Chat

Chat: Social Networking and Teacher Professional Development

Thursday, Nov. 12, 4:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. Eastern time
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 Live Chat: Social Networking and Teacher Professional Development(11/12/2009) 
10:40
Edweek Producer: Jennifer: 
Today's Chat, Social Networking and Teacher Professional Development, sponsored by Elluminate, is open for questions. Please start submitting them now.

The chat will begin at 4:30 p.m. Thank you for joining us.
Thursday November 12, 2009 10:40 Edweek Producer: Jennifer
4:30
Moderator Elizabeth Rich: 

Welcome to today’s chat. We’re excited to have two great guests with us to talk about the intersection of social networking and teacher professional development--where teachers are connecting with each other increasingly.

Jim Burke is an English teacher at Burlingame High School in California, a prolific author, and founder of the popular English Companion Ning, which now has more than 9,000 members worldwide.

Karl Fisch is the director of technology at Arapahoe High School in Colorado, the author of the Fischbowl--a popular staff development tech blog; and creator of the viral video, Do You Know?, which has been viewed by millions.

Before we get to questions from our audience (and there are a lot), I have one question for each of you to get us started.

Thursday November 12, 2009 4:30 Moderator Elizabeth Rich
4:30
Moderator Elizabeth Rich: 

Karl, can you give us a sense of just how far social networking tools have come in the PD realm in the last few years?

Thursday November 12, 2009 4:30 Moderator Elizabeth Rich
4:30
Karl Fisch: 
Nice, easy question there, Elizabeth.
Thursday November 12, 2009 4:30 Karl Fisch
4:31
Karl Fisch: 
Seriously, I think they have come a tremendous way.
Thursday November 12, 2009 4:31 Karl Fisch
4:31
Moderator Elizabeth Rich: 
can you give us a quick sense of that?
Thursday November 12, 2009 4:31 Moderator Elizabeth Rich
4:31
Karl Fisch: 
We could do some of these things 3 or 4 years ago, but it often took a real "techy" person to make it happen. Now the tech side of it is pretty easy.
Thursday November 12, 2009 4:31 Karl Fisch
4:32
Karl Fisch: 
It's the pedagogy part that is harder. As it should be.
Thursday November 12, 2009 4:32 Karl Fisch
4:32
Moderator Elizabeth Rich: 
Meaning?
Thursday November 12, 2009 4:32 Moderator Elizabeth Rich
4:33
Karl Fisch: 
Tools like Moodle and Ning and Twitter, blogs and wikis, podcasts and vodcasts, have opened up a wealth of opportunities for teachers to learn from others - and each other.
Thursday November 12, 2009 4:33 Karl Fisch
4:33
Moderator Elizabeth Rich: 

Jim, I think you're a more recent adopter.

Were you surprised at how quickly your Ning grew? You’ve got members from at least 5 continents last time I checked.

Thursday November 12, 2009 4:33 Moderator Elizabeth Rich
4:33
Karl Fisch: 
Meaning that just because the tech part is easy, that doesn't mean the PD is going to go well.
Thursday November 12, 2009 4:33 Karl Fisch
4:34
jimburke: 
At first, totally! I came back from the NCTE (National Council of Teachers of English) convention last year and thought: New teachers just are not joining these sorts of orgs, getting the journals, etc. THey need something online, so I created the ning in five minutes between grading papers. Next day, had 100.
Thursday November 12, 2009 4:34 jimburke
4:34
Have you ever used social networking for PD?
Yes
 ( 60% )
no
 ( 40% )

