Wednesday, September 29, 2010

It’s More Than Just a Class...It’s a Revolution!

Guest Post by Reanne Maskart, 11th Grader at MBAPCHS in Philly

You can teach a student a lesson for a day; but if you can teach him to learn by creating curiosity, he will continue the learning process as long as he lives. ~Clay P. Bedford

I think this quote truly sums up a PLN ( Personal Learning Network). I believe that a teacher is only an educator when they not only instruct but inspire: likewise, a student is only a learner when they have hunger for knowledge. These two things come together and plant seeds for the future. When a student has a teacher who truly wants to educate them and help them succeed in life, great things happen. I am very blessed that I have two educators like that in one course. Thank you, Mr. Brannick and Mrs. Miller, I hope that you both realize the true impact you have on our lives and how much we appreciate you for it.

I have to say, I had my doubts at first... I wasn't really sure about what the class was about, how hard it was going to be, if it was even something worth my time since it takes place after school. After the first MEETING I was SOLD! I started dreaming up ideas and thinking of all the possibilities that stemmed from this. I was thinking how exciting it would be to work with peers in Iowa, and how great it would be to use the web for everything its worth!

I must say, I am truly inspired by this class... I have been working hard to keep up, and to excel where I can. Recently, I Skyped in to class in Iowa on a day that MBAPCHS had off from school. This may sound crazy but I stayed home on a day off because I was really thrilled about skyping with my class. During the class, I got to talk to a couple of the students face to face and I was starting to really get to know them and put faces to names, and I was so glad that they all got the chance to see and talk to me as well!

Later that night, I was Skyping, texting, Facebooking, Twittering a whole lot of my peers in Iowa and thinking- Wow! This is great! Even better then I expected.

I've also had opportunities to talk more with Mr. Brannick and Mrs. Miller individually and directly through Skype and Twitter, I'm so glad that I know and feel comfortable with both so much! I love my class and all the people in it on both sides, this has been such an inspiring and eventful kick-off I can hardly stand it!

We've used so many cool Internet tools I never even knew about! I made a wonderful video for my goddaughter's 2nd birthday with I taught my classmates how to use Google Docs so we could collaborate on a English essay. I did extra credit in Theology class with I talked with all of my classmates on Twitter, Skype, and Facebook. So many names and sites it sounds like it's almost to much but it's just the scratch of the surface!

I assure you... This is only the beginning, today I must stress to anyone reading this that we are beginning a mini-revolution of learning! Think of Mr. Brannick and Mrs. Miller who met on Twitter! Think of we, the students, who met each other online, not in person, but who we still call friends! Think of all the time, effort, and thought we put in to our projects and blogs, and how this class is making a difference to each and everyone of us. Then, you too, will see us as front line in our evolution of knowledge!

Thank you to everyone who has spoken to the class, Will from Juxio, Maggie from Diigo, and Kimmie from Symbaloo. Thank you to everyone else who has helped with the class, any tech support, twitter followers, and Blog readers. Most of all, thank you to Mr. Brannick and Mrs. Miller, none of this would be possible without you, and I will never ever forget that.


  1. Exciting stuff!! I didn't realize this was an after school class. I'll be following to see the rest of your learning.

  2. I had the distinct honor of meeting both Mrs. Miller and Mr. Brannick this summer in Philadelphia. Twitter brought us together to collaborate and learn from each other. You are breaking new ground here and this will be the future learning for the students that follow you.
    Congratulations on this great collaboration and learning experience.

  3. You are ALL an inspiration to me! Seeing technology/passions/and learning mingle together into this amazing class is what it is all about.

    The future is bright! Thanks for sharing-

  4. What a great post! Thank you so much for sharing this. Think of the collaboration and networking skills the students at Van Meter and MBAPCHS are going to have by the end of the school year. What excellent skills to foster that will keep you all learning for the long haul! You are all very lucky to have Mr. Brannick and Mrs. Miller guiding you on this journey. I was in Philly along with Cybrary Man this past July and got to hang out with both of them for just a short while. I am truly impressed at your dedication and enthusiasm to the Student PLN Connect project, especially now knowing that it occurs outside of the regular school day. Your learning now knows no limits! The physical walls of your school buildings cannot contain it. I cannot wait to read future posts as you continue on this journey.

