Archive | October, 2010

student PLNs and differentiation

22 Oct

[posting live today from the Carolyn Coil differentiation workshop at Seoul International School]

This is differentiation weekend and it strikes me that one of the most powerful approaches towards differentiation instruction is to guide students to develop their own personal learning network. First and foremost, by definition it is individualized. Second, the students’ own interests and needs drive the “instruction”.

Not that kind of differentiation...

I’ve been thinking about the ways I’ve applied some of the my favorite PLN tools to the classroom and I’m realizing I’ve been providing them with content more often than empowering them to generate or locate content themselves. This has got to change, and I’m going to frame this around the idea of students building their own PLNs.

Three tools immediately jump out to me:

  • Blogging (and blog reading) will be the hub of their learning network.
  • Google Reader as a tool to organize blog readership, news feeds, etc
  • Delicious (or Diigo?) for collecting and sharing content

There’s so much potential here! Coming next week: Delicious in the classroom

Quote of today re: student groupings…

A society isn’t measured by who is excluded, but who is included


image credit:



Back on the horse

20 Oct

Get back on me!

After a brief hiatus filled with masters coursework, a trip to China, umpteen college recommendation letters, lots of grading and of course teaching, it’s time to get back to the blog. I’m looking forward to this weekend and a workshop on differentiation with Carolyn Coil. I’ll post some updates from the workshop this weekend.

Looking ahead, I’m presenting a series of PD sessions in early November and wanted to hash out some ideas here.

  1. Google Apps part 2, which is a follow up to last month’s “Get a Grip on Google” presentation
  2. Differentiation 2.0, which will highlight some ways to use the technology and web 2.0 tools to differentiate.

The Un-Conference Learning 2.010 in Shanghai gave me lots of great ideas which hopefully I can work into the above sessions after laying them out here. Now that all my leisure writing time isn’t devoted to college recs maybe I’ll be able to blog more than once a month!

In the mean time, here are some collaborative web 2.0 tools I’ve been experimenting with.

  • Google Apps – its hard to even call this an experiment, at this point Google Apps is my tried and true medium for lab data and report collaboration
  • Webspiration – the popular concept mapping tool Inspiration has gone cloud-based with a free, public beta release Webspiration. I haven’t had the chance to try it out with my students yet, but the possibilities here are exciting. Concept mapping seems so much more powerful to me when you have more than one mind to map.
  • Prezi – The hip presentation tool has also gone cloud-based and now multiple collaborators can work on single Prezi file ala Google Presentation. My students have enthusiastically taken to using Google Presentation to create quick group projects, but Prezi adds another great option for presentations
  • Dabbleboard – Turn the students laptops into whiteboards that they can write on collaboratively. Could be cool for project planning or group process modeling

More coming! Hopefully soon I’ll get some student samples up on here with these tools…