Independence School Team 1

The Independence School - Newark Delaware


Team Members


In this picture:
Sue, Chrissy, Christy, Bree, Sheila, Elaine
Twitter Name
Sheila Fredericks
Computer Teacher
Sue Donaghy
Asst Head of School
Christy Koense
1st Grade Teacher
Elaine Maggioli
MS Science Teacher
Bree Tease
Computer Teacher
Chrissy Weir
Early Childhood Teacher

Sheila Fredericks Team Leader
Computer Education Teacher/Computer Coordinator
I am very proud of the work my team accomplished. Our PLN Integration Plan will help our teachers become 21st Century teachers and learners. Through hard work and collaboration, we put a great plan together. We took one simple idea, and developed it into a plan that will greatly benefit our teachers, and ultimately, our students. We are a diverse group: an administrator, two computer teachers, an early childhood teacher, a first grade teacher, and a middle school science teacher, and, yet, we all worked as a cohesive group. This diversity helped us understand what would be best for the whole school and not just one division.
My team members are an enthusiastic, dedicated group of teachers who care deeply about our students and ensuring that our students will become 21st learners. I could not have asked for a better team! They inspired me! Thank you, team, for everything!
Sue Donaghy
Assistant Head of School
Christy Koense
First Grade Teacher
Technology is fascinating to me and I am looking forward to integrating it even more into my classroom.
Elaine Maggioli
Middle School Science Teacher
Excited to learn more about different technologies and how to integrate them into my classes.
Bree Tease
Computer Education Teacher
Technology ... It all starts here!
Chrissy Weir
Early Childhood Teacher
I am hoping this program will help me find ways to have young students and their parents use technology to collaborate effectively.

In this action research project, we want our faculty and staff to understand the importance of developing a Personal Learning Network (PLN) as a professional development tool. It will center around the development and use of The Independence School NING. The NING will be used as an inter-school communication tool within departments, subject areas, and grade levels. Additionally, it can be used for administration to communicate with the entire staff. Our goal is for the staff to see the value of this type of communication and branch out globally.

Problem, Issue, or Possibility
As our school looks towards redefining itself, we want to help teachers learn to share and collaborate within our own community, learn to reach beyond our school community, and integrate technology. We want our teachers to develop and share personal learning networks as a resource to help us become life-long learners in all aspects of teaching. We also want to help our staff develop connections within our school and strengthen the communication and collegiality.

Objectives and Assessment
We want our teachers:
1. to understand the importance of developing a Personal Learning Network (PLN)
  • Personal Learning Networks can be used as a professional development tool
  • making our teachers 21st century educators will make our students 21st century learners
2. to use the school NING for communication within the school
  • to develop NING groups for announcements, sharing, & collaboration between subject areas, grade levels, & departments
  • as a forum for questions about the implementation of the new school management software
  • as a forum for questions, comments, ideas about the new curriulum areas (ie new reading series)
  • as a forum for questions, comments, ideas about new technology (smartboards, digital storytelling, websites)

3. to join other NINGs to communicate globally in their subject areas and grade levels
  • sharing information from conferences & seminars
  • for scheduling conferences & seminars
  • as a forum for questions, comments, ideas about new technology (smartboards, digital storytelling, websites)
  • to encourage teachers to develop their own Personal Learning Network (PLN) as they become 21st century teachers

4. to introduce teachers to using social networks as a classroom & professional tool
  • continue use and development of WikiSpaces
  • explore use of Twitter and other social networking sites
  • use the school Symbaloo as a platform for resources and organizing frequently used online resources

Our assessments the first year will be to see if the teachers are using the Ning, and then revise our assessment criteria after the first year. We want our teachers to use our Ning to start their PLN within our school. Ultimately, they will use other tools to collaborate with the world!

