Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Don’t You, Forget to Tweet Me…Don’t, Don’t, Don’t You….Forget to Tweet Me (Post 10 Reflection)


January seems so long ago. Back then I was Web 1.0, so "old" school. Now I am Web 1.999…

As I sat thinking about this post, among all the other crazy thoughts came John Hughes. Oh Lit Maven! Too much book glue!

Stay with me here.

I am fluent in all things John Hughes. I am still waiting for Jake Ryan to be waiting for me outside my church. But I am happily married and I wouldn't want to clean his messy house.

Those of you not familiar, John Hughes has contributed to great films such as:

Sixteen candles

Pretty in Pink

Breakfast Club

Uncle Buck

Ferris Bueller's Day Off

Home Alone

All of these movies have limited to no technology. If Web 2.0 would have existed, Ferris Bueller would have tweeted he was sick, Steph would have noticed Andie
on Facebook and told Blaine about her "other side of the track" friends. The kids in the Breakfast Club would have collaborated on a wiki document or GoogleDocs, instead of a piece of paper. Photos from the party at Jake's House would have been uploaded onto Flickr or Facebook during the party.

So this reflective post will be called…

5 Ways John Hughes' Movies Reflect My Web 2.0 Journey

  1. Home Alone with E-Class

I cannot tell a lie. This course SCARED me! The outline was menacing…menacing I tell you. I wasn't sure what I was thinking. Could I even get through? Would I be accepted on the web?

My previous PLN (Personal Learning Network) was made up of me, myself and I.

E-mail and I were tight friends.

"Oh, Hi Amazon, What's that? You have a book you think I would like? How nice of you?"

"Hi there Stenhouse Publishers! Wow, new titles. How do, you read my mind?"

"Oh EPL, are my books due…how sweet for the reminder."

Then the course happened!

Pandoras box from Michael Flückiger on Vimeo.



Warlick (2009) states "PLNs open up doors to sources of information that were not even available a few years ago, and continually evolving technologies are making it easier to capture and tame the resulting information overload."




Pandora's Box------PLN…similarity…I think so….


Initially I wanted to clone myself… like Michael Keaton in Multiplicity.


But we all know how that worked out. The more you replicate, the more "special" you get. Not to say I wasn't "special" at times.

Hijazzi (2004) states "....While the amount of information increases at an exponential rate, we still have the same number of hours every day" (p.121). That was evident right away. Checking in and discovering all the unread blog posts and class discussions.


The panic was echoed by classmates who developed coping strategies, such as Pauline (ED ES 501) who suggests, "Using Excel I have made myself a check list of all the things I need to check out with the days of the week running across the top. This way I can keep track of whose blog I've commented on, what sites I've checked out, etc. I'll try this method and see how it goes." This course took organization to a new level.


Gradually I got used to the flow of the course. Still my PLN in "real" life was just not this crazy. I explained my studies to other co-workers and got the blank stares or the "sour" faces. Sour as in, "WOW…that sounds like a lot of work" followed by a whiskey face.


I did start this course feeling isolated, overwhelmed, tethered to a laptop. My dreams became disjointed to the point that I started reading fiction before bed to get my brain back to normal.

I felt left behind on Friday nights when the family was eating popcorn and relaxing…HOW DARE THEY?    

Like Kevin, I developed strategies, I made a plan and I reached out to my new network, the Breakfast 2.0 Club.

2.Breakfast (2.0)Club

So there we were the Consultant, the X-Ray Tech Teacher, the Primary Teacher, The Phys Ed Teacher, The Doctorate Student, The Librarians, the Professor and…what ever happened to Mary Ann?

…All thrown together in the Web 2.0 club.

The professor told us to write a blog post telling her who we thought we were…

The shyness began to melt away as we bonded over common tools and other course related anxieties.

Podcasting was the "devil's" tool and we realized that perhaps LAME was a great summary of that.

My classmates were the start of my PLN. Through their blog posts and discussions on elluminate, I discovered that there is strength in numbers.

