Category: Social Networks (page 2 of 5)

TCEA Areas 10/11 Conference Links

Thanks to all who participated in my sessions/workshop today at the area TCEA conference. As promised, here are the links to the resources that were shared and a few more. Let me know if I can provide anything else! Also, if you attended either my own session on Voicethread or another on the tool, please add your implementation ideas to the Voicethread Wallwisher wall below. Thanks again!

Workshop: Collaborative Storytelling with Voicethread

Image collections

Not Again! Presentation Tools That Aren’t Just Another PowerPoint

PowerPoint sharing/collaboration/tools

Alternatives to PowerPoint

Spread the Word: Generating School or Classroom Buzz with Web 2.0

Microblogging

Social Networks

Video Sites for Creating Your Own Channel

Streaming Video Channels

Examples

21st Century Skills Resources

    2008-2009 Technology Integration Progress Report

    report cardThe 2008-2009 school year saw some exciting developments in the use of technology in Birdville schools, and there are increasing signs that many teachers and administrators here no longer view technology as an exciting addition, but as a critical necessity. Among other trends, the district witnessed explosive growth in the number of students enrolled in online courses. A new digital media system will make storing and retrieval of digital content faster and accessible from any Internet-connected computer. Video is gaining momentum rapidly, as more campuses add webcams and small, portable video cameras to the arsenals of teachers and students.

    Web 2.0 tools also continue their steady infiltration of the day-to-day activities of students, teachers, and administrators. Our department launched a very successful program to educate administrators on a wide variety of educational technologies this year. Called Lunch and Learn, the program offered short (1 hour) introductions to technology over a gourmet lunch (usually pizza). The response was very positive, and plans are under way to continue the program next year.

    The 12 Second Tech Challenge was started on a whim as an effort to encourage reluctant teachers to try new tools in short bursts. I offered the challenges (and possible prizes, such as web cams, graphics tablets, wireless presenter mice, etc.) to my own campuses, and I received excellent participation and feedback asking for more. I am hopeful that the project will be a district-wide offering next year.

    Numerous Web 2.0 tools have gained a significant foothold in the teaching practices of our district campuses. Blogging and wikis continue to have a significant impact. Two campuses, for instance, established student news sites using Edublogs. Students published researched stories, conducted interviews, reported on school events, and incorporated videos of campus events. Twitter is beginning to be utilized in exciting ways. As examples, a middle school teacher (Twitter name foxworth) utilized the tool to communicate news and course information to students and parents. Several campuses, such as Birdville High School and Holiday Heights Elementary, are using Twitter to broadcast campus events and announcements to parents and the community. Ustream was used by the technology department, campuses, and several teachers to stream class and district events, training, and more. The availability of YouTube in the district let teachers and students access powerful educational videos and, even more exciting, to create and share their own work with a global audience. Communication tools, such as Skype, Dimdim, and Mebeam allowed classes to collaborate with other students in distant locations and teachers to attend training (see below) from the comfort of their classrooms.

    Student creativity was encouraged through the use of online tools such as Glogster, Animoto, and VoiceThread. Online office applications began to be utilized, with tools such as Google Forms showing particular promise for conducting surveys, gathering data, assessing student progress, etc. The online quiz tool MyStudiyo gained a following among teachers who incorporated the interactive products into class websites and blogs.

    The list could certainly go on, but this gives a good, general view of some of the exciting ways teachers and administrators have taken to the use of Web-based instructional tools in the district. Were I to create a “grade” for our progress, I’d give us a solid B+. Our faculties are showing tremendous creativity and enthusiasm, but the utilization of technology needs to see continued growth in the coming year. Far too many of our classrooms are still the domain of well-intended but out-dated practices, resources, and curriculums. The encouraging thing to witness is the fire that is spreading from small sparks of innovation, and the potential exists for a blaze of 21st Century teaching and learning to engulf the classrooms of our district.

    Live Blogging from Birdville ISD: David Warlick (Part II)

    I’ll summarize tomorrow. Thanks to all who contributed comments!

