The Connected Network

Building a Professional (Expeditionary Learning) Network

Expeditionary Learning National Conference: Deeper Learning Through the Common Core

Welcome to our anchor page for the series of Master Classes focused on building a connected network. May this page not only serve to guide  your thinking for the workshop, but also serve as a resource to deepen your learning once you have some time and space to process.

Without a doubt, the education profession continues to grow in complexity. And, without a doubt the work is too hard to do alone. More than ever before, the demands and rigor of the Common Core, the potential of deeper learning, and the teaching of “digital natives” require all educators to increase their digital literacy and digital presence. Technology is no longer an option if we want to serve students well.

Professional Learning Networks, or PLNs, are emerging as an elixir for busy educators who want to ask advice, offer opinions, and engage in deep discussions with colleagues. These online communities allow for the sharing of lesson plans, teaching strategies, and student work, as well as collaboration across grade levels and subjects in ways that empower individualized learning.

But they can be overwhelming. For all their conveniences, professional learning networks are not always easy to navigate. This page (and series of master classes) is designed to support Expeditionary Learning educators and leaders in building a P(EL)N through aligning social network tools to the core practices of Expeditionary Learning and the demands of meeting the common core standards to your individualized learning needs.

Master Class 1: Twitter-dee, Twitter-dum  (For educators and leaders new to twitter)

New to the twittersphere? Curious about what twitter is and how it can serve to support deeper learning and the success of your students? This master class guides participants in dipping their toes into the raging River of Information that flows across the 58 billion tweets that users send daily. Learn “tweetspeak”, how to set up an account with an effective profile, and find followers that feed the Expeditionary Learning dialogue and,ultimately, your learning.

Key Learning Targets:

  1. I can create an effective twitter profile

  2. I can use  twitter-specific terminology

  3. I can identify people to follow that align with Expeditionary Learning’s core practices, common core standards implementation and my individual learning needs and passions

  4. I can create effective tweets that fit into my P(EL)N  strategy


There is one key thing we will need to do to set up our learning environment.

  • Log on to our room on TodaysMeet.  Describe a characteristic of powerful professional development.  Feel free to start responding to each others’ thinking. This is a place to hold questions and share insights. TodaysMeet is a backchannel, micro-blogging tool that makes it possible for discussions to happen live while a presentation or class is happening. It will also provide you with a script of today’s session to support your learning moving forward.

Learning Experience 1: A Close Read of a Complex Text: Exploring Twitter as a Genre

Our text today will be a twitter stream aligned to our conference theme, “Deeper Learning Through the Common Core”  and our conference opening. You can access the text here. The goal of this close read is to better understand twitter-specific terminology and to prepare for creating effective tweets.  We will continue to use our room on TodaysMeet to hold our thinking as we read.

Learning Experience 2: Expert Read

We are going to leverage the power of the group by each owning a small piece of our bigger task. We have collected a number of readings that will empower you to create an effective profile, find the right followers and deepen your understanding of the role twitter can play in your learning – and in supporting the learning of your students.  You will have a chance to read and to share out with your group. Any key ideas that you may think is supportive to the whole, drop on TodaysMeet.

The Collection

  1. 26 Keys to Twitter Success

  2. Professional Learning Networks

  3. The power of the profile

  4. Choosing who to follow (Who Should I follow?)

  5. Twitter in the classroom (60 inspiring uses)

  6. Twitter for leaders (4 Reasons to connect and A guide for school principals)

  7. My Classroom is Better Because I Connect

  8. Your guide to hastags (with a great list to start)

  9. Annotation of a profile page: Complete and Simpler Version

  10. Why Should Teachers Join Twitter – A collaborative page designed through twitter!

Learning Experience 3: Let’s Get Messy Launching your twitter account

Now that you have a deeper background of twitter at your fingertips, let’s put it to use! Log into Twitter and we will support you moving through the steps to complete your first set of tweets!

Master Class 2: I’m on Twitter. Now What?  (For educators and leaders that are already on twitter)

In this class, you will have the opportunity to leverage twitter as a means  to serve your professional development  in ways that allow you to gain full ownership of your own learning and empower  you to connect with other educators in purposeful ways. Learn strategies to sharpen and target your tweets, use online tools to curate, share  information in personalized, powerful ways, and  engage in online twitter chats, including #EdchatEL. This class will also examine ideas for using twitter across the school and in classrooms.

Key Learning Targets:

  1. I can list strategies for targeting tweets to the Expeditionary Learning aligned community

  2. I can identify a strategy for setting up curating tools that align my learning needs with the Expeditionary Learning communities’ collective thinking

  3. I can begin to connect with other educators as a means to support my students’  success.


  • Welcome to our master class, and well done — you  made it to our anchor page. It is here you will be able to access any site or document that we will reference during the class. Please go to our virtual board on padlet and drop a post it note that responds to the question, if you were to choose one area of growth that would support your students in meeting the rigor of 21st century learning would it be through focusing on instructional shifts of the common core or the demands of deeper learning? What impact would your learning have on them?

Learning Experience 1: Expert Read

Through engaging in an expert triad read, you will have the opportunity to set a foundation for sharing your thinking and questions around the relationship between Common Core and Deeper Learning when we engage in #EdchatEL. Here is the collection of reading we will choose from today.

Learning Experience 2: #EdchatEL

After we review key aspects of #EdchatEL, you will have the opportunity to set up Tweetchat in preparation for the chat. We are also hosting a special edition of #EdchatEL for the conference based on deeper learning through the common core.

Learning Experience 3: Leveraging the Energy of online, ongoing dialogue

Using your learning goals as a target, you will have the opportunity to set up a hootsuite account as a means of organizing twitter streams that align with EL dialogue and your learning needs. This documents will support you in identifying hashtags to investigate.


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