Moments That Take Our Breath Away

“Life is not measured by the breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.” ~ Hilary Cooper

Thank you for another year of inspiration. Your support, participation, collaboration and sharing made 2013 momentous.

I am a goal-oriented person. Each year, I adopt a theme/vision and set goals, action plans, and keynotes that support this theme. In 2013, I adopted the theme, This is My Moment, which was also the theme for Cycle 4 of The 30 Goals Challenge for Educators. I was driven to push boundaries and improve the quality of professional development for teachers worldwide. This entailed developing materials and events that were affordable, valuable, and accessible. The achievements, which were highly collaborative, exceeded my expectations and resulted in me conducting over 60 presentations, workshops, and keynotes for over 10,000 teachers and students worldwide.

Projects and Achievements for 2013/2014

With the help of my Passionate Learning Network (PLN), I:

In addition to these projects, I was able to help teachers in Slovenia and Croatia integrate Bring Your Own Technology (BYOT) and give workshops and keynotes in Florida, Georgia, Michigan, Nebraska, Las Vegas, San Antonio, New Jersey, Kentucky, Missouri, Washington, D.C., and in the UK.

Free 2014 Resources and Events

The average teacher will impact nearly 3000 individuals. That is why I believe so strongly in these projects. Without your help and support they wouldn’t be effective. I feel very blessed. As a token of thanks I have created this Resource page with links to various free materials and events,, or check out the embedded image below. I’ve also included a video of my 2013 moments. This is a mash-up of moments that were captured by Facebook, Google Plus, and Instagram. Create yours at and The song is “Sentiment d ‘amour (Feeling Love)” by Syenta, 2011, licensed under Creative Commons Attribution Noncommercial (3.0).

Video: 2013 Moments

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Nudges We Create & Watch Breathe New Life

“We get to make things. Things that make the world nudge a little bit in what we hope is the right direction.” Wilson Miner, Webstock 2012

recite-16031--930386081-1ayn6lrI’ve been thinking a lot about our ability to create and the impact of what we leave behind when we no longer exist. As an educator,  speaker, writer, human being I plant daily. I plant thoughts, ideas, emotions, inspiration, energy, passion, etc. I don’t always plant positive seeds, especially when I take for granted my interactions, choices and actions. Sometimes, we just don’t think about these things. Life and its slumps get in the way. We need to create, be a part of something, or do something that makes us reflect on our actions and choices. We need books to read, music that inspires us, podcasts to digest, conversations to reflect on, and so forth.

Recently, the 30 Goals Challenge for Educators began and now I’m surrounded daily with inspiration and already I have seen the positive change it has made in my life. My blog is no longer empty. My presence in my social networks is more positive. I am visiting and reading more blogs. I’m listening to friend’s podcasts, asking friends how they are doing, participating in more projects, writing more creatively and enjoying life more. I wake up with a smile, a glow, a jump as if I have been ignited again.

What do we do when our creation is in danger of dying?

It’s funny how we don’t think about the impact of our creations. I created the 30 Goals. It’s my baby, but in 4 years it has taken a life of its own and others have become a part of it and made it into something beyond what I could ever do alone. Last year, I thought it would die. It was too much for me to do alone. I felt overwhelmed. This year I decided to make it less about me and more about the community. I contemplated for months how I could make it more collaborative and highlight the creations that are inspired by the 200+ educators who are taking part now.

Allowing our PLN to revive us….

We need people and we need to allow their creativity and inspiration to breathe new life into our creations. I think educators sometimes have a problem with allowing others to take over. We create so much in our lives. We create lesson plans, lectures, PowerPoints, worksheets, posters, documents, learning stations, bulletin boards, curriculums, instructional plans, etc. We invest so much of ourselves that it is difficult to let it go and allow our students to take that from us and contribute to it. Maybe we feel it will be vandalized or we won’t be able to direct the outcome. I like to be surprised by the outcome. I like to think that the various projects I’ve helped create- #Edchat, The Reform Symposium, and The 30 Goals Challenge for Educators- will still be around inspiring others long after I am gone. If these projects do continue to live and inspire it is only because my PLN (passionate learning network) has kept them alive. For that I am blessed and extremely grateful.

This reflection was inspired by Wilson Miner’s When We Build Talk, which was shared by @ILOTimo. I’ve made the following quotes from his 43 min presentation using Recite This. Maybe you don’t have 43minutes but if you have 6 minutes catch the presentation from 36:40 on up. I hope you are as inspired as I was.

Wilson Miner’s Talk

Webstock ’12: Wilson Miner – When we build from Webstock on Vimeo.