Thursday November 12, 2009 4:34 
4:35
Karl Fisch: 
Jim's English Companion Ning http://englishcompanion.ning.com/
Thursday November 12, 2009 4:35 Karl Fisch
4:35
Moderator Elizabeth Rich: 
right, and now you have more than 9,000 members.
Thursday November 12, 2009 4:35 Moderator Elizabeth Rich
4:36
jimburke: 
Yes. At first I was surprised because it grew so fast, then I quickly realized that this was inevitable (the growth) for the reason I created it: this is the medium through which any teacher under 25? 30? has conducted their life since they were teens.
Thursday November 12, 2009 4:36 jimburke
4:36
Moderator Elizabeth Rich: 
OK, Karl, can you take this first question.
Thursday November 12, 2009 4:36 Moderator Elizabeth Rich
4:37
jimburke: 
The biggest question I had to answer for myself was my role and whether to keep it free. I had to decide how much responsibility I could accept for keeping it all going.
Thursday November 12, 2009 4:37 jimburke
4:37
[Comment From JonathanJonathan: ] 
I have always had a fear of losing my privacy by getting on the social network. But I am also interested in the benefits of being able to collaborate effectively. Of course one way to get around it would be to create two accounts. One for the work and one for play. Anyone face the same dilemma?
Thursday November 12, 2009 4:37 Jonathan
4:37
Moderator Elizabeth Rich: 
Karl, can you take that one?
Thursday November 12, 2009 4:37 Moderator Elizabeth Rich
4:37
Karl Fisch: 
I think privacy is a huge concern for a lot of folks.
Thursday November 12, 2009 4:37 Karl Fisch
4:38
Karl Fisch: 
There are certainly ways to keep more privacy by doing things like creating multiple accounts.
Thursday November 12, 2009 4:38 Karl Fisch
4:38
Karl Fisch: 
But, for me anyway, I've found a tremendous benefit by being open, and by sharing.
Thursday November 12, 2009 4:38 Karl Fisch
4:38
Moderator Elizabeth Rich: 
yes, that's becoming more a discussion point.
Thursday November 12, 2009 4:38 Moderator Elizabeth Rich
4:38
Moderator Elizabeth Rich: 
are you suggesting, Karl, that folks have private and personal accounts?
Thursday November 12, 2009 4:38 Moderator Elizabeth Rich
4:39
Karl Fisch: 
@Elizabeth - If that's what will make folks comfortable enough to do this, then yes. But . . .
Thursday November 12, 2009 4:39 Karl Fisch
4:39
jimburke: 
This issue just came up yesterfday, Jonathan. Apparently a teacher had been writing about her honest thoughts re: school policies about reading. Administrators saw it and made trouble. The anonymous/alt screen name is a good solution. But, one thing that the ning has been good for is creating community. So screen names like Teacher 423 seem to stand between people.
Thursday November 12, 2009 4:39 jimburke
4:39
Karl Fisch: 
Personally, I would not suggest that.
Thursday November 12, 2009 4:39 Karl Fisch
4:40
Karl Fisch: 
Creating personal connections, creating community, is huge. And it's so much easier to do when you're always "you" wherever you go/post.
Thursday November 12, 2009 4:40 Karl Fisch
4:40
Karl Fisch: 
I think we should always try to be our "best" selves, whether online or off. So I don't do anything online that I wouldn't do off, and vice versa.
Thursday November 12, 2009 4:40 Karl Fisch
4:40
Moderator Elizabeth Rich: 
Next question, for Jim.
Thursday November 12, 2009 4:40 Moderator Elizabeth Rich
4:40
jimburke: 
I think it is this community, these connections that drive the EC NIng. Our work is often so isolating.
Thursday November 12, 2009 4:40 jimburke
4:41
Karl Fisch: 
@jimburke - exactly. We have to overcome that isolation, and all these tools are tremendous at helping us do that.
Thursday November 12, 2009 4:41 Karl Fisch
4:41
Moderator Elizabeth Rich: 
OK, sorry to step on your toes, there! Next question is for Jim.
Thursday November 12, 2009 4:41 Moderator Elizabeth Rich
4:42
[Comment From KarenKaren: ] 
How effective is social networking without a moderator or facilitator? Does the discussion stay focused, especially if the topic is sensitive or a difficult one such as test scores used to evaluate teachers, for example?
Thursday November 12, 2009 4:42 Karen
4:43
jimburke: 
I would distinguish between certain types. On the Ning, people fall into groups or communities of interest and thus tend to govern themselves pretty well. THere is no need for appointed leaders in, for example, the AP Literature group.
Thursday November 12, 2009 4:43 jimburke
4:43
Moderator Elizabeth Rich: 
You also lurk in the background, correct?
Thursday November 12, 2009 4:43 Moderator Elizabeth Rich
4:44
Is your district restrictive about using PD at your school?
yes
 ( 37% )
no
 ( 63% )

Thursday November 12, 2009 4:44 
4:45
jimburke: 
I do but more like a host at a party roaming from room to room to make sure all is safe and well. I spend more time than I wouldl ike booting spammers but we have never, in 10 months, had a flaming problem or any hate. It's the most responsive, respectful community I've been part of online.
Thursday November 12, 2009 4:45 jimburke
4:45
Karl Fisch: 
@Elizabeth - that depends a lot on the Ning (or whatever platform you're using). Many of these sites are self-organized, it's passion based learning, they don't necessarily need a moderator.
Thursday November 12, 2009 4:45 Karl Fisch
4:46
jimburke: 
Responding to Karl's comment about a moderator. I find that you just donm't tell people in such communities what or how to be so long as they are participating in good faith.
Thursday November 12, 2009 4:46 jimburke
4:46
Moderator Elizabeth Rich: 
we've got some folks who don't know what a NIng is. Jim, can you give us a quick description?
Thursday November 12, 2009 4:46 Moderator Elizabeth Rich
4:46
Karl Fisch: 
In case it's not obvious for everyone, http://www.ning.com/
Thursday November 12, 2009 4:46 Karl Fisch
4:47
jimburke: 
My short hand for it is (www.ning.com) is that you can create your own Facebook-like community. I first learned about it from NCTE which created an event-based Ning for the annual convention. So I created a sort of Facebook for ENglish teachers. It's free if you permit ads; I wanted a protected space so I pay 24.95 a month to keep ads out. PRetty good price for 9000 members!
Thursday November 12, 2009 4:47 jimburke
4:48
Karl Fisch: 
NCTE Ning http://ncte2008.ning.com/
Thursday November 12, 2009 4:48 Karl Fisch
4:48
Moderator Elizabeth Rich: 
the idea being that Nings have a specific focus, unlike FB.
Thursday November 12, 2009 4:48 Moderator Elizabeth Rich
4:48
Karl Fisch: 
And the ads aren't bad if you don't mind them.
Thursday November 12, 2009 4:48 Karl Fisch
4:48
Moderator Elizabeth Rich: 
karl, next question is for you.
Thursday November 12, 2009 4:48 Moderator Elizabeth Rich
4:49
[Comment From Steve HargadonSteve Hargadon: ] 
I'm interested in knowing where you feel the success stories are and why, and are those stories changing in a way that helps us to understand future adoption of social-networking for educational PD?
Thursday November 12, 2009 4:49 Steve Hargadon
4:49
jimburke: 
Yes. I have seen people create them for classes, organizations, events, and professional communities. The Sarah Palin Ning has...uh...more than my Ning!
Thursday November 12, 2009 4:49 jimburke
4:49
Moderator Elizabeth Rich: 
SOrry, about that guys. That question is for you, Karl.
Thursday November 12, 2009 4:49 Moderator Elizabeth Rich
4:50
Karl Fisch: 
Steve - that's a question that deserves a more lengthy response than what I can give in this chat, but let me give it a brief shot.
Thursday November 12, 2009 4:50 Karl Fisch
4:50
Karl Fisch: 
The success stories are everywhere. Sometimes they are formal PD opportunities like Powerful Learning Practices (Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach and Will Richardson), where you pay for the PD.
Thursday November 12, 2009 4:50 Karl Fisch
4:51
Karl Fisch: 
Sometimes they are semi-formal learning opportunities like Classroom 2.0 http://www.classroom20.com/
Thursday November 12, 2009 4:51 Karl Fisch
4:51
Karl Fisch: 
Or Teachers teaching teachers

