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How can we use the VLN / Enabling e-Learning for our own learning?

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Started by Enabling e-Learning 23 Feb 2012 9:01pm () Replies (23)

I thought I'd start this thread is for anyone who is still interested in working out what this community space can do for their learning - for example, you might be working out how to tailor your emails, or whether to use a blog or a discussion forum for your questions.

If you are/have attended the free Enabling e-Learning workshop on how to use the VLN Groups (24 Feb), you may still have a few questions - and if you missed it, you can ask for help here instead.

So, ask away - or share how you have set up and are using the space. The only silly queston is the one not asked;-)

Cheers, Karen.


  • Tessa Gray (View all users posts) 28 Feb 2012 10:37am ()

    Following on from the first Enabling e-Learning workshop on how to use the VLN Groups, we are also running a live workshop today at 3.30pm for anyone interested in ways to support their own and others professional learning in the Enabling e-Learning groups. You are welcome to join us.

    Event: What does online professional learning look like for learners and leaders?

    Again, there may be more questions before, during or after this session, so please feel free to add these here.

  • Tessa Gray (View all users posts) 06 Mar 2012 11:38am ()

    Over the past few weeks Enabling e-Learning has hosted two live online seminars to unpack the value of using the Virtual Learning Network as a professional learning tool or network for educators.

    Following on from that, is a great blog post, PLN: Your Personal Learning Network Made Easy which clearly defines what a personal (professional) learning network is online and how it can help you as a teacher and a life-long learner. The post also outlines a directory of tools/websites/networks that can be used to develop a Personal Learning Network.

    I found the 'Stages of PLN Adoption' particularly interesting and the following diagram useful as I reflect on how I use the VLN as my own PLN.

    • Immersion – immerse yourself in your network and make it a new habit
    • Evaluate – focus on the networks that really work for you, sort and organize your information
    • Know it all – comes with feeling overwhelmed by it all, what am I missing out on?
    • Perspective – taking a break, stepping back a bit from being connected all the time
    • Balance – getting a balance back between learning and living, realizing you can’t know it all and that’s ok


    Where do you think you might sit on this continuum? Which stage might you focus on next?

  • Tessa Gray (View all users posts) 08 May 2013 12:47pm ()

    Hi all, more than a year on...and I wanted to take some time to reflect on how the VLN/Enabling e-Learning groups are helping us as a Professional Learning Community (PLC) online.

    It's recognised PLCs enable us to reflect on our practice, through on-going collaboration with colleagues. By participating, we become less isolated and are able to:

    • talk about instruction/delivery
    • analyse student data
    • moderate OTJs
    • reflect on assessment
    • share effective practices
    • collaborate in planning/curriculum design and teaching
    • discuss classroom management and any other relevant issues

    ...in order to improve learning outcomes for students. 

    Online PLCs (VLN/Enabling e-Learning community groups, Twitter, Ning) give us the flexibility to engage with others in our own time, our own space, or even in our PJs. We get to map out our own personalized, just-in-time professional development.

    Time is an issue:

    Time is an issue I’ve often heard people say they don’t have enough time to engage in an online community. If this is the case, we need to make sure that any time spent collaborating online, is time well spent. The benefits (relevant discussions, resources) need to outweigh the costs (time needed to participate). 

    If the purpose of collaboration in an online PLC, is to make an impact on classroom practice (in order to achieve better results), how might we do that in the Enabling e-Learning Community groups?

    Three things might help us when considering a response:

    1. Content: what content, goals are discussed
    2. Structure: how do we engage - discussions, posts, live events, F2F
    3. Tools: VLN, Moodle, Google hang-out, Skype, Twitter, Facebook 

    Your input needed here:

    • If we invited teachers (you) to share practical examples of planning/curriculum design, what structure would work best for you?
    • If you wanted to see lesson sequences shared (with examples of specific learning outcomes achieved), what format would you like to see this in - so you could discuss this further?
    • If you could collaborate and co-construct content (that could be used straight away), what online tools would you use to do that?
    • If you enjoy engaging in conversations about the benefits of e-learning on diverse learners, what would work best for you online?
    • If you wanted to discuss and reflect on teacher delivery/facilitation, classroom management - when/where would you feel most comfortable doing that?
    • If you were brave enough to invite feedback on your own practice online, would it be in an intimate setting, or a shared platform? What online tool would you prefer?

    And most importantly:

    Contact us What would you like to see in Enabling e-Learning Community groups (more, less or different)? How can the online facilitators help?

    You can either add your responses in the comments box below or message me directly. We’d love to hear your ideas.

