Digital Lit Posts

Feed the Fire! PLN Style.

Image Credit: Caroline Bucky

How to cultivate a personal learning network: Tips from Howard Rheingold really helps to understand some tips and tricks to feeding you PLN. To start off, Howard Rheingold is a critic, writer, and teacher. He specializes in cultural, social and political implications of modern communication. Rheingold has multiple different articles and provides more tips on his Twitter! (@hrheingold if you wanna follow him) However, this article is not written by him but by Chuck Frey who discusses the 8 thoughts on how to build your social network. If you wanna check out all 8 you can click HERE but I will be only talking about a few.

The first tip I want to talk about is tip #4: “Always keep tuning your network, dropping people who don’t gain sufficiently high interest; adding new candidates”. This is a very important process of your PLN. When using your PLN you want to learn from it, L=Learning. There are so many inactive accounts on a variety of social medias. With these people being inactive, you are not learning anything from them. It is important to know who and what you are following. Another big concern is fake accounts. This has become growingly popular with “news” networks! I found one a couple days ago that was displaying themselves as a news station but when you clicked their stories…there was no story! The link took you to an inactive or different story than the one you clicked. It is all a matter of doing some research to have an efficient PLN.

Image Credit: Tyler Letkeman

The next tip I want to bring up is #5: “Feed the people you follow if you come across information that you suspect would interest them”. One way we are able to learn is by others and being able to share information. This has becoming so easy in social media! With one click, you can share any post with your followers or friends. This is something I do everyday. I am almost positive I tag my sister in a post that has to do with crafts or just to bring a smile to her face.


From reading How to cultivate a personal learning network, these are the two tips I have found the most helpful. All 8 tips are informative and will improve anyones PLN. Just remember, your PLN is what you make it! If you don’t wanna follow these tips, you don’t have to because it is YOURS!

Until next time,


Digital Lit Posts

How to Speak so People Listen

“How can we speak powerfully to make change in the world?” This is the question of Julian Treasure. In this TED talk, Treasure brings up multiple points of effective speaking. These points include seven deadly sins of speaking, HAIL, and a toolbox for teaching.

The seven deadly sins of speaking are things you should avoid when speaking to others. These include gossiping, judging, negativity, complaining, excuses, lying, and dogmatism. These seven things are said to be uninteresting and rude by Treasure. When practicing speaking, these things should be avoided because they are not relevant to the point you are trying to make. You need to be reliable when you are speaking and if you use these terms that takes away your reliability.

The next thing that Treasure talks about is HAIL. HAIL is the way you should speak or things you should include when speaking. HAIL has 4 different points. H stands for honesty, A stands for authenticity, I stands for integrity, and L stands for love. Of course no person is able to be honest or show love their entire life but you need to make sure you use these points when it matters!

One of the last things Treasure brings up is the toolbox for speaking. The first tool is register. Register is the connection that you have with the other person. When speaking, you want to make sure you have the audiences attention. Treasure brings up a great point that we tend to be more attracted to someone with a low voice. Lower voice is equal to power. The second thing is timbre. This is the way your voice feels. Most people enjoy listening to a voice that is smooth and rich. Prosody is the next point and this is the way you speak to show a meaning in your words. It gives your voice a variety so you do not sound monotone. Next is pace, how fast you speak. Then pitch (how high or low your voice sounds) and volume (how loud or quiet your voice is). These are just a couple of effective techniques so that when you speak you will get the attention you deserve.

Overall, Treasure’s TED talk gave great tips to make an effective speaker. Treasure also end with some exercises to warm up your voice before giving a speech. If you’d like to see them, I highly recommend watching this talk!


Digital Lit Posts

Passion-Based Learning

School is standardized.  Learning is personal. How often is this true? After reading “School vs. Learning” by George Couros, it really gets you to think about the differences. If you remember Robinson’s TED talk about school kills creativity, this talk ties directly into this article. Are students able to express themselves through creativity in such a “demanding” environment? This all goes back to passion-based learning.

Passion-based learning is a way for students to learn threw expressing their passions. When expressing their passions, students are able to focus and participate in the lessons. Now, there can be some students that do not know what they are passionate about. I didn’t know until about 6th grade. If you want to use passion-based learning but have young students with no clue about passions, Ainissa Ramirez has two tips from the article “Passion-Based Learning” to help you out. The first tip is “finding out what each child is innately passionate about” and the second is “be an instructor that exudes passion for the topic, and infect your students with that excitement”. These tips are great and really show that students are going to follow by example. If you show passion in teaching, students will show passion in schoolwork.

