By Lani Ritter-Hall

First the tide rushes in
Plants a kiss on the shore
Then rolls out to sea
And the sea is very still once more
Ebb Tide, The Righteous Brothers

With the ebb and the flow, ripples continue to grow as more members of the Illinois Ohio cohort engage in blogging in and out of the cohort space reflecting on their learning—

“I thought I had this teaching thing down to a science, but this year PLP has rocked my world. I started using a tablet computer last year and was using Moodle and other 2.0 tools, but PLP has opened my eyes far beyond a tool. I am now talking to my students about their own personal learning networks. I am working with showing them how their learning goes far beyond the 4 walls in my classroom.” –Pat Grove

“I met with my PLP group on Wednesday night for some yummy Thai food. We needed to cement plans for our project that we’d be hemming and hawing about. After quite a bit of discussion (and again, some yummy food!) I think we came to a consensus. Our project will be connecting.” —Christen Fouss

“Being on the edge of this shift has been very energizing for me, but it has also been very frustrating. Many times, I have more questions than answers. I’ve never been a “think-outside-the-box” kind of person, yet I find that I have to continue to push myself to see how my classroom may benefit from changes in procedure. I’m gathering information from blogs, from my Twitter network and my Ning colleagues. I’m processing the sample lesson plans and assessment options available to me in the hope that I may also be able to give back and share ideas with others, who are also trying to build new procedures that make sense for our time, and replace systems that no longer work in the 21st century.” —Sherry Amorocho

“…somehow while I wasn’t looking I became a 21st century learner. Transformative professional development through PLP with guidance from fellow learners Will Richardson, Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach, the Illinois-Ohio Cohort members, and cohort members from around the globe has energized my thinking, teaching, learning, and life.”–Tricia Buck

in connecting with Twitter

“I have met multiple Modern Language teachers from the UK currently using exciting and innovative web 2.0 tools to enhance their language class. My Twitter buddy in California has helped me with all my accent mark trials and tribulations. An educator and translator in Spain continually send me great links to anything from online dictionaries to funny videos about language learning.” —Sherry Amorocho

“I’m finding that as a librarian Twitter keeps me up-to-date on YALSA awards and other ALA postings of interest. I also find that some of the “experts” I follow will TWEET an occasional interesting link worth following.” –Judith Condren Stuckey

and in thinning the walls of their classrooms for their students.

“I can’t imagine not using a wiki. It keeps me connected to the class even when I am out for a meeting and they are working with a sub. I can send comments to students whenever I find a need to do this without writing myself a note. I love what this wonderful tool is capable of accomplishing and hope to find even more ways to utilize its power.” –Darlene Andre

“Celestehopkins: just skyped with Ms. Lucas’ class in PA. Kids shared some info and reports. Voicethread in progress.” –Celeste Hopkins from Twitter

And eddies increase as teams seek to measure the velocity of the tide and its impact on their navigation through their intended projects—

And then—an Elluminate session– when that tide rushes in again and again as Sheryl and Will push and nudge, and push back anew, encouraging “shifts” to 21st Century Learning. A “tools” shallow bar, which thus far has managed to hold back those with significant draft, is challenged once more. And it’s in the third session, that the “learning tide” gains on the “tools” shallow as voices begin to respond to the flow with “WOW” and finally,

at the peak of the tide– “I get it, I get it.”

The heights of those tides, changed by the shifts in the sand, will continue to rise and the sea will never be still once more–

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Lani Ritter Hall

Lani is Community Leader for Powerful Learning Practice. She also serves as the “Newbie Maven”, helping along and nurturing newbies to the PLP experience, as well as facilitator for the Connected Coaches. Lani brings more than 35 years of teaching experiences in urban, sub urban, and independent schools at the middle/secondary level in the U.S and Canada to this work. A national board certified teacher, she and her students began collaborating globally in the late 1980’s. Lani has created and facilitated professional development around technology infusion into learning for over twenty years and served in a leadership role for the K12Online Conference for 2 years. She is co-author of The Connected Educator: Learning and Leading in a Digital Age.
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