Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Video-Singin' The Praises of My PLN

I've decided to post the final project video I created for my grad class on Developing Your Personal Learning Network.  I had fun creating this video because it really highlights the new approach to teaching I've adopted since  integrating technology into the courses I teach.  Art has moved from studio to mac lab and back to studio with organic use of both traditional and 21st century tools to make art.  Students have learned valuable job skills and developed connections to many people beyond the school building.  My PLN ROCKS!!! and this video celebrates the reasons why they are so fabulous.  ENJOY!

Thanks to so many in my PLN, but especially Matt Cauthron, Ian Sands, Theresa McGee, Craig Roland, David Gran, Kendra Farrell, Tricia Fugelstad to name a few.  They have all inspired me to go beyond the 4 walls and create a truly connected classroom.  Thanks!

Connected Teaching: Developing Your PLN from Jeanne Bjork on Vimeo.
I created this video as a part of a grad class on developing your personal learning network. All of the artwork in the video belongs to the students I teach at Pewaukee High School.

Friday, April 22, 2011

LIveBinders vs Diigo Bookmarks

Lately thanks to my PLN, I have been experimenting with some new web 2.0 tools. (new to me that is!)  I put a question out  on the arted20 ning asking how to teach art history in the 21st century making it a non-lecture-based-watch-the-slides-go-by, interactive class.  There were many innovative responses as I mentioned in my previous post.  Theresa McGee, an art educator from Illinois and one of the keepers of the Teaching Palette website and blog,  shared her LiveBinder sites with me and a whole new way to save and organize web-based media was introduced. 

Like Diigo, LiveBinders allows you to bookmark and save sites that you find on the web.  Unlike DiigoLiveBinders gives you an actual visual copy of the website and it's content as if you've copied a paper page and put it into your 3-ring binder.  This is pretty awesome for a visual learner.  LiveBinders also allows you to upload documents, images, videos and more.  So your binder can become this wonderful, online, multimedia resource that can be shared with anyone...students, colleagues or your PLN.  The binder pages can be organized in tabs or sub-tabs just like a real binder.  All of the pages saved come in with the links and embedded content intact so you can view and click through from your binder. 

This video explains in 90 seconds how simple it is to use LiveBinders.

I still love Diigo, as a bookmarking and research tool.  I also think Diigo is fantastic for collaboration within groups, but being able to organize everything I'd want in a list or group into a binder that is available online is fantastic!

This is one more example of my PLN coming to my rescue and teaching me how to do something new on the web.  I think most of what I've learned and experimented with over the past couple of years has been because someone in my ning community or twitter feed has mentioned it and I've checked it out and been happy with the results.

I will be teaching Art History next year and I've already begun to organize my Art History binder online using LiveBinder It the simple tool button you install on your toolbar.  Thanks to the many resources shared with me by my PLN I've got a rich collection of resources to use with my students next year.  I think I will have students keep their own LiveBinders as a way to organize notes and other materials for the class.  It will be a great way to personalize their own experience of art history. Eventually I'll make my binder a public one, but for now I've made it private while I continue to learn the tool and develop the collection. 

Sunday, April 10, 2011

PLN IN ACTION: How It All Works

My PLN is pretty well-developed and so this week I decided to lean on them for help.  I learned that I will be teaching the Art History class next year in the art department.  My goal is to revamp the class and take it from a lecture-based, watch the slides go by kind of class to an interactive, student-centered course.  I want my students to build the content of the class with my guidance.

I asked my Tweeps and my ning colleagues what resources they would use to do this.  I also asked for their ideas on how they would make Art History into a more interactive, student-centered class.  I am still collecting information, but already I've received some great feedback.  I developed a diigo list for gathering all the links.  It is public so others can see it and I hope they might consider suggesting other links to add.  To see the diigo Art History link click here. 

Immediately I got a response from Melinda Larson-Horne, the talented French teacher at Pewaukee High School.  She suggested both http://smarthistory.org and google art project Smarthistory looks really promising with wonderful ways to search including by artist, time, style or theme.  It features a timeline that you can click on to see what was happening in art.  The timeline is image based so visitors can immediately see the works of art and then click to learn more.  You can also create your own content, browse the blog, download podcast to iTunes and watch videos embedded on the site.  There is also a link called Teach with Smarthistory, which has a number of other fantastic resources. They have a flickr photo group that I joined.  Members contribute their photos of famous works they've visited and seen.   Lastly I see that they also have a Youtube channel and a Vimeo link as well.  Fantastic resource that I will definitely use.  Thanks Melinda!