  5. Thank you everyone! @Kyle Pace, very strong words, and I could not possibly agree more!

  6. This is awesome. I signed up for Twitter about 3 years ago and I wondered, as a teacher, how was this silly little tool going to do anything for me? After sticking with it for a bit, I quickly realized it's true potential. I have access to an amazing group of teachers from around the world, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

    As a student, this opportunity is incredible for you. Be sure to stick with it. I'm very excited to see how you grow as a student using these many tools to build your own PLN. Please keep up updated on how you are taking control of your own learning.

    Well done.


  7. This is so cool, I'm so excited for your schools. Can't wait to hear more about it.

  8. Enjoyed reading your blog. You are part of a ground breaking time in schooling. How exciting it is to read that you have such enthusiasm for learning. I teach technology at an elementary school in the Archdiocese. The excitement I feel cannot be contained when I see students engaged with tools like Skype, Blogs, Wallwisher, Glogs, and Animoto creating things to enhance their school work. You, your follow classmates, and the Van Meter students are so lucky to be participating in the Student PLN Connect project. You are part of a great project where there are no walls to impede your learning allowing you to soar. I follow both Mr. Brannick and Mrs. Miller on Twitter. You have great people leading and guiding you to bigger and greater things. Thank you for sharing your enthusiasm. @kmb211

  9. What a great post Reanne, it is amazing how much Mrs. Miller, and Mr. Brannick are doing for us. And it is truly amazing how much we are wanting to learn more! I think that is so important to want to learn more. I think this is the most useful class that I have taken in high school. I will have made so many friends and connections that I can use in the future! With all these connections the possibilities are endless of what we can do.

  10. Wow great post! Thank you for the mention. It was great talking with your class. It's the rewarding part of my job. I am so inspired by your enthusiasm and curiosity for learning!

  11. Well done all of you - keep making those connections! You truly have a school without walls. I live in rural Western Australia and my PLN is my pipeline to the whole world. Like you I have many friends on Twitter that I have never met and probably never will meet but that doesn't stop us being friends. I look forward to seeing more of your posts.

    Jo Hart

  12. I am amazed at how much the tools you are using have inspired you to learn outside of the traditional classroom. Most teenagers see school as drudgery. I think this PLN class is the start of a new way to learn and we are all watching with fascination what will come next. Thank you for so eloquently sharing your journey!

  13. Reanne,

    First of all, I am so proud of the post that you wrote for our class blog! I am happy that you wanted to write the first student guest post, because the connecting that you have been doing this week is really exciting! It has been so nice getting to know you through Skype, IM, Twitter, and email....We are definitely a classroom not just without walls, but also without a time restraint. :) I wish that more classrooms were like this, because it gives all of us involved an energy, excitement, and urge to create a change that is bigger each day!

    I think back to a year ago when I was just starting to talk with a few of our students about what a PLN meant, about my journey on Twitter, and starting a class to answer these questions. Now here we are and our classrooms are connected 1000 miles apart in something that is 10 times greater than I ever thought it would be! And one big reason....The people that make up this class! And the people that are part of our PLN.

    I can't wait to jump into a brand new project tomorrow....Just wait! :)

    Again...I am very proud of you, Mrs. Miller

  14. Hi Reanne,

    I enjoyed reading your post and feeling your excitement and joy at the possibilities that the PLN has created for you. You are so right in saying that this is nothing short of a revolution. This collaboration is the way forward and is the future now.
    I have been very fortunate to have got to know Shannon Miller and John Carver on Twitter. We have a continuous comunication in our belief in the power of technology to bring about transformation in education. Reading your post is an example of just how important their work is and of course the work of Mr Brannick.
    I have family in Philadelphia and therefore feel a personal affinity to this wonderful PLN.
    Regards from Essex England.

  15. You got off to the greatest start! I was thrilled to see how you and your peers are enjoying learning and collaborating through this great Student PLN! Your project is going to be an excellent example for teachers who wish to help broaden their students' world of learning.

    I feel really fortunate to have met Mrs. Miller and Van Meter students this summer, and to witness this "revolution of learning" now.