http://teachersteachingteachers.org/

Thursday November 12, 2009 4:51 Karl Fisch
4:51
Karl Fisch: 
Or K12Online http://k12onlineconference.org/
Thursday November 12, 2009 4:51 Karl Fisch
4:51
jimburke: 
One thing I see related to Steve's question is a paradox: more and more schools I visit (e.g., most recently throughout Texas) are investing heavily in such technology then block the very apps for such social networking that they could use for faculty in the ways we are discussing. This fear seems to prevent the success.
Thursday November 12, 2009 4:51 jimburke
4:51
Moderator Elizabeth Rich: 
Ah, yes, that's Steve's site.
Thursday November 12, 2009 4:51 Moderator Elizabeth Rich
4:52
Karl Fisch: 
And sometimes they are very informal, learning through blogs and twitter and ustream and chats like this.
Thursday November 12, 2009 4:52 Karl Fisch
4:52
Karl Fisch: 
And they all have a place, and they all are incredibly valuable to the folks that know about them and participate in them.
Thursday November 12, 2009 4:52 Karl Fisch
4:53
Moderator Elizabeth Rich: 
SOmething Jim just mentioned--block of sites. We do have some questions around that. What about that. How have each of your schools dealt with that issue. Jim, you first, then Karl.
Thursday November 12, 2009 4:53 Moderator Elizabeth Rich
4:53
Karl Fisch: 
But sometimes sites are blocked (As Jim indicated), and sometimes teachers aren't given the time - or encouragement - to do this. And sometimes people either don't know about them or don't think they can make the time to take advantage.
Thursday November 12, 2009 4:53 Karl Fisch
4:54
Karl Fisch: 
I hate to use buzzwords, but it is all about creating your own Personal Learning Network (PLN), building the PD that is tailored to your needs, and your schedule. And that's an amazing thing that we're able to do that now.
Thursday November 12, 2009 4:54 Karl Fisch
4:54
jimburke: 
My district has not blocked much of anything that I can tell. I can access it all. I fear, however, that this is a consequence of the need for more people to tend to these issues--i.e., it's one someone's to do list to block these things but they never get to it. Many have to create ning accts from home and participate that way.
Thursday November 12, 2009 4:54 jimburke
4:55
have you ever been reprimanded by your district or school for posting to a social networking site?
yes
 ( 7% )
no
 ( 93% )