Our first area of consensus was trying to get a handle on our networks.

How did we take in all that information?

Rob (EDES 501) had this to say," I find that most of my reading is typically the comments sections of blogs that help me to get a better feel for what other users are doing with the knowledge, and how they are responding to the world we live in."

Brad (EDES 501) echoed all our feelings with,"
I read for both learning and understanding. It depends on what I am reading and like anything else, it depends on my interest level in the material. If a printed article is boring, I am not going to get anymore out of it than an online digital one."

I was proud of myself this course. I printed only a handful of articles. It's a strong possibility that I am an official "online" reader. However with fiction, I am right there with Nancy (EDES 501) who stated "Love the touch, sight, physicality of the book, still."

Hijazi (2004) refers to the possibility "… that every new technology is introduced with the hope of replacing an old one, but what happened is the "new" technology will be added to the existing list of others and the "old" and the competing one will 'adapt' " (p.122). I think that for me and my classmates, the new tools and information were overwhelming. For the most part, Web 2.0 did not replace old tools but merely added to the pile and conflicted with our loyalty to the old ways. However that may change over time as Tom (EDES 501) noted, "As with most things [tools] we have been exposed to this semester I just need some more time to "play"."



Hijazi (2004) speaks of learning to understand the difference between data, information and knowledge. I think that I was always trying to internalize and create meaning with everything I read. Gradually I realized that some information was irrelevant, thus mentally discarded. Some was "taggable". Yet the few keepers where posted and Tweeted about. This was where the thinking and the knowledge creation occurred and was truly remembered. This process is what our students are going through, sifting and sorting through barrages of information.


This comment was retrieved from a comment posted on PLN: Your Personal Network Made Easy "Online learning can be very serendipitous. You have to leave behind the worry that you are going to "miss" something, because something is always going on!"
Gradually pressing the "Mark all as read button" in Google reader became less guilt ridden and at times rebellious!

Tom (EDES 501) said it best with this tip,"
I think for students I would stress this skimming, tagging, marking as fave techniques. This way they can go through a lot of material and locate enough articles related to their topic to get a good start on any project." Yes and I think we all finally learned this, I hope, but still I continue to read so fast like the blogs might self destruct.

So how do you use these networks?

Sixteen Candles (burning at both ends)

Sam loves Jake.

Farmer Ted loves Sam.

Sam tells Ted about Jake.

Jake tells Ted about Sam.

Sam and Jake find each other. (Then there is that cool make a birthday wish scene, totally diverted from the topic here.)

Towards the end of this course, networking and connections became everything.

Nings. Tweets. Staying in the loop. Talking to others you may never have met before. Throwing questions out to people. Networking. Joining in on hashtag discussions etc.

If Sam had not made her intentions known and networked, Jake would have been left with Carolyn, uneven hair and all!

Janet Abruzzo asks in her blog post "Why do we connect?"


Indeed, there is a commitment involved with establishing a PLN.

Warlick (2009) states "Working your PLN involves a great deal of responsibility because you are almost certainly part of someone else's network" (p. 16). I had never thought of this, in this way. Of course, they attach to you. They expect something in return. All the networks I am in are not as patient as my Facebook friends. There is a level of commitment implied or otherwise. At the end of this course, I think I will have to pare down my participation in Nings. Still, difficult to decide, which is in? Which is out?



Warlick (2009) makes the point that as educators we need to be learners ourselves. We owe it to our students to be up to date and "in the know". Perhaps that is the best response to other educators when they question the need to learn Web 2.0. If not for their own needs at least consider that the students will live and work in this evolving digital world.

Here is a great reminder of what it means to be a "connected" student. So much depends on Web 2.0, never mind that red wheelbarrow.



Gilroy (2010) states"…social networking sites represent a new way of communicating that also is changing the way the public interacts with and perceives higher education" (p.22). I would think that it also changes how the school community interacts with parents and students. It's one thing for parents to access newsletters online, it's quite another to be engaged on their child's classroom blog.


