Posts categorized "Professional Development" Feed

Lucy Gray Presentation Resources for #GEF16

Please consider joining our Global Education Conference Network located at and follow us on Twitter at @GlobalEdCon. Proposals for our upcoming online conference are due November 1, 2016. And don't forget about this grant opportunity: 

I've added my Keynote slides and PDFs of my presentations for the Global Education Forum to a folder in Google Drive: Feel free to download any of these resources. 


#CUEROCKSTAR Global PBL Resources

Hi All -

Anyone, including those not present in my workshops today, are welcome to join my Edmodo group, Project-Based Learning with a Global Focus. Use this link to join and I'll approve your membership:

Make sure to check out the four tabs of global learning resources that I've compiled in this Google sheet. Feel free to add any additional resources that you think are valuable. This is not an exhaustive list; I'll be adding to this frequently.



Lucy's Resources for the MLTI Summer Institute

Looking forward to inspiring Maine educators today! Find all my files here!

Feel free to download the Keynote file or PDFs and explore the plethora of links. Slides and accompanying notes include many resources.

If you are interested in my YouTube workshop, please join our Edmodo group to access the resource

Let's connect on Twitter. My Twitter handle is @elemenous.



A Plethora of PD Opportunities

After years of attending and presenting at conferences, I'm still seeking a solution for keeping track of upcoming events and other professional development opportunities. Inspired by my innovative friend Karen Blumberg and her PD Google calendar which is somewhat focused on NYC events, I decided to create and maintain one of my own that includes a wide variety of opportunities happening around the world.

I copied some events from Karen's calendar and added others from the sources below. As new events pop up on my horizon, I've been adding them as well. If you would like to suggest an event, submit a professional development opportunity and/or conference deadline using my YouCanBookMe form.

Other sources of information for this calendar include:

    1. EdSurge’s Your Passport to 2016 Edtech Conferences
    2. EdSurge’s Educational Technology Events
    3. Karen Blumberg’s PD Calendar
    4. The Education Calendar
    5. ISTE Affiliate Directory

If you are a Google Calendar user, add this calendar to your other calendars by clicking on the Google Calendar button in the lower  righthand corner of my calendar embedded below. By layering various calendar in your Google Calendar setup, you'll be able to compare your availability to events listed on my PD calendar. Also, you can copy individual events from my calendar to your personal calendar. Click on a single event, and then the option that says "copy to my calendar". 

Link to the calendar below.

Technology for Teaching and Learning Conference #KCDTTL

Welcome, #KCDTTL attendees! Here are resources cited in my talks at Kentucky Country Day's Technology for Teaching and Learning Conference. Please free free to download and browse any of these resources.

  1. Introductions Padlet
  2. Connecting to the World handout on Tackk
  3. Share Global Resources Padlet
  4. Exploring Instructional Uses of YouTube on Tackk
  5. Exploring Instructional Uses of YouTube Slides and below
  6. Slide decks for both global sessions can be downloaded in PDF or Keynote formats from


Resources for Summer Spark! #usmspark

I'll be at the University School of Milwaukee's Summer Spark conference tomorrow! I'll be leading three sessions on how to get involved with the Global Education Conference, globally infused PBL and leveraging YouTube for instructional purposes. 

I've uploaded my Keynote files and PDFs of these presentations to and you can download them below or by clicking this link.  Also, my Exploring Instructional Uses of YouTube can be found here. 

For my global sessions, also check out my Evernote notebook of global resources, my apps list on Appolearning, and materials from a previous workshop. We will also be using this padlet to list projects and resources. Anyone is welcome to contribute to this. 

Please let me know if you have any questions! 


4th or 5th Grade Collaboration Opportunities - Mystery Location Calls and Virtual LitCircles

Fourth and Fifth Grade Teacher Friends - 

I've been coaching teachers at Falconer School in Chicago for the past two years as part of a pilot project through Kajeet and funded by Qualcomm's Wireless Reach initiative.  I conduct professional development with these teachers about once a month, and towards the end of the year, I typically help out with projects in classrooms. 

Four classrooms (three currently) for the past three years have been given Android tablets to use as personal learning devices. The teachers in these classrooms have embraced educational technology, trying out various tools and growing their professional learning networks. These devices are enabled with filtered 4G connectivity through Kajeet and the students are allowed to take these devices home. It has been a great project; it has been a privilege and honor to work with the students and teachers involved.

We're in the process of thinking about culminating activities for this school year, and are seeking other classrooms for a couple of projects. Here they are:

  • We would like to start holding weekly mystery location calls with other classrooms and perhaps track our calls through a Google Map. The Falconer teachers are open to using Skype or Google Hangouts. We would prefer to do this with other fifth-grade classrooms, but we are flexible.
  • The students are reading two books starting in mid-May that could lend themselves to virtual literature circles in Edmodo. We would set up groups for each class, you would have your students join these groups, and teachers would post discussion questions and other activities for each class to do and share. We've done this in the past with two of Grace Lin's books, and it's particularly worked well when each teacher takes responsibility for posting lessons for a week at a time.  Since these book groups are taking place at the end of the year, we could get creative with other supplemental activities. We are planning on starting Bud Not Buddy in mid-May. Maniac Magee would be the last book covered during the last two weeks in June (Chicago Public Schools gets out fairly late, probably due to snow days.) Fourth, fifth or sixth grades with fairly good access to technology devices would be ideal. The type of device used by another school is not an issue; we'll use tools that are not platform specific.  Ideally, we'd like to hold a planning meeting with interested teachers before any of these units are taught, too. 

For more info about what this fifth grade team has been up to, check out  teacher Tasia Pena's Weebly site, her class Kidblog, and her Twitter feed.  Another teacher Jackeline Rivera also posted this Weebly site as well. 

If you'd like to work with us, email me at elemenous at gmail dot com or send me a tweet at @elemenous! Looking forward to finding new friends for my fifth grade team! 

My Evernote Notebooks with Links to IB Materials and Edtech Resources

I've been collecting materials for an International Baccalaureate school that I've been working with for the past year. Below you'll find links to IB resources as well as subject-specific and ed tech  sites that may be of interest to educators. Some notebooks have more materials than others; I'll be adding to these collections during the next couple of months. If you have suggestions of other blogs, articles, and web sites that I should add,  let me know!

Also, here is a list of IB people and schools on Twitter and my IB tagged links in Diigo!

Lucy Gray's Workshop Materials for #TCEA15

Tomorrow, I'll be leading two 3 hour workshops with teachers at the TCEA conference in Austin, TX. I've re-tooled two sites to house my materials that you are welcome to browse. 

Going Global Workshops

Exploring Instructional Uses of YouTube Workshops


Presentation Materials for #ISACScon

I'm thrilled and honored to speaking at the annual ISACS conference today! Please feel free to download my materials so that you don't have to take copious notes. In my YouTube and global presenations, there are many hyperlinks to resources that are clickable, including some photos. I've included my slides in Apple's Keynote format as well as PDFs. I've also added my slides to Slideshare. If you are working on an iPad, the Keynote and PDF options will probably work best for you.

If you need to follow up with me, please contact me at lucy@lucygrayconsulting, @elemenous on Twitter, or @GlobalEdCon on Twitter.

Our backchannel for questions, resource sharing, and conversation can be found at:



Coming Up This Weekend: CUE/LearningRev Partner for Online Google Summit

We're looking forward to a unique online professional development event this weekend! On Saturday and Sunday, many Google Certified Teachers, Google Education Trainers and Google Educators will generously share their expertise in the first virtual Summit Featuring Google for Education. 

