Sunday, March 3, 2013

Take-aways from Richard Byrne

Richard Byrne's presentation on personal learning networks was as interesting and entertaining as Pam  Berger's presentation on inquiry teaching and learning.

Mr. Byrne demonstrated his ideas through two engaging videos, many photos, and through many stories that brought PLNs to light for us participants. We loved seeing pictures of his dogs and he walked us through creating a twitter account by creating one on the spot for his dog. One of the highlights was when his girlfriend tried to message him during his presentation--he caught the message just in time!

What does he advocate? Get into social media. Choose at least one platform and dedicate 15 minutes a day to it. You will only get out of it what you put into it (make a profile and comment through the media). He suggested Twitter (big fan), GooglePlus, Pinterest, and a little Facebook. A little Facebook goes a long way.

One of the quotes that stuck with me, "Facebook is for the people that you know, Twitter and LinkedIn are for the people that you want to know." Personally I need to get more into Twitter, GooglePlus, and Pinterest.

There were many little "nuggets" of good tips that he gave regarding the platforms. And if all else fails and you are trying to learn something new, try and find it on YouTube.

Take-aways from Pam Berger

Ms. Berger's presentation was interesting and funny. The presentation was interactive, full of anecdotes, and was built around a lesson for 7th graders that utilized the inquiry process and primary documents.

She reminded us that students are very visual and that photographs or paintings (as long as they are created during the same time period of the event!) are wonderful ways to demonstrate point of view and to embed primary documents in a lesson. It was a nice little reminder of what really constitutes a primary document.

Ms. Berger gave us copies of the lesson and documents and explained the process after we had completed the lesson at our tables. She highlighted,,, and as possible Web 2.0 tools to use in lessons with primary documents.

What do I need to do (I'm a middle school library media specialist)? Tell my social studies colleagues about this lesson and do my best to incorporate DigitalVault or DocsTeach into any of the collaborative projects that I'll be working on. Government resources with primary documents that students NEED to be exposed to.

My lingering question: what kind of final product could students create using primary documents in a social studies or language arts class?

Personal Learning Community with Richard Byrne


Personal Learning Community:  There are amazing educators out there sharing and discussion and connecting.  A personal community is a way to use social media (not just TWITTER!) to use these resources.  You can often  get immediate feedback to solve a problem, find a lesson, talk through a new trend, or just find out what the cool people in your field are doing.    When you are a solo practioner, you will find this especially useful.

Dip in—look for a few minutes once day, check in for longer once a week—don’t stress over not keeping up with everything that comes in.


Join ONE social network—if you join more than one, you can get overwhelmed quickly.  Start with one, and it doesn’t have to be Twitter (but Richard Byrne likes this one), pinterest, google hangout, facebook—you choose! 

Complete all parts of your profile—if people know more about you, you will get more links to people who have interests you have in common!

Participate!  Don’t be the “weird guy in the corner!”  If you want to have a personal learning community that is effective, you must participate—post, respond, ask questions, share things you find online.  The more you participate, the more robust your account

Add 5 new friends to your personal learning network—then see who they follow!


Twitter—check out #msla13

RSS Feed—have your favorite sites send things to you!

·         RSS feeds:  Feedly, flipboard

Blog!  Still works well, but you have to share it.

Remember—it takes time!

INTERESTING things that come from this:

Flat Classroom Project—connecting classrooms around the world on twitter

We're tweeting like crazy with Richard Byrne

Check it out at #msla13

think about it...

Wordle to analyze primary sources!  Great idea...