Helping teachers integrate technology into instruction

Archive for July, 2012

Week 13, July 25: The Last One – And a bunch of good stuff!

Wow!  Thirteen weeks have gone by really, really quickly – at least they have for me!  I hope that, by participating in these blog posts, that you have learned about at least a couple of new tools that you didn’t know about and are excited to try a couple of new things in the new school year!

When I first started this series, I intended to end today thinking that we were going to start back next week, on August 1st (hello, state legislature!).  Now, our delay is your gain.  With the extra time, you have a few extra days to go back and re-read and comment on any posts that you would like.  Don’t forget – participating in at least seven of the weeks gets you entered to win a Kindle Fire! 🙂

For our final entry, I’m going to leave you with a “slam” – a bunch of great tools for you to look at at your convenience.  There is a guy named Brandon Lutz who does an awesome presntation called, “60 in 60” – it’s 60 web tools that he presents in 60 minutes.  I had the opportunity to sit in on the presentation while I was at ISTE in June and it is amazing!  Talk about fast paced!!  I’m going to pass along his favorite 60 web tools for 2012 to you.   You don’t have to look at them all in an hour, though!  🙂  Some of them we’ve already looked at; some of them you won’t care for; it’s ok.  Use what you like, discard what you don’t.  The important thing is that you know about them and can make the determination for yourself!

Here is the link to the 60 in 60 website.  It has lots of information on it, including a Prezi presentation that you can watch that shows examples of each of these tools!

Ready?  Let’s go!

  1. Videolicious
  2. Prezi
  3. Poll Everywhere
  4. Edmodo
  5. Present Me
  6. Flubaroo
  7. Gooru Learning
  8. Spelling City
  9. Kid Zui
  10. Little Bird Tales
  11. Star Fall
  12. Hippo Campus
  13.  Course Hero
  14. Math Train
  15. Side Vibe
  16. Jog the Web
  17. Hackasaurus
  18. Simple Meet
  19. BlockSite (Addon) Firefox
  20. Class Dojo
  21. Mail Chimp
  22. Drop Box
  23. dushare
  24. iBooks Author
  25. Remind 101    http://remind`
  26.  Duolingo
  27. Boom Writer
  28. Scrible
  29. Paper Rater
  30. NBC Learn
  31. SpeakPipe
  32. Capzles
  33. Docs Teach
  34. Useful Charts
  35. Desktop QR Code Reader
  36. QR Stuff
  37. QR Voice
  38. ptable
  39. screenr
  40. anymeeting
  41. Jeopardy Labs
  42. Study Blue
  43. Pearltrees
  44. Spaaze
  45. Free Sound
  46. Vocaroo
  47. ifttt
  48. Blabbarize
  49. PhotoSynth
  50. Jelly Cam
  51. ToonTastic
  52. Producteev
  53. Reflection
  54. Tweet Chat
  56. Sumdog
  57. Smore
  58. Pinterest
  59. Mentimeter
  60. Incredibox

Week 12, July 18: Diigo

This week, we’re going to take a few minutes and look at Diigo.  Diigo is a great tool for both students and teachers!  If you browse or read a lot on the web, we believe you will probably love Diigo! Diigo is two services in one — it is a research and collaborative research tool on the one hand, and a knowledge-sharing community and social content site on the other.  Watch this short video to learn about the main features of Diigo, as well as some of its many features.  For extra help, this site has some additional videos that you can use.

Diigo has an education portal with tools for teachers. There, you can set up protected class Diigo accounts so that your students can share resources with each other.  Your students can use Diigo to keep track of their research, highlight work they are reading online, and save web pages for later viewing.

To start, explore the education groups in Diigo to see how others are sharing resources with each other.  If you like what you see and think Diigo might be for you, go ahead and sign up for an account – it’s free!

What do you think about Diigo?  Do you already use it, or another similar tool?

Week 11, July 11th: Twitter

As you all know, I’m a big advocate of using Twitter as a professional development tool.   This week, we’re going to look at how you can use Twitter to build your professional learning network and also gain invaluable resources!  That’s right, the same social networking site that your students use to talk about sports and Lady Gaga, can be used for some of the best professional development!

There are two keys to getting dynamic information out of Twitter:  1) who you follow, and 2) hashtags.

Who You Follow.  When you choose to follow someone on Twitter, everything that that person tweets will show up on your timeline.  In the picture below, you can see the tweets of just a few of the people that I am following.  They include the November Learning organizations; educators Brent Catlett and Steven Anderson; a social media institute; and Beth Sanders, a social studies teacher in Tarrant, AL.

There are so many educators across the country who share rich content on a regular basis.  Once you find one or two of them, you simply look at who they follow and then follow the same people.  Before you know it, you have a very dynamic, interactive professional network.  And when I say interactive – I mean interactive!  I have yet to find an educator on Twitter who won’t discuss and/or respond to you.  Are you familiar with author Todd Whitaker?  He is on Twitter and has endeared himself with many in MCS who tweet.  If you tweet him or mention him in a tweet, don’t be surprised if you get a response!