Screen Shot 2013-07-10 at 9.32.45 PM

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Happy Holidays from Shelly & Rosco!

This year has been amazing because you have shared with us and inspired us. In April 2009, I began my journey using social media (Twitter, Facebook, Nings, Second Life, blogs, etc.) to develop my passionate/personal learning network (PLN). I was so inspired by my PLN that I sought out to visit you at various conferences and events worldwide. This has led me to numerous incredible adventures with my PLN including roadtrips to Poland, a birthday party in Paris, a wedding in Istanbul, lunches on Brighton beach, sunbathing in the Greek islands, riding elephants in Thailand, watching Flamenco in Spain, dining in pubs throughout the UK and Toronto, and singing karaoke in Tokyo, Paris, Philly, and throughout the UK. I have visited 20 countries and 100s of cities to meet you and will be visiting more to meet more of you in 2012. Thank you for being such a blessing in our lives.



Thank the people who have been a blessing in your life.


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11 of ’11 Projects Transforming Education

Adam Simpson, an educator in Turkey, recently challenged bloggers to reflect on and post 11 of their best blog posts of 2011 (11 of 11). Reading several of the blogger’s posts and different takes on it has spurred me to reflect on my past year blogging and collaborating with my passionate/personal learning network (PLN) who inspire me and support me daily. I am a better person and educator because they share and believe in me. Daily, I am grateful for being blessed with such an incredible Passionate Learning Network.

My 2011 Journey

I will take a spin and post 11 projects I take part in that I believe are transforming education. These projects are the reason why I haven’t blogged as much as I would like to, because I believe that part of transformation is taking that bold step to act upon what you believe. I believe a quality education improves the world because it opens minds, breaks generational cycles, and perpetuates new positive cycles. Every child to adult I help realize their potential means they are helping the world become a better place. I am helping them stay away from poverty and crime. I take that job very seriously and whenever anyone tells me it can’t be done, I just do it. I don’t worry about the criticisms and I don’t even look at any obstacles. As Henry Ford says, “Obstacles are those frightful things you see when you take your eyes off your goals.”

Over 11 of ’11 Projects

I hope by sharing these projects you will be able to see the potential of what you can do when you collaborate with others to activate your passion. With the support and collaboration of my PLN, I have been able to be a part of projects that have impacted tens of thousands of people worldwide. I have been collaborating with educators online for less than 3 years. Imagine the possibilites of every person activating their passion with the support of their PLN.

  • The 30 Goals Challenge- Over 7000 educators worldwide have participated in accomplishing goals to transform their classrooms and impact their students. Educators who join receive a free ebook and have access to several videos and podcasts to help them achieve their goals. More importantly they get to reflect upon these goals on Twitter (#30Goals), Facebook, or on their blogs and receive the support of 1000s of educators also accomplishing these goals.
  • The Reform Symposium Free E-Conference- This past August we had 80 presenters and 12 keynote speakers that impacted over 4100 educators worldwide in 100 countries! Organised by educators for educators, it was FREE but offered more valuable and inspiring Professional Development than money could buy! If you didn’t manage to attend you can catch up by viewing the Recordings.
  • The Virtual Round Table E-Conference- ELTon nominated free online conference focusing on language and technology. Unique in that participants can attend via a live video conference or in Second Life.
  • #Edchat- Join over 2000 educators on Twitter every Tuesday at 12pm EST/6pm EST to discuss various educational topics you get to vote for and suggest.
  • #ELTChat- Join English language teaching educators worldwide on Twitter every Wednesday at 12:00 pm London time, at 21:00 pm London time to discuss various educational topics you get to vote for and suggest.
  • TESOL’s free Electronic Village Online (EVO) sessions- These are free online 5 week courses that start January 9th and end February 12th. You can choose from several courses including the Digital Storytelling for Young Learners one I am moderating with a dream team (Esra Girgin, Barbara Sakamoto, Özge Karaoglu, Jennifer Verschoor, David Dodgson, Michelle Worgan, and Sabrina De Vita)
  • 140 Character Conferences- Jeff Pulver has been amazing in getting celebrities, educators, and leaders in various fields to speak passionately about how social media is revolutionizing their fields. If you cannot attend physically, then attend virtually. I help organize the educational panels so if you hear of one coming to your city and would like to take part, please let me know. Jeff live streams the talks! Follow the hashtag, #140Conf for continuous updates.
  • Cooperative Catalyst Blog- Read about the projects and ways educators are transforming education daily. Several bloggers challenge readers to rethink traditional education models. I have enjoyed adding a few posts to the mix.
  • Free Friday Webinars- Thanks to the American TESOL Institute, I conduct free 30 minute online webinars on the Adobe Connect platform every Friday at 4pm EST (New York Time), 3pm Austin, TX, 1pm LA, California, 9pm London Time, 10pm Paris Time, 11pm Athens/Istanbul Time, Sat 8am Sydney time, and Sat. 6am Tokyo time. This is the Adobe Room to join!,  Check out the Livebinder resources and past recordings-
  • Simple K12 webinars- Attend free webinars with experts on various topics. I often present for Simple K12 and they won a 2011 Edublogs Award!
  • The Educators’ PLN Ning- The Educator’s PLN is a great place to interact and learn from other educators. We have hosted free live chats with various educational leaders. In the past we featured Alfie Kohn, Howard Rheingold, Diane Ravitch, Chris Lehmann, Steve Hargadon, Jim Burke, and others.
  • The Horizon Report, K-12- This amazing free e-report was curated by education thought leaders worldwide. We identified 6 technology trends to transform education and show examples of them in schools worldwide.