The second article I picked is by Sage Briggs and it is about 25 ways to institute passion-based learning in the classroom. Students are going to follow by example but these are just some tips to ensure that you are participating in passion-based learning. Since there is 25, I am only going to talk about my favorite. The first I will talk about is “letting students express their passions”. This is so important. If a student feel that they can not be themselves or show their passions, this will take a huge toll on their confidence. This also allows the student freedom in their assignments as well as more effort put into the assignments. Something else Briggs wrote was “treat all passions equally”. The passion a student has is pretty much their personality, if you criticize their passion that is a major take down to their personality. This brings up the old saying “treat others how you want to be treated”. If someone came up to you and said something you loved doing was stupid or wrong, you would feel terrible for liking it. This is even worse with kids. In my opinion, the best thing you can do is treat all your students equally.

In conclusion, these articles were a good read for future teachers.


Digital Lit Posts

Hacking the Education System

Reading Bud Hunt’s Make Play Hack and watching Hackschooling Make Me Happy gave me some interesting, new insights on the education system. The best idea of these two pieces is the idea of hacking. Like Hunt says, hacking gets such a bad reputation. When I hear the word hacking or hack I think of someone exactly described by Logan, some creepy man sitting in a basement hacking on a computer. These different ideas need to be opened up to more people because they are exactly correct. Hunt states “The original definition of a hack was a fiddle that improved a process or program.” Of course, as the years continue, the idea of hacking got worse and worse because of the creepy man in

Image Credit: Roland Buulolo

the basement. However, Logan’s idea is interesting because he has shown that hacking his school system has made an incredible impact on his life. While Logan’s main focus is towards his career in a ski shop, he still needs “general” studies such as reading, writing, and math.

Listening to Logan makes me think of different ways to make students happy and prepare for their own future. Not every student is going to go to college and not every student will need to know what happens in Macbeth in order for their career to be successful. As a teacher, I will have to teach things that some students will have no interest in. The trick is to give them options. Say I am teaching Macbeth to a class and they have to do a final project. What I would do (depending on the class) is give them options to present their project. They could write a paper, make a poster, or many other things. The students can come up with an idea to do and run it by me. This type of teaching was shown to me while I was in high school. My teacher did this exact thing and I decided to create multiple MySpace accounts for main characters and have them post things as they would throughout the story. It was one of the best projects I ever did in high school. It took SO long to complete and I had to explain why I chose the posts I did.This type of flexibility in my English teacher is one I want to continue with my students.

Some points I would clarify is the idea of hacking. These ideas can only be changed by changing the mindset of others. Try explaining the positives rather than the negatives. I would love to hear some ways from Hunt on how to incorporate make, hack, play into classrooms using real classroom examples. I see that his is a teacher and it would be interesting if he made another post with some tips and tricks to incorporate these different ideas into every scenarios.

Overall, these two pieces were very interesting and thought provoking. As you couldprobably tell, my favorite part was the idea of hacking from both people.

Until next time!



Digital Lit Posts

Digital Literacy?


Image Credit: Alyson Karpovich

The post for today will be talking about digital literacy. What is digital literacy? Why does it matter? Can it be useful in the classroom? These are all important questions to think about when becoming a future teacher in this time period. Some of you might not know what digital literacy is. Cornell University defined digital literacy as “the ability to find, evaluate, utilize, share, and create content using information technologies and the internet.” In this age, almost everything we do is digital literacy. Just reading this post is digital literacy. Another term to consider is digital fluency. This is being able to use digital resources fluently or easily in different situations. These could include writing, reading, or explanation.


There are a couple different elements of effective digital learning. The first is quality content. When a student is researching, they need to make sure the content is from a reliable source and not just an opinion but facts. This will make the students work reliable as well. A way to ensure this is teaching students how to tell if a source is credible or not. Usually, if a source is reliable, they will state their credibly as an author, as well as outside sources they may have used. If you are unable to find these things, youshould probably find a different source. Another important element is student access. There are a ton of useful journals online but there are also multiple useless website. A way to avoid this as a teacher is finding general websites that the students can find multiple subjects on.

Taking “Literacy in the Digital Age”, I am excited to learn the different elements of digital literacy. One thing I really want to take away from this class is learning how to incorporate digital literacy into my classroom as a future teacher. I think this is essentialbecause students are online more and more as the days go by. If you are able to teach them correct ways of digital literacy, they will be more successful as the technology advances. In the ISTE Standards for Teachers, the first standard is “facilitate and inspire student learning and creativity”. This standard is so important because any form of technology can be useful to student if used effectively. This all depends of the presentation of the subject and the students themselves. All students react differently and some will not like digital literacy but it is all trial and error.