Keynoters will include two Google employees, Cristin Frodella and Jordan Pedranza as well as noted educators Esther Wojcicki, Hank Thiele, David Theriault, and Sean Ziebarth. All sessions will be held using Hangouts on Air and attendees will have access to a private G+ community for networking and sharing purposes. The registration fee of $40 also includes an annual membership to CUE

Below is a digital flyer that you can share with friends and colleagues.... pass it on, please! Hope to hang out with you this weekend ! 


Support Some Fabulous #SxSWedu Proposals

Julene Reed, Michelle Bourgeois and I are excited to have submitted a proposal to run a workshop at the South by Southwest Edu conference in Austin next March. In order to get selected, the public needs to weigh in by voting for us AND commenting on why this workshop would be an asset to the event. We're planning on leading a hands-on workshop focused on iTunes U as we think more educators and ed tech industry people need to experience the power of this repository. 

Fellow ADEs also have proposals submitted that I'm sure will be great. I've assembled them in a Pinterest board in order to make it easier for people to find our sessions and vote. We would all appreciate your support!

Follow Lucy's board #SxSWedu Proposals Worthy of Your Support on Pinterest.

Announcing the First Virtual Summit Featuring Google for Education

Very excited to be developing a new form of Google Summits along with Steve Hargadon and CUE! We just announced to today the CUE Learning Revolution Online Summit Featuring Google for Education. We're hoping to bring the magic of these summits to educators who are seeking more professional development around Google apps, particularly in areas of the US and beyond where access to face to face events is not necessarily practical.

This two day event will take place on September 6 and September 7 from 9 AM to 6 PM GMT-7 using Google Hangouts on Air. Steve Hargadon and I usually run our global ed conference around the clock, and eventually we want to do that with this conference.  However, we're keeping things manageable for our first summit and thus limiting the hours. We do realize this is not necessarily convenient for educators around the globe, but keep in mind that all the sessions will be recorded and available indefiintely. The cost to attend and view sessions is $40 for both days and this includes a CUE membership

Google Certified Teachers, Google Education Trainers, and Google Educators are invited to sumbit proposals for this event. Below is a digital flyer that I hope you will pass along to potentially interested colleagues!  


Two Quick Announcements

Two fun things to share today (and a third is coming sometime this week...)!

First, I'm the new ed tech expert at which means I'm writing periodically for a sub-section of their Education section. I'll be contributing news, reviews, and advice around the best stuff in ed tech as well as profiling ed tech leaders you should know. Very excited to finally get this launched!

Secondly, Julene Reed, Michelle Bougeosis and I have a proposal submitted to the panel picker for the South by Southwest Education conference (SxSWedu). Sessions are chosen in a crowd sourced manner; we need friends and colleagues to vote on our proposal in order for the workshop to be accepted at this really interesting and innovative conference. 

Our workshop proposal focuses on leveraging iTunes U in classrooms and we'd like to introduce people to the wonders of iBooks Author and iTunes Course Manager as well. Here is where you can vote and comment on our proposal... comments can be endorsements of our work or could be suggestions for improving our proposal. Also, if you haven't previously attended this conference, put t on your list of must attend events... it's very different and full of great learning experiences that will particularly challenge the more experienced educator. 



Opportunities to Go Global

There is an opportunity to share your work with a larger global audience coming up this November. During International Education Week (November 17-21), Steve Hargadon and I host a virtual conference focused on connecting classrooms and education for all. It's not a general ed or tech conference, but really geared towards educators who are bringing the world into their classrooms. We also have partnered with the Global Campaign for Education - US Chapter to have a strand that is focused on UN Millenial Development Goals, specifically on this one calling for universal primary education. IEARN USA has also been a long time supporter. This is the fifth anniversary of this event and we also have an ongoing community for sharing and discussion.

Here are some ways that you can get involved: 

  1. During any time of the year, you can post a question, project or resource in our discussion forum. I blast these posts out over social media and these items are included in Steve Hargadon's Learning Revolution newsletter. If you are looking for project partners, post here... if you want to share a resource that you think is relevant and fits our mission, post here. Anytime.
  2. Browse our conference archives to see over 1000 presentations that have been presented over the years. Look at our YouTube channel to see examples of the keynotes who have shared their work with us as well. We've been extremely fortunate to have pretty notable people serve as keynotes. Many schools of ed and other PD programs are using these archives for course material, by the way.
  3. Utilize our social media resources:
    1. Diigo Group:
    2. LinkedIn Group:
    3. Google+: and
    4. Facebook:
    5. Twitter:
  4. Sign up to present at the 2014 Global Education Conference. The call for proposals is open: We would appreciate you distributed this flyer to interested friends and colleagues as well. November 1 is the deadline for proposals; we accept them on a rolling basis. 
  5. Attend the conference anytime from an Internet connected spot during the week of November 17. This conferences around the clock, 24 hours a day, to accommodate time zones. Here's a flyer for distribution that contains basic info:

Please let me know if you have any questions!  I hope that you will also help spread the word wherever on the global you may be so that we can expand our reach and impact. It's really a fun, amazing experience to be a part of this community, particularly during conference week, and I encourage you to get involved!




Social Media and Mobile Learning Workshop at #CoSN14

New Leadership for Mobile Learning Project Director Marie Bjerede and I will be hosting a workshop next at week at the Consortium for School Networking's annual conference. The focus will be on using social media in conjunction with mobile devices and the purpose will be to give school leaders more direct instruction with using social media effectively. It seems that many administrators don't have the time and/or inclination to dive into the world of Web 2.0 tools, and we want to provide an opportunity for such types to play with tools that will potentially enhance their work. 

That said, we are not going to cover every single hot social media channel out there during this three hour workshop. Instead, we'll explore social networks and blogs and then dive into microblogging and social bookmarking. We could go to town by looking at YouTube, Pinterest, Instagram, etc., but we will keep things simple and practical for the scope of the workshop. 

All of these tools are almost rendered useless, however, unless one takes time to develop a personal learning network. This means you connect to others who share your professional interests and this increases your chances of learning about best practices, identifying great resources, and building opportunities for collaboration. During this workshop, we'll give advice on how to do this as well as how to develop one's online professional persona. 

Anyone is welcome to peruse our workshop materials (see below) and contribute to our networking survey. We'd love to have school leaders show how they are leveraging social media and connect with workshop participants. Please also follow our conversations on Twitter by searching for the hashtags #CoSN14 and #CoSNLML.  


GlobalEdCon Follow Up

Hope you enjoyed last week's conference!  Again, many thanks to our sponsors, keynotes, presenters, and mighty volunteers!

As we mentioned during the closing session on Friday, we are planning future events including a Global Education Summit in North Carolina this spring, followed by a Global Education Day just prior to the International Society for Technology in Education Conference (ISTE) in Atlanta, Georgia this June. If you are interested in sponsoring or helping to plan these events, contact Steve at 

Also, here are a few important reminders and resources for you to reference and pass along to friends and colleagues!


