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Implementing N-1

Photo by Her Wings http://www.flickr.com/photos/herwings/3809991796/ N-1 is a concept that I read about today on Seth’s Blog.  Seth says: N-1. There are tons of things on your to do list, in your portfolio, on your desk.  They clamor for attention and so perhaps you compromise things to get them all done.  What would happen if you did one fewer thing?  What if leaving that off the agenda allowed you to do a world-class job on the rest?  What if you repeated N-1 thinking until you found a breakthrough? I’ll be honest, this is a really difficult concept for me.  I am a perfectionist with a pinch of OCD thrown in for good measure.  When I do something I go at it full speed ahead 110%.  The problem is lately, I can’t give 110% to everything that I would like to because I am always adding one more thing (N+1).  These things are good things, they are worthy things, important things.  I feel that way about each one of them or I wouldn’t have taken them on in the first place.  But lately I am finding that I am giving each less than what they deserve and not feeling a sense of accomplishment in any of them as a result.  I think this is a common feeling among teachers.  We always tend to be functioning in the N+1 model.  We give everything the best we’ve got and often feel stretched too thin.  Today I took an honest look at everything I’m doing and came to the conclusion that I need to ease up a bit.  I’m not even sure that I have to really give anything up, I just need to change my perspective. I started the original Edublogger Alliance the first of the year 2010.  My goal was to create a fellowship of edubloggers who encouraged and supported one another in our blogging journeys.  I can’t speak for anyone else, but I think the alliance has been an enormous success.  I got to know incredible educators, librarians, and home school teachers from around the world.  I feel like I know each of them well as a result of reading and commenting on their blogs, having conversations on Twitter, meeting at ISTE, and even completing bigger projects together.  It truly exceeded every expectation I had for it.  In March, I started a second alliance and invited new edubloggers to join in the conversation.  Again, I was introduced to incredible educators from around the world and truly blessed by the connections made.  Because I started the alliances, I felt an obligation to comment on each and every blog post of each and every member.  I think in the 10 months it has been going, I have commented on nearly every post (even if it was weeks later) with a few exceptions.  It has been an awesome exercise in learning and reflection for me.  I got several more requests for additional alliance opportunities for educational bloggers and created the iLearn Technology Edublogger Alliance social network on Wackwall (now Wall FM).  Between the alliances there are almost 400 members! Something I couldn’t have anticipated or expected.  As a result I find myself facing around 380 posts to comment on every day.  Those are not the only blogs in my reader, I read many more that are not part of the alliance.  You can see why this is becoming a problem.  In my N+1 fervor, I have taken on more than I can physically do in the hours of a day. N-1 It is time for me to really prioritize.  This is a stressful decision and not one that I am excited to make but, in order to keep doing other amazing things, one I have to make. I will no longer be commenting on each and every edublogger alliance post.  Whew, hard just to type that…makes it real.  My OCD tendencies are fighting this hard 😉  What does this mean for the edublogger alliance?  Nothing really, I hope that we will continue to encourage each other in our blogging and teaching adventures.  I hope that we will still comment and retweet each other’s posts like crazy.  I still plan on reading each and every one of your amazing posts (I wouldn’t even know where to begin cutting down my Reader).  I am just giving myself permission not to comment on EVERY post.  I hope that in the last 10 months, those of you involved in one of the alliances were encouraged in your blogging.  I hope that my comments caused you to want to comment on another educators blog and encourage them.  I would love for everyone who reads my blog to join the edublogger alliance and commit to commenting on a blog every week.  Comment when you have something to add to the conversation, comment because you want to let your favorite blogger know you appreciate them, comment when you notice no one else has.  Maybe I’ll make an “I comment” badge for those of you who commit to commenting for you to post on your website 🙂 What will I do now that I have made that N-1 decision?  I will join conversations on Twitter again (I feel like I have been MIA lately).  I will work on and teach a virtual class on digital storytelling.  I will work toward starting a school and making #Twitacad (Twitter Academy) a reality. I will blog.  I will walk alongside schools as they work to integrate technology. I will publish lessons. I will offer professional development. I will read. I will cook. I will teach my puppies some new tricks.  I will figure out where my next N-1 should be so that I can find a breakthrough.