  16. All of you are so fortunate to be apart of this experience. I have had the fortune to skype with both Mr. Brannick and Mrs. Miller. They are two extraordinary teachers. I look forward to following your progress.
    -Chris Reuter
    Merton, WI

  17. Reanne,

    It is great to hear you are learning so much in your PLN class. When Shannon and I originally set it up last year for the kids of Van Meter, we thought it could be a powerful learning experience. At that time we never imagined the opportunities that would be available to our students to collaborate and create on the level they are experiencing now, let alone the opportunity to work with students from other parts of the country. Your passion for learning is evident and you have the support of not only two great teachers, but of dozens of classmates, and hundreds of other educators throughout the world that want to help you learn and grow. I look forward to more reflections from you and your classmates. Keep up the good work.

    Deron Durflinger
    Secondary Principal, Van Meter Schools

  18. What a great post. I agree 100% with the comment that students only learn things when they have hunger for education. If there's things that students are interested in, they should have the complete right to be able to learn more and more about that particular subject. In my opinion, this post shows you just how important it is to create your student PLN. It's a way to have your voice be heard in a way that you maybe never had the chance to before.

  19. This PLN class is amazing. I think it's great to know everyone is interested in expanding their PLN. My favorite part about a PLN is connecting with other students that are miles and miles away. People don't really like to leave the comfort of the place they've known their whole life so they don't really see what other places are like. With a PLN, you could meet people in other countries and learn all sorts of crazy things. Good luck on your PLN journey!

    -Akash Patel

  20. I can relate to your post because I was also did not know a lot about the web 2.0 class. But I have learned ways to have more meaning conversations with people through different technologies on the computer like twitter, facebook, and skype. By connecting to other students, I can learn from them. This new way of learning is very helpful for me.

  21. Thanks for sharing your doubts in such a candid and articulate way- there are a whole lot of people watching you trail blaze a new way of learning. Keep up the posts, you have a great writing voice!
    I'm a library, information and technology advocate based in Spokane (it's a fancy way of saying I'm a Mom who cares that all kids have a chance to learn like you do!) and we plan on sharing your work next week at a state conference, thanks for sharing in the way that you do.

    Lisa Layera

  22. This is priceless! Reanne, I am so pleased that you were willing to share your thoughts to a global audience. I am still learning about the power of the web... I don't imagine I'll ever stop and your post was very inspirational for the journey of learning.

    I look forward to more!
    Jen Sigrist
    Director of Teaching and Learning, Van Meter Schools

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  24. All I can say is wow Reanne. This is a very strong and meaningful post. You did such a great job on this post and did a great job teaching us in class yesturday. Your right, its like we're starting a mini-revolution of learning. Ever since I started this class I've learned so much. You are being so helpful so keep up the good work.

  25. Great post Reanne! I am so glad that we are all taking this class. It is my favorite class. I learn more in one day in PLN than I do during a week in another class. I can't wait to look back at the end of the year to see how much we have learned and the connections we have made. And most of all...I am so excited to be part of this unbelievable revolution! We are going to make a difference.

  26. I agree it is cool to be talking to people that i wouldn't normally be able to talk to. I think it will be cool learning the different things between us. it is sweet that there is a way to comunicate with people so far away. it will be cool to c what we can do with this in the future.

  27. Awesome Job, Reanne! It's great to learn more about what you think of the class. I agree with your statement about how students aren't learners unless they have a hunger for knowledge. If students don't want to know things then they will not learn. I know that I always do my best in classes I'm interested in. You are so enthusiastic about this class. You are great at using all of these web 2.0 tools to help build your PLN.

  28. Great post Reanne. I have learned a lot of things about this class. I love this class also. I am thankful for Mrs. Miller, Mr. Brannick for teaching us how to use most web 2.0 tools and social networkings. I Agree we can make a difference. :)

  29. Great job! I really enjoyed reading this. You brought up some great points. I am glad you are enjoying it and learning. It will be fun learning together all of are classes together. Keep up the good work!

  30. Thank you to everyone who commented and read this! I appreciate that you took the time ot of your days to do so. I'm glad that I was able to reach out to so many people, another thing I wouldn't have been able to do without this class. To all my class mates who commented, Thank you all so much:] Trust me, I am overjoyed with gettign to know all of you.