Thursday November 12, 2009 4:55 
4:55
Karl Fisch: 
Re: Internet Filtering
My district has a filter, but it is relatively open compared to most districts. And all teachers have an override of the filter that gets them to some of the blocked sites (currently things like Twitter and YouTube), but not everything.
Thursday November 12, 2009 4:55 Karl Fisch
4:56
Karl Fisch: 
If we find something we want to use, and make a case for it, it is reviewed by a committee and often opened up. Or, for things like Ning that have a filter-friendly URL structure, they will unblock specific NING URL's that we ask for, but leave the rest of Ning blocked.
Thursday November 12, 2009 4:56 Karl Fisch
4:56
Moderator Elizabeth Rich: 
FYI--a lot of readers are submitting links to various NIngs. Once the chat is over, we will put those in at the bottom of the transcript, to share with everyone.
Thursday November 12, 2009 4:56 Moderator Elizabeth Rich
4:57
Moderator Elizabeth Rich: 
Yes, i've heard that it's important to ask tech folks at your school unblock a site if you want to use it.
Thursday November 12, 2009 4:57 Moderator Elizabeth Rich
4:57
Moderator Elizabeth Rich: 
next, question.
Thursday November 12, 2009 4:57 Moderator Elizabeth Rich
4:57
[Comment From KristiKristi: ] 
How does Twitter fit into a PD framework?
Thursday November 12, 2009 4:57 Kristi
4:58
Karl Fisch: 
I think another important point is that it should not be exclusively tech folks making filtering decisions, but curriculum folks.
Thursday November 12, 2009 4:58 Karl Fisch
4:58
Karl Fisch: 
Twitter is . . . twitter.
Thursday November 12, 2009 4:58 Karl Fisch
4:58
jimburke: 
Something related to these questions about blocking and use, however, is when, how, and why teachers are using these networks. THere appears to be a distinction between within school between/for teachers as a network and outside for more of a sense of community.
Thursday November 12, 2009 4:58 jimburke
4:58
Karl Fisch: 
For many people, Twitter is an amazing PD opportunity.
Thursday November 12, 2009 4:58 Karl Fisch
4:59
Karl Fisch: 
It's just-in-time resources, and community, and PD.
Thursday November 12, 2009 4:59 Karl Fisch
4:59
Karl Fisch: 
It helps you develop and expand your PLN, and you can learn from people all over the world at any time of day.
Thursday November 12, 2009 4:59 Karl Fisch
4:59
Karl Fisch: 
But other folks look at Twitter and say, "So what?"
Thursday November 12, 2009 4:59 Karl Fisch
4:59
jimburke: 
Neal Postman posed one of the great questions--for anything, really, but in this case re: technology--when computers first came out: What is the problem for which _________ is the solution? Twitter. FB. Ning. etc.We need to learn to ask this question more, I think.
Thursday November 12, 2009 4:59 jimburke
5:00
Karl Fisch: 
Twitter is one of those things that you really have to use for a while, and develop the folks you want to follow and who follow you, before it become valuable.
Thursday November 12, 2009 5:00 Karl Fisch
5:00
Karl Fisch: 
And the value is different for different folks. There's no one "right way" to use Twitter (or any of these tools, for that matter).
Thursday November 12, 2009 5:00 Karl Fisch
5:01
[Comment From Rob LetcherRob Letcher: ] 
I often share resources I gain from my Twitter network with colleagues. They often express amazement at how "plugged in" I am to new and exciting technology and pedagogy.
Thursday November 12, 2009 5:01 Rob Letcher
5:01
jimburke: 
If I were a district English coordinator who was studying ideas related to teaching English, I would tweet to everyone in the district links, info, etc that I came across in the course of a day. That would be useful in a local PD context.
Thursday November 12, 2009 5:01 jimburke
5:01
Karl Fisch: 
@Rob - Yep, every time I dip into Twitter I find something that I pass on to other teachers in my building. Every. Time.
Thursday November 12, 2009 5:01 Karl Fisch
5:02
Moderator Elizabeth Rich: 
how do you capture all of that Twitter info?
Thursday November 12, 2009 5:02 Moderator Elizabeth Rich
5:02
Karl Fisch: 
@Elizabeth - you don't.
Thursday November 12, 2009 5:02 Karl Fisch
5:02
jimburke: 
Twitter got a bad rap at first because people were using it to say they were eating a bagel at the corner deli.
Thursday November 12, 2009 5:02 jimburke
5:02
Karl Fisch: 
You really can't capture all of the info on Twitter, and you'll go crazy if you try.
Thursday November 12, 2009 5:02 Karl Fisch
5:03
[Comment From GuestGuest: ] 
Postman also points to the Faustian bargain inherent in adopting technologies - there is always a tradeoff, something to be lost or given up.
Thursday November 12, 2009 5:03 Guest
5:03
jimburke: 
THe same can be said for many of these streams. EC Ning is the same. You enter into the stream of the conversation, the community of ideas.
Thursday November 12, 2009 5:03 jimburke
5:03
Karl Fisch: 
Now, there is search and ways to tag things on Twitter for finding later, but, in general, I wouldn't try to capture it all.
Thursday November 12, 2009 5:03 Karl Fisch
5:03
[Comment From Leslie ManiotesLeslie Maniotes: ] 
I favorite things on twitter that I want to come back to...that helps
Thursday November 12, 2009 5:03 Leslie Maniotes
5:04
Karl Fisch: 
@Guest - True. But that's pretty much true about any decision we make about how to use our time/spend our lives.
Thursday November 12, 2009 5:04 Karl Fisch
5:04
do you use twitter for PD?
yes
 ( 32% )
no
 ( 68% )

