Looking for a Unique Gift for an Administrator? Give ’em a PLN!

How exactly do you give a PLN to someone? Several suggestions have been made today, but the one you pick depends on your relationship with your administrator.  Instead of signing up for a Twitter account for them I am going to offer to help them set up one up. I will have a profile picture of them ready to go  and I will have some suggestions for their biography.  I will also show them how to manage and share the information that they find valuable so they can become an asset to their PLN.

I have created this list of 50 educators with my two administrators in mind.  I have chosen these educators based on how much I think my administrators will get out of following them.  I have selected a mix of teachers, administrators, professors, educational technologists, and journalists.  So here they are in no particular order:

New Year – New Newbie

I work up to the realization today that my summer is quickly coming to an end. I go back to school in two short weeks. I am sure the time will fly by, but I am OK with that. This year I am so excited to get back to school for so many reasons. I miss my coworkers and my students. Most of all I miss my routine!

The vast majority of you who are reading this post already know about the ISTE Newbie project. The project has a new face and a new goal this year. Last year so many of you supported the project because you were familiar with Richard Byrne, author of FreeTech4Teachers. This year Jason Schrage (@oswego98 on Twitter) will be blogging about his experiences as a classroom teacher. I hope that teachers who are new are apprehensive about using technology or who are simply new to the conversation will read his blog. The inherent problem of targeting this audience is that they are NOT on Twitter. I am counting on all of you in my PLN to help spread the word about this project in your district. As you go back to work please tell people about this project. Please subscribe to his blog and add the Newbie badge to your blog. I have also created some business cards that you can print and share.

Please share your suggestions on how to promote this project. While you are at it make sure you join the ISTE Newbie support group on the Classroom 2.0 Ning.

Unique (and generous!) Way to Support the ISTE Newbie Project

I received an email from Jen Wagner yesterday.  Jen has been part of my PLN for some time now. After reading my post on Ways to Support the ISTE Newbie Project Jen told me that she wanted to donate 10% of the earnings of her new book, Guessthewordle, to this project. I would like to encourage you to look into purchasing this book which. Doing so will allow you to support two members of your PLN at the same time. Guessthewordle can also be downloaded onto your iPod! At $5, it is a superb deal! If you are new to Wordle then check out their website.

Thanks again Jen for your generosity. You are helping prove once again that we really are all in this together.

Benefits of Social Networking

The first time I heard of Leadership Day was last year. I had only just started blogging and felt like there was not much I could contribute. When I saw Scott McLeod’s post on it this year I felt like I might have something to add to the conversation. I spent hours thinking of something brilliant to say, but there were no flashes of inspiration. Then it hit me! Administrators need to know more about the benefits of social networking and how it can be used to help their teachers stay on top of the latest developments and trends in education.

I started developing my personal learning network (PLN) in April 2008. I joined  the NECC Ning and immediately started making connections with people who were attending the National Educational Educating Computing Conference in San Antonio. I also joined Twitter and that is when I really saw my PLN grow. It was not long before I was making true connections with people around the world.  There are a few people in my PLN that I work so closely with that I feel like we are coworkers.

In April I decided to test the power of my favorite social networking site, Twitter. I wanted to see if it was possible for the few hundred people in my network to work together to do something good for someone. I decided to ask for donations to help send a teacher to NECC. I asked Richard Byrne to be to the “newbie” and he gladly agreed. Within two weeks we met the $1500 goal. My plan had worked!

Stop and think for a minute about the implications that this has on learning.  I am a teacher in rural western Nebraska who was able to make a difference because of my personal learning network. I was able to help send a teacher from Maine to a technology conference in Washington DC.  People who knock social networking need to hear this story.

Can you imagine a student at your school harnessing the power of Twitter to change the world? I would like to ask you to start looking into the positive aspect of social networking. Teachers and students who are networked have so many more learning opportunities each day. No less than 99% of my professional learning takes place on Twitter. Before you totally write off what social networking can do in your schools for your teachers and students, please take some time to explore what it means to those of us who rely on it every day.

The Next NECC Newbie

Richard Byrne

Let me provide a little background so this post makes sense. The first thing you need to know about me is that I am a Twitter addict. The second thing you need to know is that I have a passion for my PLN. My network has taught me 1000 times more that I will ever learn at any formal training. Back in April I decided to see if I could organize my PLN to help show the power of Twitter. Basically, I wanted to see if my PLN could raise $1500 to send an educator to NECC. I asked Richard Byrne, the author of FreeTech4Teachers, to be the newbie and he gladly agreed! With the generous support of people from our PLN and from VoiceThread we were able to meet the goal in two weeks.

I am sitting with Richard Byrne in the Bloggers’ Cafe as I write this. I am more convinced than ever that Richard was the perfect choice to be the first newbie. He shares so much with so many people and his audience is still growing. If you are attending NECC be sure to track him down and tell him hello.

I was interviewed about the newbie project a few weeks ago about the project. One of the questions I was asked was would I do it again. Of course I will! In fact, I have already chosen the next newbie. I will announce who it is in my next post, but I will say this person is an incredibly dedicated teacher who has a passion for learning.

Stay tuned for more details!