Try activating your passion project in 2012! Let us know about it so we can help you get the support you need.

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What 2012 passion project will you activate?

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Why Not Use Social Networks? by Joel Josephson

by Guest Author, Joel Josephson

Why Not Use Social Networks?

Educators that are not using Facebook often use the arguments that they are concerned for their:

  1. Privacy
  2. Time

Although there are other arguments used I will try to answer these two in this article.


At the root of Social networks is the personalisation of your online character through your contributions to the networks. This can be restricted to your professional character but your personal character, your private life, can be kept separately off the network.

I would strongly recommend using your real identity on the networks. To gain the maximum benefit professionally other users need to see who and what you do, and evaluate you as a worthy, professional friend. They need to see the synergies with their own professional area. It must be remembered that these are personal networks, and limiting your exposure as a business or institution limits the personalisation of your involvement.

On Facebook I place all my contacts in to Friend lists, (I have about 30 now). These can be broadly categorized by:

  • Professional
  • Family & Friends
  • Social Game players (I own up, I play games, although this, of course is about my research in to the use of games in education … cough cough)

Using the ‘Custom’ privacy settings Facebook allows me to select which list of friends I permit to view all the various areas of information about me, including posting to my wall. So Family see/do everything. Some Professional, for example, do not see photos of my children. Game players see nothing at all.

It does take some effort to set up the groups and privacy settings but once they are done, you don’t have to think about it again. When you ‘Add a new friend’ you just assign the person to one of your lists. As an additional measure I do look at the privacy settings periodically to see if Facebook have changed anything.


Social networking has saved me years of work. I will repeat that: Social networking has saved me years of work

What I gain in information and understanding, arguments and knowledge have infinitely expanded on core areas of my professional life and led me to new ideas, better, smarter ways of doing things and a group of people that I can always turn to for answers.

The web tools that I have been led to by my network have infinitely raised the quality and effectiveness of my work and the information flow takes me in directions and synergies that could only be achieved through weeks of effort.

So are SNs time consuming or wasteful? Everything can be diverting, TV, newspapers, radio, books it is all better then sitting working (sometimes).

We bring discipline to our work, or we would not be were we are, and we bring the same discipline to our use of Social Networks. We control the time we spend on them by evaluating the importance of the information or network and its value to our work. We know when we are wasting time and when we are being productive and it is exactly the same when using a social network.

Of course, when you first create a public profile on Facebook all the friends and acquaintances that you have made over the years will come knocking on the door, wanting to ‘Friend’ you. I have found that after a very short while and you have caught up, this reduces to the very occasional trickle. You can also control the flow using the privacy controls described above.


In my opinion, the advantages of being ‘personally’ involved far outweigh any negatives. There is nothing to fear on a privacy level or time. So take the plunge, the water is warm, mainly clean and you get to swim with some of the most interesting and uplifting professionals on the planet.

Of course the aPLaNet EuropeAN project,, and aPLaNet Ning community,, will be providing answers and practical help on how to build your own personal network for your professional development. If you are an experienced user of the networks and have your own PLN then we also invite you to become an aPLaNet mentor (join the Ning).

Joel Josephson is the initiator/partner in 17 innovative European language projects. Joel is well known for his exciting and effective approaches to motivate language learners. Joel runs the EU_Educators Facebook group, that is sharing EU projects globally. He also founded the Kindersite Project early learning website, one of the first effective sites for schools. Formerly involved in high tech at the start of the Internet, he had 2 successful start-ups and consulted to technology companies. He has brought his understanding of technology into education by initiating many interesting projects with innovative uses of ICT. His Twitter handle is @acerview54.

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What are your favorite ways to learn online? Did I miss any other great professional development opportunities?

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