  • All recordings, including our closing session,  are located here:
  • Anyone can download the MP3 and MP4 files from the presentations and re-purpose them along as attribution is given to the presenter and it is for non-commercial purposes. See our Creative Commons license for details. 
  • Conference keynote presenations will be posted to YouTube as well: (Not all are up yet... stay tuned!)
  • Read here for information about requesting certificates.
    • Attendee certificates will also be given to those who watch the recordings post-conference.
    • Attendees must write a full paragraph (minimum) blog post describing what they learned from sessions attended in order to receive a certificate. 
    • Blog posts that just thank us for the conference or do not contain sufficient reflection will not count and will not be accepted. 
    • If requests do not meet our established criteria, you will not receive a certificate. It is the requester's responsiblity to read and follow directions and we cannot notify people if they have not followed the necessary steps.
    • Volunteer certificates are for those who moderated sessions, attended educator advisory board meetings, or who worked on projects comissioned by the conference co-chairs. 
    • All requests must be submitted by December 6, 2013 at 5 PM CST (GMT-6). Certificates will be sent or posted online on December 8, 2013.
  • Please consider signing the Charter for Compassion; information about becoming a Compassionate School and more educational resources are also available here. This Charter was discussed by Friday's keynote, Marilyn Turkovich


Carry on the spirit of the conference by contiuing to leverage the resources developed by our community. Here are a few quick links:

  • Read our crowdsourced A Declaration of the Value of Global Education
  • Recordings
  • Groups - We have many affinity groups for those interested in connecting with community members. There are groups for language teachers, primary teachers, higher education, Skype using teachers, etc. Feel free to create your own group on a topic of interest.
  • Ongoing Projects - Five group projects were established during the conference. Consider participating:
  • Discussion Forum - If you want to post a call for participation, solicity project partners, share a resource, or ask a question, please post in our discussions. This is a great place to connect with other GEC members. 
  • Social Media - We have several social media channels. Here are a few to check out.
    • Diigo (social bookmarking):
    • Pinterest:
    • (a daily digital newspaper):
    • YouTube:
    • Facebook:
    • Twitter:

Thanks again for your support,

Lucy Gray and Steve Haragdon

Conference Co-Chairs 

We're on for the Fourth Annual Global Education Conference!

Stay tuned for a plethora of information regarding our fourth free and online conference focused on global education. Remember, this is not a technology nor a general education conference. Share your ideas and initiatives around connecting classrooms and inspiring education for all!

Here's a digital flyer that you can pass along to colleagues. Proposals are due by November 15th!



#METC13 Presentations


Please download my slides and/or PDF copies of slides from or view them on Slideshare. Let me know if you have any questions or comments!



Download ModernizingEducation_METC

Download METC_Search

Download METC_Multimedia_2013

Download METC_Global


I Love My Work!

image from the past couple of years, I've been working as a consultant, traveling to various locales to generally help others think about innnovation in education. This work has included running an online global education conference, delivering presentations at conferences, conducting one day workshops, curating news, writing curriculum and offering insight to individual schools, school boards, and established companies. Interestingly, I'm increasingly getting more inquiries from ed tech start ups on how best to connect to educators as well. 

I've been inspired by many places I've visited and by many people I've met along the way; one project has stood out to me as particularly ideal. Since last Spring, I've worked with fellow Apple Distinguished Educator Larry Baker to think about customized professional development as part of his school's "Mercy 2.0" initiative. Mercy High School is located in Farmington Hills, Michigan, and is currently transitioning its one-to-one device program for students from PC tablets to iPads. All faculty members and freshman students have iPads; upperclassmen were given the choice of sticking with the PC tablets or purchasing an iPad (approximately 200 students did so, interestingly enough). 

It's important to note that Mercy has an amazing leadership team (comprised of the head of operations, tech director, dean of students, principal, department heads and president of the school)  that has been thinking and planning this transition for a significant period of time begininng with two briefings with Apple. The admin team is all on the same page in terms of believing in the power of technology to transform learning and also in their shared goal of creating a more robust digital culture within their school. For Mercy's leadership team, using iPads in the classsroom is not an optional choice for their teachers and they fully understand that they need to provide the support and professional development necessary to help their faculty become more successful. This leadership team is also very willing to listen to feedback from their faculty and alter plans as necessary in order  to meet faculty needs. I think the role of this leadership team has been invaluable to Mercy 2.0 and I've encouraged Larry to document the digital transformation process. You can read more about what they've been up to in his blog, and  Larry will also talk more about his work during a Mobile Learning Explorarations webinar for EdWeb this coming spring.

Because Mercy has been a digitally-oriented school for a number of years, Larry and his admin team colleagues have felt that that Mercy faculty needed specialized professional development focused on teaching with the iPad specifically and thinking through how to fully utlize iPads on the classroom.  I've been contracted to spend 5 days at Mercy over the course of this year in order to help make this happen. I spent two days there last Spring, meeting with each department and conducting informal intake assessments and then returned in August to lead workshops with another Apple Distinguished Educator, Cheryl Davis. Mercy also held drop in sessions for help with specific workflow apps and workshops on using Google Apps over the late spring and summer, and required teachers to complete 10 tasks related to using the IPads and post about this to Moodle. New teachers and students attended an iPad bootcamp as well. So, by the time fall and the acutal rollout to students arrived, many teachers felt that they had had enough professional development and need time to actually implement. It was a good  time to re-think about how best to use my time at Mercy.

Larry and his team then came up with the brilliant idea of inviting me back to work specficially with students. Imagine that! I was thrilled with the idea of helping Mercy iPad "wizards" come up with a plan to create a student-run tech program. During our planning meetings, I emphasized to Larry that this group should really be student-owned and that the adults would be there to facilitate, not co-opt, this group. 

Thus, last Friday, I met with 26 enthusiastic and articulate young women to help them think about how they could establish a tech group at Mercy and serve as leaders within their school community. To see what we discussed, take a look at our agenda which is a little messy, but you can see our course of action for the day. You can also learn about other student-run tech programs linked to in this document and shared by colleagues from the ISED-L listserv.

We started off getting to know each other by sharing our favorite apps and tech super powers. The girls also gave us postive constructive feedback on how well the iPad program rollout is going. We then dove into a list of links and did some preliminary research on other student-run tech programs. Steve Hargadon happened to ping me while trying out videoconferencing on his phone, so we chatted with him for a bit, and also held Google Hangouts (of which one is recorded) with Jason Markey and Kern Kelley. Jason included one of his students in our conversation and they discussed their for credit student tech help desk; Kern talked about his Tech Sherpas program. Make sure to watch Kern's video and to read Larry's reflections on the day for more details. At the end of the day, we brainstormed ideas for the structure of our program, started an outline and joined a Ning created by Mercy tech director Tom James in order to faciliate group communication going forward. 

Friday was an incredibly satisfying day for me, most notably because I spoke my piece, and then let the girls explore, discuss and brainstorm ideas for THEIR group. I was really impressed by their poise and enthusiasm and I was also stunned to realize how much I miss teaching. There is nothing like working with students and having synergystic moments when you know you are reaching them.

At any rate, working with Mercy High School has been such an amazing experience. We've mutually learned from each other and I've grown to really admire the leadership and teaching exhibited at this school. I can't wait to see what these tech "wizards" come up with as they continue to form their group, and I hope that I'll have the opportunity to work with others schools in a similar fashion in the future!    




Wes Fryer: A One Man Blogging Machine at #blackfootetc


Earlier this week, I had the opportunity to keynote Blackfoot Telecommunications Group's Educational Technology Conference in Missoula, Montana, a place that I previously have not had the opportunity to visit.  I received this invitation,  thanks to Wesley Fryer who has been involved with this conference for the past couple of years.  

Montanan educators were attentive and interested in educational technology, and seemed dedicated and thoughtful about their craft. Most surprisingly to me, many of these teachers work in tiny schools, often with 15-20 student maximum, and are responsbile for teaching everything to their students. As a result, it seems that it's more difficult for students to slip through the cracks and I'm guessing that teachers have to be pretty accountable for making things work in these situations, too. I loved hearing about these teaching scenarios as my perspective was broadened in terms of what students and teachers across America, even in rural areas, are experiencing. It also made me think more about the idea of making "highly qualified" teachers available to all students. Here in the suburbs of Chicago, we take it for granted that our kids will have a Mandarin teacher or a Calculus teacher, but what happens in remote areas of our country where it might not be possible to recruit great teachers in these subject areas? Students in states with widely dispersed populations are going to definitely benefit from increased online opportunities, and this is another reason not to ingore the trend of virtual instruction.

