Archive for April, 2013

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Welcome to a new world, one that is overflowing with opportunity. A world where learning is the number one priority for all! Learnist is organizing all of the wisdom of mankind in text, images, videos, and audio. Teachers, learners, parents, and many other contributors have collaborated to create an innovative site where users can organize their lesson plans and materials in one place. Learnist is a marvelous creation that encourages all users to gather what they need and create their own learnboard. With Learnist it is simple to organize a series of lesson plans, add commentary, share with colleagues, and incorporate new materials from anywhere on the internet. Learnist also uses a variety of formats that are designed to benefit students’ distinctive learning styles.1

After gathering materials and spicing up the newly designed learnboard feature, educators will have something tangible to refer to in class and students will have a great resource to work with at home, even long after the school day is over.

Learnist also makes sharing with others a simple task. Users can share what they know swiftly and comfortably by remixing anything on the web, like videos, e books, maps, blogs, podcasts, surveys, and more into a simple learning alternative that can then be shared out to others. Learnist represents a well-designed collaborative media tool that can be of assistance to both students and teachers.

4As you continue to explore the elaborate features that Learnist has to offer, you will discover how useful it really is! Users can create lessons on anything as they utilize the content from websites, blogs, YouTube, Vimeo, WordPress, UStream, Scribd, Soundcloud, Slideshare, Amazon, Google maps, Google Docs, Spreadsheets, Forms, Slideshows, and more. As users browse through others learnboards, they will uncover a plethora of lesson plan ideas and receive advice from experts, professors, and fellow teachers who have also researched the topic at hand.

Learnist also makes it easy to stay up to date with current teaching strategies because it is constantly updated and every user will receive a notification when something is added to a learnboard that they follow. It also serves as a forum where discussion occurs, and as people come together to ask or answer questions, track progress, find information quickly, they can do so by searching for tags, titles, or keywords.

I highly suggest that all of you follow these steps in order to enter, “The Learnist Corner”:

  • Create an interdisciplinary unit with a colleague on a learnboard.
  • Find out what students are learning in other classes and encourage them to suggest related learning’s on your learnboards.
  • Imagine interdisciplinary lessons that connect all of students’ academic areas!
  • Create a learnboard connecting classroom materials with jobs and fields of study.
  • Encourage students to suggest learning’s that apply to career fields, college or advanced study, or life applications related to the materials you are currently studying.
  • Include multimedia materials such as songs, videos, and photos.
  • Encourage students to create their own boards.
  • Create boards with opposing or controversial opinions and engage students in debate.

With learnboards students can keep up to date and revisit their class board if they are absent3 or missing notes. The instructor may also email and tweet out the learnboard link, giving students a chance to stay on track even if they miss material that was already reviewed in class. Overall Learnist will motivate teachers to stay organized, use collaboration, make learning real, combat student boredom with technology, level the playing field, since it gives students in classes with less technology access to multimedia platforms outside the classroom, and keep students up to date.

Become a member of the winning corner by creating your own learnboard today!

Want to learn how to integrate technology into your teaching? If that question isn’t enough to hook you, then maybe4 gaining free resources, enhancing your professional development skills, sharing lesson plans, and improving your teaching techniques will be enough to reel you in! Personal Learning Networks (PLNs) consists of the people and information that have the ability to bring learning to life in schools. This includes the dedicated members and endless sources of information that together help learning goals develop. Building a successful PLN calls for members to not only search for learning opportunities, but to also utilize their available networks, and support others that are learning alongside of them. Regardless of content, or subject, a stylish PLN can serve as a powerful learning tool. A PLN is a network of educators around the world who serve as an inspiration to many, whether it be through their comments on Twitter, blog posts, or successful teaching strategies. Although you may never meet some members of your PLN you will still benefit from them, as you go over teaching philosophies and invent goals for students far and wide.

3Many of you may already be apart of this world: have a Twitter where you connect with others, or a blog where you post your innovative ideas, but this is not enough! It is great to choose the people you interact with and learn from, but you also must focus on your community: the place where you spend your day, the school where your students are learning, and the faculty room filled with the teachers you work with, because they are equally important as every member of your digital world. These are your colleagues, whether you like it or not, and I challenge you to make it your responsibility to collaborate with them, so the educational needs of your students are met. Developing a community may be harder than developing a network, but it will be worth it.

Teachers have a bushel of responsibility, but they don’t have to deal with it all on their own. Teachers should never feel isolated and a well-designed PLC will provide every lonely teacher with a little tender, love, and care. This Personal Learning Community (PLC) will come hand in hand with professional development, and often, it is the principal, consultant, coach, or whoever the “instructional leader” is in the building, that decides what everyone needs to learn about.

How and why does this happen?  5

These instructional leaders are not just being nitpicky. They are looking at student results, looking at the gaps, and2 then they are using professional resources to determine what strategies will close those gaps. Despite a teacher’s best effort, students will struggle, but when teachers are comfortable enough to announce this struggle, their PLC team can jump on board and strategize. This issue will then be deconstructed from multiple perspectives until it is solved. Since we cannot choose who is in our PLC it is important to keep the focus on school improvement and students achievement. I firmly believe that we need to consider ourselves lucky to have the opportunity to bring our digital lives into school buildings. This informal learning network will produce knowledge as members share their questions, successes, and failures.

As soon as you get a PLC up and running in your school I am sure you will notice the following:

  1. An increase in professional development.
  2. Teachers sharing useful resources.
  3. Teachers’ enhancing their original lesson plans.
  4. Teachers working together to find collaborative solutions that are geared towards struggling students and will get them back on track.

1Students will also learn to collaborate and connect with others through their in depth work with specific topics. Digital PLNs will foster creativity in the classroom, engaging students in the course material. This will also give students an authentic audience as they learn to master their communication skills and produce meaningful work.

Once again, I encourage all of you to take the next step, and not only get involved digitally but bring your knowledge into your school. Don’t simply read a blog post or listen to a podcast, but formulate questions that you will work to answer with your current colleagues. Reach out to them and prove that together you can do more for your students, and make teaching less stressful. Contribute to your school and share the benefits of working closely with others.