    Live Blogging from Birdville ISD: David Warlick (Part I)

    BISD 12 Second Tech Challenge #7

    12 Second Tech Challenge #7 involves one of my favorite tools. Twitter has allowed me to connect with other educators like no other site I have used. I have learned of new and valuable tools, engaged in thought-provoking discussions, had questions answered, shared my own knowledge, and gotten to know folks around the world via Twitter. Still, I realize that some might not understand the appeal, so I am challenging you to at least give it a cursory trial run. Go to the site, join, then follow 3 other users (I’m “rrodgers”, if you wish to follow me!). You can find a great list of other educators using Twitter as well as useful tutorials at the Centre for Learning & Performance Technologies’ Edutwitter page. When you’re finished, be sure to list your Twitter name here–you might pick up some new followers! As usual, you can view the video below, or you can see it at this link.


    BISD 12 Second Tech Challenge #7 on 12seconds.tv

    TCEA 2009: What’s New in Web 2.0?

    Doing two sessions this year at TCEA. The first one was this morning, and we (co-worker Jon Norris, geeky aunt, Connie Tubbs, and myself) shared the basics of setting up and using the Nintendo Wiimote as an interactive whiteboard. This afternoon, the session will be on Web 2.0. I did this session at TCEA last year, and it is one of my favorite topics. This year has given me a great deal of trouble, though, as I try to narrow down a list of several hundred of my favorite sites to about 25, in order to be able to let folks out in under 5 hours. Here is the list I have compiled, tentatively (I still have a couple of hours!), of the sites I will be sharing. Actually, the sites preceded by an asterisk are the first priority sites. The others may not make the cut, especially if time runs short. If I have neglected to include any of your favorite, new Web 2.0 sites, please share them with me!

    Student/Organization Tools

    *http://www.rememberthemilk.com/ (Tool for creating to-do lists, reminders, more; access via phone, work offline, use with Google calendar and iGoogle, and more.)

    http://notestar.4teachers.org/ (Online note-taking tool from the creators of Rubistar; teacher and student features.)

    http://www.mynoteit.com/ (Versatile, social note-taking and organization tool.)

    *http://evernote.com/ (Very useful note-taking and organization tool; write notes, upload images, send text/pics from phones, clip websites, more.)

    Filesharing/Collaboration

    *http://drop.io/ (Very easy filesharing tool; share via web, email, phone, etc.)

    http://collab.io/ (Simple tool for creating collaborative, online work spaces using participant emails.)

    *http://www.remobo.com/ (Create private, virtual networks between computers.)

    http://usend.io/ (Send files up to 100mb via email.)

    http://www.fileshaker.com/ (Free online file storage up to 10 gigs.)

    http://www.docstoc.com/ (Online document sharing with the ability to tag documents for search engine recognition and embed documents into websites.)

    https://www.yugma.com/ (Free desktop sharing tool for up to 20 participants.)

    Mind-mapping

    *http://www.mindmeister.com/ (Create and share mind maps online.)

    *http://www.mywebspiration.com (Online version of the popular Inspiration software; great tool for collaborative brainstorming, planning, more.)

    Bookmarks

    http://www.bookmarkg.com/ (Fairly simple and straightforward social bookmarking site.)

    *http://www.diigo.com (Social bookmarking site with lots of great features, including ability to mark up sites, share with groups, friends, etc.)

    Videoconferencing

    http://www.palbee.com/index.aspx# (Free video-conferencing tool.)

    *http://mebeam.com/ (Probably the easiest, most basic video-conference site on the web; create a room and invite friends.)

    Video

    *http://www.viddler.com/ (Shared videos plus ability to leave time-specific comments, tags.)

    http://keepvid.com/ (Useful tool lets you download videos in multiple formats from a variety of sites.)

    *http://www.selfcast.com (Create live streaming video channels; chat with viewers.)

    *http://www.mogulus.com/ (Create live broadcasts with lots of extras, such as embedded images, text, etc.)

    *http://qik.com/ (Live video streaming from a wide variety of phone models)

    *http://www.stickam.com (Live video streaming, video chat for up to 12 participants, slideshow and music sharing, plus mobile streaming for some Nokia phones)

    Images

    *http://www.snapily.com/ (Create photo prints that are 3-dimensional or display motion.)

    http://photosynth.net/Default.aspx (Cool tool from Microsoft creates fantastic panoramic images from multiple pictures.)