Speaking of online instruction, Wesley introduced me to Jason Neiffer, curriculum director of the Montana Digital Academy, and Mike Agostinelli of Helena Public Schools. This duo gave a few compelling presentations (see Wesley's links below) and had dinner with us one night. Our conversations gave me further insight into Montana, and we started brainstorming ideas for a ed tech wilderness experience/retreat for similarly minded school leaders. Stay tuned to see if we go anywhere with this idea!

Mostly importantly, besides being my first visit to Montana, it also was my first experience working closely with Wes, and I'm happy to report that the entire experience really fun and enriching. If you've never gotten the Wes Fryer treatment during a conference, you are particularly missing out. He is one of the few people I know who still has the time and inclination to take detailed notes during events. The best part is that he posts these online almost immediately, and includes relevant links and recordings. As someone who gets nervous about being scrutnized professionally, I found Wes's blogging to be enormously helpful as he does this in the least judgemental way, and his posts help me determined if I covered salient points. Below are some of what he covered at the Blackfoot ETC and I think this is a tremendously valuable service. Additionally, Wesley also did one of the best keynotes I've seen him do over the past few years... he has really evolved and improved as a keynote speaker. So, this is an unsolicited plug for Wes in terms of the education conference circuit... I think he'd be invaluable for his speaking skills and for participating in the conference experience along with attendees. 

Check out some of the highlights of the Blackfoot Educational Technology Conference, courtsey of Wesley Fryer:

Wes's Professional Wiki

Educational Podcasts from Blackfoot ETC

Using Social Media to Improve Classroom and School Communications

Exploring Instructional Uses of YouTube (my session)

Mobile E-Book Options

Digital Textbooks Using iBooks

30 in 60: 30 Tools for Tech Savvy Teachers

Getting Your Game On

Beyond Search ( my session)

Mobilizing Learning

My Flickr Photos of the Blackfoot ETC

Summer Learning Opportunities for Educators

Summer is quickly approaching and it looks like it's going to be a busy one. I'll be presenting at a slew of conferences that may be of High Techpectations readers . Read on for more details!

June 18-20 The Connections Conference at Sidwell Friends, Washington DC

Visit one of the nation's leading independent schools and engage with colleagues during three days of breakout sessions and full day workshops. I'm excited to be presenting at this conference along with colleagues from Educational Collaborators!

June 25 - 27  ISTE 2012, San Diego, CA

Stay tuned about a possible Global Education Conference in person summit! I'll be also conducting a presentation during the conference on Exploring Instructional Uses of YouTube and  Podcasting and Mobile Media Learning and Teaching along with Julene Reed and Larry Anderson. 

June 28 - July 1 The Asia Society's Partnership for Global Learning Conference, Brooklyn, NY

The Asia Society has been on the forefront of global learning for many years, and I'm thrilled to be presenting at PGL12  along with my Global Education Conference co-conspirator, Steve Hargadon. Anne Mirtschin, an Australian educator who has been very active in our online conference, will also be traveling to NYC and I can't wait to meet her in person! 

July 10 -12, iSummit, Atlanta, GA

I'm thrilled to be returning to the Coalition for Lighthouse Schools' annual conference. This is a fabulous event for independent and international schools with 1:1 Apple deployments. C0-chaired by my fellow Apple Distinguished Educator and friend, Julene Reed, this conference is a sure hit!

July 21, SDE Midwest Conference on Differentiated Instruction, Chicago, IL

SDE is one of the nation's premier providers of professional development, and I'll be presenting several sessions that be of interest to educators at their Midwest event.

August 2-5, Blackfoot ETC, Missoula, MT

After a two week sojourn with my family in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, I'll be keynoting this conference for Montana educators. I'll be focusing on mobile learning and can't wait to travel to the West to spread the word about best practices in educational technology.

Hope to connect and learning with many of you at these events! 





University School of Milwaukee Presentations and Materials - Updated

Find my presentation slides and workshop materials here! Social media assets are published now; global presentation ones will follow tomorrow.

Personalized PD
View more presentations from Lucy Gray
PDF of these slides are available here: USMpersonalizedPD

Directions for workshop:

During this two hour workshop, we will be exploring social media for classroom and professional development uses.  In the afternoon, your team will develop a project or product based on our morning exploreations. 

1. Create an Edmodo account ( and join this "class" by using the group code m2bco3 when prompted. Virtual participants are welcomed. You can also find the Edmodo app here for the iPhone and for the iPad

2. Divide into small groups and explore each tool for 15 minute intervals. Suggested links are provided. Assignments are posted on our class home page and in each subgroup (see the left hand navigation for these subgroups; you may have to expand the selections).

3. Add your reflections about what you're exploring by submitting an assignment OR by use the Reply link at the end of each section.

4. At the end of our workshop, please indicate which tool you are likely to use for professional development purposes in our poll. In the second poll, indicate which tool you are likely to use in your classroom.

Going Global at University School of Milwaukee
View more presentations from Lucy Gray
PDF can be found Download USMglobal.
During this two hour workshop, we will be exploring the role of schools in developing global competency in students.

1. Create an Edmodo account and join this "class" by using the group code sa09yp when prompted.

2. Add your reflections about what you're exploring by submitting an assignment OR by use the Reply link at the end of each section. 

Minot Google Days: Educational YouTube Videos #gdminot

Educational YouTube Videos.


I'm in the midst of a rewarding week working with North Dakotan teachers at Google Minot Days, a conference organized by technology director Craig Nansen. Tomorrow, my workshop participants will be taking a deep dive into YouTube, exploring two main uses of YouTube: 1) as a content curation tool (using personalized YouTube channels) and 2) as a content publishing tool. With the first objective, we'll be building a Google spreadsheet of useful YouTube videos and channels. 


For the second activity, they will be charged with making 1-2 minute videos and publishing them to YouTube. I'm giving them suggestions for topics, and I'm secretly hoping that they will create This I Believe videos using education as a theme. I used this activity during an independent school workshop a few years ago, and it proved to be pretty engaging for the participants.


At any rate, if people out there in social media land want to contribute a video suggestion or two, we'd love to have you participate. Use the link above to access the form and you'll be able to see the results in this spreadsheet:



On My Mind

A couple of things related to the SMART board sessions I led this week....

First, none of the teachers at this event brought laptops or seemed to have mobile devices. A few had iPhones. This was a second grade conference,  not a tech conference, so that isn't a shocker necessarily, but the fact that some teachers/schools don't see a device as a professional need is interesting. This is also probably exacerbated by funding issues, I would think.

Most teachers in my sessions had interactive whiteboards installed in their classrooms, and big surprise, had had little or no training.  A few didn't know that they had to orient their boards. School districts MUST provide support in this area if they expect the IWBs to used effectivelt and this training must involve more than just an overview of the technical aspects. Investigations into good pedagogical use also must be part of the conversation and on-going.

Also, when encouraging the participants to take charge of their own professional learning through social media, I found that not one teacher was on Twitter. Twitter is not the be all and end all tool, but it's been so critical in my learning. I was surprised by the divide between the educators in my world and this group; I think it's indicative of a larger chasm that isn't being addressed. In short, I think we have a long way to go before the idea of the "highly connected teacher" (as espoused in the National Educational Technology Plan) is a reality. We have a lot of work to do, folks!

Finally, when browsing resources for interactive whiteboards, I couldn't help but notice the plethora of IWB interactives and lessons that have been developed in the UK by not only teachers, but organizations. This is primarily due to the widespread penetration of IWBs in that part of the world. There is a ton of free and accessible content available to UK teachers, and it made me wish that there was more of a priority in this front in the U.S. Are DoE funds supporting the development of  GOOD content in a more comprehensive and practical way? Perhaps more is going on in this area than I realize, so educate me.

