Barker’s PLN Awards


photo credit: tome213

Lately I’ve heard that end of the year lists are tacky. Well then bring on the leopard print, sweat pants with words like “juicy” written across the bum, and Snookie poufs. It’s time to get tacky!

I’ve decided to host my very own awards show and you’re all invited. Tonight I’m giving out awards to the members of my PLN who have been a great help to me over the past year. Now the whole point behind a PLN is that they all help me, but just for fun I want to recognize a few of you.

Miss Congeniality: avivaShe is the most faithful Follow Friday-er I know (next to Doug Peterson) and she always has a kind and supportive word for everyone.

My Personal Cheerleader:dougpete (and probably yours) One of my earliest followers, Doug Peterson is supportive of everything I do and he’s always there to help me when I have a problem. He’s like my Twitter Dad. Is that weird?

Paradigm Shifter: melaniemcbride She’s crazy smart and she really pushes my thinking about situated learning and gaming.

My Brother From Another Mother and Role Model: royanleeCome on. Who wouldn’t want to be like Royan Lee? He’s quiet and humble and innovative. He does amazing stuff with his kids and they’re so lucky to have him as a teacher. We also share an affinity for Thai curries.

Person I’d Have the Most Fun in a Shoe Store With:


angelamaiersIt’s a tie!

Fearless Leader and All-Around Great Guy: thecleversheepI learn a lot from Rodd. This year I learned that he’s also a great public speaker. I’m giving him this award because while a lot of us say things like “hey if we all got together and_________ we could________”, he actually does it.

Super Mom:msjweirDuh. Obviously that would be Jamie Weir. She’s on maternity leave and she’s still passionately pursuing her own professional development (way too much alliteration) and helping to organize events like ECOO. Girlfriend, I am in awe.

Yoda Memorial Award for Mentorship:WendyLJacksonWendy was my associate teacher back in the day when I thought being a teacher was about stickers and sensible shoes. She is still my go to person when I need a sounding board for my ideas. She’s not afraid to tell me when I’m talking crazy talk, and she gives great advice.

Best Ensemble: It’s hard to think of categories for everyone, but I really do need to thank Cyndie Jacobs, Brenda Sherry, Peter McAsh, Mike Mcilveen, John Herbert, Donna Fry, Kent Manning, David Lanovaz, Alanna King, Ben Hazzard, Doug Sadler, Colin Jagoe, Susan Young, Colin Harris, Shannon Smith.

And to all of my PLN, thank you so much for inspiring and motivating me this year. I look forward to learning with you in the year ahead!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

I made the paper!

When Jennifer O’Brien of the London Free Press wanted to write an article on the proposed cellphone ban repeal in the London District Catholic School Board she asked for a teacher’s perspective. Since we follow each other on Twitter, she asked for my input.

I hesitated a moment before replying because I know that some teachers (and some colleagues whom I very much respect) have some pretty strong anti-cellphone feelings and I wondered about expressing my somewhat controversial opinion so publicly. Then I remembered Rodd Lucier’s tweet from this month’s RCAC conference where he observed:

So I decided, to heck with it. And here’s the article:

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Reflections on ECOO 2010

The most important thing I learned was that if at all possible, attend a conference with a friend. I know I had a ton of Twitter friends at ECOO, but it was awfully nice to be able to go with my friend Wendy, both for moral support and to have someone to bounce new ideas off of.

The second most important thing I learned is to make sure your Twitter picture accurately reflects your current hairstyle, otherwise people find it very disorienting.

The third most important thing I learned is that wireless WILL cut out at a pivotal moment during your presentation, so use an ethernet cord if at all possible.

I loved the presentation by @royanlee who has become the “it” boy of technology and student engagement (Although I personally feel it’s cheating to bring your students–just kidding, Royan. Well played.). He also has absolutely, hands-down, the best delivery when it comes to dealing with difficult questions. So calm and low key. Remember me when you become the next Will Richardson, okay?

A big shout out to “Pegah the Perfect” who talked to us about her blog.

I also loved @neilstephenson’s cigar box project presentation. Talk about making history relevant! Also, he made reference to St.Thomas and Jumbo the elephant which gets him bonus points since I teach in St. Thomas.

The Pecha Kucha was something I dreaded but turned out to be one of the most positive moments of the whole weekend. I can’t wait to try this presentation style with my students. Thanks to @msjweir who asked me to present. It was great to meet @Grade1 and @peterskillen face to face, and also great to see @thecleversheep, @KimMcGill again.

It’s great to be at a conference like this because these people GET me. I’m not weird or out-there with them. People don’t look at me strangely when I talk about using Wikipedia for research and I don’t have to use my “do you ban paper because students are passing notes” analogy about cellphones. On the other hand, I have to remember that when I get back to my school, some people will wrinkle their noses when I talk about cell phones and cringe when I say Wikipedia is a good place to begin research projects. Baby steps.

And now, I give you the ECOO 2010 Pecha Kuchas, with many thanks to @colinjagoe for rockstar editing.