In the last post, our community was engaged in contemplating how flipping professional development could lead to making further gains in improving teaching and learning (more to follow on this). Today, we continue the journey towards continuous improvement of teaching and learning through active participation about a topic that is part of the this very same 'fabric'--that is, leadership. In the case of this post, digital leadership.
In "Flipping the PLN?" (blogpost, November 2014), I encouraged our community to champion the collaborative relationships in our midst--student-student, teacher-teacher, and teacher-student. And this is for quite a good reason. Veteran, world-renowned educator, Michael Fullan describes a "new pedagogy" as being one where teachers and students are collaborative partners exploring teaching and learning through flipped classrooms and project-based learning (Professionally Speaking, September 2014). Also, Bergmann & Sams (2014), authors of Flipped Learning: Gateway to Student Engagement, highlight the importance of the intersection of three elements, critical to deeper learning--content, curiosity and relationships. As you can see (and I'm sure, relate), there is much to be gained by teachers and their students when we focus our efforts upon collaborative and supportive relationships.
And as a part of this professional learning network (PLN) at Flipping the Focus, I believe that it is incumbent upon us to explore the 'democratization of the classroom', as put by Tom Driscoll. Tom also writes that "It is ... my duty to make the most of the promise and potential that these times have to offer" (in Bergmann & Sams, p106). What Tom is pointing to is how we are living in times where a vast number of educators are experimenting with leveraging technology to study/apply pedagogy in ways that have not ever been possible--all of it to effectively engage students and to deepen their learning such that they are prepared for the 21-C they're about to make.
With this in mind, why don't we consider how we'll support one another (through this forum), to making "the most of the promise and potential" that we have available? In fact, why don't we all examine--in a collective sense--our digital footprint?
In his blogfolio, George Couros (Division Principal of Innovative Teaching and Learning at Parkland School Division, Stony Plain, Alberta) wrote that he "wanted to highlight ... tracks on the Internet and ... try to contribute to the strong educator community." At Flipping the Focus, we can do so collectively to not only track and share our usage of Internet tools, but there are certainly a host of apps that we can also use and discuss to contribute to the development of "the strong educator community."
Below is a snapshot of a Google Doc that I've started that we can share and build together. Helping one another in learning about how these technologies can be used to experiment with pedagogy and classroom practice will allow for some of the vetting of the usefulness of the tools to be done and can move us to being all that much closer to giving them a try in our schools.
How Can I Contribute & Learn?
The button (see below, "Tools for Teaching & Learning") provided will link you to the Google Doc that I've created. And to facilitate its use by the community, permissions have been set such that anyone can access and edit the document.
Upon closer examination of the document, I've also elaborated upon the rationale for this shared experience, some definitions, and tips on how to participate.
At this time, if you're also engaged in learning about flipping your classroom and/or are flipping the learning in your classroom, I would like to encourage you to help build our registry (button, below right), the Flipped PLN Finder--a convenient way to connect with other educators...each experimenting with flipping their practice.
Lately, I've been exploring a social bookmarking tool (available for smartphones, iPads, PCs) called Diigo ("Digest of Internet Information, Groups and Other stuff").
Technically, Diigo acts as a social bookmarking, highlighting and annotating tool with various other helpful tweaks and add-ons for the experience--one of which, creating a group knowledge repository--that I find potentially interesting and useful for my role as a resource teacher to other educators.
Pedagogically, and as outlined in the chart (above), there are several reasons for why and how you could be using Diigo in your classroom.
Below, I've captured a few screenshots of some of my highlights, annotations and sharing I've done for an article that
I've been reading on the Internet--"The Seven Pillars of Effective Digital Leadership."
Further to this, I've embedded a few videos that describe some of the features of Diigo.
Once you've accessed your Diigo tool-bar (following sign-up at www.diigo.com) in your favourite browser, you'll see several options that you can choose from while reading and thinking about your reading.
As a browser, I use Chrome which has a couple of options for accessing Diigo tools. One option is to add a bookmark widget to your bookmark bar; the other is to install the Diigo Chrome app that will act like other plug-ins you're already using in Chrome.
As far as highlighting is concerned, you can see that I have added some highlights (currently, 4 colours available) during reading. The numbered tag refers to sticky notes attached to a specific highlight. You might also have noticed that the annotations are locked (private). You have the option to make your highlights and annotations public. In my particular case, I have kept these elements locked but have opened them up (shared them) with one of my Diigo groups (more on this, below).
As shown above, you have the option to annotate your highlights by adding sticky notes. In the note above, take note that you have the option to keep private or to share with a group. Those with whom you've invited to be a part of your group can add their own bookmarks, etc. for the group, add sticky notes to current articles in the shared library, and post comments to create a threaded discussion about the group's reading.
Anytime that you bookmark a webpage, you'll see it posted in 'My Library' upon returning to your Diigo webpage. While bookmarking (in your browser--e.g., Chrome), you can edit the bookmark by adding a description, applying searchable tags, and controlling privacy/group sharing settings. All of this can also be done from your Diigo account 'My Library' page. You can also send your highlights and annotations to other friends on Diigo. Annotated links can be shared with a larger audience through email, IM and embedding into your website.
As mentioned (above), sticky notes and comments can be added to bookmarks of articles that you've made and shared (publicly or to group). As each member in a group can contribute to the repository, this can be an effective tool for facilitating the growth of a group's knowledge about a specific topic. For example, I have created a Diigo group called 'Flipping the Focus.' As I, and other group members, post articles, our collective knowledge grows. The group can also grow as readers of this post request to join the group (a link for sending a request for joining this group can be found below).
If you'd like to join the Flipping the Focus Diigo group, I've embedded a group badge (see right) that will allow you to send a request to join. Joining the group will help us to collectively grow our knowledge regarding flipped learning through sharing bookmarks, annotations, and comments with each other.
If you're also looking to find other educators to consult with over their
experience(s) with flipped learning, you might also choose to use the Flipped PLN Finder.
I hope that you have found this post not only informative but helpful in your journey towards helping students deepen their learning through the effective use of technology. If you have been using Diigo or other apps/web 2.0/computer programs in your classroom to experiment with pedagogy and practice, I would love it if you could contribute to our learning community at Flipping the Focus.
There are several, easy ways to get involved:
- contribute to the Google Doc featured (above) on an ongoing basis
- join our Diigo group (badge, above)
- add your name and a few other details to the Flipped PLN Finder registry
- consider collaborating around flipping professional development through Flipped PL
- participate as a guest blogger on Flipping the Focus. Send your post to firstname.lastname@example.org along with a short bio, link to your site, etc. Upon approval, your bio will be added to the side-bar (see right) and post made to this page.
- leave a comment to this post (form, below)
Looking ahead, we'll reflect upon the growing number of contributions being made to Exploring & Sharing Digital Leadership along with their potential impact. In January, stay tuned for more details regarding Flipped PL--flipping components of professional learning for educators.
Program Resource Teacher-Mathematics
Upper Canada District School Board
Bergmann, J., & Sams, A. (2014). Flipped learning: Gateway to student engagement (1st ed., pp. 21-38). Eugene: ISTE.