Overall, digital literacy is almost a guaranty in the classroom. These are just different forms of lessons we will have to learn.

Until next time.



Digital Lit Posts

The Learner I Became.

For my first post, I was told to write about 5 times in my life where I became a learner. At first, I was confused but I finally realized these are essential moments in my life. If I was not a learner, I don’t know where I would be. I know I wouldn’t have gone to college so I am grateful that I am a learner.

Image Credit: CollegeDegrees360

My first experience is not a good one. It all started when I was in sixth or seventh grade. I was someone who only cared about sports. I did not think school was important I only wanted to do sports. With this said, I did not try a lot at this point in time. I remember we had to take these tests where students would have to read an essay out loud and however long it took was your score. If you went over a certain time than you were put into a special reading group called Read 180. Well, I was put into Read 180. I remember I was so mad because it was a class for students with disabilities and I did not have a disability. Anyways, being put in this class made me rebel against the teacher of that course and she did not like that AT ALL. This teacher assigned me a book to read and I did not like it so I didn’t read it. This ultimately lead to me failing the test over the book. Another important piece of information is that this was right around the time my mother was diagnosed with cancer (She is fine now). Well, the teacher came up to me and asked me if I didn’t like the book because it reminded me of my mother. I was confused but I knew what she referring to the cancer. After that, I went back to my seat and asked my classmate what happened at the end. Turns out, this kids mother died at the end. At this point, it all came together and I went to the bathroom and cried for the rest of the class. Soon after, my parents did get involved and I was trying more in Read 180 because the teacher told my parents if my level went up, I wouldn’t have to go anymore. Around halfway through the year, I did get out of Read 180 but ended up hating reading. This experience is something that I will probably never forget because I learned to do something that no one thought I was able to do.



IMG_6163 (1)
Image Credit: Gibson Studios

My second experience was something that should have been obvious but was not to me. As I said before, I was very dedicated to sports. Well, at my school, if you did not have good enough grades than you could not play sports. I am almost positive that this is a state-wide rule in Wyoming. Anyways, once I stopped trying (from above) I was no longer eligible to play sports. This was devastating to me because it was my life at the time. This really made me push to get good grades and I kept them all the way till now in college.


Image Credit: Martin Klasch

My third experience happened in eighth grade. My older sister did high school sports so we usually came home at the same time. Well, Rebecca and I were laying on her bed watching tv and she was reading this creepy looking picture book. Of course, I asked her what it was and she showed me an amazing illustration book with the storied of Edgar Allan Poe. I was so fascinated that it was a scary picture book for adults! Rebecca ended up reading me the Black Cat by Edgar Allan Poe and I fell in love with it. To this day, it is still my favorite short story. This experience made me realize that reading does not have to be an assignment, it is
supposed to be for enjoyment. After this, I started reading more and more.



14573048_1416822571664688_8934880742191103814_nMy fourth experience is not really a school experience but life lesson. When I was growing up, I had the same best friend for years. It was only till about 11th grade when we started to drift apart. There were other personal reasons but we ended up completely ignoring each other. This was pretty hard on me since she was my only friend throughout high school. Once I went into my senior year, everything changed. I began in get more involved in the school and do things that I wanted to do despite what others thought. This made me more friends of the same interest. I then found this girl that I connected with and she became someone I can call my little sister, since she is two years younger than me. To this day, this girl and I are still very close and hang out whenever possible. Learning to be myself has changed my entire life because it made me start living life the way I wanted to live it.

My fifth and final experience is about my favorite teacher. This was during my senior year and I was a part of the yearbook club. Since this was my second year in the club, I could work individually. Since I could, I picked to work as the same time as the 9th grade English class. I learned so much watching the English teacher while she was teaching. It was so interesting and I was able to help some of the Freshmen as well. I loved it!

Image Credit: chelle2u2008

Everyday I would look forward to yearbook because it would interest me. This experience is one that changed my life. I wanted to be like the teacher and have a connection with students as well as teaching a subject I was fond of. This is also the same teacher who made me love literature by teaching Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. Thank you Miss B.

These are just some experiences I had. Thanks to these experience and loved ones, I am the person I am!

Hopefully you enjoyed reading. Sorry about some sadness!