Tag Archives: maine

A Gold Mine Of Free Prof Dev Webinars… A Great Maine Idea!

I am sure other states are developing networks that support professional development, but this week I must tip my hat to the outstanding educators in the state of Maine. I have been aware for quite some time of the wonderful contributions from Maine. Examples include Richard Byrne’s Free Technology For Teachers which is replenished almost daily with outstanding free educational resources, and, of course, Cheryl Oakes, Alice Barr, and Bob Sprankle’s award winning podcast site that has a mission to grow professional development called Seedlings (Check out the interview they had with me at bottom of this link), and their awesome Maine One To One Initiative. I have just recently learned about The Maine Learning Technology Initiative. I hope you are ready to learn some neat PD ideas and as always follow me on twitter at (mjgormans).  I will return the favor and we can learn from each other! Also please visit my 21st Century Ed Tech Wiki, my attempt at building a collection of free and inexpensive resources to facilitate 21st Century Learning! Have a great week! – Mike

The Maine Learning Technology Initiative and their Webcast Link should be one of your Maine sites for professional development and a Maine idea when planning how to better facilitate PD in all states and countries. Maine121.org is owned and operated by the Maine Learning Technology Initiative at the State of Maine Department of Education.  It is dedicated to providing professional development support and resources to the teachers of the Maine Learning Technology Initiative (MLTI).  The MLTI staff is using web-based technologies to communicate and collaborate with educators interested in engaging in conversation around teaching and learning with technology. This type of WebCast provides an economical way for educators to participate  interactively in a live virtual environment,  right from the comfort of their own computer desktops. My purpose in this post is to encourage other individuals and organizations to follow  this type of innovative professional development.

At this time, MLTI WebCasts are  held each Thursday at both 3:15 pm and 7:15 pm are approximately an hour long. Topics are updated, as well as links to full descriptions, for each WebCast listed on the web site about 2 weeks prior to the event date. You can subscribe  and view the  Calendar and even visit an Archive of all past sessions. The archived section is an easy click (Adobe Flash Player 7 should be installed) with no sign up required.  In respect to their bandwidth and other possible limitations, the archived section is a good choice for those out of state. For educators in Maine,  registration is required for  attendance at a live webinar. Launched in October, the  present size of the library is over twenty webinars and growing each week! The webinars are organized in five categories of  focus including 1) Making Meaning, 2) Writing Process, 3) Research Process, 4) UDL & Accessibility, and 5) Digital Storytelling and Media Production. Each week one of these areas of study is visited in a live webcast. Past archived Webinars include investigations in UDL, the writing process, digital storytelling, the research process, making meaning, understanding images in time, digital citizenship, leadership, and data. A sample of upcoming Webinars includes titles such as  Evaluation of Resources, Fair Use and Copyright, Digital Storytelling and Media Production: Voices That Sing, Voices That Tell,  Access to Classroom Learning by Students with Blindness and Low Vision, Blogs, Wikis, and Social Media, and Digital Storytelling and Media Production: Images In Action.

The people at MLTI state that  all of their content (unless otherwise noted) is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 license. You are encouraged to  take what MLTI produces, remix it and reuse it to help  teachers and students in a nonprofit manner.  MLTI welcomes your feedback, and encourages you to share your remixes, experiences, and thoughts on any of their  materials through the MLTI blog.  I really do think the the people at MLTI have come up with what could be a Maine idea for future professional development!

Thanks for joining me and have a great week. Best of luck in  facilitating professional development for others as you grow in your own !  Please feel free to share your ideas and, as always, follow me on twitter at (mjgormans), I will return the favor and we can learn from each other! Also please visit my 21st Century Ed Tech Wiki, my attempt at building a collection of free and inexpensive resources to facilitate 21st Century Learning!  Have a great week! – Mike

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Seedlings: Growing Through Professional and Personal Learning Communities and Networks

Image from Seedling Website

Having been in education for over 32 years one might think I had finally learned all I could!  While 32 years and three degrees  may seem like a lot, I am still a Seedling, and am constantly learning from my on-line professional community/network!  I owe a great deal to all of the professional learning communities I have been a member of through out my career. Most recently my journey has taken me to PLC’s in the on-line world. Thus, the reason for this post. Please enjoy, reflect, and take some action. As always feel free to follow me on Twitter http://www.twitter.com/mjgormans) and please join me at my 21centuryedtech Wiki, a place of growing resources for educational transformation in the 21st century! Enjoy the post  – Mike (mgorman@sacs.k12.in.us)

Learning Communities/Networks have extended beyond individual schools and now allow us to connect with educators through out the world. It is amazing that it is possible, at times, to  feel greater support from the virtual on-line world then the one that exists in our real-world concrete buildings. It even becomes more awesome when we understand that the virtual-online world is just as real, and at times more powerful!  We really do live in a wonderful day and age. One that allows all of to share and grow in immence ways, while enabling our students to become the very best .

From time to time I would like to visit some professional learning communities/networks in my blog posts. This will be my first attempt and I invite you to  take a virtual trip to the state of Maine.  Here, you will find an outstanding group of educators that not only understand this concept, but practice it on a daily basis. Please meet, Bob Sprankle, Cheryl Oaks, and Alice Barr who are facilitaters of a wonderful Professional Learning Community called Seedlings. (Never thought I would get you there, did you?) This community is unique due to its emphasis on a growing library of Podcasts. Upon entering the site you will be drawn first  to this diverse collection of interviews and insights. It is these Podcats that seem to take center stage at Seedlings. Airing Thursday nights at 7:30 PM EST  and archived weekly, the Podcasts allow a time for educators to listen to other educators. While you will find yourself reflecting, dreaming, and planning,  be sure to participate in  the backchannel chat!  Past talks this year have included topics on educational transformation, technology, blogging, personal learning communities,  and even parent/teacher/students conferences . Most recently, I enjoyed listening to  Richard Byrne talk about the enthusiastic work he puts in to his amazing  Freetech4teachers blog.  These podcats are an obvious reason that Seedlings was  nominated for “Best Use of Audio” by Edubloggers in 2009. While the podcasts are the highlight, be sure to visit the other areas. You will find some videos for both professional development and reflection. There are ideas for book readings, some audio book downloads, and even places to start your own book group!  Make sure you take note of the “Geek of the Week” which includes awesome content the facilitators and others have found on their individual web journeys each week.  Most of all, Seedlings is an outstanding  professional learning community that allows you to grow, reflect, and network in the confines of your own home, or from anywhere!  The facilitaors also host oustanding blogs outside of Seedlings  and these blogs are certainly worth a visit at  Bobsprankle.com, Alicebarr.org, and Cheryloakes.com. You will walk away with some neat insight and plenty to reflect upon. Take a moment and drop by the Seedling Community, listen to an archived podcast!  Better yet, join these wonderful people in Maine along with others around the world for a live session each Thursday at 7:30 PM EST. I know I will continue to be a Seedling because I really do  enjoy the proccess of growing and learning. It is  much better then being a full grown tree!

Thank you for taking this virtual trip to Maine, a state I still need to visit in the real world! I encourage you to become part of a professional learning community!  Make it happen in your building, while also finding a nurturing place to grow with others on-line.  If you would like to share  aspecial learning community please repond or comment so that we can all visit. It really is about learning from others!  As always ,I invite your follow on twitter http://www.twitter.com/mjgormans), I will return the favor and we can learn from one another. Also, please join me at my 21centuryedtech Wiki, a place of growing resources for educational transformation in the 21st century!  Have a great week! – Mike

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