Also, while doing my research, I was absolutely stunned to find out that the UK's Teachers TV is shutting down. This follows the equally stunning demise of Becta, their formidable ed tech agency. The UK has been on the forefront of innovation in educational technology, and these are huge blows. I first learned of Teachers TV at Alan November's BLC conference and have been impressed with this method of professional development delivery. Again, I'd love to see something like this developed in the US, but if we're seriously talking about not funding groups like PBS and NPR, I wonder if I should even hope that are priorties are really focused on education. These are definitely dark days... How are we supposed to improve under these conditions?



Presentations from #D219Tech

Below are my slidedecks from District 219's (Niles North and Niles West High Schools in Skokie, IL) technology conference. These topics have been a staple of my repertoire lately, but every time I present, I tweak the slides just a bit. Most of the things I mention are hyperlinked and will lead you directly to the resources. For instance, in the Google preso, the bullets are linked, but I didn't underline them all for esthetic purposes.

Thanks to Guy Ballard and team for a wonderful day. Great to catch up with fellow Illinois educators and to catch David Warlick's fabulous keynote. He paints a picture of current shifts in learning and as always, I'm impressed with his talent for telling the compelling story. I wish every educator and parent in the country had the opportunity to hear him, so that perhaps we all would be more on the same page.

To those who attended my sessions, thanks for your comments and input. Please stay in touch and join the Global Education Collaborative!

ITSC - Beyond Search

Download ITSCsearch

My many, many slides for my Beyond Search presentation tomorrow. I swear this is a hand-on session! Download the presentation from Slideshare or the PDF from Scribd and follow along. Links in these documents should be live.

We also will be creating a search scavenger hunt on this Google Doc. Feel free to add your own items for this.



Beyond Search - ITSC Conference
View more presentations from Lucy Gray.

ITSC Beyond Search

Re-visiting My Newsreaders

This is a follow up to Finding and Managing Stuff, a post  I wrote in January about organizing sources of information.  A friend recently mentioned that she wanted to get started following that advice, but hadn't had time. My suggestion for her is to start with developing a newsreader, and attached to this post is a file that will save her a huge amount of time in getting this started.

Newsreaders are tools where you can follow multiple blogs, news, Twitter feeds etc. in one spot. The technology behind newsreaders is called RSS and the analogy that's often used is newsreaders are like magazines. You can go out to the newsstand and purchase a magazine, but it's much easier to have the magazine come to you via a subscription. Newsreaders allow you to subscribe to a variety of sources of information and then you can access this stuff in one spot. New items pop up in your reader as they are published, too, eliminating the need to manually check web sites to see if there's new content.

Back in 2005, I started using the application called NetNewsWire as my news reader. I still like it as I find it easy to organize subscriptions in this tool, although I do use Google Reader as well as it has some other features.  I haven't fallen in love with Google Reader, but it works well enough, particularly on mobile phones.

Over the course of the past couple of years, I've been relying more and more on Facebook as my de facto newsreader (and Twitter somewhat), and it's become easier to manage with tools such as PostPost. Facebook is a great way to stumble upon news items, but I recently came to the realization that I still have a need to monitor some blogs and news sites a bit more closely. I used to subscribe to everything that came my way, but I'm now thinking that a carefully vetted set of resources would better suit my current research needs.

Thus, I'm returning to my newsreaders and plan to spend more time utilizing them in my work. NetNewsWire will still be a place where I subscribe to everything, but a more vetted set of news sources will be in my Google Reader feed. Over the weekend, I went through my current subscriptions and weeded out defunct blogs etc and created  a streamlined set. I exported it into OMPL format and this file can be imported into any newsreader.

To import the attached OMPL file  into your newsreader, download this file (Download LucyRSS). Then, go to Google Reader, login, and click on the Settings link in the upper right hand corner. Select Reader Settings, Import/Export, and then browse to the downloaded OPML file. Click on the upload button, and you'll be good to go.

The selected feeds in my OPML file are a mix with a strong focus on technology, education, and news. I subscribe to a variety of sources (Delicious, Diigo, Twitter, YouTube,regular web sites) to show how one can follow different types of information. If some of the feeds are not interesting to you, delete them from Google Reader by going to Settings>Subscriptions and editing as needed.

Hope someone out there will find this useful, and let me know if you are able to start using Google Reader now that you have some resources to follow!




ADE: Apple Distinguished Educator

At conferences and workshops, attendees are apt to hear me use the acronym ADE quite often. ADE stands for Apple Distinguished Educator, and I'm proud to be a member of this online community since 2005. Apple Distinguished Educators are authors, advocates, advisers, and ambassadors for Apple Inc. Most importantly, we are passionate and dedicated to pedagogical and curricular change via the thoughtful use of educational technology. 

In early 2005, I was invited to apply for this distinction which is given to approximately 50 US educators every two years (international classes of ADEs are formed in alternate years). At the time, invitations to apply came from Apple employees, and my friend and mentor, Helen Hoffenberg nominated me for this. Since then, the application process has become more open and any educator is invited to apply. 

It was such an honor just to be invited to apply as I had admired the work of other Illinois ADEs for years prior. Joe Brennan, Marianne Handler, and Karen Percak had been powerhouses in our local educational technology scene. As my career was still budding, I never thought I'd ever join their ranks in the ADE program. I was just grateful to learn from them at ICE conferences and through my Master's work at National Louis University. Helen, Joe, Marianne and Karen can be credited with being my earliest inspirations in the world of educational technology. 

So, when accepted in the spring of 2005, I was beyond thrilled. It was especially meaningful because sometimes we are prophets in our own land. We have ideas, enthusiasm, and a passion for innovation that are not always recognized in our silo-ed workplaces. It was exciting for me to find a community of like-minded individuals; I also worried about my worthiness as the talents and accomplishments of my ADEs colleagues were truly amazing.

Soon after being accepted into the ADE program, a personal tragedy also affected me. I  found out I was pregnant with my third child, but miscarried early on.  It was a tremendously sad time for me for assorted reasons, and I think I would have been preoccupied with this had I not been inducted into the ADE program during the required summer institute held in San Jose, California. The ADE program also put my work on steroids, and there has been no looking back. 

This institute was a week long whirlwind event that left participants feeling as if they won the golden ticket in a Willy Wonka movie. We worked on collaborative projects, listened to amazing speakers such as Alan November, and played with Apple technologies. Apple's foray into podcasting had just been announced and there was quite a buzz around its potential, too.  It was particularly fascinating to network so many other interesting educators; there was something to learn from each ADE. We also had the opportunity to visit Apple, shop in the company store, and listen to Apple giants such as Jonathan Ive. I'm a bit embarrassed to admit this, I was still such a newbie to all things Apple that I didn't even know of his significance until hearing him speak!

At any rate, the ADE program has given so much to me and I hope that I've been able to return the love over the past few years. I've participated in three other institutes following my induction in 2005, most memorably one that was held in Europe during the summer of 2006. We traveled to Berlin, Dresden and Prague while developing global education materials. It was fun, intense, and eye opening; this event inspired me to start the Global Education Collaborative. It also led me to travel to Singapore in 2008 to help with the Asian Apple Distinguished Educator Institute, which was a rare and special opportunity. 

Other numerous events have happened along the way including staffing Apple booths at conferences (this has generally been phased out), helping with briefings, and writing curriculum, but the most important aspect of being an ADE has been the informal networking that has occurred through various communication channels. One ADE told me that summer in 2005 that my life would change because of this program, and she was spot on. 

