About Me

Most of the people that I know hold teaching in very high regard. Some even cannot fathom how I do what I do for a living- I am a 12th Grade Social Studies teacher! I teach Civics and Government at a charter school in Center City Philadelphia, PA. Each day I go to work knowing that I am making a difference in the lives of my students… the challenge for me is to make a more profound impact so that the Seniors in my charge will develop into outstanding citizens. 

I have been teaching now for 5 years. Before earning my Bachelors Degree from Temple University I was a soldier in the US Army. The military helped me discover a lot about myself and inspired me to pursue a teaching career. Currently,I am working on my Masters Degree in Special Education from Arcadia University. 


This is my first post for a blog ever.  Just wanted to introduce myself.  I teach middle school science in Philadelphia.  I love all forms of science and sports.  I am currently working on my M.Ed which is one of the reasons I actually started this blog in the first place.  I set-up this blog initially for ED677 class for Arcadia University.  I am hoping to learn the “ins and out” of Tumblr so I can use this as a great way to connect to others.

About me

Hi Everyone my name is Jessica and I am part of the ED677 class this semester. I am extremely excited to learn and connect with everyone. Currently I am in my last year at arcadia. I hope to graduate in May with my Masters in secondary education. 

I am currently teaching 7th and 8th grade math in West Philadelphia for the Philadelphia school district. This is my first year working with the district. For the last 6 years I was working at a Catholic High school teaching 9th-12th grade math. 

This Semester, I hope to learn new and exciting things that I can bring into my classroom. I also am Looking to research the decline in math scores across America. Being a math teacher, this topic is extremely important to me because each year I see so many students coming into to high school on a every low math level. I hope to find in my research a cause as to way these math score are declining. 

Hi, my name is Jennifer.  I am a second grade teacher.  This is my 15th year of…

Hi, my name is Jennifer.  I am a second grade teacher.  This is my 15th year of teaching.  I am currently pursuing my Connected Learning and Technology and STEM certificates at Arcadia.  I have a BS in Elementary Education, MS in Reading with Reading Specialist certification, and my ESL certificate.  I look forward to learning more about equity in education and using technology in the classroom!

Hi, my name is Jennifer.  I am a second grade teacher.  This is my 15th year of…

Hi, my name is Jennifer.  I am a second grade teacher.  This is my 15th year of teaching.  I am currently pursuing my Connected Learning and Technology and STEM certificates at Arcadia.  I have a BS in Elementary Education, MS in Reading with Reading Specialist certification, and my ESL certificate.  I look forward to learning more about equity in education and using technology in the classroom!

Week 1: Honoring Interests and Social Learning

Welcome to ED677!

I am Christina Cantrill and I work for the National Writing Project as Associate Director of National Programs. I am excited to work and learn with you this semester.

My background and experience is based on working alongside writing project educators exploring the implications of connected learning and literacy. You can connect to this work at Educator Innovator (feel free to sign up for our monthly newsletter).

I am looking forward to this chance to work with you and all and am keenly interested learning more about you. This first week we will take the time to introduce ourselves to each other, get familiar with the goal of this class, and get ourselves ready for the weeks ahead.

As we get started …

What does “connected learning” mean to you? Take a few moments to yourself and jot down some words that you think of when you read that phrase.

Note that there are no wrong answers to the question because whatever it means to you is probably exactly right — there are many ways to connect (both on and offline) and to learn through these connections.

Now take a moment and think about this — what does “equity” mean to you? Take another few moments to jot down these thoughts too.

Keep these notes for yourself somewhere and return to them throughout the semester. When you do you can ask yourself questions like this: What do you notice about your ideas about connected learning? About equity? What is changing? Staying the same? Why?


Although we will be using Arcadia’s Canvas LMS system, to a certain extent, I am primarily interested in us exploring and using a variety of tools that are on the Web (and the Open Web, whenever possible). I have set up this class blog for ED677 Spring 2018 (using WordPress) and encourage you to bookmark this and start there.

Please begin by pulling up the ED677 Syllabus for Spring 2019 and doing a close reading of it. I’d also like you to respond to it by making comments/annotations in the margins. Here are some questions to get you started: What excites you about this course? What raises questions?