Thursday November 12, 2009 5:04 
5:05
[Comment From Doug BuchananDoug Buchanan: ] 
I like the notion of "dipping" into Twitter as Karl mentioned. I find that I can't (and shouldn't try) to keep up with it, but to join in when I can. I almost always learn something useful.
Thursday November 12, 2009 5:05 Doug Buchanan
5:05
jimburke: 
My favorite way to use Twitter has been as a writer (www.englishcompanion.com): When researching ideas for books, I come across reports, links, etc and post those out. That seems an effective use. I get good feedbcak on that.
Thursday November 12, 2009 5:05 jimburke
5:06
[Comment From susan carter morgansusan carter morgan: ] 
We are on Twitter now, sharing thoughts as we watch this. And we don't try to capture it all. Good ideas always resurface.
Thursday November 12, 2009 5:06 susan carter morgan
5:06
Karl Fisch: 
@jimburke - exactly. It's a way to share your thinking with others and get feedback. And for them to share their thinking, and you to provide feedback. In addition to the links to great resources.
Thursday November 12, 2009 5:06 Karl Fisch
5:06
Karl Fisch: 
@scmorgan - Very true, good ideas do resurface. I find there are more good ideas then I'll ever have time to get to, so I'm working hard at giving myself permission not to feel guilty about that!
Thursday November 12, 2009 5:06 Karl Fisch
5:07
Moderator Elizabeth Rich: 
ready for another question?
Thursday November 12, 2009 5:07 Moderator Elizabeth Rich
5:07
jimburke: 
Karl's comment points to a new, more democratic form of PD dialogue within a learning community/district: everyone can post and contribute but that makes new demands of district and school level leaders.
Thursday November 12, 2009 5:07 jimburke
5:07
[Comment From JonathanJonathan: ] 
How does career satisfaction come into play through online social networking?
Thursday November 12, 2009 5:07 Jonathan
5:08
Karl Fisch: 
@Jonathan - well, I'm not sure exactly how you mean that, but I think it's huge.
Thursday November 12, 2009 5:08 Karl Fisch
5:08
Karl Fisch: 
Social Networks allow you to connect with others that share your passion.
Thursday November 12, 2009 5:08 Karl Fisch
5:08
Karl Fisch: 
So even if you are unlucky enough to be in a school/job where you don't have folks that share some of your passions, now you can find them.
Thursday November 12, 2009 5:08 Karl Fisch
5:08
jimburke: 
Not sure exactly what Jonathan means, but I would say that the sense of community through the Ning has contributed substantially to this feeling of satisfaction. My dept meets twice a month; people on the Ning can meet everyday, log on whenever they want to share successes, etc.
Thursday November 12, 2009 5:08 jimburke
5:09
Karl Fisch: 
My PLN includes folks in my school, in my family, in my community. It includes books, it includes folks I follow on Twitter, folks I read their blogs. They are all part of making me more knowledgeable and more excited about what I do.
Thursday November 12, 2009 5:09 Karl Fisch
5:09
jimburke: 
Yes! Karl's observation about sharing passions. We have many international teachers, teachers from US military schools, people all over the place in remote areas who felt so isolated, who WERE isolated, and now they a community they can be a part of.
Thursday November 12, 2009 5:09 jimburke
5:09
Moderator Elizabeth Rich: 
i think people worry that social networking can be isolating--the image of someone attached at the hip to their computer without any human interaction.
Thursday November 12, 2009 5:09 Moderator Elizabeth Rich
5:10
Karl Fisch: 
It really is hard to describe sometimes the sense of community that can be created even among people you have either never met, or rarely met.
Thursday November 12, 2009 5:10 Karl Fisch
5:11
Karl Fisch: 
@Elizabeth - I don't have the link at the moment, but research actually indicates otherwise. Folks involved in social networking are actually more connected.
Thursday November 12, 2009 5:11 Karl Fisch
5:11
jimburke: 
Elizabeth raises a good point but I think people work differently. THe average time (according to Google Analytics) people spend per visit to the EC Ning is about 8 minutes. I think they grade papers, take a EC Ning break to see what's going on, grade some more papers, get ready to plan, then log back on to see what ideas they can get for that lesson, and get back off...
Thursday November 12, 2009 5:11 jimburke
5:11
Moderator Elizabeth Rich: 
right, I've seen how intimate Jim's Ning can be--sometimes there's a confessional aspect to it--something you can't always in a departmental meeting, as much as you might like.
Thursday November 12, 2009 5:11 Moderator Elizabeth Rich
5:11
Karl Fisch: 
Going back to community . . .
Thursday November 12, 2009 5:11 Karl Fisch
5:12
[Comment From Carolyn FooteCarolyn Foote: ] 
KArl, you are so right about that.
Thursday November 12, 2009 5:12 Carolyn Foote
5:12
Karl Fisch: 
One example from the last week. Someone in my PLN had a sick child, who had to be rushed to the hospital, and the network expressed it's concern, provided support, and genuinely cared about that event - even though many of them had never met him.
Thursday November 12, 2009 5:12 Karl Fisch
5:12
jimburke: 
I think the first real moment on the Ning when I knew this was big was when a professor the second week came on to share that a student teacher had been killed in an accident by a drunk driver and he was bereft. The community's response was profound, amazing, so honest, but helpful, too. It was, I have to say, beautiful to watch.
Thursday November 12, 2009 5:12 jimburke
5:12
Karl Fisch: 
That's not to say that that didn't also happen in his offline community, I'm sure it did. But I think folks are missing something when they assume that online stuff is somehow not "real."
Thursday November 12, 2009 5:12 Karl Fisch
5:13
[Comment From Kathy N.Kathy N.: ] 
The isolation can be resolved in some ways by moving into a virtual setting like Second LIfe. Huge amounts of PD going on in there.
Thursday November 12, 2009 5:13 Kathy N.
5:13
[Comment From Leslie ManiotesLeslie Maniotes: ] 
@jimburke thank you for that insight on how long people check in! So it isn't a management issue, you just check on it and get info..THAT is IMPORTANT for people with the excuse, I don't have time for that!
Thursday November 12, 2009 5:13 Leslie Maniotes
5:13
jimburke: 
One of the interesting things I am getting ready for now that relates to this online/offline dichotomy is that the NCTE convention is coming up and we are going to have our first meet-up in person of those at the convention. How exciting...but strange, too!
Thursday November 12, 2009 5:13 jimburke
5:14
Karl Fisch: 
@jimburke - that's great, wish I could be there to see that!
Thursday November 12, 2009 5:14 Karl Fisch
5:14
Karl Fisch: 
It is very interesting to be at a conference or something and walk up to somebody you've never met and pretty much start in a middle of a conversation because you already "know" them.
Thursday November 12, 2009 5:14 Karl Fisch
5:14
Moderator Elizabeth Rich: 
Jim, that should be interesting! Where will you all fit? ;-)
Thursday November 12, 2009 5:14 Moderator Elizabeth Rich
5:15
jimburke: 
Another interesting thing worth mentioning, which I often don't hear about till after, is that people on the Ning will arrange Skype-talks, or get together on other more visual, social networks to have side conversations. Real relationships have sprung up, particularly between some more expreienced teachers who have become digital mentors of younger teachers.
Thursday November 12, 2009 5:15 jimburke
5:16
jimburke: 
We have a big room in Philly. Shoudl be fun.
Thursday November 12, 2009 5:16 jimburke
5:16
Moderator Elizabeth Rich: 
i'm going to put another question out there.
Thursday November 12, 2009 5:16 Moderator Elizabeth Rich
5:16
[Comment From Janet PerryJanet Perry: ] 
I'd like to know about social networking from a PD's perspective. How much accountability should a PD organization take to set up social networks after a training? Almost always following trainings there is an outcry for continued connectedness. However, maintaining control of quality is difficult and hiring a facilitator is expensive.
Thursday November 12, 2009 5:16 Janet Perry
5:16
Karl Fisch: 
@jimburke - that's a great point. Often the large virtual communities then spawn smaller, more intimate ones, sometimes online, sometimes face to face.
Thursday November 12, 2009 5:16 Karl Fisch
5:17
Karl Fisch: 
@Janet Perry - Not to avoid your question, but that depends on very many factors.
Thursday November 12, 2009 5:17 Karl Fisch
5:17
Karl Fisch: 
I think if they can set up something like you suggest, that's great.
Thursday November 12, 2009 5:17 Karl Fisch
5:17
jimburke: 
Important question, Janet! The follow up is important but it requires a real structure and reason to return to and maintain that conversation.
Thursday November 12, 2009 5:17 jimburke
5:18
Moderator Elizabeth Rich: 
i want to throw another quesiton out there--we've got lots of them and people are eager to talk to you both.
Thursday November 12, 2009 5:18 Moderator Elizabeth Rich
5:18
Karl Fisch: 
But I also think that often all they need to do is make it available, and people will take advantage of it if it's useful to them. It doesn't necessarily have to be moderated, or directed, people will form temporary communities that meet their needs, then disband.