    *http://animoto.com/ (Create beautifully animated slideshows, complete with musical accompaniment; free full version for educators.)

    *http://pixelpipe.com/ (Allows users to upload images to many sites through one portal.)

    http://280slides.com/ (Create/share multimedia slideshows, upload existing PowerPoint shows, search for images/videos while working in the site.)

    Office Apps

    *http://sliderocket.com/ (Flash-based, online slideshow creation tool.)

    http://www.slideboom.com/ (Slideshow sharing site)

    Website Creation/Wikis

    *http://www.weebly.com/ (Great, free website creation tool; features standard and blog pages, drag-and-drop interface, more.)

    RSS

    *http://www.tabbloid.com/ (Use RSS feeds to create a printable, pdf newsletter.)

    Miscellaneous

    *http://www.verbalearn.com/ (Students create custom vocabulary study lists and mp3 files.)

    http://www.weblin.com/index.php

    *http://forvo.com/ (Site that is attempting to create audio files with pronunciations of all of the words in the world in their native tongues.)

    http://www.popfly.com/ (Free online game and mashup creation tool from Microsoft.)

    *http://cloudo.com/ (Cloud computing platform; access files from any web-connected computer.)

    *http://tikatok.com/ (Student book writing and illustrating tool; students can order hard or soft copies for about $20.)

    http://fo.reca.st/surveys/home (Create embeddable surveys, complete with multimedia elements.)

    *http://mystudiyo.com/ (Create interactive, embeddable quizzes; include graphics, video, images.)

    *http://www.flowgram.com/ (Exciting tool for creating interactive presentations incorporating images, audio, video, and PowerPoint.)

    *http://www.thebroth.com (Collaboratively create works of art, chatting with collaborators as you work.)

    *http://www.bookglutton.com/ (Site where users read shared materials and participate in discussions; users can upload own content, too.)

    SMS/Microblogging

    *http://www.yammer.com/ (Create private, corporate microblogging networks.)

    *http://www.c4lpt.co.uk/socialmedia/edutwitter.html (List of educators using Twitter)

    Blogs

    http://www.backtype.com/

    *http://posterous.com (Create a blog using email messages. Include images, video, links, more. Can also be used for groups, simply by adding members’ email addresses.)

    Website Tools

    http://embedit.in/ (Allows users to embed documents, videos, and text files in web pages.)

    Dwight’s Google Apps Link

    http://www.birdville.k12.tx.us/instruct_tech/googleapps.html (List of some great applications by Google.)

    Presentation Video

    Facilitating Lifelong Learning by Teachers: The PLN

    We in education are fond of using the phrase “lifelong learners” as a primary goal for our students. Certainly, if such a goal is truly worthwhile for our students, it would logically be worthwhile for us, as well. Much of the learning that educators engage in is based upon traditionally presented staff development opportunities, usually selected by administrators. Much rarer is the self-initiated type of learning that might be characterized as the “teacher-scholar” model. I would assert that this type of learning is actually the most beneficial, as it will be focused on the educator’s own needs and those of his/her own students. The challenge is in the creation of an atmosphere that encourages such independence. Certainly, creating the time needed to practice such learning is difficult, and there is a need to provide guidance, showing teachers how to locate and evaluate resources, and how to critically apply new knowledge in their classroom practices.

    Internet visualizationOne of the greatest benefits of social web technologies for me and thousands of other educators has been the ability to build powerful personal learning networks, or PLNs. These are groups of educators, consutants, researchers, and visionaries whose ideas and input help one another grow professionally by asking questions, prompting discussions, sharing resources, etc. Much of what I have learned and put into practice in terms of technology has come as a direct result of the interactions with my own PLN, accompanied with independent research and the input of my talented co-workers.

    The question of how best to creat a PLN is certainly a wide-open one, and there are perhaps as many answers as there are individuals. However, I would suggest a few tools that facilitate connected learning as a means to begin.