Hashtags.  Hashtags are very important to finding the information that you want on Twitter amid all of the “noise.”  Hashtags are the keywords that come after the pound sign (#) and is a way of organizing topics.  For example, we use #MCSLearn to share information related to resources in Madison City.  The picture below shows a search on the hashtag #MCSLearn.  Notice that the hashtag can appear anywhere in the tweet.

This next picture shows a search on the hashtag #edchat.  #Edchat is one of the largest education chats on Twitter.

Many Twitter chats, like #Edchat, have live chats at scheduled times.  However, even during non-scheduled chat times, there is almost always activity.  Things are tweeted on the hashtags pretty much constantly.  So, while participating in a live chat can be fun, it’s just as beneficial to go back at your convenience and search on the hashtag and read over the information that was posted.

To get started with Twitter, click here.   If you already have an account, go ahead and sign in.  If you don’t have an account, you’ll need to create one by entering your full name, your email address, and a password, and then click the Sign Up For Twitter button.

On the next page, you will be given the option to pick your Twitter username.  Don’t worry too much about this; if you pick one now that you decide you don’t like, you can change it later.   Once you have created your account, Twitter will send a confirmation email to the email account you specified when setting up your account.  You will need to go to that email and click on the link provided in order to verify your account.  Make sure you complete this step in the process!

Once you have completed the sign up process and are in Twitter, click on the Home button at the top left of the screen (it looks like a house and says Home).  Once there, you’re going to go to the search box at the top right of the screen.  That is where you are going to enter in the following search terms, one at a time.

First, type in #MCSLearn – don’t worry about capitalization, it doesn’t matter.  What that search is going to pull up is our district Twitter feed.  Now, it might look a little bare right now because it’s the middle of July; however, during the school year, there is a lot of information that is being shared on this hashtag.

Now, type in #edchat – WOW!  That brings up a whole lot of information, doesn’t it?  If you will look through it carefully, you will notice that some of the tweets contain links.  This is where you find the gold; people will link to all kinds of resources that you may never have found otherwise (especially things that they create specifically for their own use, but share with their Twitter friends)!

If you want to learn more about following people, who to follow, etc., you can find the MCS Twitter for Teachers document here.

Here are 10 Steps for Educators New to Twitter.

For a thorough listing of educators to follow on Twitter, as well as a listing of educational chats (hashtags), you need to click on Cybraryman’s Twitter page.

I know that some of you already use Twitter; for those of you who don’t, I hope that you will at least spend some time and check it out.  I think you might be pleasantly surprised!  As always, let me know if you need any help!

Week 10, July 4th: Pinterest

Happy 4th of July!  Or, maybe I should say, “Happy 5th!” since I’m sure that no one is online on a holiday!  Did any of you have friends and/or family over to celebrate the holiday?  If so, how many of you looked to Pinterest for ideas for recipes, decorations, cleaning tips, etc.?  I mean, really, is there anything that you can’t find on Pinterest??

What is Pinterest?  Pinterest is a virtual corkboard.  Imagine a real corkboard where you pin newspaper and magazine articles and clippings that interest you; Pinterest is just like that, only online – you are pinning websites instead of magazine clippings.  Plus, even better, you get to look at not only your corkboard, but the boards of thousands (millions!) of other users, too!  Here is a very brief video on Pinterest in Plain English.

Here is information on Four Ways to Use Pinterest in Education.

And here is more on 16 Ways Educators Use Pinterest

Pinterest is organized into multiple categories, from Architecture to Weddings & Events.  Interested in travel?  You’ll find information on Pinterest.  Want to redecorate your home?  Pinterest.  Like sports? Gardening? Children’s clothing?  Health food?  Yep, you’ll find it all on Pinterest!  Below is a picture of the categories that Pinterest currently has.

Now, here’s the thing about Pinterest’s categories….it’s pretty much a free for all once you click inside a category.  For example, I clicked on the Education category and the picture, below, is what popped up first.

See what I mean?  The trick is to find “pinners” that you trust and follow them. (Now, I’m going to make a confession here:  You don’t want to follow me on Pinterest.  I’m a terrible pinner.  I love to follow people; I love to look at what other people pin to their boards and how they organize their information; but, I don’t pin.  I need to do better!)  Here are some really good pinners for you to follow:

Did you get any ideas for your classroom?  In addition to lesson plans, décor, activities, etc., you can also use Pinterest as a repository for your students.  Pin websites that you want them to use for projects.  Students can also use Pinterest for collaborative projects!  So what do you think about Pinterest?  Do you see ways that it can help you as an educator?  Have you already used it as a classroom resource?

A last note about Pinterest:  If you do not already have a Pinterest account, you cannot just register and join like you can other sites; you must be invited.  If you are not a member and would like to have an invitation, just let me know and I will have one emailed to you (just let me know which email address to use for you).

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