I think there's a place for both.
Thursday November 12, 2009 5:18 Karl Fisch
5:18
[Comment From Mary HicksMary Hicks: ] 
I am still confused about where the professional development comes in? Sharing a new idea or commiserating with a colleague is not professional development.
Thursday November 12, 2009 5:18 Mary Hicks
5:19
jimburke: 
Some conferences where I have given day long workshops have been followed up on with Moodles but I do not have a strong sense of how effective that ends up being. A conversation is a frail thing to create and sustain, especially among those who are there because they are required to be there.
Thursday November 12, 2009 5:19 jimburke
5:19
Karl Fisch: 
@Mary Hicks But it's part of building a community. And building a community is a huge part of successful professional development.
Thursday November 12, 2009 5:19 Karl Fisch
5:20
Moderator Elizabeth Rich: 
And actually, just like you mentioned in the Twitter discussion, resources are shared and so is information. Take a look at Jim's Ning or Karl's blog. You'd be amazed at what you can find there.
Thursday November 12, 2009 5:20 Moderator Elizabeth Rich
5:20
Karl Fisch: 
Within that community there are often very deep, very engaged, long-term discussions about teaching and learning that - I think - are very much professional development. And, for some folks, the first time that they've had professional developoment that they feel has worked for them.
Thursday November 12, 2009 5:20 Karl Fisch
5:20
jimburke: 
Good point, Mary. I confess: I come from a district that lacks any sense of coherent, sustained, effective PD which, to be honest, is another reason I value the Ning as it provides that community of engaged minds that is asking those questions, sharing those practices daily.
Thursday November 12, 2009 5:20 jimburke
5:20
Karl Fisch: 
But you do have a good point, it does take work. Work on the part of the participant to make it truly worthwhile for themselves.
Thursday November 12, 2009 5:20 Karl Fisch
5:21
Karl Fisch: 
We have to advocate for ourselves as leaners. We need to dedicate time to learn each and every day.
Thursday November 12, 2009 5:21 Karl Fisch
5:21
Moderator Elizabeth Rich: 
What about having something to show for the time spent interacting with colleagues online? When I spoke to Anne Jolly abou it for a recent article that I wrote, she said the day is not long before credit can be given to teachers for time spen on social networking sites. Just like it is for PLCs.
Thursday November 12, 2009 5:21 Moderator Elizabeth Rich
5:21
Karl Fisch: 
@jimburke - that's another great point. Many districts have little or no PD, either because of size, or finances, or simply lack of leadership.
Thursday November 12, 2009 5:21 Karl Fisch
5:21
jimburke: 
To follow up on Mary's point: IT is not enough to create networks. That's like casting a hand full of seed in the yard and expecting a garden. Takes tending.
Thursday November 12, 2009 5:21 jimburke
5:22
Karl Fisch: 
Sorry, that should be "learners" not "leaners" a couple of comments up. :-)
Thursday November 12, 2009 5:22 Karl Fisch
5:22
[Comment From MickieMickie: ] 
I agree, Karl -- we should never view ourselves as "finished" products.
Thursday November 12, 2009 5:22 Mickie
5:23
Karl Fisch: 
@Elizabeth - Getting credit for online PD is already happening. Many teachers can get credit for K12 online. Classroom 2.0 live actually brings up a certificate at the end of each elluminate that you can print and turn in to the powers that be.
Thursday November 12, 2009 5:23 Karl Fisch
5:23
Moderator Elizabeth Rich: 
Folks are asking about the transcript. It will be available shortly after the chat has ended. We can even move this conversation over to our forums, if you all want to continue discussing the topic. We will provide a url for that either before the discussion is over or at the bottom of the transcript.
Thursday November 12, 2009 5:23 Moderator Elizabeth Rich
5:23
Karl Fisch: 
And, of course, the more formal online PD often comes with credit opportunties.
Thursday November 12, 2009 5:23 Karl Fisch
5:24
[Comment From Leslie ManiotesLeslie Maniotes: ] 
I didn't know that about Classroom 2.0 credit! COOL!
Thursday November 12, 2009 5:24 Leslie Maniotes
5:24
Karl Fisch: 
That transcript is going to correct all my typos, correct? :-)
Thursday November 12, 2009 5:24 Karl Fisch
5:24
jimburke: 
Credit for such endeavors seems complex because of the necessary infrastructure. So if, say, the Stanford School of Ed wants to host an online community and guarantee its quality, they have the resources and personnel to do it. Alas, I, a humble classroom teacher, could never provide units through a community like the Ning. ANything that asked for five more minutes of my day would be too much at this point!
Thursday November 12, 2009 5:24 jimburke
5:24
Karl Fisch: 
@jimburke - But that doesn't mean that participants in your Ning can't write it up themselves for credit.
Thursday November 12, 2009 5:24 Karl Fisch
5:24
[Comment From Carolyn FooteCarolyn Foote: ] 
@maryhicks For example, a few people I met through twitter have voluntarily offered PD workshops and interviews at night via Elluminate, Skype, etc. Ed Tech Talk, Women of the Web come to mind.
Thursday November 12, 2009 5:24 Carolyn Foote
5:25
Karl Fisch: 
If they can demonstrate their learning, they should be able to make a case for credit.
