Stephanie Mocilan blog post #5

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Blog title: My Personal Learning Network needs a ######### !


My Personal Learning Network needs a ######### !

I've been thinking about this article for some time now, but haven't been able to start it because I know I'll not do it justice.  Very soon, I'll be doing some serious writing about PLNs - about my Personal Learning Network and how it helps me accomplish my goals and keeps me abreast of news and thinking about teaching and learning in this new information landscape.

I see my PLN as having three basic components.

  1. The network - People who have things to say that help me do my job, and dynamic information sources that provide me with the raw materials I need.
  2. The tools - Essentially, the avenues of communication through which I connect with people and information sources - conduits that often add value to the information.
  3. My Own Personal Echo Chamber - This is my own world view from which I teach, where ideas from my PLN bounce around off the walls of my mind and off of other ideas, either losing momentum and fading away, or generating energy and growing. (I'd look to talk a bit later about what I see when I look at this on my screen)


Poseidon unzipping an ocean storm An amazing picture by AZRainman -- But I was amazed at how many cats are named Zipper.

But there is a 4th element to my PLN that I've been thinking about a lot lately.  You see, as I rose this morning, and switched on Twitterific, I got pulled into the thoughts of Ian Usher, up a few hours already in England.  Then Julie Lindsay in Qatar, then Ewan Mcintosh and Josie Fraser from Scotland and England.  Also Chris Craft, with insane energy, chimes in from South Carolina.  Jeff Utecht, of Shanghai, is at the tail end of his day, but will be back at the end of mine, as he begins his tomorrow.

My aggregator is crazy busy, with a thousand+ messages waiting in my "Everyday" folder alone.  I have no intention of reading them all.  I read as many as I can.  But I subscribed to all of that, because I felt that it was valuable to me.

25 minutes later - because I got sucked into my Google Reader, and bookmarked four new resources.


what my Personal Learning Network needs

is a zipper. 

I need a way to open up this nebulous and ever evolving thing and slip it off of my head, so that I can enjoy the azaleas, take walks, sit and read a mystery, veg in front of the TV, get back to cooking, pick up my guitar again, go meet my brother for lunch, go to a matinée.  Of course I do these things (except for the cooking, guitar, and haven't been to a matinee in months), as do we all.  But the networks are not a 9 to 5 affair, and it's why zippers on our PLNs need to be an explicit part of our conversations. [Image1 ]

2¢ Worth.

My response:

Mr. Warlick,


I am a student studying at ISU to be a biology teacher.  Your blog hits home right about now.  I am struggling to find the balance between all the things that need to be juggled.  I am currently enrolled in a class, "Issues in Secondary Education."  The class I happened to enroll in is "technology enriched."  So, not only do I have to learn the regular material, but also I need to learn the technology aspect of teaching.  It seems as though things are screaming past me.  There is a huge learning curve and I am not sure how to manage.  I have been thinking on ways to get and stay organized.  You mentioned the network, the tools, and your sounding board (echo chamber).  I really appreciate you breaking it down.  Too often I feel like I have to reinvent the wheel.  I need to be able to separate what I am supposed to do and the figure out ways to use the technology to my advantage.  I also think the zipper is a much needed element.  Thanks for your 2¢!


Stephanie Mocilan

Stephanie Mocilan Blog Post #4


 Title: Asynchronous conversations

Author: Lisa Durff


Dear Ms. Durff,

I am an Illinois State University Student who is studying to be a Biology teacher 6-12th grade.  One of our requirements is to write about how technology can be of assistance to future teachers.  We have been required to read and write blogs, but also, we have had to participate in online discussions with classmates.  Earlier this afternoon, I sat in the computer lab thinking of benefits of asynchronous communication.  I am glad to have bumped into your blog as I have been thinking about like matters.  I also participate in a (in-person) discussion group.  We meet on Thursdays.  As I sat there last week, I wanted to participate, but had to compete to get a word in edgewise.  I resorted to raising my hand and waving it in the air.  I finally got to speak my piece, but the topic had quickly changed and it almost seemed like a moot point.  While I prefer face-to-face conversation, sometimes pride and wordiness set in and ruin the conversation.  I believe that conversation and patience are skills we need to learn, but I think that asynchronous communication really lends itself to deep thought and reflection.  I think that each play an important part in growth.  Thanks for your blog.


