One of the many great things about being involved in a PLP virtual learning community is the ability to feed off the enthusiasm of others. Sometimes it’s just a small thing that spurs an idea, other times it’s a major transformation, but in either case it’s still affirming to me as an educator. Here are a couple of recent examples from the ADVIS Cohort.

Kim Sivick, from Chestnut Hill Academy, replied to a post in the Ning with:

My twitter PLN life has taken off and has been an unending source of information, support, and validation. I began using kidblog on the recommendation of someone I follow on Twitter. I chose to experiment with a culture studies project that my 4th grade students were doing with their homeroom teachers.

I set up a kidblog account and asked each student to blog about the country they had studied. They were to write what they had learned and then ask a few questions. I promised that I would do my best to find people around the world to comment. Because I doubted that I could get enough people from other countries to comment, I told the students that I would also invite people that have traveled around the world to comment.

What happened was nothing short of amazing. In just one week of my first tweet about the project we had heard from people in 20 different countries. Our cluster map lit up and the students were engaged and begging to research more countries.

I made the students business cards with an image of a globe, their name, 4th grade, Chestnut Hill Academy, and the title “International Blogger”. I am planning a day where the student bloggers will wear name tags all day identifying them as International Bloggers.

In addition to all the “hits” on our cluster map, one individual from Ireland added our project to the International Edubloggers Directory, someone in the Canary Islands wrote about us and included a link to our site and we were added to a student blog roll.

To view our project see this link:

And then shortly after, Karen Gallagher, from Westtown School, replied to a different post reflecting on the Hopes and Fears participants had at the beginning of PLP with:

Hopes? Far exceeded my expectations. I had no idea I would be so deeply transformed. I am actively thinking about what approaches encourage collaboration and how those can be embedded into Committee meetings, faculty projects, as well as into the classroom. Today, I am living in a learning environment that is dynamic, with students as partners in using and assessing new tools.

Fears? That we will find resistance to new ideas, new approaches, new applications. Striking a balance between our enthusiasm our colleagues’ skeptism–that will be the challenge ahead of us. I am encouraged by our evolution into a collaborative team….and remind myself that it took a great deal of time and communication to bring us to this stage in our development….

So, patience and outreach will be an important part of the way forward. More hope for the future than fear of what lies ahead. That a healthy starting point for the next year.

The drive, dedication and, yes, enthusiasm of passionate educators like these are a big part of what makes PLP a transforming and uplifting experience for so many that participate.

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Karl Fisch

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