Tag Archives: PLN

Just One of My Reasons to Give Thanks

Just before Thanksgiving, we purchased a domain and year of hosting with Siteground for a grand total of $9.95 for the entire year! They are running a special right now and we couldn’t pass it up. When we first inquired, my husband was told that installing WordPress blogs and Moodle were super easy. This was far from the truth!

My husband and I installed and researched solutions as to why we were unable to create sub directories or sub domains. I forgot which. My husband is the technical guru in the house here. He consulted with tech support and tech support set up sub domains (or vice versa) and that isn’t what we wanted for the URL. We spent hours and hours and my husband gave up for the time being but I persisted! I contacted Sue Waters (@suewaters) on Skype and told her what we were trying to do and what we were actually seeing. She was super busy with Edublogger things but said when she got free she would assist me.

In the meantime, I had solicited assistance and advice on Twitter and was overwhelmed by the response I got. Several of my Twitter followers referred me to WordPress gurus. @aforgrave and @mrjarbenne was instrumental in helping us solve the problem. I don’t know exactly what the problem was but @mrjarbenne explained it to my husband. He understood but it is all Greek to me. It had something to do with the .htaccess config file or something like that. Regardless, @aforgrave and @mrjarbenne were phenomenal and I am very thankful for their efforts this Thanksgiving.

When all was said and done it was about midnight CST in San Antonio, Texas. @grade1, @aforgrave and @mrjarbenne were up in Canada. In the span of three hours, the problem was resolved. I messaged Sue on Skype and told her all was taken care of and we were all set. While this situation was very frustrating, it was interesting to me to see this unfold. There were tons of messages and DMs back and forth on Twitter.

Despite our difficulties and struggles getting WordPress set up, we are still glad we went with Siteground as the website and Moodle set up were very easy. The initial install of WordPress was super easy but we were complicating things by wanting a distinct set up. Other than this hiccup, the installation and use of the control panel were ‘super easy’ as they claimed.

If you are interested in a bargain for a new domain and an entire year of hosting for only $9.95 as part of Siteground’s Thanksgiving special I encourage you to explore their offerings. If this is a first time purchase for you I think you will find it very easy to use if your setup is for just one person. The trouble we encountered was with the multi-site and network set up that was causing our frustration. Special thanks goes out to @jenwagner on Twitter for sharing this bargain special with me!

I knew that after this issue was resolved, I was going to write a blog post on our multi-site WordPress blog about the difficulties we encountered and how my Professional/Personal Learning Network (PLN) was responsible for assisting us with the blog setup. Aviva (@grade1) summed it up perfectly when she said, “Wow! Definitely speaks to the power of a PLN!” as shown in the Tweet above (click the image to enlarge).

I will continue with this blog and my NEW blog at our new domain of http://www.pumpuplearning.com (still under construction).  I titled it, as a result of a suggestion from my hubby, @martycaisejr. So on this day of Thanksgiving, I give thanks for everyone that contributed to this learning opportunity and hope it was a blessed day for you and your family.

My PLN is the BEST!

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WeAreTeachers.com

I can honestly say that my PLN is absolutely the best! With everyone’s help I was recently awarded a microgrant entitled “Pump up your Summer Learning!” from WeAreTeachers.com. I am so honored and thankful for all of the help, support, sharing, voting and encouragement I received from my PLN. I know without my PLN I would not have been in the top 10 and won the grant. The competition was fierce for this contest and I came in ninth place out of ten. Again, I would like to extend my sincerest thanks to everyone who voted and recruited others to vote – without you this wouldn’t have been possible!

I truly am amazed at how wonderful my PLN is. Over time, I have interacted with a large number of01762 people on Twitter and Plurk. Lately, my focus is more at Plurk as I consider myself to be very social and like that connection. Plurk allows me to engage in a multitude of conversations and learn about new tools, trends and issues in ed tech. We also talk about our pets, their children (my pets), family members, tech toys, upcoming conferences or the weather. It is truly amazing the wonderful support I have found from essentially virtual strangers as I only know their online persona. Using the private plurk, we share personal struggles or situations that we are dealing with in life, like the tragic loss of my mother and prayers requests for one another about a job situation, family member’s health, loss of a loved one and many more too numerous to name.

01663For the past five years, I have contemplated going to grad school. In the past, I wouldn’t even entertain the idea as I didn’t want to become one of ‘them’ and leave the classroom. As my teaching skills refined, I was put in leadership positions and now the career positions that I seek require a master’s degree. My main obstacle was cost, second to wanting an online degree program that is certified and recognized by the Texas Education Agency. I put out my request on Twitter and Plurk and received some awesome suggestions. My criteria was that it had to be economical, self paced online and fully accredited and recognized by the US Department of Education. I chose Western Governors University and am pursuing a Master of Education in Learning and Technology as part of the online university’s Teacher College and currently have been deeply entrenched in trying to complete a needs analysis paper while trying to fulfill my duties as a co-host of Classroom 2.0 LIVE!.

Flickr CC: Kandyjaxx's Photostream
Flickr CC: Kandyjaxx’s Photostream

In addition, to school and Classroom 2.0 LIVE!, every Monday evening I babysit my nieces so my sister can go to school to become a teacher via an alternative certification program that I helped her enroll, give her job resources and help her find job leads with a compassionate principal at an elementary campus (please have mercy and help us if you are an elementary principal in San Antonio. I will help my sister so hiring her indirectly gets me (a national board certified teacher) at no charge to your campus! :)) Now is that a deal that you just can’t pass up or what?

Sharing ShareTabs

sharetabs-imageRecently I was made aware of ShareTabs and wanted to share this unique resource with you. Ever since I discovered the website I have been a devout fan! ShareTabs.com is a great way to share a list of resources and is incredibly convenient. I could see it having great potential for use in the classroom. Instead of creating hotlists of resources and uploading the document to a shared server or online storage site, you can enter the sites and create a sharetab of the resources.

With ShareTabs you can create a very powerful list of resources. As shown on the ShareTabs site ,

ShareTabs – The easy way to share your links as tabs

Add a list of links to the form below and submit it to get a single link to them all, conveniently displayed in tabs. Great for sharing in Email, IM, Twitter, or SMS.

sharetabs2In my last post I shared with you that Peggy George were co-hosting a weekly broadcast on Saturdays called “Classroom 2.o LIVE!” show.  The topic for our first show was personal learning networks and the need for a PLN. If you missed the live show you can listen to and read the chat in the show archive. For reference during the show and for listeners to use as a tool to follow up after the show I created a sharetabs of our PLN resources. I used the name and topic of the show as the name for the URL: http://live.classroom20.com/show-archive.html. You can also click on the image to the left to view the ShareTabs page I created.

To create a ShareTab, enter the list of URLs for the resources you want to show on the preview page of the ShareTab. The ShareTabs websitesharetabs3 compiles all of the websites and shows a thumbnail of each website with its accompanying URL underneath the thumbnail. In addition to the thumbnail images, a tab at the top of the page is created for each URL. Arrows are located on the far left and right of the tabs so that you can access tabs that may not be currently visible.

If you were using ShareTabs with students you could create a URL that was easy for the students to remember to access resources that were bookmarked for a specific project or assignment. This is especially useful if you deal with time constraints, younger students or need to minimize the time used searching for resources. In my experience working with elementary students, it can be time consuming to have students search for a topic on Google and determine if the site is a valid resource or not. Using ShareTabs can eliminate that and maximize the time students spend working on the computer.