I already knew about google art project from  Theresa McGee, another PLN person whom I follow on Twitter and the Art Ed 2.0 ning community.  She also does a blog and shared her own use of google art project there at the Teaching Palette.  I had fun exploring the the virtual art museums and galleries at the Google Art Project.  I think it could be very powerful for students to view.  I especially loved how I was in the Uffizi and then suddenly headed outside and was actually on the street in front of the Uffizi where I'd really walked a few years ago on my trip to Italy.  VERY COOL....Bella!  You can create your own collections on the site and customize your visit.  This could be a really powerful tool for student-centered explorations. 

I was especially pleased with the suggestions of Ian Sands, an artist and art educator who I follow on http://arted20.ning.com .  Ian shared a link to his school website and ning network.  He already teaches art history this way, sending his students on webquests using mobil phones to find the information they need to develop the content for the course.  I like the use of cell phones and also the fact that Ian has a vimeo video of himself explaining the entire process.  I'm guessing his students watch this for the first time when things are introduced.  Teaching is so isolating so to actually feel I am a fly on the wall in another teachers' class room is really powerful.  Thanks Ian for your help.

Why have a PLN?  In less than 2 days I received answers and numerous resources that I may or may not have stumbled upon in my own research.  I found people who are already doing what I want to do and grew my teaching community and the community for my students.  Perhaps I will collaborate with Ian, maybe my students can quest for art history knowledge with his students, chatting online or even via their cell phones.  Love it!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Week 4: Social Bookmarking & Other PLN Connections

This week I actually taught a section of the class on Diigo, the powerful social bookmarking tool.  I have written in this blog in several past posts about the value and power of Diigo.  I think it is hard to beat the many features of Diigo.  The ability to immediately organize your bookmarks with tags, lists and groups and the ability to collaborate within class groups or other social groups makes it very powerful.  The now defunct Delicious allowed for some of this, but the interface was less intuitive and required a lot more knowledge to organize and sort through information.  I also found it more challenging in Delicious to join groups.  Delicious didn't have an Educator Console like Diigo.  This console makes Diigo fantastic for organizing your class groups and working together on research, sharing, highlighting and commenting back and forth within the class groups.  This just wasn't possible with Delicious.  The Educator console even allows you to print out student logins in easy to cut apart and pass out strips.  Very cool!  Another feature of Diigo is that you can follow people and read the bookmark lists they've found to be helpful.  This is another way to further build your PLN.  I don't really chat with the people I follow on Diigo, but I do like to look at the bookmarks they have amassed, especially on topics that I teach and have in common with them.  Most of the educators I follow are people I met through ning networks or on Twitter.

During the second part of class we further explored the concept of social networks that are specifically for educators.  Ning networks are some of the most common. You don't have to be an educator to join a ning, but they are very popular amongst teachers.   I joined the various networks that were introduced in class, but I must admit I haven't really networked much on these sites yet.  I feel I already have a pretty developed PLN and by adding too, much to the mix I may actually dilute the quality and frequency of my interactions.  I think the ning networks that I belong to are useful and effective because the members of the nings are very actively involved in the conversations.  They are checking the posts daily or at least weekly and get back to you if you have posted a question or comment.

I am already following the Art Ed2.0 network and also the NAEA secondary educators ning network.  Both of these are vital communities that have taught me so much.  The conversations range from nuts and bolts to highly intellectual and philosophical.  I have learned a great deal about other web 2.0 tools through these networks and have also enlarged my Twitter community because of them. Lastly when attending the National Art Education convention a few years back I didn't feel I was there alone, because I got to meet and mingle with many of the online PLN members I'd met through the ning. 

I have fully embraced social networking both on a personal level and as a professional.  I decided this week to draw a line between these networks.  I un-friended people on my Facebook network that aren't really my friends on a social level.  I decided that from now on Facebook will be for me on a more social level.  I will still post art eduction sites and links and comments because as a person I am an artist and I can't undo who I am.  I will use Twitter and the nings I belong to for more professional networking.  I like that there will be a distinction.  There are still some professional ways that I will use Facebook as my Art Club has a page and so do my AP Art students.  Facebook is the easiest and fastest way to get a message to students so it will still be there for that.