(Note that the syllabus linked above is a Google Document. You can use the “commenting” tool to make comments and ask questions that the rest of us can see and respond to. You can also use the color highlighter to highlight parts you think are particularly interesting or exciting … or maybe even a little odd. And you can respond to each other. Please mark up this document with comments — I’d like to know what makes sense and what doesn’t before we get started.)


Our readings this week will give us some basic background information to some ideas and frameworks we will be using together through this semester.

Want to learn more about this framework of Connected Learning? Check out the What is Connected Learning? by Connected Learning Alliance. Then jump over to Educator Innovator and meet my colleague Kevin Hodgson in Practicing the Principles of Connected Learning.


Inspired by educators like Kevin, this course will encourage you to use a range of online tools and resources to support connecting to each other and to the wider world. As a key idea in this course is to explore the idea of social learning, we will be using the capacity of networked technologies to support us connecting with each other even at a distance. This will allow us to explore these practices together and develop our collective knowledge.

We will also explore what it means for each of us to maintain our own online space, even if only temporarily, so that we can practice doing this and reflect on the implications for teaching and learning. Establishing a blog is a simple way to get started and what I would recommend if you don’t have already. We will also be experimenting with using social media as well as social annotation tools like Hypothes.is and Now Comment.

Finally, we will connect all our links and spaces via the shared ED677 blog space. Once you create your blog and send me the URL, I can connect it to this shared blog. This will make our shared blog the “one-stop” shop for the weeks’ activities as well as finding the blogs of your classmates. (Note that if you already have a blog and would like to continue to use that one, that is fine — I just ask that you tag your relevant posts with #ED677).

Why blog?

Kevin makes some interesting points about why he blogs as an educator. Here is another interesting post by a math teacher about why to blog in the first place called Enrich and Enhance Your Professionalism through Blogging; and an “epilogue” post by a former librarian, now literacy teacher, who reflects on her experience blogging as she shifts professions (and yes, goes on to start a new blog).

The best way to familiarize yourself with blogging, as a genre and social tool — is to read and follow bloggers.

Setting up your blog for ED677

I would like us each to maintain our own blog to share writing and media with each other and the wider public throughout this semester. This week you should create that blog (or set up a blog you already have to work for this course). Once created, I would like you to connect all of our blogs to our ED677 Spring 2018 shared class blog.

I created a guide to help you with this process. Once you get it set up, post something to say hello and test that it is working. Then post your blog URL in our Canvas discussion so that we can all connect and follow you.


You made (or set up your already existing) blog for ED677! Nicely done.

Now, let’s do some posting together. Here is a prompt to respond to by making something — you might want to write a blog post or you may respond using a another form of communication (drawing, video, etc.) that you post to your blog. This prompt will be shared with the rest of the class and, ideally, publicly on your blog. It is meant to introduce yourself as part of our ED677 Community.

Describe an interest that you had as a young person, whether or not that interest was recognized as learning in school. Write or make something about it that you can share with others … Tell us about what might have piqued this interest. How did you pursue that interest or what did it make you think about? What and who supported you as you dove deeper? In what ways were your interests connected to school, or not? What were the implications?

Post this to your personal blog if you are comfortable doing so; once you post, add a link to the discussion in Canvas that I started for this week so we know where to find your posting.

If you don’t want to post this to your personal blog, post it in the discussion forum directly. Note that although I’d like to support you all in doing more public writing (ie. posting to your blog) than class writing (ie. posting to our class Canvas). However, at the beginning, it’s important to decide what you want to be public and what is more private/only for the class.

Feel free to tinker with where you post things and why. Challenge yourself to be clear about the choices you are making and why you are making them. Jot some notes to yourself about your thinking; we will chat more about this when we meet online.


Speaking of meeting online, it would be lovely if we could do a come-if-you-can meeting once every two weeks by video chat just to support each other and check in. I am proposing we start Tuesday evening January 22 at 7pm.

All meetings will be recorded and recordings made available if you can’t come. However if you cannot make this meeting, but would like to, please email me right away and let me know. And if Tuesday evenings at 7pm *never* work for you throughout the semester, please let me know what evenings might so adjustments can be made. Email me directly at cantrillc@arcadia.edu.

Have a great week ahead!