George Couros, is currently a school principal at Forest Green School and Connections for Learning, located in Stony Plain, Alberta, Canada. The schools are from ages K-12, and he loves working with kids of all ages. He is passionate about distributed leadership within his school, and believes that creating a collaborative environment with all stakeholders, will help to ensure that educators meet the best needs of all children. You can learn more about George on his own blog entitled "The Principal of Change".
I am honoured (I add a 'u' because it is Canadian and also that is the correct spelling) that Beth has asked me to share some information on why it is important that students are able to use technology and social media in their own learning, along with teachers. It is important to note that a year ago if you asked me this same question, my answer would have been, because technology skill are important to possess in the future of our students, but now because of my participation USING technology as a form of collaboration, I have a much broader view.First of all, through my participation, I have obviously learned a lot from colleagues all over the world, and able to have a better understanding of global perspectives. The simple fact that I feel so connected to Beth, Eric, and Patrick, yet have never met any of them personally shows the power this technology possesses. I have always talked about the importance of relationships in a school and helping students find their passion. Using social media has helped me to do both of these things and opened my world up to passionate educators around the world, that share my love for being an educator. Imagine that you are in a small school and you have someone interested in an obscure topic where no one else is interested in that school. How will you fuel that passion? How will you help them connect? The ideal is that we are able to work with students and teachers so that THEY learn to connect and find others, in a safe and meaningful way.
Jason graduated from Oswego State University with a degree in Secondary Education with a focus on Social Studies. Jason's passion for the natural world led him toward earning a Master's in Outdoor and Environmental Education.
He has taught 8th Grade Social Studies at Horseheads Middle School for the last twelve years. During this time he has been the student council sponsor, curriculum mapping facilitator, and team leader. He also co-chairs the school geography bee, Scholastic Challenge, and Quiz Bowl. He has had the opportunity to lead a number of workshops on IG Pro, Tool Box Pro, and Promethean Interactive White Boards.
Jason's personal learning network took off after attending a Teach American History workshop where Peggy Sheehy keynoted. He was introduced to Second Life at that presentation. When he began to explore Second Life on his own he met Kevin Jarrett who was a docent on ISTE Island. Kevin encouraged Jason to use Twitter. He got serious about establishing his personal learning network in November of 2008. He started following a number of educators that he found on the Twitter4Teachers wiki. He credits his PLN with teaching him so much over the last year. He is currently working with his district to allow for the informal learning that takes place online to be counted as professional developement. In June 2009 Jason was selected to be the ISTE 10 Newbie.
Richard Byrne (@rmbyrne) is a graduate of the University of Maine at Farmington and as with most life-long learners has taken numerous post graduate courses in both the business and education fields. After five years of management experience in the shipping industry, Richard went back to school to become certified to teach grades 7-12 Social Studies.
Richard is best known in his PLN for his blog Free Technology for Teachers and for being the NECC/ISTE Newbie in 2009. Richard was selected by Beth Still to be the NECC Newbie. The NECC Newbie project saw Beth lead a fundraising campaign through hers and Richard's PLNs to send Richard to NECC 2009.
In March 2009, Richard's blog post Seven Ways to Find Teachers on Twitter was reTweeted by Mashable and at present has been read nearly 10,000 times. Richard also created, with the help of his PLN, a slide presentation about building a PLN which, since its publication, has been one of the most popular posts on his blog.