This blog,
Once a Teacher…offers some ideas on how to establish your own PLN and explain the process to co-workers and stakeholders.


So where does this leave the Lit Maven?


4. Pretty in Pink but mostly in sweats as I have blogging my butt off most days…

In this movie,

Lit Maven (played in the actual movie by Molly Ringwald) chose Blaine (2.0) new and interesting to Ducky (1.0) the old reliable.

This is definitely a turning point for me. Where do I see old tools fitting with the new tools? Do I send PowerPoint in a basket down the river?

What is the future of my PLN? I like to think of my net-life in two parts, personal and professional learning networks.

Personal Learning Networks

When a learner or worker has a problem, where do they go first?

Friends or Google, sometimes one in the same….

Facebook will always continue to be a forum for my jokes, insights about life and connecting with friends. Friends on Facebook are more interested in life topics and I don't feel comfortable linking to educational issues. I don't want to be that person: the person who always talks "shop".

On the other hand, I have seen the potential in using my Google reader, blog and twitter to create a network for my personal interest in writing. The networking for a writer is a must, with such a solitary activity.

Professional Learning Networks

I see some really opportunities for strengthening my learning networks I look forward to time to reestablish myself on Nings and to develop ideas. As a consultant, the resources are hard to find. It is not as easy to find information, as compared to a school administrator or teacher.

Warlick (2009) states "It is human nature to incline toward sources that agree with our own worldviews, so we must try to cultivate networks that challenge our thinking and frames of reference" (p.16). I guess this depends on the goals of my network. Forcing myself to consider different ideas and perhaps even to question things more. I think that we like to think that our workplaces couldn't possibly be similar across the nation but I have noticed common themes emerging. Soule (2008) adds "Networking through technology can form powerful alliances, connecting leaders and experts locally, nationally and internationally" (p.15).


This question was poised on a Selling Learning Communities: Not Everyone Will or Wants a Group Hug:


How do I communicate the value of social media as a learning tool to my organization?


My next steps will be to add web 2.0 tools to job delivery. Creating a solid learning community and offering exposure to these tools may create interest. I consider technology to be part of my role. It's non-negotiable considering the literature on the
new digital literacies.

My goal of this course was to find a way to increase the communication with my teachers and to offer additional support in the form of podcasts, wikis and tutorials.

Ÿ Trying to experiment with newsletter updates

Teachers appreciate new ideas and info.

Blogging requires a lot of initiative on the part of the others.

What if they don't check in?


Ÿ Being consistent with posting and the variety of information

Ÿ Creating a theme for daily posts or a structure or perhaps a series of posts

Ÿ Engaging in deeper educational discussions (Could I be Lord of the Nings? Maybe…)

Ÿ Helping teachers set up a PLN

    How could I take this further with my teachers?

Would they set up a PLN?

Is there an easier way to help them since they cannot invest the same amount of time?

Is there a first tool? Mel (EDES 501) suggests, "focus on quality rather than quantity, so I would start by introducing teachers and students to just two tools: Google Reader and Delicious. I believe this would be a great place to start that would be manageable and practical for most."

ŸDemonstrate how to use the program of studies as a basis to demonstrate where these Web 2.0 tools fit


Nicola (EDES 501) sums this up nicely, "The amount of time and money saved is priceless. Making sure that colleagues and students realize they have these resources available to them is vital in extending our learning to others in the community. For example, our high school subscribes to several online databases and encyclopedias and yet few staff or students use them as a resource, preferring to Google most of their searches. It takes in-service, modeling and integration of these resources into assignments to see an increase in use."


DuFour (2007) states "The rise or fall of the professional learning community concept in any school will depend not on the merits of the concept itself, but on the most important element in the improvement of any school—the collective capacity, commitment, and persistence of the educators within it" (p.7). Although this pertains to PLC's I do think the idea easily translates into PLN's and the idea that it is the users that maintain the usefulness, the strength and the power of these networks.