The relationships I've developed in the ADE community go beyond networking; I'm connected to people better than myself who continually inspire me. If I don't know the answer to something, these people jump in immediately to help. If I need examples of best educational practices, my ADE colleagues point me in interesting directions. If I want to do a collaborative online project, again ADEs are there to join in. This community has taught me much about the power of professional generosity and that together, we can move education in positive directions. In addition to the collegial relationships, I've made some lifelong friends and an important element of the ADE program is this hard to describe family-like bond. 

My experiences as an ADE have also made me realize all teachers should have the opportunity to experience the power of online professional learning communities. There are many places that exist where educators can seek out like-minded folks without applying for an award. While I wholeheartedly encourage everyone I know to apply for the ADE program, don't let the exclusivity of this group prevent you from connecting to other educators. Jump into communities such as Classroom 2.0, and chances are that you'll experience much of the same professional joy that I have just by connecting and collaborating with others. 

If you are applying for the ADE program, here are a few tips. I've had many people approach me for words of wisdom about the application process and some want me to review their required videos. I don't think it's particularly fair to dispense with advice to a selected few, so hopefully this post will be helpful to a larger group of people. Please bear in mind that I have no special insight into the selection process, and I have no clue how applications are vetted, to be quite honest. So the following are just some tips, and I cannot offer you any guarantee of success. 

  • Read the application carefully.

Pay attention to the types of educators that the application is calling for. Answer the required questions and such accurately. 

  • Avoid clichés; be original.

  Choose your words carefully and keep it fresh.  Don't overuse hackneyed terms such as 21st century skills.

  • Share your special talents and expertise.

Think about how you can share your unique interests, hobbies or talents through the application. Lots of ADEs (not me particularly) have talents that make them just interesting people to be around, aside from passion about technology.  Also, keep in mind that there are lots of amazing educators out there and consider how you can stand out. 

  • Keep student learning at the forefront.

Focus on how your efforts have benefited student learning. Be concrete by giving examples and avoid making this application all about you. It's still all about the kids, and you need to balance this while describing your experiences. 

  • Articulate how you would participate in the ADE community. 

This is just not an award; it's an invitation to participate in an active group where everyone benefits by sharing. Be prepared to show that you are collaborative and generous to colleagues. 

  • Create a video that's clever, simple, and elegant.

Just like Apple, keep it simple. Don't go overboard with special effects and such unless you are a whiz at Final Cut Pro. Have your video tell a compelling story and make sure to include concrete examples of student work.  Videos also take time; don't wait until the last minute to do this. Also, don't go over the required time limit.

  • Don't apply just to have this title on your résumé. 

I recently read a tweet from someone who honestly answered that he thought the ADE title would look good on a résumé. I have no doubt that listing this affiliation is helpful, but that shouldn't be the sole reason you are applying. You should be applying because you want to collaborate, you want to learn more and you want to advocate for the power of educational technology. 

I hope that you find this information helpful and I wish you luck in the application process. If you are not one of the lucky 50 who receive this distinction this year, keep working on your skills, leadership abilities, and student projects. Quality work will speak for itself as to your impact on education more than any award, and you can always try again the next time applications are accepted. 

The Apple Distinguished Educator program has been such an influence on everything I do, and I am profoundly grateful for the opportunities its afforded me. We need more programs like this so that educators feel respected, inspired, and empowered!

Advice for Beginning Tech Coordinators

I was asked recently by former colleagues to help out a new teacher who has taken on a tech coordinator position at a Chicago charter school. I sketched out a few basic ideas for her in an email, and I thought I'd post it here as well. I wanted to give her some starting points without completely overwhelming her. I'm not sure if this is a tech coaching position focused on tech integration or if she'll be teaching technology skills to students as a prep. Hopefully, it's the former!

What other resources would you suggest? 

1) Start networking with others.
  • Join Illinois Computing Educators, the local affiliate of the International Society for Technology in Education. Their web site is located at This group holds a great annual conference in February in St. Charles, and several small mini-conferences throughout the year that are really good. (If you're not in Illinois, find out about your local ISTE affiliate!)
  • Join Classroom 2.0, a site devoted to helping teachers learn about new and emerging technologies. This is a great place to ask questions and get advice from others. They also host a weekly webinar on Saturday mornings on various topics.
  • Consider using Twitter as a networking tool. Follow other educators and their conversations to get ideas. Here's a list of suggested people to follow, some education related, some not.
2)  Take a look at some important documents about ed tech and consider the implications for schools.
3) Find out what other schools are doing. 


My Best Workshop Yet!

Whew... it's been quite a week. First, I witnessed with my own eyes the phenomenon known as Educon in Philly (more later on this hopefully). I then flew home, picked up my car from O'Hare's remote parking lot and started driving north. I didn't even stop at home as I had little time to spare as I had to drive three hours north to Portage, Wisconsin, for a workshop I was giving today. Right now, I'm ensconced in a motel near the Yerkes Observatory in Williams Bay, Wisconsin, as I'm stopping by there tomorrow on my way home to help their education liaison with a Google Apps installation I set up for them.


Today's workshop is on my mind right and I just want to take a moment to reflect on it. Because of my presentations at WEMTA last spring, Sue Fulks and Jenny Casper of CESA 5 asked me to come work with their area tech coaches to build a collaborative learning space to support their work. We talked on the phone a few times over the course of the past few months to plan this event, and I have to say that we came up with a reasonable, varied agenda. See the slides attached to this post.

It's important to note that CESA 5 tech coaches having been working with McREL to employ various learning strategies supported by technology. Their guide is McREL's Using Technology with Classroom Instruction That Works, and I purchased a copy in order to familiarize myself with the framework. My initial thoughts on the book are that it doesn't seem particularly, wildly innovative, but it definitely provides an appropriate context for using technology in schools that are focused (maybe overly focused) on improving student achievement. While I take standardized testing with a grain of salt, I can see using these strategies to create a targeted plan for trying to address common concerns schools have these days.

So today was the big day, and it was great to work with people that I didn't have to particularly sell on technology. They were pretty competent with everything, and just need help here and there. They were collegial, engaging in thought provoking conversations and were very mindful of making things work for the teachers that they coach. 

Our goal was to build a space in which these teachers could collaborate and share resources with team members. Being the Ning nut that I am, I built a basic social network for them to get started ahead of time. Today, we reviewed other online communities that I admire, discussed features that were needed in our space, and really considered how to engage others in a social network. The capstone on this work was a Skype conversation with the talented and generous Steve Hargadon who thoughtfully explained his involvement with Classroom 2.0, the future of social networks, and how these educators could start to think about building community in our newly created space. All in all, the timing of everything was good, I wasn't too overwhelming with information for once, and the goals of the workshop were met. It was a pleasure to read the comments given by participants in the Google Form evaluation I developed for this event, and I look forward to continued interactions with this group over Twitter and in the Ning we built together.

Here are the materials I created for the workshop including my slides, a Diigo bookmarking group containing most of the links cited in the McREL book, and a survey I created for my PLN to offer their wisdom. I'm particularly grateful to the 25 or so people who have participated virtually; it's not too late to participate, so add your thoughts! The survey results are public and can be found here

Networked Learning for Educators

View more presentations from elemenous.

Will Your Profession Wait for You?

What I am about to write is nothing new....many colleagues in my personal learning network have made this point before, and I think it's worth illustrating again.