    1. Blogs. Blogs are powerful tools for creating PLNs. As a tool for self-expression, they allow a user to share ideas or ask questions of a global audience. The types of responses a blog generates depends largely upon the types of questions or concepts shared. However, it also depends heavily on becoming an active member of the blogging community as a reader/responder. The new blogger should seek out blogs that address similar topics to their own, read as many as they can, and offer inciteful responses or ask questions that extend discussions. Blog response forms include the ability to link to a responder’s own blog. Very often, a thoughtful reply will cause a reader to click through to the linked blog, generating traffic and adding new members to the blogger’s PLN. To locate relevant blogs, a search tool such as Technorati or Google’s Blog Search can be used. Additionally, most blogs contain a blogroll, a list of recommended and related blogs, which can be very helpful in locating outstanding resources. Utilize RSS readers, such as Google Reader or Bloglines, to help keep readings manageable and organized.
    2. Professional networks. A wide variety of professional networks exist that focus on various educational subjects. Facebook, the social networking site, has many groups focused on education, and these groups can be easily found through a simple search. Facebook groups often engage in online discussions of topics or issues of interest, host online events, or arrange live meetings. Ning has numerous groups focused on educational issues. One of the largest is the Classroom 2.0 group, which has grown to over 15,000 members. Members share resources, blog posts, discussion forums, participate in online events, and more. If a Ning group does not exist that meets an educator’s needs, it is a very simple process to create one of their own, focused on their own goals, and to invite other professionals to participate in the PLN.
    3. SharingShared bookmarks. Participating in onling bookmarking communities has provided me with literally hundreds of useful sites, online articles, new blogs, and more. Two sites I have used are Delicious and Diigo. Diigo has become my personal favorite, as it has tools that easily facilitate the creation of and participation in groups. I have discovered and shared resources as a part of local, state, and global groups using Diigo.
    4. Twitter. I’ve certainly addressed the usefulness of Twitter before. Twitter is a microblogging platform that is used for everything from documenting/sharing the relatively insignificant details of daily life to finding answers to questions posed to broad audiences to sharing valuable resources. The usefulness of Twitter can be enhanced through the use of Tweetdeck on other, similar tools, which go beyond sharing or reading updates to the creation of groups, which allows messages or questions to be sent to specific Twitter followers.

    George Siemens, the creator of the theory of learning called Connectivism, has identified several key trends in learning as it is occuring today that are important for teachers to consider, not only for their students, but for themselves:

    • Many learners will move into a variety of different, possibly unrelated fields over the course of their lifetime.
    • Informal learning is a significant aspect of our learning experience. Formal education no longer comprises the majority of our learning. Learning now occurs in a variety of ways – through communities of practice, personal networks, and through completion of work-related tasks.
    • Learning is a continual process, lasting for a lifetime. Learning and work related activities are no longer separate. In many situations, they are the same.
    • Technology is altering (rewiring) our brains. The tools we use define and shape our thinking.
    • The organization and the individual are both learning organisms. Increased attention to knowledge management highlights the need for a theory that attempts to explain the link between individual and organizational learning.
    • Many of the processes previously handled by learning theories (especially in cognitive information processing) can now be off-loaded to, or supported by, technology.
    • Know-how and know-what is being supplemented with know-where (the understanding of where to find knowledge needed).

    Wired brainI highlighted terms that are particularly relevent to the use of technology tools to create PLNs. Siemens also proposes that learning involves making connections (networks), accessing a “diversity of opinions,” knowing where to find information, and being able to ensure that information is current. If, indeed, these ideas are the way of the present and immediate futures for our students, then they should also be the applied ideals for our own, professional learning. It does require a dramatic paradigm shift, from the traditional practice of absorbing knowledge that is force-fed by school administrators, knowledge that is often well-founded in research but not necessarily applicable to all recipients. It also requires a new level of personal responsibility and effort. Fortunately, technology offers many useful tools to facilitate this type of learning efficiently. By utilizing these tools, I would assert that the rewards for both the student and the educator are greater, and both will remain better-equipped for the future that is evolving before us.

    What say ye?

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