PLE…ase help me, I’m late to the game!

from dashboard to ple
week 5

                This week’s activities focused on understanding degrees of separation.  As embarrassing as it is to admit this, I had been ignoring the full potential for a PLE experience for a long time.  I was more concerned with (and here it is…) Kim Kardashian’s social life, google facts of the day, and Time Magazine’s photos from the past.  I used Twitter as an escape into pop culture, 140 characters of fun.  After this week, I am finally a member of the PLE phenomenon and am finding that the transition was not even a bit painful.  I am even finding myself enjoying the articles, blogs and quotes shared by those in education cyberspace when I am reading on the subway each day.

               With that said, I have identified five accounts that began with searching the NCTM (National Council of Teachers of Mathematics) twitter outlet.  I have used NCTM’s website in the past to research articles in my field or to make connections to lessons or ideas that are impacting today’s classrooms.  This week I stopped checking out Perez Hilton, even if only for a little while, and searched #NCTM.  Here are the five accounts I came across:

Jon Wray
Mathematics educator, works for Howard County Public Schools, EMS&TL project manager, Core Mathematics Challenge chair, NCTM Board of Directors (2012-15)

outlet: Twitter – found under #nctm

why choose:  When I was scrolling through his tweets, Jon had links to articles and blogs from Edweek, SchoolofThoughtCNN and Washingtonpost.  I was drawn to his tweets because the first one I read was referring to common core.  Obviously being a hot term these days, and because we recently got a new curriculum at my school aligned with these standards, I was interested in reading that this article had to say.

trustworthy: Based on the blogs and articles he links to in his tweets, and also the hashtags he uses that are all educational in trend topics, makes him a trustworthy source to follow. Also, and if this isn’t the most important factor, than I don’t know what is: his photo is him in front of a bookcase…a scholar for sure!

Follow?: Yep, he is now one of the previous 98 and for all of the above reasons.

Eric Sheninger
Principal of New Milford HS (NJ): NASSP National Digital Principal Award Winner (2012), Google Certified Teacher, Adobe Education Leader, Author, Speaker
“Education is the kindling of a flame, not the filling of a vessel”-Socrates

outlet: twitter #edtech

Why chose: I am from the video game generation, which in my opinion makes my attention span slightly shorter when it comes to working on a particular topic for too long or needing constant change.  Because of this, I came across Eric Sheninger in the course of searching for math people and found him to be a desired distraction.  His tweets are about technology incorporation into education.  I also found his tweets to be simply interesting in nature, causing me to check out each link he posted.

Trustworthy: With over 28,000 followers and over 18,000 tweets, I would say Eric has a solid reputation and following in the education/teched world.  His tweets trend countless important educational topics.  He also connects with other relevant people in this community.

Follow: Don’t worry, this Scholastic Magazine Cover Model made it to the list.

Click on Glog to view Sample Algebra project

   After reading Eric’s tweets, I was interested in curing

   my technology fix distraction.  I found a

   Glog to use as a template for a project

   with my algebra kids:

Lyn Hilt
Elementary Principal, K-6 Tech Integrator/Coach, Reader, Writer, Connected learner!

outlet: twitter-friend’s following

why chose: Lyn is an elementary principal and what I liked about her info was that she said she was a “connected learner.”  This is something I feel like was the goal for this week: to be a part of the discussion and take as much out of what people are sharing as possible.  She said a few other things that have stuck with me and made me actually RT (WHAT?!?)

“And can we help kids change their conceptual lenses w/o asking the adults who work with them to do the same?”
– Wow, I mean, we do this, try to get kids to view things in a different light, and never once in my school ask     the adults to do the same.  Of course there are teachers that are willing to change, to revamp and     restructure what they are doing to share a concept with students, and they are judged.  It is so     disheartening.

“If learners aren’t creating more content than the teacher, something is wrong.”
– I think about Montessori schools and how students are creating the content as they go, creating the textbook that they use to learn with and are not just receivers of information.  Although I love this idea that students should create, it is such a conflicting ideal for me because (and this hurts to say) who has the time? I have standardized tests, and parents/students who want A’s and meetings that require data results.

Trustworthy: With over 8,000 followers, and 17.5K tweets, hashtags to major education trends, and constant accounts adding content with Lyn’s name included, she is definitely someone whose information I trust.  Plus she watches over the little ones.  How could you not trust?

Follow?: Would I have quoted 3 of her tweets and not follow? She is a member of my PLE.

nctm smartbrief

outlet: NCTM SmartBrief

why chose: Back when I was doing my Masters degree, a professor has us sign up for Smartbriefs.  I did not know that NCTM had their own until I was going through this week’s assignments.  NCTM Smartbrief brings mathematical education news.  What I like about them is that they are the must-read news for math educators.  They are chosen from thousands of news sites, blogs, and other sources and delivered to my inbox.  Also, I find that having the story summarized for me and linked to its original source for additional reading makes it easier for me to stay abreast of what is going in in my PLE.

trustworthy: What makes NCTM SmartBrief trustworthy is that it is published in proud partnership with NCTM.  Because the story is summarized and then linked to the original source, it is easy to verify where a story originates.

Follow?: Based on the quality of the information shared, and the size of the original information presented, I will be following NCTM SmartBrief and including it in my morning read on my commute to work.

John Golden

outlet: Twitter –  @mathchat

Why chose: When I was looking through the #NCTM, I also saw a lot of people reference #mathchat.  When I searched this trend, I came across John.  It was this quote that hit home for me: “We spend all this time on algebra and like one day on stuff that we really see in real life.”  I find myself dealing with this realization each day.  I know that teaching Algebra is important; however, I am waiting for the day when it becomes imperative that we revert back to taking kids to the post office or supermarket and applying skills from the classroom.  When kids are little or are in life-skill classrooms, we teach them real world application.  When does the abstract become all too consuming in the daily math classroom?

Trustworthy: John references academic journals and information circuits in his tweets.  He supports conversations of students, teachers and communities.  He also asks for opinions of these  communities.  When viewing his posts, it reminded me of the Colin Reynolds video on PLN Driven Teacher Support.  Opening up a dialogue and initiating the conversation to happen promotes collaboration, pedagogical improvement, etc.

Follow?: John did not make the list yet.  He is certainly a candidate; however, there weren’t as many tweets for me to view his full potential.  I’m going to give him some time and see how he performs.

****Side note: as I finished writing this, my NCTM Smartbrief came through with a blog about incorporating Algebra into the real world #timing is everything:   Algebra in the Real World-New York Times