Posted in Uncategorized

The Music of My Pen

The experience of participating in etmooc – Educational Technology Media Open Online Course – since January was awesome in developing my literacy with the digital and media opportunities that abound for education.  Thus I felt confident that I could pursue my learning goals without the constrictions of traditional learning models.  So, as etmooc is gearing down, I have ventured into the hope that this MOOC – English Composition course through Coursera at Duke University – will develop my writing skill as a teacher, a learner, and a writer.

This first piece of writing completes the challenge to introduce myself to my class.

Image of a modern fountain pen writing in curs...
Image of a modern fountain pen writing in cursive script. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The magic of finding the pen tip its voice onto the blank stave, harmonizing ideas into life.  A breathless rest followed by a slow heartbeat until the thoughts bleed from the melodious voice of the subtle nib.

As a reader, my heart and mind have always been enraptured with the beauty of words.  To see how one’s imagination, heart and mind can find its voice onto a page has always enchanted, yet muted me.  I, too, have always wanted to make the journey to where my nib flows freely.  Sure, I have captured a riff here and even a song there – but never fully committed to the orchestral enchantment of being confidently called a writer.

This is the ironic ideal that precedes the old pithy idiom that “those who can, do; those who can’t, teach.”  Yes, the truth is … I teach Senior High School English.  So I navigate the cacophony of teenage writing, but for years – never dared reveal the melodies in me. 

All this changed one day in a ballroom in Chicago where I basked in the glory of the gurus at the NCTE conference, wondering if I’d ever really grow up and be wise like the big kids and as energetically creative as the young kids?   After many enlightening presentations – actually most of them just perpetuated my self-doubt of mediocrity – I sat in the packed audience to hear Jim Burke, Kelly Gallagher, and Penny Kittle prophetize that I was to “Practice What I Preach” – writing and sharing it publicly, with my students!  Way down, deep inside, my chords shrieked: “I’m not good enough – I just pretend”!

However I have embarked on the elusive quest of my own rhapsody by “Blogging Beside My Students” at

Through this course I intend to reflect on the process of learning as a writer, hoping to transfer such skills into my classroom.  But, truly, I hope to inspire my symphony. 

Posted in ETMOOC, School, Uncategorized, writing

A Brief Blog Buzzing with Bits and Bites

In the etmooc (Educational Technology Media Open Online Course), I have learned how to use some interesting sites where you can curate and collaborate with information.  This has been incredibly eye-opening, useful, and liberating.  I began by lurking, dabbled by retweeting, blabbed with tweeting, flirted with reviewing, buzzed on my blog, and now – with these exciting new sites – aspire to curate.

Those who can, curate ... Those who can't twee...
Those who can, curate … Those who can’t tweet, retweet @bethkanter (Photo credit: planeta)

To begin, I am excited to be a publisher of stories or sites of interest to share with my “PLN” (Personal Learning Network), my colleagues, and friends.  The two sites that turned this simple hobbit-sized teacher into a powerful publisher (okay, I do exaggerate the power part, but not the hobbit part) are Storify and

1)  curates the material for you from tweeters that you choose to follow in your

2)    Storify allows you to curate your material by adding a “STORIFY THIS” button in your toolbar.  So, each interesting or relevant read can be “Storified”.

To help me sort through the confusion, this blog “ vs Storify” explains the pros and cons between and Storify.  I, actually, like both.  I feel that does a great job curating the PD reading of interest to me, which might interest my PLN too.   Whereas Storify offers me the power to select some great blogs, sites, articles, etc.. that I can customize to my audience and purpose.  (i.e. to share with my classes, or my Committee work on Learning Commons, or Travel info, etc…).  If I get to teach Creative Writing next year, then Storify is definitely a site I’d teach the students to use to curate their sources of inspiration with the PLN of the class.

3)    Finally, another two AWESOME sites for collecting information is DIIGO and EVERNOTE (these are buzz sites among educators).  This can be for personal use or collective usage (i.e. like our shared drive – but easier access, upload, and downloads).
a.    DIIGO –  offers a “Bookmarking” site that is easy to organize all the websites we educators collect.
b.    EVERNOTE – offers a sharing site of files and websites – allowing access to your storehouse of info, from any computer with internet access.

Such sites could offer awesome “sharing” and PD opportunities among staff and like-minded friends and PLNs.   I look forward to learning how to become “buzzingly” proficient with these bits and bites of sites that improve my interaction with the golden honey of the world wide web!