Saturday, October 12, 2013

CUE Keynote: Connected Educator Month

Last weekend, I was the keynote speaker at the San Luis Obispo CUE conference! CUE stands for Computer Using Educators.

Since October is Connected Educator Month, the subject of my keynote was connecting. Connecting my classroom to learning opportunities via technology is a priority for me, and I am always looking for new ways to connect and learn.

Photo by John Miller
The first connections I made were through blogging. In my keynote, I chronicled how one connection with Australian blogger, Kathleen Morris, lead to numerous global projects for my students. Read about some of our global projects here. Kathleen and I met face-to-face after two years of collaboration when we presented  Flattening the Classroom Walls through Blogging at ISTE (International Society for Technology in Education). Here is my Educational Blogging wiki with resources and ideas for starting a classroom blog.

Connecting our students has never been more important. Here is a link to a great post called Digital Writing and Common Core by Joe Wood. Publishing, interacting, and collaborating digitally are Anchor Standards for writing. Below is a document put together by Joe Wood. He highlights some anchor standards over four grade levels (Kindergarten, 4th, 8th, and 12th). Check out what will be happening in kindergarten!

click to enlarge
Graphic by Joe Wood

I also encouraged educators to connect and learn with one another through Twitter.

Here is a presentation about using Twitter to build your PLN!
 (Personal Learning Network) 

According to Rodd Lucier, there are seven degrees of connectedness. Here are his Seven Degrees of Connectedness in an infographic put together by Silvia Tolisano.

Click to enlarge. 

Teachers, what are some ways that you've connected your classroom? Can you offer some advice to other teachers?

Parents, how has your child benefited from connecting and publishing online? 

Students, what do you like about publishing and collaborating online?


  1. Dear Mrs Yollis,

    I couldn't think of a more fitting person to speak. You are one of the best along with Mrs Morris.

    Blogging and connecting with teachers and students around the globe is such a wonderful way of learning from each other, and the best thing about it it's instant.

    It sure does have a huge impact on the teachers, students and parents. Not only that it's the friendship you make along the way too.

    I feel that blogging is a wonderful way of learning and sharing your thoughts and ideas with the rest of the world at your finger tips.


    1. @ AA, (Australian parent)

      How appropriate that you would be the first one to comment!

      For those who don't know, AA and I connected through educational blogging. We met years ago when Bianca, her daughter, was a second grader in Mrs. Morris' class.

      Your participation in the comment section demonstrated to all parents the power of connecting and building a meaningful online community.

      Please say hello to Bianca from me. I know she is taking a break from blogging, but I'm always hopeful she will pick it up again. Her voice is missed!

      Thanks again for being such a role model for parents!

      Mrs. Y♥llis

  2. Dear Mrs. Yollis,

    I love this post! I am so proud to be your student again! :-)

    Thank you so much for bringing technology into our classroom and our lives. I learned so much from you. I am so happy and proud that you gave me my own blog!

    What I really love about publishing and collaborating online is that I get to stay connected with people that live far away, such as Mrs. Morris. I also love that it allows me to stay connected with my family members that live far away and that I don't get to see much. My grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins live in another state. Blogging really helps us stay connected and share our ideas and our daily lives together.

    You've told us to never give away your Y.A.P.P.Y., which is:

    Your full name
    Phone number
    Your plans

    I really appreciate your help with the internet and staying safe!

    Your technology loving student,

    1. @ Chloe,

      Thank you so much for your kind words! I am exceedingly proud to have you as my student for a second year! Lucky me!

      We are living in a very exciting time, and I am thrilled that I am able to bring meaningful technology into our learning. To think that we connect with classes all over the world is mind boggling to me.

      What is your favorite use of technology? What iPad apps do you find the most useful?

      Your technology-loving teacher,
      Mrs. Y♥llis

  3. Dear Mrs. Yollis and class,

    I think so many of us had little idea of how connected we would become when we first ventured into computing. My first serious computing experience was back in the 70s. Little did I know how far and connected I would now be.

    2005 was my last experience as a teacher in front of a class before early retirement yet, being connected, my classroom has become global. My tools are blogging, commenting, technology and a drive to explore new ideas. I am a retired teacher only in name. My learning journey with children continues.

    I blog therefore I am (a teacher and learner). :)

    Ross Mannell
    Teacher (retired), N.S.W., Australia

    1. @ Mr. Mannell,

      We so appreciate all of your thoughts and comments and consider you a member of our classroom!

      I started using computers in my classroom in the mid 1990, but everything was published inside the classroom. Who knew that we would all be connected and learn from one another so easily! We are fortunate!

      I love your: I blog therefore I am (a teacher and learner).

      Mrs. Y♥llis

  4. Dear Mrs Yollis,

    Congratulations on being asked to present at the CUE conference. Presenting is one thing, but being asked to be the keynote speaker is quite another. What an honour!

    I'm so glad you could share our story of connecting as it brought so many benefits to our teaching and our students' learning. We even had parents involved as AA demonstrated.

    I would encourage other teachers to get involved as Twitter. There are thousands of educators from around the world who connect every day using this form of social media. Commenting on teacher/class/student blogs is also another fabulous way for teachers to connect.

    Connecting with others is the most exciting aspect of technology for me. I feel very honoured to have met you, both online and in person! I know we'll be lifelong friends and it all started through a blog comment...

    Your friend,
    Mrs Morris

    1. @ Mrs. Morris,

      Thank you so much for your congratulations! It was a real honor/honour to be asked to be the keynote! Everyone loved to hear about our story of connection that all started with a little comment! We certainly moved through all the degrees of connectedness, and I feel lucky to call you my colleague and my friend!

      I find the connections to be so meaningful. Like you, I encourage other teachers to consider connecting their classes through blogging. Hopefully our model will inspire others!

      A big kiss for Novalie!

      Your friend,
      Mrs. Y♥llis

  5. Dear Mrs. Yollis,

    I never knew what a blog or a comment was until I had you as a teacher. In the middle of second grade, I realized how much my writing had improved. Many classes didn't have alphasmarts. Alphasmarts helped us understand how typing works.

    As you wrote words in comments, such as launches, I understood the definition because you put hints about what the word meant. Learning how to blog opened many knowledge boxes. When I comment, it helps me know where to put the punches in pronunciation keys on a dictionary.

    Blogging provides mixes of both technology and knowledge.

    I am fortunate to have you as a teacher and will always remember how you took me to a new world, "Technology".

    Warm wishes,

  6. Hi Mrs. Yollis,

    Congratulations on being chosen as a keynote speaker. I have not had very much time to blog, and I really miss it. Middle school has been much more challenging than elementary school. I receive a lot more homework which leaves less time for blogging. This three day weekend has been has helped me catch up with blogging. I love visiting your blog and seeing all the things that your students are doing.

    Blogging has made a really give difference in my life. I have "met" so many wonderful teachers students all over the world. I hope you convince other teachers to also blog with their students.

    I hope to see you soon,



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