Archive for PLN

Dean Groom is Real

Posted in Educational, PLN, Professional Reflection with tags , , , on June 1, 2010 by Mister A

My second group of students did their web conference with Dean Groom on Friday.  This time I invited several members of my twitter PLN and to listen in and also provide feedback for my students.  They included Gerald Aungst, Kim Harrison, Scott Merrick, Bronwyn Stuckey, Crista Anderson and Susan Wanke.  Although we experienced a few technical difficulties and it was a bit hectic having thirty students in my closet sized classroom, things went off very well.  The fact that I was able to increase my students’ audience to the extent that I did (with the help of what has become a very powerful PLN) may have been one of the coolest things I have ever done in my classroom.  I have tried to get teachers in my school district involved in Twitter and Second Life type virtual environments for this very reason.  It provides me with the opportunity to shrink the world for my students and show them that there are teachers in this world willing to truly go out of their way to help others.

In the first web conference Dean and I did, I didn’t ask a bunch of teachers to come, for fear that things would not go off well.  That was probably a mistake, but I am learning to take more risks with web learning tools as I see the benefits of sharing my students’ work with other teachers on a global level.  My students think it is so cool that not only did one Australian get to see their presentations and read their stories on our wiki, but other teachers around the world are looking at and evaluating their work.  If you would like to read their stories and comment in the discussion tab on our wiki, please click here.  Each chapter is linked at that page, and written on a google doc.


Christmas Eve, My PLN, and Blogging from the Ski Hill

Posted in Personal, PLN with tags , , on January 2, 2010 by Mister A

My dad came over for dinner on Christmas Eve and he made the mistake of asking me why my computer kept making strange bird noises. I spent the next 45 minutes explaining what my Personal Learning Network (PLN) was to my mystified (okay, confused) 71-year-old father. I showed him Twitter, Facebook, Plurk, and Second Life. I almost showed him World of Warcraft, but when he told me he was understanding about a tenth of what I was telling him, I came to the conclusion that explaining my exploits with an Australian Death Knight named Vorsprung in the great land of Azeroth might be a bit much for my aging father. My dad has a computer that he never uses but I believe if he attempted to understand and utilize his toy, he would really enjoy it.

Photo Courtesy of

On a personal note, I went skiing twice over the Christmas break and I just can’t ski as hard as I use to. I still think it is a fantastic way to spend time with my wife and two sons. Two or more hours stuck with each other either in the car or on a chair lift provide us with plenty of opportunities for talking and enjoying each other on a totally different level. And if I need to take more breaks because of my old age, the ski lodge just got wireless…SWEET!!!

End of Year…still blogging

Posted in Educational with tags , , , , on December 29, 2009 by Mister A

Students Playing Quest Atlantis

I haven’t written a blog post in nearly two months.  I guess learning my new job has been a little bit overwhelming.  I am enjoying my new position; but I believe any time you start a different teaching job, the learning curve can be a bit steep.  I need to remember why I started to blog, if I am to continue blogging. It is because it helps me become better, both as a teacher and, I believe, as a person as well.  Even short blog posts, like I am certain this one will be, are important for me.

I have learned a lot over the past four months about the gifted and talented population.  Mostly, I suppose, is that the majority of these kids seem to have parents who truly care about academic success.  For the past seven years, the majority of my students and their parents cared little about academic success; and for the most part, their grades showed it.  There were exceptions, but they were few and far between.  So far those who argue that the biggest predictor of academic success in the classroom is “the teacher”, I would disagree.  I believe it to be parental involvement.  Intrinsic motivation is rare among middle school students…Parental motivation is NOT.

One of my bicycles

On a personal note, I am regaining my passion for cycling and hope to start racing again in the spring.  I forgot the amount of dedication it requires to be really fit, but it is very slowly coming back to me.  I have not been in really stellar health since I started working towards my master’s degree a little over three years ago.  That stupid piece of paper seemed to really take its toll on my health and on my checkbook.  Hopefully I can use the machine pictured above and some better eating habits to regain the health I possessed in my pre-master years.  Thank God for New Years Resolutions!