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Photo:flickr.com/binkiexxx
What a rewarding evening this was!!!!

photo: flickr.com/binkiexxx

Vicki Davis spent her evening with us as she shared how she uses the social networking wonders to understand, reorganize and share the network of resources we call Life. (Poetic, eh?)

This is your opportunity to do that brain dump that we discussed.

Type your name and then "Go For It!"

(Remember that this isn't just a one-shot thing. You can come back, read your colleagues' comments and continue to comment throughout the week.)


What struck you as you listened to Mrs. Davis?

Jamie...What amazed me about her whole presentation was the amount of information that she was able to have at her fingertips in just seconds. I know that this isn't that big of a deal, but the way she had everything organized and also just the knowledge that she had was incredible! I also loved that she expected a lot out of her students, and that her students made their own PLN's and also their own discoveries about using and retrieving information. I also loved that she showed me some new things that I had never seen before such as the newsmap site, which was awesome, and also the fact that you can just have things sent to your blog when they are tagged with the diigo. I was impressed.

Lisa: I agree with Jamie. I thought that it was crazy cool how she had everything automated from the tags in her diigo. I still don't know really how she does everything, even though she showed us just about everything. I do think that it was neat at the end that she told us to work on just 3 things that we want to do at a time. I think it is crazy how much technology she uses, but it is just a part of her life, and it's just crazy neat.

Shu-hsiang: I was so amazed on how much tools that Mrs. Davis uses in her daily life. While listening to Mrs. Davis, the PLN and newsmap site tool was stuck on my mind. I was trying to apply on my personal learning network, and try to incorporate these information in order to be more efficient and effective. Also, I was amazed on how she automates all her PLN on her gmail account and iGoogle. I really want to know how can I do that in order to automate all of my stuff and information I want in just one site.

Steph: I really enjoyed Vicki's presentation. She made all of the technology look so easy to manage and use! I love how she is so organized and smart, and yet so down-to-earth and friendly. (Southern folks are always good people though!) Her teaching methods are really inspiring, and I love how she incorporates PLNs into all her classes. I liked the idea of having students answer questions as they are walking out the door. They probably pay more attention when they know they'll be put on the spot later! Perhaps if I'd had something like that in my classes, I would have spent less time passing notes and making cootie-catchers!

Dr. Z: I held off on including my mind dump here because I didn't want to affect anyone's ideas.I was also amazed by how Vicki integrated technology into her life. I was particularly astounded by the fact that she only goes to her blog a couple of times per week. She has the "best" education blog in the world and only goes there a couple of times a week. That's because she has a thorough understanding of a set of tools for automating her work.
As all of you previous writers said, Vicki has an automated network that allows her to share her ideas with others at the flick of a button. This provides both her and her students with a well organized network of content.
I WANT to be able to do that as well.
As a side note: When I told Vicki that I didn't have an iPod Touch, I noted a bit of disappointment in her voice. This is an integral part of her life and she assumes that other technology folks will have the same thing. Needless to say, this pushed me over the top and I am now a proud owner of a 32 GB iPod Touch. I synched it with my computer and I now have 1 GB of room left on the Touch. =-(

Nate: What struck me the most was the way Mrs. Davis made everything look so easy and the way she ad everything incorporated into her life. The accessed everything like it was second nature to her. I like the fact that she has incorporated so much technology into her classroom because that is the way students today are learning. Even though she is a digital native she has chosen to stick with the times and continue to truly be a life long learner. I am so impressed and inspired by her!!

What have you thought about since then?
Deb: I thought about this on the drive home. The thing that's impressive about Vicki is her understanding of what each tool can do and the way to combine them. It feels overwhelming to think about trying to acquire that knowledge. Even though I have a growing toolbox of useful technology, I might still try to use a hammer for something that requires a saw because I understand the hammer better. For me to use the tools effectively, I need to know where they can be used, how they can be combined, and what are their limitations. I'd like a broader understanding, examples of application, and some practice time. I don't think it's a matter of incorporating all of them at once but knowing which ones to apply in which situation. I think that's partially what Vicki had talked about.

