#RSCON3 – A finger on the pulse of my PLN!


Now that my  mental dust has settled it’s time to write about the Reform Symposium. This is the first of what I hope will be three posts and is an overview of the session I presented on iGoogle – “Keep a finger on the pulse of your PLN” – with some reflection included. The session was recorded as were all of them here is the link to “Keep a finger on the pulse of your PLN” other sessions can be accessed via the Reform Symposium Conference Spreadsheet.

I seem to have been talking about iGoogle a lot over the last year and will be continuing to do so as I am delivering a Professional Development session on it for colleagues in a few weeks. The ever increasing flow of information across our desktops generates a need for some way of handling and drawing together the threads.

The Session

This was a great session for me and hopefully also for those participating. After  a bit of scene setting we started with a poll on how familiar participants were with iGoogle and then a whiteboard for sharing ideas about what exactly it is! I also asked for people to share on a whiteboard the five main strands of their PLN so that I could get a feel for the gadgets needed by the majority – these were fior  Twitter, Facebook and Google Reader  all of which I already had on my iGoogle page.

Then it was time to tell the story of how I came to use iGoogle as my PLE hub to bring together the strands of my PLN. This introduced the main part of the session which was a “show and tell” using Application Share to share my iGoogle page and talk about:

  • how I have set up the tabs (individual pages) and organised the content
  • discuss the gadgets available and how to access them
  • look at how I draw in those threads that don’t have a specific gadget available
  • how the page can be customised (I use a different theme for each of my tabs)

I found this really exciting because as I was sharing people were opening and exploring – sometimes “dusting off” their own iGoogle (or in some cases starting their own iGoogle ac). This made the session very participative as there were practical questions coming through text chat – including as always at least one I couldn’t answer about making tabs public.

We finished with “take-aways” these are always fascinating for me because they are so varied and illustrate so well how different we all are in our perceptions and understandings. This time (very pleasing for me)  there were many intending to experiment with iGoogle as a possible hub for their own PLN.


I really enjoyed doing this session for several reasons.

  1. The Reform Symposium (#RSCON) events always have such a buzz about them so just being part of it is exciting.
  2. I love it when I go away with homework from my “class”. It just confirms to me again that one of the best ways of learning and embedding understanding of something is to “teach” others about it!
  3. It is another fantastic way of connecting with my PLN around the globe – these events always feel to me as though I already know most of my audience.
  4. Having a global audience has an incredible feel all of its own and I find it quite awe inspiring that people from so many different places have chosen to come and listen to me.

I’m already looking forward to the next event and would like to finish this post with some thanks! Firstly many thanks to Denise (@mrsdkrebbs)  for being a fantastic Moderator for my session. Secondly a huge THANK YOU to ALL the organisers for their tremendous contributions to the smooth running of the event – in many cases behind the scenes. Thirdly very special thanks to Shelly Terrell (@ShellTerrell) (she who needs no sleep) and Clive Elsmore (@CliveSir) (master of timezones) for their stamina and overwhelming  committment to making #RSCON3 such a success.



Overview Edublogs webinar – “iGoogle, do youGoogle?”


This recorded Edublogs Fine Focus session followed the recent Google theme. This time it was my turn, the topic was iGoogle and how it provides the hub of my Personal Learning Environment (PLE)

The Session

I very much enjoyed this session as I  love to “play” with Elluminate and always like to share the various Web2.0 tools that I find useful.

The main aims of the session were to:

  • check we all had some idea about what iGoogle is
  • explore its use as the hub for a PLE
  • look at how the PLN strands can be drawn together on iGoogle through a variety of  available gadgets.

iGoogleDoYou resize

We made use of polling and whiteboard in the early stages of the session. However I mostly used Application Share to show everyone how I use iGoogle as the meeting point for all the strands of my PLN and my “e-life”. Then we took a look at how the new pages can be created and personalised with themes and chosen gadgets. During this section I handed control of my desktop to others so that they could add gadgets to one of my pages. As always I tried to pick up on questions in text as we went, but also asked for them after the Application Share ended. Finally we did a round up of “take-aways followed by feedback.


This was a fun session from my perspective and seemed to be enjoyed by all. My greatest satisfaction as always is when people have “take aways” that they feel will be useful to them and there were a number of these from this session.

Next Week

SerendipitybsmallOur next Webinar is an Edublogs “Serendipity” session, one of our fortnightly unconference sessions where we invite you to bring along your “hot topics” and “burning issues” for our poll on the topic of the day. If you want to propose a topic in advance then visit the Serendipity Wallwisher and add your topic. Then join us on Thursday Oct 14th at 23:00 GMT/UTC (7pm USA EST, Midnight BST) or Friday Oct 15th at 1am CEST,7am West Aus, 10am NSW, depending on your timezone – in the usual Elluminate room

In the Future

If you are a regular visitor to our webinars you will know that we alternate “Fine Focus” sessions on specific topics with “Serendipity” the unconference sessions where we choose a topic by poll at the start of the session. Sometimes the very fact of being asked for “hot topics” or other ideas for discussion or learning tends to make our minds blank. This has prompted me to start a Serendipity Wallwisher for topic suggestions. Please visit the wall and add your ideas for Serendipity topics so that we have more choices to consider. Some of these ideas might also form the basis for future “Fine Focus” sessions.