We will:
1. Use a December 2011 Post-Survey for comparison to our Spring 2011 Pre-Survey results on online usage
2. In July 2012 (2011-2012 school year), we will compare our standarized test results from July 2011 (2010-2011 school year) to see if there is an increase in student performance
3. We will plot the usage of the school NING on a trimester basis (November, March, June)

Implementation Plan
  • January 2011: Faculty meeting- Give brief overview and explanation of the tasks that the PLP teams are involved in this year
  • March 2011: Estabilish the INDEPENDENCE NING- get funding and arrange to start Ning
  • March/April 2011: Team members join Ning, establish Groups, use creative design elements
  • March/April 2011: Survey faculty concerning use of technology
  • May 2011: Produce video to attract attention to benefits of school NING
  • May 2011: Faculty meeting- Introduce NING- use creative, entertaining methods to generate interest and develop of sense of need within the faculty. Explain to faculty how to join.
  • May 2011 - June 2012: Monitor use of NING. Team members and administrators are encouraged to visit atleast one time per week through summer. Continued monitoring will occur on a trimester basis through the 2011-2012 school year.
  • August 2011: Faculty Inservice: Touch base with faculty, discuss use of NING for the year, answer questions
  • December 2011: Post Survey of faculty
  • July 2012: Assessment of student learning/achievement as a result of Faculty NING usage.

Evaluation and Results

What lessons have we learned?:
  • From the results of the pre-survey, we confirmed what we suspected, that most of our staff ...
    • do not use social networking sites for professional use.
    • do not use an online organizational tool
    • rely on collegues for professional development instead of online resources
    • do not use web based tools in the classroom

Where we are NOW:
Our Independence NING has been funded and created. All PLP group members have joined various groups or forums have been established. Group members are beginning to communicate within our NING. An Independence Symbaloo has been created, various resources by grade level have been established. The link for the Independence NING is centralized on the symbaloo page. Students in middle school have been introduced to symbaloo. We are currently waiting to plan a presentation for the faculty and staff to introduce faculty to the concept of PLNs and the Independence NING.
Artifacts and Documentation
Below are various documents, presentations, and other items connected to our Action Reseach Project:
  • Pre-Survey given to faculty and staff:
external image vnd.openxmlformats-officedocument.wordprocessingml.document.png Pre-survey.docx
external image vnd.openxmlformats-officedocument.wordprocessingml.document.png Pre-survey Results.docx

Presentation for PLP to introduce our project

Presentation given by Team Leader, Sheila Fredericks, during an Independence Faculty meeting to introduce the mission of PLP groups

Click on link to see notes:

Independence In*Service

Video created by team as "teaser" for our Action Research Project. To be presented during PLP Showcase and Indy faculty meeting:

Links to the Independence School NING and the Independence School Symbaloo:
The Independence School NING
Independence Symbaloo

Othervideos that highlight benefit of PLN development:



Problem Stated


How to find me:
twitter: fredericks_tis
youtube: sfrederickstis
teachertube: sfredericks
google: old
edublogs: (inactive)
wiki: sheilafred
delicious: sfredericks
diigo: sfredericks
my plp cohort site: Friedericks_TIS_PLP

use the handbook to see where we should be each week.
form - critical friendswhen your're watching each other teach tpack,
what is the pedagogy
what is the teaching strategy
what is the content
what is the technology

pedogogy = teaching in whole group, etc.

Ning-action research group has the slides.
tpack-tagged curriculum

need to do critical friends-watch each group.
create a lesson plan

PLP Introduction to Indy-1-3-11 Inservice
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January 3rd Inservice to Introduce PLP projects

During the January 3rd Inservice we introduced our teachers to our PLP (Powerful Learning Practices) projects. It introduced Personal Learning Networks and Web 2.0 tools to the teachers. We showed several movies to show them that they need to be 21st century teachers and learners.

Intro Movie:

(get rid of ads after start)


Examples to use in classroom:
1st grade google earth with demonstrating glogster, blabberize, and discovery education

3rd-Oprah Winfrey-Black History Month Blab

Delaware Vuvox

voicethread for lower school class

5th grade-50 state glog:
Thomas Jefferson explains...for middle school students

Middle School:Symbaloo: Welcome to my PLE (This is our personalized Symbaloo:

Web 2.0 online journal online voice recording work on listening skills make an animated movie with text bubbles graphically represents word frequency--great for essays online post it notes

Google Apps: we now have Google Apps for middle school

Google apps: don't log in with, use this one:

Why do you want to use Google docs?

Teachers and educators talk about google docs...good movie. Includes one teacher saying that she can see who's doing the lion's share of the work! (ideas for presentation file)