Thursday November 12, 2009 5:25 Karl Fisch
5:25
Karl Fisch: 
In fact, I would be so bold as to say that they can often make a better case for credit from something like this than from some of the formal courses we "have" to take.
Thursday November 12, 2009 5:25 Karl Fisch
5:25
jimburke: 
Makes sense to me. Women of the Web?!! Oh no, I'm locked out!
Thursday November 12, 2009 5:25 jimburke
5:25
Moderator Elizabeth Rich: 
We will do our best. ;-)
Thursday November 12, 2009 5:25 Moderator Elizabeth Rich
5:26
Karl Fisch: 
@Carolyn - Yes, WOW is one, Darren and Robin's OpenPD is another.
Thursday November 12, 2009 5:26 Karl Fisch
5:26
Moderator Elizabeth Rich: 
another question.
Thursday November 12, 2009 5:26 Moderator Elizabeth Rich
5:26
Karl Fisch: 
@jimburke - On the Internet, no one will know. Shh.
Thursday November 12, 2009 5:26 Karl Fisch
5:26
[Comment From Leslie ManiotesLeslie Maniotes: ] 
Great conversation about PD now...I hadn't thought about this!
Thursday November 12, 2009 5:26 Leslie Maniotes
5:27
[Comment From ASCD InserviceASCD Inservice: ] 
One of the overall implications of the recent WGBH Educational Foundation's study on how to enhance the social media functions of Teachers' Domain was if professional social networking's not supported during the school year, it's not going to be pursued by teachers in a meaningful way. Any examples of how ed. leadership is supporting teachers' professional use of social networking?
Thursday November 12, 2009 5:27 ASCD Inservice
5:27
jimburke: 
PD is also very personal, which the web and all we have discussed today speaks to. Every day in my classroom issues arise that are unique to that class, those kids, one kid in particular, and so I must go seek that PD I need to understand and address the needs of that kid tomorrow...PPD: Personal Professional Development.
Thursday November 12, 2009 5:27 jimburke
5:28
Moderator Elizabeth Rich: 
This might have to be the last question. I don't know if we'll have time to throw that url up there for a continued forum on this, but we will post it on our homepage (teachermagazine.org) and also at the bottom of the transcript.
Thursday November 12, 2009 5:28 Moderator Elizabeth Rich
5:28
Karl Fisch: 
@jimburke - Yes, when I first started with this I referred to it as "Personal Professional Development through RSS"
Thursday November 12, 2009 5:28 Karl Fisch
5:28
[Comment From Ruth AnneRuth Anne: ] 
@jimburke LOVE the PPD. That's so relevant to our needs!
Thursday November 12, 2009 5:28 Ruth Anne
5:28
[Comment From Carolyn FooteCarolyn Foote: ] 
@jimburke I like the PPD term
Thursday November 12, 2009 5:28 Carolyn Foote
5:29
jimburke: 
I take ASCD's question to refer to admins. Most adminstrators need to get much more savvy about all this so they can understand and then promote it.
Thursday November 12, 2009 5:29 jimburke
5:29
Moderator Elizabeth Rich: 
That can be an issue, true.
Thursday November 12, 2009 5:29 Moderator Elizabeth Rich
5:29
Karl Fisch: 
@ASCD Inservice - I'm not sure I can point to anything formal, although I'm sure lots of folks in the chat could. I know in my own district that my CIO is very supportive of efforts like this.
Thursday November 12, 2009 5:29 Karl Fisch
5:30
[Comment From Kathy N.Kathy N.: ] 
not just promote...model!
Thursday November 12, 2009 5:30 Kathy N.
5:30
Karl Fisch: 
@jimburke makes a great point. You really have to dive into this a certain amount before you know enough about how to apply it to your staff development efforts.
Thursday November 12, 2009 5:30 Karl Fisch
5:30
[Comment From WendyZZZZZZZZZZWendyZZZZZZZZZZ: ] 
To help answer ASCD Inservice's question...there are several school admins (principals, district office folks, etc.) are Twitter, and they also have their own blogs where they interact with teachers, students and parents. Awesome examples for other admins to follow!
Thursday November 12, 2009 5:30 WendyZZZZZZZZZZ
5:31
Karl Fisch: 
just like teachers have to experience this themselves before they can effectively utilize it in their classrooms.
Thursday November 12, 2009 5:31 Karl Fisch
5:31
jimburke: 
Not sure if we are going to time out, but wanted to say thanks to everyone for joining us and hope to see you on the EC Ning! Thanks Karl and Elizabeth. This conversation today has been my PPD.
Thursday November 12, 2009 5:31 jimburke
5:31
Moderator Elizabeth Rich: 
Yes, it's been a great conversation.
Thursday November 12, 2009 5:31 Moderator Elizabeth Rich
5:32
Karl Fisch: 
Same here. Thanks everyone, and please continue these conversations wherever in your own learning network that you can.
Thursday November 12, 2009 5:32 Karl Fisch
5:32
Moderator Elizabeth Rich: 
I apologize to the many people whose questions did not get answered! We just didn't have enough time. We will post a entry point for continued discussion on this transcript.
Thursday November 12, 2009 5:32 Moderator Elizabeth Rich
5:33
Moderator Elizabeth Rich: 
THank you Jim, Thank you, Karl. THanks also to our producer Jennifer. And also to our sponsor. Happy social networking everyone!
Thursday November 12, 2009 5:33 Moderator Elizabeth Rich
5:33
Karl Fisch: 
Also, if anyone has any pushback, or follow-up questions, feel free to contact me.
Thursday November 12, 2009 5:33 Karl Fisch
5:33
5:34
Karl Fisch: 
I'm not too hard to find. :-)
Thursday November 12, 2009 5:34 Karl Fisch
Edweek Producer: Jennifer: 