    Have a great day everyone.

    Tessa Gray 

  • Tessa Gray (View all users posts) 10 May 2013 10:21am ()

    Thanks Ra, this explanation really helps, I hope other technology teachers see this thread and offer their support as well.

    In terms of content, structure, tools

    Content:  Somthing like..student’s gain knowledge and capacity of sewing techniques as well as developing an understanding of design principles/processes (sourcing ideas, developing ideas, crafting/composing, revisiting/reworking, reflection).

    Structure: Mixture of instructional delivery as well as co-constructed, collaborative, peer mentored processes. Like this diagram from Best Practice Models for e-learning: Principles (click on the image to see original).

      Best practice models for e-learning

    Tools: Youtube channels (like eHow or cyberseams) or from a channel you have personalized for this group (requires an account) can help build the knowledge.These can be viewed individually/peers/groups – new ideas, wonderings could be discussed F2F, or in social networking space (Facebook, Edmodo). Comments could go under the YouTube clips themselves (if site is appropriate). Students might have their own journal/blog. 

    Like Roxy and AnneMarie have said - Google docs or Etherpad can be used for constructing or collaborating during the design phase. Photos can be inserted of pencil drawings. During the formative feedback phase, peer mentors/teacher/parents can add comments as text (and now voice recordings in Google docs).

    Practice and processing done in class (on the sewing machines). Reflections of progress made in reference to discussions etc.

    If you’re building in a presentation phase, any number of digital tools can be used for this (print media, multi-media, video, online tools like Voicethread) and webcams/video for refection.

    You might also think about how you’d organize these e-tools (central, easy navigation, access) in a timeframe, with guidelines that support  scaffolding increased learner independence

    Students may need to have technical capacity and adequate access to Internet outside the classroom. See examples of blended platforms here: Myportfolio and Moodle.

    Here’s a very useful paper Blended learning & learning platforms with practical ideas, top tips and examples on station rotations and blended learning design. Thanks Amanda OConnell for this link.

  • Tessa Gray (View all users posts) 24 Mar 2014 9:22am ()

    Enabling e-Learning screenshotApologies for cross-posting...

    Professional learning in a digital age, means we can be more in charge of our own learning - when, where, how and with whom.

    Personal Learning Networks (Twitter, Facebook, Instragram, Pinterest), allow us to engage in learning for both personal or professional reasons. But what about Professional Learning Communities like the Virtual Learning Network? What can these do for us?

    Good timing! This week Enabling e-Learning is hosting a LIVE webinar:


    Ways to build your online professional learning network using VLN/Enabling e-Learning communities, Wednesday, 26 March, 3.45 - 4.45pm

    Ever wondered where to go, faces to know, places to be? This webinar is free to anyone interested in ways to build an online professional learning community, to help with their own professional learning and development. 

    Tessa Gray will explore the purpose and potential (as well as some top tips) for how the VLN/Enabling e-Learning community groups can help you as teachers and leaders - as you integrate effective e-learning pedagogies into all areas of your practice.

    We'd love to hear how you use the VLN/Enabling e-Learning community groups too, so bring your stories too. See you there!


  • Tessa Gray (View all users posts) 01 May 2014 10:35am ()

    Hear what Kararaina Luke principal of Te Ara Whānui Kura Kaupapa Māori o Nga Kōhanga Reo o Te Awa Kairangi thinks about the VLN/Enabling e-Learning groups as she talks to Kathe Tawhiwhirangi about

    • her perceived benefits of the VLN
    • what she would change/not change about the VLN


    How does your kura use the VLN/Enabling e-Learning groups for staff development and PLD? We’d love to hear more 

  • Tessa Gray (View all users posts) 15 May 2014 9:29am ()

    imageAre you a web celeb?

    Take this quick survey (developed by NYC Department of Education) about your Professional Learning Networks and see how you rate for your:

    • use of social media
    • participation in online communities
    • participation in face-to-face communities
    How connected are you?
    Image source: Creative Commons
  • Tessa Gray (View all users posts) 06 Oct 2014 1:57pm ()

    imageHere's a resource running in Connected Educator Month, where you get to share a story of how connected professional learning has supported your practice, There's some stories in the shared Google presentation, Connected Voices, Whatunga Kōrero already:

    And we invite you to: 

    • Add a slide [+] 

    • Add your snapshot story: Text, image, YouTube video, your call…

    • Tag this collaborative project and share on your blog #cenz14 #ce14

    • Pass it on: Copy and paste this Tweetable phrase

    #cenz14 #ce14 


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