The other part of this is helping us work smarter. I have 110 students this semester, and sometimes it's overwhelming. The most challenging part of the job is igniting the spark that is going to keep students' interest for 16 weeks. I want to explore creating assignments that challenge and capture the imaginations of students. Could they be cross-disciplinary? Could we look at some different types of lessons that could be created with specific tools? I want to consider where to start. Some of my students don't want to use technology. I'm slowly bringing them to it by using the Angel system at both schools. So where do I start with them?

Steph: Since our class, I have been thinking about how technology should make our lives easier, but often makes it more difficult. It seems like all these different devices and programs only work about half the time (unless it's just me!) Mrs. Davis has so much technology working for her - I wish I would have thought to ask how she handles the times when it works against her. I mean, when those programs are automatically blogging things for her, do they ever malfunction and post the wrong thing, or nothing at all? I would love to hear some of her strategies for troubleshooting or backup plans. I really liked what Deb said about using a hammer for something that requires a saw, because she understands how the hammer works. I'm in that boat as well! I know what program I should use to handle a task, but I end up using an outdated one, because it's safe. At work, I end up wasting a ton of paper (which is horrible, because I try to be as green as possible at home) because I feel so stupid asking how to use technology that I ought to understand at this point, like the stupid copier. So I try several times until I get it right, and then hide my mistakes in the shred bin! It's awful, I know, but I don't want everyone thinking I'm a moron!

Dr. Z: I agree with Deb in that we need to be able to work smarter. This is all about finding the tools that are available and integrating them into what you do. The key is to integrate them one at a time so that it can become part of our understanding network.
Steph talks about how technology makes life tougher and I agree with her. Word processing has raised expectations for writers and their work. I am deluged with email daily. This used to just be phone calls and letters but there were so many fewer of them
I think that we are seeing just the beginning of what can be. Think of the "connected" student who has 6 different media running at a time. In most of those cases, the student is basically a consumer. Using these tools effectively allows us to become producers who add to the content of the network. Much better place to be.
BTW, Steph. I hate copiers too!

Nate: Since then, I have been thinking about all the opportunities and ways of including the PLN as a daily routine for my students projects. I have really taken into consideration the comment Mrs. Davis said during our conversation about there being a different tool for every task and that one tool is not going to get the job done in the most efficient way. You have to ultimately find the right tool for the job. This way you get variety and your sure to not over-use or burn out the tools and your students!

What would you like to ultimately learn from this?
Jamie... I want be able to learn how the flat classroom works, and hopefully be able to use some kind of variation of it in my classroom. I also want to learn more about making a PLN that is truely catering to the research that I am doing.

Lisa: I would have also liked to talk more about the flat classroom. I didn't know if this was something that she was still doing or if it was something that was still being developed, so yeah. I have a hard time thinking about using different technologies in the classroom when looking at math. I know that there are Geometer's Sketchpad and Google Sketchup specifically for math. I don't know how I would use other technologies in a math class...

Shu-hsiang: I would also liked to know and learn more about the flat classroom. I believe this will be a great project. I really help that I can use this experience in my future career whether I will be working in the school or corporation.

Steph: I am really excited to learn more about tailoring my PLN to best suit my needs. I know there's a whole ton of resources out there, and I want to learn how to find them all. I also want to learn more about Diigo and the news map Mrs. Davis showed us. I think I could definitely benefit from those. I would like to know more about how Twitter can be useful to me. Everyone is so into it, and I still haven't used it because I have nothing of value to say that I want the whole world to be able to read! (Am I a lost cause?) I am also really excited about the flat classroom project, and I think that's going to help tie up a lot of loose ends for me. I am so glad Mrs. Davis took the time out of her busy schedule to talk with us! She is one of the coolest guest speakers I have ever had in a class!

Deb: I agree with Steph, I want to know more about finding the good stuff to put on my PLN. I don't want to spend lots and lots of time finding time-saving sites. That would seem to cancel out the benefit.

Nate: I want to be able to access with ease like Mrs. Davis did. She found ways to incorporate everything into her VERY busy life like it was a breeze! The Diigo was neat too and I would really like to learn more about that as well!

What ideas do you have for turning this experience into something that will best benefit you?

Lisa: I would like to be able to use different technologies in my classroom, but I don't know how I could incorporate them at all....

Shu-hsiang: I think Twitter and Diigo are the great tools for me to manage and incorporate in my PLN. I now may be able to tell the others how technologies can be benefit in our daily life especially you have so many things going on. How to make things efficient and effective will be very important to know.