Wednesday, September 12, 2007

PLN-The beginnings

We are on the road to beginning our adventure with students developing their own Personal Learning Network. Karl Fisch wrote about this on The Fischbowl a few weeks ago and we received a number of comments regarding what we are going to implement. I have appreciated all the feedback and support. Jessie Comp, my colleague and friend, will be doing this with her class as well. Some other ninth grade teachers are going to try versions of this project (see Michele Davis).

I spent all day yesterday in class reviewing with my ninth graders the reasoning behind switching from outside reading books to Personal Learning Networks. I went over the handout and had them sign up on my Google Reader with their own personal blog which they will use to react and reflect about their readings. I then had them create their own Google Reader and began to add feeds from the online handout. Keeping the handout online simplified the process of acquiring the links to add to their reader. Then as homework, the students were supposed to read the posts in their Google Reader and react/ reflect to what they read writing about in their personal blogs. The question to react/ reflect on:
  • What did you read? Link to the article.

  • What matters from what you read?
  • How does it relate to what we are doing in class or in your life?
  • How does it relate to the world around us?

Finally, the student signed up to formally present twice to their classmates about what they were reading. The students are expected to be well prepared for these presentations. During the presentation, the presenter's classmates will access the presenter's blog and react to the present on the personal blog. I think this will provide valuable feedback for the students both presenting and viewing. It also enables the other students to see other feeds that they could add to their own personal learning network.

Today I finished logging in the students' personal blogs into Google Reader. I want to export all the student feeds from their personal blogs to the class so they don't have to add them one by one but can access the link on my web page and then import the feeds.As far as seeing how their homework went, I was impressed by how many went to their own Google Reader, read their posts, and reacted on their own personal blog. One thing I wish I would have done a better job with ( I am planning on doing this tomorrow in class) is go over the sample entries I created on our class blog- Sample 1 and Sample 2 Why spend the time going over samples? Well, it seems that from my experiences last year with ninth graders that they need me to provide more guidance and structure. I struggle with this philosophically feeling like I am showing them they way it needs to be done, but I am hoping with our conversations about this project being about them taking charge of their own learning as well as showing the world what they think, that my students will make it their own. I am really anxious about this project because I can see the amazing possibilities that can come as a result of them taking this project seriously. I will be posting some of their entries on this same post after I get through reading them. To be honest, on the managerial side, that is something I am personally worried about keeping up with. I guess I just need to relax and see what happens.

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