Tag Archives: Google Hangout

The Value of Conversations

Last spring I had the honor of participating in a panel discussion with Steve Hargadon and other amazing educators at the Dynamic Landscape Conference at Champlian College in Burlington, Vermont.  Prior to this panel discussion I first met/heard Steve speak through a prerecorded Google Hangout created by Lucie Delabruere and Charles Wilson.  It was an amazing conversation.  Steve shared with us about the importance of having conversations and being open to what they can reveal, inspire and the value of face to face conversations.  This has had me thinking deeply for awhile now about how I can not only have meaningful conversations, but how this might look and sound like for me professionally and with my Kindergarten students and their families.

View the panel discussion…..https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FUVRPyR4Ot0&list=PL1oMB99j4uZZYwb3EjI2YKk_CzLOx3mr_&index=1

What has happened so far….

1. Twitter:  My students have “conversations” through threaded tweets about ideas that we find interesting, curious about or that we connect with.  The blue lines help my students visualize how our ideas, words are connecting. My students parents are also tweeting us as well and asking us questions about ideas we have explored.

2. SKYPE: Skype has been an awesome tool for us to use to have face to face conversations with others outside of our classroom.  This tool has only enhanced and enriched our thinking and we have developed a very positive and kind online etiquette as well because of how we use Skype to converse.

3. SpeakPipe: This is a great gadget that I found out about thanks to Karen Lirenman. I put this on our science blog.  Some parents leave questions and comments about scientific ideas we are exploring.  I have also had a few educators leave comments and questions for me as well.  This is great because I am then able to continue our conversation via Skype or Google Hangout.

4. Blogging/Kidblog: Blogging is an amazing platform to share and reflect.  My students experience commenting and giving compliments as another way to “speak” about what they are discovering.

5. Google Hangout: This is an amazing tool that can bring people together to have a conversation regardless of where you are.  I have used this tool with students, other professionals to share their ideas, have conversations and get help and advice.

6. Oral Language: I have created an Important Word Tree in my classroom where we post new words that we begin to explore and use everyday in Kindergarten.  This has been an amazing opportunity for me to capture and enhance the words of my students as well as offer them other words that mean the same thing.  For example in kindergarten we are not talking, but having conversations.  This has really raised the level of vocabulary not only being used, but how my students are beginning to strengthen and develop their oral vocabulary and understanding.DSCF3067

So because of my experience last spring I was inspired, my views and perspectives were challenged and I made some new connections with other inspiring educators.

I learned about how conversations can be experienced in a variety of ways and some of the tools that can make this possible.

One of the things that I enjoy most when I meet new people is what their story is, their experience and what they have discovered.  This offers me an opportunity to stay connected and know that these connections are always there and available.  The technology does not replace ideas or opportunities to have face to face conversations, it captures, connects and enhances our stories.

Who are these amazing educators?

You can find these educators on twitter.  They are: @stevehargadon @alanfletcher4 @babbitjoyce @nissakauppila @mattallenedu @techsavvygirl and @chaswilson.

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My Eduwin: What is your #Eduwin?


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I had the opportunity to be a part of a live podcast yesterday at EduReach with Michelle Russell, Cheryl Lykowski, Carlos Fernandez and James Gubbins.  Wow!  It was an incredible experience.  If you teach, be sure to go to: http://www.whatisyoureduwin.com/  This is where you have an opportunity to share the awesome things that you are discovering with your students and colleagues.

How did I find out about #Eduwin? I was on twitter one afternoon reading about the wonderful things that my PLN was involved in when I read a tweet shared by @flourishingkids.  She shared the link to #eduwin and that it was a great place to share what you are doing.  So because of this tweet, I went to the link, read about #Eduwin and decided to share!  I shared my learning about blogging and the impact it has had on me professionally as well as my students, their families and colleagues.  Shortly after I submitted my idea, #Eduwin contacted me and an interactive, live podcast was organized.

This was my 1st podcast.  It was amazing.  I was able to have conversations with 4 talented people whom I have never met.  They are now a part of my PLN!  What was so great about this podcast was that we were all in different parts of the US;  Vermont, Chicago, Michigan and Florida.  This was possible thanks to Google Hangout!  I am new at using Google Hangouts, but it worked so well.  I felt as though we were all in the same place together.

The conversation was very inspiring for me.  As an educator I feel it is so important to have opportunities to share about what we are doing with our students.  I learn so much from the successes and challenges from my colleagues.  The dialogue is important and vital for my growth as an educator.  Through this type of experience I am now willing to do this again and encourage others to share as well!

I am struck continually by the energy, courage, creativity, perseverance and knowledge that I come across when I am connecting with my PLN.  For me twitter and linkedin play an important role in my transformation and growth.  If you are not using social media as part of your profession, I hope that you will consider it!  The world is a huge place with so many opportunities to connect, collaborate and grow.  I value all of the connections I have made because they have helped me become a strong and transparent teacher, who continues to find ways to make a difference for my students.