Thing 1 (Week 1): Lifelong Learning


Congratulations! You are at the beginning of a self-guided learning journey.
As teachers, we are keenly aware that learning never stops.

Even so, it will require a bit of dedication and determination to keep moving through this course, past hiccups and technical glitches, past the overwhelm of what will be, for many of us, learning about completely new tools and concepts, past the competing pressures of incredibly busy lives and schedules.

As you begin to work through the course, you will notice a pattern in each "Thing" -- Introduction, Discovery Exercise, Task... To complete (and get credit for) each "Thing," you must work through all parts of the Discovery Exercise AND complete all parts of the Task, typically reflecting on your experience in a blog post.

It is helpful to read through each entire "Thing" before completing the Discovery Exercises and Tasks, so that you know where you are headed. Along the way, you will be offered an occasional "Stretch" task. These are not required, but will help you to further explore -- everyone should try at least some of them, especially if you are already familiar with a particular tool or concept.

Ready to get started? Now is a great time to reflect on your stance as a lifelong learner.

Discovery Exercise: You as a Lifelong Learner

To complete this exercise, you will need a headset with mic, or computer speakers and a microphone (make sure they are plugged in and turned on). View the Voicethread presentation below (click the play arrow) to hear about some helpful lifelong learning strategies. During "Thing 3", you will complete your first blog post reflecting on the 7 1/2 Habits, so you may wish to take a few notes.

(Sidebar: Voicethread is an amazing tool with almost limitless possibility for classroom application. Upload images or video and users can make text, audio and video comments, and even draw on the images while commenting. Learn more here. Want examples? Look here, here and here.)

As you review the 7 1/2 Habits of Highly Effective Lifelong Learners, consider three things:
  1. Which habit(s) may be most challenging for you to employ as part of your 21Things experience?
    Example: Even though you are a master teacher, you cringe at the thought of teaching others how to use technology tools. (Habit 7)
  2. Which habit(s) will be easiest, or is most resonant for you as a lifelong learner?
    Example: You always begin with a goal in mind when learning about new technologies. (Habit 1)
  3. Which habit do you think will be most important for you as you work through this course, and why?
    Example: Viewing problems as challenges will be most important, because you often find technology problems frustrating and defeating (Habit 4)

7 1/2 Habits of Highly Effective Lifelong Learners

⌘ TIP: If you aren't seeing/hearing yours and others' comments, be sure to close any additional webpages you may have open in other tabs or windows.
If there are many comments on a slide, you may see a "more" button at the bottom of the slide which will take you to a second screen of comments.


1. Make one Comment on VoiceThread.

After viewing the presentation, leave ONE reflective/explanatory audio or video comment on the slide that depicts the habit you feel will be most important for you in completing this course. (You will need a microphone or webcam!). Notice that other comments exist on the page, comments by other educators who have previously completed this activity.

‡ Instructions: How to register for and leave a comment on a Voicethread
(If you already have a Voicethread account, please feel free to use that for your log-in!)
  1. Click the "Sign In or Register" button on the presentation above and register as instructed. (Use your Gmail account).
  2. Go to the slide depicting the habit upon which you will comment. (Use the forward arrow or click the navigation icon -- looks like four squares).
  3. Click the Comment button. Select the type of comment (video, voice, or text); then click Record. (If asked to allow Voicethread to access your microphone, click Allow).
  4. Start talking (Don't be nervous! You can cancel and re-record as many times as you want.)
  5. Click stop recording when you are finished. You will hear a preview of your recording.
  6. Click Save (or Cancel to start over). Your comment will appear on one side of the slide.

Video version of these instructions:

‡ HELP Video: How to register for and leave a comment on a Voicethread

My avatar...
TIP: Voicethread recording works better if you don't have a bunch of webpages open in other tabs or windows competing for your computer's resources. Close everything but the page/tab containing the Voicethread. You can watch the presentation by clicking on the presenter's avatar (the owl) on each slide then going to the next slide. Otherwise, you'll listen to/view all the comments left by others.

Presenter's Avatar

Stretch Task (OPTIONAL, but more fun for everyone!):
Upload an image (a.k.a avatar) to personalize your Voicethread comment. Use an image from your computer (please remember copyright), or other free image site.

This page modified only slightly from Thing 1 at K12Learning2.0.