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!

Posted in ETMOOC, Uncategorized

Beginnings and Endings

Typewriter (Photo credit: toastytreat87)

Well, it has been a very busy week at school – the summative week with my beloved 1st semester classes.  I truly mean it – I have adored my classes this semester.  So this week has been both stressful and emotional.  Oftentimes, what I love about teaching is the “etch-a-sketch” mentality of being able to shake my head after a semester and start a-fresh.  Sometimes, I (secretly) cheer about the freedom from “that” group that is impending.  This time, I cry.  Each class has embedded its quirks and quarks into my heart and I adore these kids!   So, saying good-bye today was bitter, not sweet.  How is it that our experience was so transformational?  Well, I truly believe that part of the power of our family (x3) was our class blogging ( and  These blog sites (via hosts the formative writing of my students.  Moreover, the comments the students make to each other truly demonstrates the great quality of character these kids can have towards each other when opportunity and expectation are married.  Essentially, my classroom walls have disappeared and our learning has become visible and interactive.  Yet, as I mourn the loss of my kids – I celebrate the opportunity to clean the slate and see if I can improve instruction and engagement even further next semester – mindfully and innovatively.

To meet these Professional and Personal Growth Plans (PGP), with hopes for the future, I’ve signed up for this wonderful free online course: etmooc – Educational Technology and Media Open Online Course.  It is a place where I hope to get professional support, guidance, and inspiration for integrating more opportunities to transform the learning forum of my class.

At the NCTE (National Council Teachers of English) conference in Vegas this year I was inspired by the 21st Century Learning and Creative Learning musings and philosophies of the ingenious Sir Ken Robinson who many of you probably know from this transformational RSA Animate:

Changing Paradigms: RSA Animate

This animate just makes sense.  Sir Ken Robinson just makes sense!  When I viewed this two years ago, I knew I had to work towards a paradigm shift too, if I wanted to be relevant as a teacher to my students, in their world.  Hence, I began the journey into blogging as a stage for my students’ writing.  My other identity is that of a theatre major and a drama teacher, so the concept of “page to stage” has always been in the forefront of my teaching in drama.  Blogging now gives me a stage in the ELA classroom – and the kids have been hooked.  Suddenly, audience and purpose are highly engaging lessons – as are grammar  lessons (the GUMPS – grammar, usage, mechanics, punctuation, and spelling)!  Suddenly, a grammar lesson is equivalent to a makeover session!

So in my quixotic quest for paradigm shifts, and in the course of this crazy, busy, emotional week – I signed up for etmooc (  I haven’t been able to hear any Webinar yet since they are at 5pm here in Calgary, and I’m still in traffic, then on the repeat session – I’m teaching.  But it is okay because of the concept where “cMOOCs are not proscriptive, and participants set their own learning goals and type of engagement.” So, I catch what I can via the twitter (new to me), google + (new to me), blogs, one taped webinar (new to me) and the main site.

Already, I read about some wonderful educators and some cool techie-apps and widgity-thing-a-lings such as “RSS”, “Evernote”, “”, and “Haiku Deck”.  All things that I hope to play with over the next two weeks of exams as I set to re-organize my classroom, my courses, my life, my family, my home, my health, and my virtual work with etmooc “Each Time More Online Organized Chaos”!

1 ETMOOC Orientation wk 1
1 ETMOOC Orientation wk 1 (Photo credit: dennisar)