By: Lani Ritter-Hall

2 kick offs, 1 cohort–

A geographical distance of over 1000 miles separating, coming together in one online community—

PLPers from Ohio, Texas, Louisiana, getting to know each other in the Ohio Consortium–

Some more comfortable, encouraging others more reticent to transparent online learning—

Expressing fears and best hopes, oh those hopes:

My biggest hope is that I can bring about the change in myself as a learner, bring the excitement to the classroom for my students, and work with my team to bring these exciting changes to our district. Kevin Braaten, Berea School District, Ohio

The hope is that the journey will be greater than the destination. Bob Beach, Gilmour Academy, Ohio

Drilling down intentionally while going serendipitously tangential.
Wanting to help inspire change/evolution at our school while also wanting to honor what is already true/traditional. Christian Long, team leader, The Oakridge School, Texas

Hopes that provide some direction for our journey together, hopes that will sustain all in the meaningful, hard learning ahead.

And then moving beyond hopes to the work of growing a community, one contribution among many in a discussion on community norms:

I have a motto in my kitchen. It says, “Eat good food. Be kind. Tell the truth.”
Eat good food: let us digest here the best of what everyone can bring to the table. Let us break bread together, metaphorically speaking, by sharing ideas in a congenial way.
Be kind: be courteous and empathetic; listen; consider multiple perspectives.
Tell the truth: Though there is no need to be brutal in one’s truth-telling, we need to not shy away from difficult subjects.

All of this comes down to …: Own your own words. You do this when you do these things: Be yourself, be real, be courageous, be responsible, be aware of others. Susan Davis, team leader, The Chinquapin School, Texas

With a growing consensus around norms such as these suggested, even now in these early stages, passioned conversations on the focus– understanding and embracing “shifts” in learning afforded by current technologies—arise in other Ning conversations.

At this computer, alone in NE Ohio – yet surrounded by and engaged in community– sharing the same hopes, attempting to assuage some fears of those still uncomfortable with the messiness and openness of the online community environment, and so delighted to be going beyond hopes to the undertaking ahead, sensing we are on the cusp of extraordinary learning—together.

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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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