Today I took my 7 year old son to a doctor's appointment with a specialist as Henry has had some ongoing GI issues. The doctor, whom I'm guessing is in his early 50s, adeptly pulled up a digitized xray of Henry's abdomen, zoomed in and explained what's been going on with Henry as he pointed to the xray. It seems we've been fortunate enough to see several doctors over the last few years who are practicing in places where access to digital xrays is possible; I am not sure this is the norm everywhere. The xray in a regular doctor's office definitely helped illustrate the medical problem to me, and I also noticed that the doctor was fairly comfortable navigating in this technology. I wondered if the hospital had provided training, if he had figured it out on his own, and if he had been reluctant at first to learn this. Clearly, learning how to access and review digital images was not optional for this doctor and this led me to wonder what the driving force was when technological change came to this doctor's office. 

That said, I'm going to echo what Joyce Valenza pointed out so well about librarians a few months ago. Why is it optional for educators to use technology effectively to support instruction? Why do we coddle teachers who claim that they can't or won't cope?  What kind of professional would dismiss the power of technology in light of the growing evidence that it engages kids, provides differentiation, and allows for collaboration? I know teachers are burdened with a great deal, but let's not use that as an excuse for not raising our professional standards.

The other thing that occurs to me now as I write... I'm fairly certain there are hospitals out there that don't have the technological capabilities of the one I visited today. It makes me wonder about how technology could impact the quality of medical care out there. The digital divide is not just limited to education most likely.

Breakthrough Learning:  +1 Learner: How personal learning networks can transform individual teacher practice 

Cross posted at: Breakthrough Learning in a Digital Age

Imagine a learning community for educators, a place where teachers can connect to the world. Teachers can pose questions and receive just in time help and advice from virtual colleagues. Links to interesting web sites are exchanged. Practitioners connect with researchers at universities. Up to the minute news is disseminated and absorbed. Multimedia is viewed and critiqued by audiences beyond the walls of a single school. 

Such a community isn't that far fetched. In fact, many do exist on the Internet today, thanks to the powerful digital technologies of the information age. Educators are also creating their own customized personalized learning networks using a variety of tools. To the detriment of their students, millions of educators worldwide are missing out because they don't embrace new media, haven't realized its potential, or are simply denied access to the Internet's riches for various reasons. How can we help teachers foster breakthrough learning? How do we guide teachers through a process that empowers them to take ownership of their own professional development and deepen their impact on their classrooms? Encouraging teachers to develop their own personal learning networks can be one part of the solution.

I can pinpoint two pivotal experiences that mark the start of my own personal learning network journey. The first came in 2005 when a fellow Apple Distinguished Educator introduced  a term completely foreign to me: RSS or Real Simple Syndication. Because of RSS, I started following news sources and weblogs of experts, even venturing into blogging myself as a method of recording my professional ideas and resources. Information efficiently arrived in my newsreader; no longer did I have to chase it down by visiting individual sites.

A second defining moment happened a year later while on vacation. I was sitting in a Paris hotel room, uploading photos from my laptop computer to Flickr, a photo sharing site. I unexpectedly received an instant message from Portland, Oregon principal Tim Lauer. I had met Tim two years prior at a workshop he led at the National Educational Computing Conference . Tim indicated in his IM that he had noticed that I was in Paris as he saw my very recently uploaded photos on Flickr. In fact, he had just visited Paris himself and had wanted to visit a historic paint store, but had missed the opportunity. He sent me a link to an NPR piece on the Sennelier shop, and asked me to find it and take pictures if I had the chance. Fortuitously, the shop was only two blocks away from my hotel. I trotted over took a few pictures and emailed them to Tim. Thus, began our collegial friendship which continues on. Not only did I glean a bit about the rich history of this paint shop that day, but perhaps more importantly, I realized that communication, resource sharing and collegiality could extend way beyond my classroom walls in Chicago. I was no longer limited by traditional means. 

Since then, I've continued to explore both informal and formal networked professional development opportunities. I've always been curious about getting ideas from those with different experiences and perspectives. My arsenal of learning tools has grown to include Web 2.0 applications such as Delicious and Diigo for sharing bookmarks, Google Docs for sharing and storing documents online, and Twitter for connecting to people from many education related fields. 

Social networks also have supported my professional development. Facebook keeps me current with the work of organizations such as EdutopiaPBS Teachers, and Curriki . I often refer to Classroom 2.0, a web site developed using the Ning platform, when looking for concrete examples of technology infused projects, and for when I have questions related to educational technology. Inspired by the success of this site, I even created my own Ning on the topic of global education, bringing together educators interested in global projects. 

Online meeting spaces are currently intriguing me. One network that has proven to be invaluable is EdTechTalk, a collaborative web casting community. Educators volunteer to host weekly live online interviews with a wide variety of guests. Listeners participate via a back channel chat room, asking questions, suggesting resources, and sharing experiences. All sessions are recorded and archived in a podcast format for those unable to attend. I am also interested in the delivery of online professional development and have recently started using a meeting tool called Elluminate while participating in webinars run by Steve Hargadon and sponsored by several entities at the Future of Education

Note that none of the tools I've mentioned thus far costs me a cent. More importantly, I can engage with tools and content when my schedule allows. I choose to develop professionally using the tools that matter to me because I believe that educators must continue to evolve and refine their work. I must practice what I preach. 

To demonstrate the power of a personal learning network, I recently used Twitter to pose a link to a survey for my online colleagues on the potential of digital technologies to transform teaching and learning. If you're not quite convinced on these potential transformational effects, take a look at the stories submitted from over 60 educators around the world. Change is indeed happening; we just need to get more educators on board. Our next step in this area should be to contemplate how to effectively help educators to customize their own professional development on a large scale. 

Here is the 
survey I created using a form in Google Docs and here are the results. (Also, check out this word cloud based on survey responses.) One comment in particular sums this up for me. In an excerpt of a survey comment, Keith Hamon of Macon, Georgia writes:

"Technology has enabled global networks which have put me at the center of my learning. This is one of the neat tricks of the shift from hierarchical structures to network structures. As a student in an old-school hierarchy, I was at the bottom of the food chain with all the other students, with teachers a bit higher up, and then department chairs, deans, and so on...but in a personal learning network, I am at the center...This gives me great power to pursue the learning that is important to me, to create my own educational program. I am my own universe - ity. But here's the real magic: so is everyone else. In a network, we are all in the center, all empowered to work the network—adding value and taking value—to meet our goals."

Now, if we can do this for ourselves, imagine how we can do this for our students.

Obnoxious Online Marketing Tactics?

I'm preparing to write a blog post in which I'd like to incorporate the input from my personal learning network friends, so I've been posting the link to this survey in multiple places including Twitter, the Future of Ed ning, and Classroom 2.0. I'm wondering where to draw the line with this... when it does become obnoxious to see the same material in several spots online?

As I logged into EdWeek's Digital Directions ning this morning after following a tweet from EdWeek forum panelist Barbara Treacy, it occurred to me that by posting in lots of places, I may be joining a practice that I have long abhorred. I saw on the front page of this ning posting of a man pushing a product. He left comments on several members' pages, essentially cutting and pasting his message. 

This man, who shall remain nameless, has done this for consistently for the past few years. In fact, when he did this on the Global Education Collaborative, which I run, I asked him about his intentions and then banned him from the group when he did not reply. There is now another woman posting events that use this same product fairly often. I did a search for her name and she's an SEO expert and has been posting the same information about this same product in multiple Ning communities. I did write to her expressing my concerns and she said she'd curtail her postings.

When I've inquired on Twitter about the practices of the aforementioned man and the product he is pushing, I've heard from extremely reputable educational technologists who think the product is legitimate and that this guy is really a teacher. The more I see his name and his canned message pop up, though, affirms my doubts that he is a spammer. And frankly, I will not even look at a company's product if they resort to these kinds of marketng tactics. It takes away from the authenticity of relationships in these online communities and the lack of transparency creates makes me think this company is not trustworthy.

