Summer Learning

I’ve been immersed in a personalized learning experience for over a year now.  I’ve written a good bit about the opportunities for learning that Twitter presents for educators.  Joe Mazza once said Twitter is a 24/7/365 real time professional development tool with access to like-minded professionals.  I’ve carved out such an awesome PLN (professional learning network) in just over a year.  Todd Nesloney is one of those amazing educators I’ve learned from recently.  Todd is principal at Navasota Intermediate, but that’s just one of Todd’s great accomplishments as a young educator.  Todd took the initiative to create a summer learning series himself.  He engaged educators through social media to join him in this summer learning series quest.  Once signed up, you will begin receiving Todd’s weekly emails as part of his summer learning series challenges.  Each week presents a new challenge.   For example, Todd challenged educators by presenting them with videos like this one from Dave Burgess.  Todd created a hashtag on Twitter #summerls so that educators could network and backchannel thoughts and reflections from his learning series.  He also hosts a chat using that hashtag.  Last count that Todd sent out indicated over 1500 educators had signed up for his summer learning series.  What an awesome accomplishment and what an incredible tool!

I just finished teaching a digital leadership course at AFT-WV summer camp for teachers.  I decided to incorporate a version of Todd’s learning series for my participants.  Most of my participants are new to the world of Twitter and certainly new to opportunities available to take control and personalize your learning as an educator.  I took signups through this form and will continue to engage those participants in support as they begin this journey to proactive growth and development through Twitter and other opportunities.

I am still amazed at what technology and connectedness allows us to do as educators.  The model schools conference is now in session down in Orlando Florida.  I’ve never had the opportunity to attend that conference, but I’ve heard and read several good reports from that conference.  Thanks to Twitter and the #22ndMSC hashtag, I’ve been able to follow the events at the conference almost as if I was there myself.  On Sunday evening June 22, I was able to follow Dr. Daggett’s keynote through Twitter.  I caught a glimpse of just how in tune Dr. Daggett’s presentation was with the changes needed by schools today.  What an amazing opportunity provided by technology.  The backchannel discussion during the keynote was full of thoughtful comments that pushed my thinking about school improvement.  I’ve been aware for some time now that the environment students experience inside of school is far different from the one they experience outside of school.  Societal changes brought about by technology have created a tremendous disconnect between the way our students learn outside of school and the way they are forced to learn inside of school.  Effective leadership and effective school improvement acknowledges this gap.  Dr. Daggett’s keynote was full of great information and resources about what, why, and how schools can shift to better engage students in learning for their future.  My favorite quote of the night was “how can we educate today’s students for tomorrow’s future with yesterday’s schools?”

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