Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Creating my personal learning network

As captured in my last post, one of my primary goals for the semester is creating a network beyond my students' classroom walls with which they can share their work. 

I began this goal at the semester beginning by emailing admissions' offices at Colorado schools with the hope that I could have those who actually look at college essays during the application process give my juniors' and seniors' college essays some feedback.  The schools I emailed included University of Colorado, University of Northern Colorado, Colorado State, and Denver University.  I also emailed the admissions office at my alma matter, Trinity University in San Antonio, hoping I could guilt them in to helping me.  I heard back from the office at T.U. and at U.N.C., and have two kind people willing to help me with my project.
I also emailed a contact at the Oxford English Dictionary online and the Hero Project, a foundation created by Philip Zimbardo, in the hopes that they would work with me on a couple other projects with my seniors.  Alas, I have had no reply. 
The most exciting contact I've made, however, is to the Salem Historical Society in Massachusetts.  I contacted them in the hopes that I could get a foundation member to Skype with my Honors American Literature class about the history and myth of Salem as we read Miller's The Crucible.  After speaking with someone who co-founded this organization, however, it is clear she would like to do more.  She is hoping my students can work on a video project that would go on the foundation's opening page in the hopes of attracting a younger audience to join their society.  Needless to say, my students are very excited about the idea.  We are not quite sure how all of this will look, but will be back in the touch with the Society at September's end.
After just these beginning experiences developing my network, I feel fairly encouraged.  Of course, it would be great if I had heard back from all these contacts.  I can tell, though, that my students are already excited about having a bigger audience for their work and I learned that just taking the time to send a quick email doesn't take much time and might just pay dividends. 


  1. This is great, Lauren. Do you have any details on those other projects you were hoping to get help with? Perhaps if you shared that info someone might get in touch with you?

  2. This is wonderful! I found your blog from a link from Mr. Fisch's blog. I had been looking for resources for my algebra teachers. I am a technology integration specialist at a high school. However, my background is English. What an exciting project for your students! I will look forward to reading about their success!

  3. Karl and Amy Jo,

    Thanks for your responses. I talked to the coordinator at the Salem Historical Society today and am excited about our Skyping session next Wednesday. She also shared that she is going to post all the students' videos on her website and have memebers vote on which should remain on the historical society's front page. I'm very excited about it as are the kids.

    With regard to the other projects, Karl, I am not sure where else to go. I was particularly excited about the possibility of working with the Oxford English Dictionary on the hero project I will begin with my seniors next week, but have heard no response. I contacted the education specialists with regard to my request, but no luck yet. Any thoughts about where to go from here?

  4. Well, in terms of the Oxford English Dictionary, you might try their contact page. It's probably a longshot, but still worth a shot.