Stephanie Mocilan


Stephanie Mocilan Blog response #3


Title of Blog:Why time is well spent in the hallways.

Author of Blog: Jeff Utecht

Address of blog:

Response to Blog:

Mr. Utecht,

I am an Illinois State University student in the education department.  Your blog was very interesting to me on many levels.  I am currently enrolled in a Curriculum and Instruction class which is "technology enriched."  We are learning the value of blogging and how technology can facilitate learning of students with differing abilities or rates of learning.  We had been discussing in lecture today a child who had been promoted a grade due to intellect and the problems surrounding that.  It is interesting to hear about the students who were unable to participate in the classroom discussions due to a language barrier, or speed thereof.  When presented with opportunity to think through the information and added time to respond, the students seemed to soar.  Perhaps classroom blogging is the answer to the lulls in classroom participation or other barriers that seem to plague us at teachers. 

Conversely, I appreciated your stress of walking the halls or the social aspect of school.  I also believe that you never know whom you might run into and how that will impact lives.  Schools seem to be afraid of technology, unsure of what to allow students to do.  You have mentioned the key to solving this problem, finding out by relationships, what the needs are and presenting safe and valuable tools to facilitate learning (Gimp, Moodle, school flickr account, etc.).

Thank you for your insight.

Stephanie Mocilan


Stephanie Mocilan #2 blog response 

Title of post: Ten habits of bloggers that win!

Mrs. Davis,

Thank you so much for putting this blog together.  Because of all the new technology, there seems to be a large learning curve for me.  You mentioned how it took you several hours to put together your first podcast whereas now it only takes you about 10 minutes.  That sound very familiar, I have been there myself.  I couldn't quite wrap my brain around everything in your article (tags for example), but I have bookmarked this article to come back to as I am utilizing the hints. 

I never knew how to link phrases in a document to a website-hyperlinking.  I was wondering if it is possible to do that in your comment section.  As I just learned how to do it and tried to do it for a comment I made on another of your articles.  I typed it in word and hyperlinked it, but copied and pasted it.  When it appeared, a web address didn't appear to have the link and the phrase I hyperlinked wasn't highlighted either.  Is it not possible to do there, or do I need to do it again some different way?

Another thing that I learned from your article was about pasting a "print screen" picture within a blog.  I was amazed! I had seen them before, but thought that it was something that only computer gurus could do.  In your article, you posted that you need to hold control+shift+print screen.  Amazingly after I read your article, I went to class and the teacher told us that very thing-how to take a picture and post it.  My teacher only told us to push the print screen key.  I tried it both ways and it works.  Do you know if certain applications require one or the other?  Regardless, I am very grateful for this piece of knowledge you have shared.

Thanks again,

Stephanie Mocilan

Stephanie Mocilan's Blog response #1

Title of Post: Be a human BEING rather than a human DOING: Making choices in Overchoice

Mrs. Davis,

I thank you for the inspiration of your Blog.  I am currently an Illinois State University student studying to be a biology teacher 6-12 grade.  I am taking a class called Issues in Secondary Education which is "technology enriched."  We are learning the value of blogs in the area of education.  I have been feeling very overwhelmed at all the technology that is available, not to mention fitting it into life.  I really appreciated your suggestion of keeping a list of things for research and development as opposed to mindlessly surfing the Internet.  It is helpful and comforting the way you suggest sneaking a little time in here and there.  Too often I get caught up in all that has to be done and don't get anything done.  Your suggestions like being selective, automating, and having one place to check everything have been invaluable.  I look forward to reading more of your blogs.

Stephanie Mocilan


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