So, am I going in this same direction by posting in many places in line in order to reach as many people as possible? It's a fine line, but the bottom fine line is that I am not profiting from anything and I genuinely want to gather input from as many of my online colleagues as possible. 

UPDATE: I dug around a bit and it turns out that this aforementioned man who pastes canned messages on Nings is the US business development executive for this India-based company. Supposedly he works in a high school, but I couldn't find a faculty directory on his school's web page. My problem is that he is NOT transparent in his postings that he WORKS for this company and he is pasting generic messages on people's pages. He is not even engaging in conversations and mentioning his product in context. I would not have a problem if he was transparent with his consultancy, but I clearly recall asking him if he worked for this company and I received no response.

Getting Started with Twitter

Twitter is a microblogging tool that is all the rage right now. In a nutshell, you answer a question about what you are doing in a 140 character post. You follow people to see what they are doing; people follow you to see what you are doing. This can lead to what some may consider inane exchanges of information. Do you really want to know if someone is at Starbucks enjoying a latte?!?!?!

In the education world, Twitter is being used in deeper ways. For instance, educators are sharing useful links to websites and articles. Others are asking people in their virtual Twitter networks to participate in polls or to offer advice on curriculum. Twitter is also a great way for keeping up with experts and organizations related to education. For instance, you can follow the latest happenings at NASA, PBS and National Geographic.

I'm a big fan of Twitter because I believe it allows you take control of your own professional development. You can receive just in time advice, resources, and virtual colleagues based on your professional goals and interests. Once you get the hang of Twitter, I think you'll find it empowering and removes some of the isolation that classroom teachers traditionally may feel.

I have three basic bits of advice regarding Twitter:
1. Choose a username that is recognizable. Put your picture as your icon. People will associate you with this online persona, so think carefully about this.
2. Follow as many people as possible. You need a certain amount of people in your network to get the exchange of information flowing.
3. Don't try to keep up with the stream of information. Jump in when you can.
4. Share resources that you find. The more you share, the more good Twitter karma will come back to you.
5. Look at your friends' followers. Very often you can find other interesting people to follow by examining the networks of others.
6. I protect my Twitter stream, but I don't necessarily advise doing this. I did it to prevent spam Twitterers, but it honestly didn't help much. I still get strange people trying to follow me. If you keep your stream open, you'll attract more followers in general.

Here are some other resources for you to try:

Math and Science Related Twitterers



Professional Development Community Ning

Link: Professional Development Community Ning.

Last fall, I started a ning group for people within my organization. It's a pretty new tool to many of my colleagues, and I'm guessing that the potential power of an online community hasn't been made obvious to them yet. I decided to open this up to anyone because I think Nings are really successful when membership is large; it tends to drive the activity as you can see from Steve Hargadon's Classroom 2.0 group. He's recruited over 5000 members in less than year!

So... please come join us as we explore professional development issues. This ning is not intended to be a solely ed tech oriented group, but I am guessing that a great deal of conversation will focus on that. While I'd love to have more urban and/or charter school members, too, this group is open to anyone because we all can learn from each other. We all still have the same end goals, I think l: to provide the best possible education for our students and to explore education innovation regardless of circumstances.

Spread the word!

Friday 5: Ning

Hey Everyone -

A year or two ago, during the early stages of my foray into Web 2.0 applications,  I was introduced to a web site that I really didn't quite get called Ning. My vague recollection of the original Ning was that one could create various items to share with others such as a list of books. I recall exploring it a bit, not finding it particularly user friendly or compelling, and setting it aside for other Web 2.0 tools.

Fellow ITM blogger Steve Hargadon revived my interest in Ning last spring. Using Ning, he created two online communities that I joined, and I found that this social networking tool had completely changed since my initial exploration. In a nutshell, anyone can create a customized space online, make it public or private, and invite others to participate via threaded discussions, the sharing of multimedia, and posting of blog entries. Ning communities can be further embellished with all sorts of web widgets that are available from third party developers as well.

I am fascinated by how quickly Steve's Classroom 2.0 Ning caught on. Since March 2007, nearly 3000 educators have joined this group which focuses on using Web 2.0 tools (Flickr,, Google Docs & Spreadsheets are examples of this). For some reason the format put forth by Ning seems conducive to participation by others. Several worthwhile communities have since developed and I thought I'd share them with you this week.

I think Ning is a powerful tool because it makes it easy for educators to take charge of their professional development by interacting virtually with other like-minded souls. For instance, I've had answers to questions within hours, been directed to great edtech resources, philosophized with online colleagues about the state of education, and even met many of my fellow "friends" on Ning in person at conferences. My personal network has grown substantially because of this.

Keep your eye on Ning as it is still being developed and additional features are frequently announced. Recently, Steve started another group that focuses just on the uses of Ning within education. Ning wasn't necessarily developed as an education tool, but it seems teachers have found their Ning experiences worthwhile and are eager to try it out in their classrooms. Something has to be done about advertising within Ning sites before I will try it out with younger students, but in the meantime, it's a great tool for working with adults or maybe even high schoolers.

I hope you'll check out the following Ning groups and consider joining one or two! Let me know if you know of any other good Nings!


Lucy Gray


1) School 2.0

This is one of Steve Hargadon's original Ning sites and it focuses on rethinking schools under 21st century terms.

2) Classroom 2.0

Here's a very active group in which people explore the use of emerging technologies in education.

3) Ning in Education

4) Global Education Collaborative

Yes, this is a shameless plug for a Ning that I started and have been nurturing. If you're interested in global education related topics, this is the Ning for you. Many educators from around the world have joined this adventure and are in need of global collaborative partners. If you are looking for resources, projects, and ideas, this is the place for you! We will be holding our first online meeting this Sunday evening CST. Email me if you're interested in participating.

5) Literacy Coaches

Matthew Needleman's new literacy site is designed to support coaches in his district using the Open Court reading series, but it is open to everyone and growing! Literacy coaching is a fairly new concept to me and I'm interested in it as its practiced in my new set of schools.

6) Open Education

Learn more about Open University's open source courses and materials here.

7) Library 2.0

A plethora of librarians have gathered here to share ideas and resources.

8) Learning 2.0 Conference

This event is taking place right now in Shanghai. Isn't is amazing how we can now follow along and learn virtually? This is the Ning that interests me the most right now!

Friday 5: Literacy

Greetings, Friday Fivers -

My new school has been in session for a full week now. One of the first things I've noticed as a newcomer is the attention paid to literacy and to professional development. Teachers at NKO are devoting an hour and a half each week to discussion and reflection on literacy best practices, more specifically on improving reading instruction in the content areas. This week, we discussed reading aloud and text sets. As a result, I've been poking around literacy web sites that might support this professional development, and I thought I'd share some of my better finds with you this week.

Have a great Labor Day,

Lucy Gray


1) BBC - Schools Ages 4-11 - Literacy Sites

The BBC produces wonderful stories and games for kids.

2) Word Girl

This is a web site for a new PBS show that promotes literacy. Word up!

3) Verizon Literacy Network

Check out literacy resources from what was formerly known as Marco Polo, now known as Verizon's Thinkfinity.

4) Literacy Coaching Clearinghouse

Literacy coaching is a new concept to me and it is used at my new school, so I thought I'd learn more about it.

5) Reading Rockets

Reading Rockets is one-stop shopping for all things related early literacy. I subscribe to their newsfeeds in my newsreader.

6) The Literacy Web at the University of Connecticut

Find lots of resources arranged by grade level here in addition to literacy research. I particularly like the links to teacher web pages; it's nice to get a peek into other classrooms.

For more literacy sites, check out my links in