Thank you all for joining us for today's chat, Social Networking and Teacher Professional Development, sponsored by Elluminate.

Please check out Education Week''s other upcoming chats at www.edweek.org/go/chats
To continue the discussion about social networking and its role in professional development, please use the comments feature on this page.

Here is the list of all the online resources that readers submitted during the discussion:
SCTeacherVillage.com
http://isenet.ning.com
http://a4a.learnport.org/
http://www.educationalnetworking.com
www.educationalcoaching.ning.com
http://scarbonaro.com
http://coordinatorconversations.wordpress.com
http://bitbybitseedlings.ning.com

Thursday November 12, 2009 5:33 Edweek Producer: Jennifer
5:34
 

 
 
 

Teachers around the country are increasingly using online social-networking tools to break the traditional isolation of the classroom. In formal programs and casual after-school conversations, they are discussing ideas with colleagues, sharing experiences, and getting answers to questions. We held a discussion of teacher social networking and its role in teacher learning and career satisfaction, and for suggestions on getting the most out of online collaboration.

Guests:
Jim Burke, English teacher, Burlingame High School in Burlingame, Calif., and author and founder of the English Companion Ning
Karl Fisch, director of technology, Arapahoe High School in Centennial, Colo., and author of the blog The Fischbowl

Moderator:
Elizabeth Rich, editor, teachermagazine.org and Teacher Professional Development Sourcebook

Related stories:


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