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Corkboard: Classroom Collaboration

Posted by admin | Posted in Analyze, collaboration, Create, Evaluate, Middle/High School, Primary Elementary, Secondary Elementary, Subject, Teacher Resources, Understand (describe, explain), web tools, Web2.0 | Posted on 30-12-2010

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What it is: Corkboard is a neat little collaboration tool that I learned about on Twitter yesterday thanks to @Grade1. Corkboard reminds me a lot of Wallwisher (which has been a little unreliable lately). Best of all, it is literally a one step set up process.  Just type in the web address: http://corboard.me and it automatically creates a unique url for your corkboard.  Click to add a sticky note on the corkboard. Give students or other teachers the unique url so that they can add a sticky note. Easy!  Sticky notes can be as big or small as you like.  Click and hold down on a sticky note to move it around the corkboard.

How to integrate Corkboard into the classroom: Corkboard provides an easy to use platform for students to brainstorm, collaborate, and share ideas. Students can use Corkboard to brainstorm ideas for writing, research, and collaborating on group projects. Ask students to add their thoughts to any conversation on history, literature, science, phonics, or vocabulary corkboard.  Students could practice spelling by typing out their spelling words along with a sentence or synonyms on sticky notes. Students can share a board to discuss a book they are reading together, predictions for a class science experiment, and to share what they are learning in any subject or lecture. You could create a new corkboard each week where you post homework, resources, to-do items, etc. for your students. Students can add sticky notes to the board about what they are learning throughout the week. These Corkboards can be added to a Weblist.me so that there is a record of the whole year.

Tips: Looking for other alternatives to Wallwisher? Check out: Edistorm or Stixy. Each has a little different features!

Please leave a comment and share how you are using Corkboard in your classroom.

Comments (19)

[…] This post was mentioned on Twitter by ktenkely and others. ktenkely said: Corkboard is a great alternative to Wallwisher for classroom collaboration http://bit.ly/eRpjxI So easy to use! Thanks to @Grade1 […]

Lino-it and Popplet are two other tools worth exploring. Lino-it has that “sticky note” look but like Wallwisher allows you to embed video and images. It also comes with some project management & collaboration features. Popplet has a different look and feel, allowing you to embed images, videos & even link to books on Amazon. You can also link different “popples” (the sticky note equivalent) together so you can use it as a mindmapping tool.

[…] to LifeHacker and iLearn Technology for the heads up on this webapp. Bookmark on Delicious Recommend on Facebook Share with Stumblers […]

[…] highly recommend checking out Corkboard Me by clicking here.Thanks to the award winning iLearn Technology for the tip!! Sphere: Related Content Posted by dkapuler at 12/31/2010 Labels: […]

Linoit.com is another great one. The cool thing about that too is that you can install a bookmarklet and do a Lino that you can quickly open up and use and put it away when you’re done. Great stuff!

I like to use sites like this as an alternative to the KWL. My students brainstorm questions they have about a topic. As we progress through the unit and discover answers, we add them to the original sticky note.

[…] Corkboard: Classroom Collaboration […]

Thanks Kelly for sharing Corkboard! WallWisher is so frustrating at times. It is nice to know about lots of alternatives! Happy New Year!

I agree, alternatives are always a good thing! Thanks Melissa!

Great idea for using Corkboard as a KWL brainstorming tool Aimee, thanks for sharing!

That is a great option thanks Rob!

I absolutely love learning new and innovative ideas and this has been one of my favorites. I use a lot of graphic organizers in my classroom and the KWL is one that I use often. The idea of corkboard would be more meaningful and a great motivator for students. I plan to incorporate this into my curriculum because it would be a great learning tool.

Hi, I just came across your blog and I must say I absolutely love it. So many great ideas I look forward to implementing in my own classroom. I especially enjoyed this Corkboard site. I’m currently teaching 6+1 traits in writing, and we’re working on the “Ideas” aspect, so this would be a great avenue for students to brainstorm ideas for a topic and share them with others. I look forward to using this! Thanks!

I’m really glad that I came across your blog. I think that I will definitely be using this technology in my classroom at some point. Corkboard seems like it could or would be the step before using Google Docs when students are working on a group project. Students within a group could be looking up different information that is contributing to the same project simultaneously and thus work much more efficiently. I could also have students jigsaw using Corkboard. I’m excited about trying out this new program.

Stacey, great ideas for using Corkboard in your class! Thank you so much for sharing your ideas with us!

The 6+1 traits of writing brings back memories! I was in school when they had just introduced the 6 🙂 I think you are right, Corkboard is a great place for students to brainstorm and share ideas. Thanks for the comment Nicole!

Good idea for a KWL exercise Kim! Thanks for sharing your ideas!

How do I get more than one sticky on the board?

Lisa,
You should be able to just double click somewhere else on the board to create another sticky note.

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