5. Weird Science"It's my creation, is it real?"

This whole course was an experiment of sorts. Our Frankenstein was our weekly post. What kind of shenanigans could we get into every week?

The different tools required different demands. Specifically writing was extreme between blogs and twitter. Twitter required an on the fly response edited to 140 characters. The blog posts were a huge process, requiring several different steps.

There were demands to keep the message consistent. Trying to establish and maintain the blogging voice over the weeks.

"I'll give my voice to Ursula... if she'll do the legwork!" was how Todd (EDES 501) articulated the weekly demands. Indeed as Lois (EDES 501) said, "I've tried experimenting with my voice but alas, much like my haircut, it just keeps going back to the same style no matter what I try."

The professor and the fearless crew (A.K.A. EDES 501 winter session 2010) have been on this amazing journey with me. A journey that at times was more Rocky than Steve Perry.


On paper, this course is about developing a PLN through Web 2.0, never in my wildest dreams did I think it would be so much about writing.

My news resolution was to become a better writer. Look what happens when you throw that into the universe.

I hope this becomes one of those everlasting habits. Dr. Phil says it takes 21 days to make a habit. Well then I guess it's settled. I will be a blogger.

Here's a little Lit Maven ditty:

1-2 Twitter for you

3-4 Blog some more

5-6 Flickr Pics

7-8 Nings are Great

9-10 Blog again

Sincerely Yours,

The Lit Maven


Nonlinked Resources

DuFour, R. (2007). Professional learning communities: A bandwagon, an idea worth considering, or our best hope for high levels of learning?. Middle School Journal, 39(1), 4-8. Retrieved from ERIC database.

Gilroy, M. (2010). Higher education migrates to youtube and social Networks. Education Digest: Essential Readings Condensed for Quick Review, 75(7), 18-22. Retrieved from ERIC database.

Hijazi, S. (2004). Too much information--Too much apprehension. Association of Small Computer Users in Education (ASCUE), Retrieved from ERIC database.

Soule, H. (2008). Transforming school communities: Creating dialogue using web 2.0 tools. Learning & Leading with Technology, 36(1), 12-15. Retrieved from ERIC database.

Warlick, D. (2009). Grow your personal learning network: New technologies can keep you connected and help you manage information overload. Learning & Leading with Technology, 36(6), 12-16. Retrieved from ERIC database.












  1. Again, so engaging! Brandi, you rock. I will miss your blogs. I hope to continue a kind of Web 4 you teacher thing that will post ideas at all levels. Hope you are part of it! We are the only two Edmontonians, we should get together sometome to celebrate.

  2. Hey I'm close enough to an Edmontonian, south side St. Albert! Great post again Brandi, you have left me feeling very weak about what I will post as usual. Plus you used John Hughes a personal fave. "I pulled the trunk and the light didn't come on!" Story of my life. Thanks for all the engaging posts. Fantastic.

  3. Blushing here....Nancy and Tom!
    Thank you for your comments. I love being able to write in "Brandi" language. I constantly see connections to my "pop" culture world. I appreciate a welcoming audience. Now...off to read yours!

  4. Thanks, Brandi. Your post was very clever and really tied this course all together! I grew up with these films, so it was a fun blast from the past, too! I love that you have made the leap to talking about PLNs...this is something we talk a lot about in the next tech course (545) but it is so vital to this course, too. Everyone in this class has created their own PLN through their hard work and trials of the various tools. Thanks for highlighting that so clearly and, as always, doing so in a fun and entertaining way! Keep in touch--I'd love to hear from you!

  5. Breakfast Club 2.0; how true. I wish we could somehow have a group hug to end the course; can that be done online. Brandi, I have enjoyed your witty and insightful writing throughout the course and your incredible talent inspired me to be a better writer.
    You also quoted me, wow that may be the second time ever. Scary but feels good; thanks!
    I agree with you that one's "network" is crucial to improving as a teacher. I also agree that effective teachers are constantly learning; that is something I've re-learned throughout this course. Keep writing!



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