. Opening video:

2.  Introductions and overview – The Horizon Report is a great yet detailed read of some of the work that we will be doing over the next 6 months.  Here are some of the key points that we will be working on:

  • Mobile Devices in the classroom
  • Cloud Computing
  • Personal Learning Networks

 3.  Using Evernote (Evernote for iPad video)

4.  Adding a post to the Learning Leader Blog – As a member of the Learning Leader Project, it is important that we are sharing our learning with each other.  We ask that you write one blog post in between each session to share some of the things that you are learning.  This can be from any of your exploration, but it can also be from any articles that you find or I have provided you in this post.  Below are some things to help you post to the Learning Leader project:

5.  Twitter– We want to be able to share information, while also learning from others.  Twitter is a great way to take control of your own professional development, which is available 24/7.  Here are a few things that may help:

  • The hashtag for Parkland School Division is #psd70.  You can search related tweets for Parkland School Division here.
  • The hashtag for the PSD70 Learning Leader Project is #psd70llp.  Please use this hashtag to share your information or ask questions of myself or others during this project.
  • You can follow other people in this project by clicking and following members from this list.

Between now and the next session, it would be great if you could share something new that you have learned onto the blog.  This will create a great archive of the work we are doing over the next six months.  It does not have to be anything long, this is just a start to help you become a more connected learner.  Please tweet out your blog post and use the #psd70llp hashtag so others can see.

If you are unable to think of something to write, here are three articles that may spark some thoughts:

Please let me know if you have any questions!

Experiment, play, learn, connect, and have fun!

George Couros

Prep: Learning Leader Program: Session 1

We are looking forward to our first cohort session for the Learning Leader program starting on either November 30 or December 1 (depending on your preference).  As discussed in the first post, please ensure that you have the following completed:


  1. Set up a Twitter account.
  2. Set up an “Evernote” account.
  3. Read the following blog post: The Blended PLC.  This will be the model of this group.  There is a blogging component.
  4. Fill out this survey when you are done the above 3 steps: Learning Leader Survey

As the focus of this program is to build towards becoming a networked teacher, a lot of our time will be spent creating our own digital identity, and having an opportunity to connect with educators all over the world to build a Professional Learning Network (PLN).  Below is a diagram of the “Networked Teacher”:

cc licensed ( BY NC SD ) flickr photo shared by courosa


Although some of our work will be using the iPad, it is not the “focus” of the program.  With that being said, please bring both your iPad and a laptop to the first session.

Below is the (planned) agenda for Session 1 (4-5:30):

    1. Introductions
    2. Using Evernote (iPad)
    3. Writing a blog post on the “Learning Leader Blog”
    4. Twitter (if time)

You will be sent some information prior to arriving to the session to login to the Learning Leader blog.  Please ensure that you keep that email so that you are able to contribute to the blog.

I am very excited about this opportunity. If you are interested, I encourage you to look at this Dean Shareski video on “Sharing” that has made a huge impact on my own learning. Again, this is optional, but it is definitely worth the time to watch.

If you have any questions that you feel may be applicable to the whole group, please feel free to write them in the comment section.

See you next week!