DitchSummit 2018 - Listening, Learning, and Collaborating


"The Ditch That Textbook Digital Summit is a FREE virtual event from December 14-31, 2018. It brings together some of the brightest minds in education to discuss technology, pedagogy and more."

This is one of my favorite online conferences and I highly recommend engaging in the videos and sharing your thoughts via the #DitchSummit hashtag.

I am going to do my best to engage each day and share my key takeaways in this document.








Building a PLN The More You Share the More You Learn

My Personal Learning Network Love Story
Yes I Love My PLN

I’ve only spent about half of my educational career as an active member of a Personal Learning Network. I still remember getting started as a science teacher in 1992. I was given some paper resources (The internet was still little more than a fad at this point.) and a syllabus for the class. I was the only one teaching the class, so I was mostly on my own. I created, experimented, and revised activities and assessments by myself. My students were my critics. If I was lucky enough to attend an educational conference, I sat in the back of the room and diligently recorded ideas and resources that I would take back to my classroom and my students. I kept to myself, I am an introvert by nature. I thought I was doing all I could to grow as an educator and help my students. I was wrong.

In April of 2009, I joined Twitter. I won’t lie to you and tell you that this made all the difference right away, there was no glorious light that suddenly appeared from the heavens. It was the open gate that started me on my path as a contributor to a Global PLN. I mainly lurked on Twitter until the ICE Conference in 2012, where I discovered the power of the educational hashtag. This is the moment where I was off and running. I made new connections and began collaborating outside of my school. I met, collaborated, and learned from educators both in a digital world and in the real world. It was and continues to be a glorious experience. Today I love to learn, collaborate, and share on a variety of social media platforms with educators from around the world. I no longer hide in the back of the room at conferences. I present, I tweet, and I collaborate every chance I get whenever and wherever I can.

Being part of a PLN has made all the difference for me. Few educational experiences have done more to help me learn and grow as a lifelong learner. Being part of a PLN has made all the difference for me. Few educational experiences in my life have done more to help me learn and grow as a lifelong learner. I love my PLN.

In and effort to support other educators who want to get started on their PLN journeys, we’ve created a Personal Learning Network Interactive. The document is designed to provide both new and experienced connected educators with new opportunities and experiences to grow as lifelong learners.

I Believe All Educators Owe It To Their Students to Make Connections & Share Ideas

 Here are a few additional resources to help everyone build a more collaborative PLNs.


If you are already engaged in Twitter, Facebook, Voxer, Google + or someplace else as a learner, set aside an hour or two each week to learn something new. If you have not taken a dive in social learning why not get started today?


Let's Talk About Everything That Is Awesome


I am excited this week to be co-authoring a post with my friend and partner in all things EdTech Melissa Wilson. Melissa is an English teacher and Instructional Technology Coordinator at Neuqua Valley High School. We will be cross-posting this story on her blog “#Whatsup Wildcats”. If you’ve never had a chance to explore Melissa’s blog, I highly recommend that you change that today. Melissa provides some incredible insights about teaching and learning that happens every day at Neuqua.

One of the perks of our profession is that we get to be lifelong learners and can use what we learn to enhance and transform instructional practices in our classroom. The best teachers are always looking for new ways to support all students. We believe that teachers need to find time to collaborate and share the awesome ways they are engaging students in the learning experience.

With our busy schedules, it can be difficult to find time to share what we are doing in our classrooms with other teachers in the building. With with this in mind, we decided to have our teachers take ownership of our Third CAFE Connect. The goal was to model a Professional Development experience centered on our belief that some of the best learning experiences are connected to Student Voice and Choice. We invited our staff to share something awesome connected to teaching and learning. So the question became...What would you do for a Klondike Bar?

We created 3 different experiences for our staff to share something awesome connected to teaching and learning:
  • Melissa and I chilled (pun intended) in the Faculty Cafe and encouraged staff to visit and share something awesome face-to-face
  • For staff who couldn’t make it to the Faculty Cafe, we created a Padlet where staff could share ideas and resources connected to being awesome. 
  • We also created a Flipgrid where staff could quickly share a recording connected to being awesome. 
As Melissa and I reflected on what we learned from our staff, we were excited to conclude that the 5C’s were at the heart of these awesome experiences. Teachers shared stories of collaboration, creativity, communication, critical thinking, and curiosity. The stories from their classrooms did not just focus on technology; instead, they were rich in student-centered learning experiences, which provided engaging, thought-provoking lessons.

Our teachers’ stories validate how dedicated they are to providing authentic learning experiences. Together, we must continue to explore methods of engagement, student ownership, and assessments of learning to support all students.

Interested in exploring what our teachers shared? Click here to learn more about the awesome things happening in our classrooms.

Our staff is awesome! #whatsup #shareyourwhy

Curious about our first 2 CAFE Connects?

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