Feb 13

Twitter Favorites (weekly)

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

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Feb 06

Twitter Favorites (weekly)

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

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Feb 03

How My Use of Twitter Has Changed

Recent blog posts by two respected colleagues got me thinking about how my use of Twitter has changed in the last year or so. George Couros shared a post about how his interactions have changed over the years, especially related to how his network has grown. I encourage you to read George’s post, it’ll make you think.

First of all, Twitter changes for people as their network grows larger.  Learning from 100 followers is one thing, but having 100 followers move to 1000 shifts things.  The way I could respond to mentions on Twitter has changed due to sheer growth in the network, and I am actually trying to be selective so that I am not overwhelmed with it.  That changes your perspective.

I agree with this idea, but for me, the change hasn’t been about how I respond, it’s about the responses I get back. I’ve found that the bigger everyone’s network grows, the less likely I’m going to get responses to a question I share. One would think that more people “listening” would lead to more responses. For me, however, there have been numerous times lately where I’ve shared a thought or question, hoping for a response, but received little or no feedback. That’s disappointing. Perhaps people’s feeds are moving so fast that they simply miss my tweet due to bad timing.  In previous years, Twitter used to be my go to place for feedback, but it hasn’t been the case lately. I hope that changes.

Dean Shareski’s post is a little different. Dean’s use of Twitter has always been a little different. Dean’s a little different. And I mean that as a compliment. He has stated it before, but Dean uses Twitter as a social space, a place to have fun, share some ideas, and get to know people. He acknowledges that his use of Twitter has decreased and he states why below. I do wonder if the new spaces, such as Voxer, will become old spaces, kind of like Twitter has become.

As far as twitter, I see my own interactions decline. In 2012, I tweeted almost 13,000 times. Last year it was about half. I get it, that’s still an insane amount but nonetheless, it’s a significant drop. It’s just not as playful. I’ve shifted much of my conversation to places like Voxer with smaller numbers and that’s likely a reasonable and healthy transition. But I miss the opportunity to connect with new people in an informal way because most new folks have been told that twitter is a great space for PD. They’ve come for the learning.

I want people to go to a space where they can learn. Twitter is a good place, not only for pd related items, but for getting to know the people in those spaces as well. To me, both are important. I hope Dean is wrong in the sense that people are only coming for the learning. I hope they are coming for the people as well.

For me, my use of Twitter has changed. I haven’t looked at totals, but I’m pretty sure the number of tweets I’ve sent has decreased. This might be due to the lack of responses I’ve gotten when I’m looking for feedback. Maybe I’m not spending as much time on Twitter as I have in the past. It doesn’t feel like it, but maybe I’m just reading and not tweeting. I know that over time, I’ve started to follow more accounts that are not related to education. With Twitter as mainstream as it is, it’s a news source for me more than just about anything. This might also be a reason that it’s become less of a two-way street. I’ve also gotten good at not worrying about issues others have with Twitter. Some have said people are very self-promoting. If this bothers me too much, I stop following those people, it’s not a big deal to me.  I don’t worry about the echo chamber. Sometimes we need support. I try to share the good stuff I come across as much as possible. One thing I’m trying to do better is tag the author of a post to make sure others get to know the people behind the thoughts. I’m sure I don’t do this enough, but it’s important to me.

Twitter is still my main space for finding good things to read, a place where I can connect with people, and an important space. It’s had a huge impact on me as a person and an educator. I hope it stays that way.

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Jan 23

Twitter Favorites (weekly)

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

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Jan 18

Sam the Snowman and Snowflake Fun

I am not a big fan of the term digital native.  Just because kids are growing up in a time where technology surrounds them, doesn’t mean they can effectively use it. I see this all the time with my kindergarten and first graders. Many are not able to use a mouse effectively. They don’t hold it correctly, they have trouble clicking and dragging, and are still developing their hand eye coordination. In the lab, I try to work on this skill by finding activities that will help them with their mouse skills.

This week, the kindergarteners had assistance from Sam the Snowman.  Sam the Snowman is picture book about a snowman who tries to bring snow to some children.  He has trouble at first, but with the magic of giving, he is finally able to make snowflakes for the children. We haven’t had a lot of snow in our area compared to previous years so we decided to make some snow in the computer lab, just like Sam. In the process, we’d be working on improving the mouse skills of kindergarten students. Using the Make-a-Flake website, students created digital snowflakes. I love this site because students can create awesome paper snowflakes without all of the little scraps of paper on the floor.In addition, students can make their snowflake, preview it, and then go back and make more cuts to improve it. The site allows users to save the pictures, download them, or print them out.  We weren’t planning on printing any of these out, but instead the students were able to save their favorite snowflakes. When students felt they created a neat snowflake, they let me know and I took a picture of it. I turned those pics into a couple of Vines you can see below. They had a blast with this and created many fantastic snowflakes, they practiced their mouse skills, and we didn’t waste a lot of paper or have to clean up any scraps. I’d call that a win win win.


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Jan 17

Chad’s Choices

I’m constantly saving links with the intention of going back and rereading or sharing. I usually do, but sometimes I either forget or simply don’t take the time to do it. I’m going to work hard to not have that happen. It’s time to share a few more articles and blog posts I’ve come across that made me think, wonder, and learn. If you haven’t seen these, I’ve included a snippet from the article to pique your interest.

The Curse of Knowledge? When I saw this headline floating around Twitter and Facebook, I knew I had to take a look. After reading the article, it makes complete sense. I work with younger elementary students and I often expect them to pick up things much quicker than they actually do. I’ve often thought I expect a lot and they should be able to pick things up quickly. However, this article really got me to think about the process of learning and that it does really take time. I have to remember this.

The Curse of Knowledge places all of our students at a disadvantage. As educators, it’s not enough to simply recognize that we are unable to remember the struggle of learning. We need to act.

Read the entire article here.

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I spend a lot of time on Facebook, more than I probably should. For me, it’s a place to connect, share, and watch the next Carpool Karaoke video, but also a place to learn. I learn from my friends sharing links, posting interesting questions that generate discussions, and from how to videos. I came across this post sharing additional Facebook accounts to follow to continue learning. You may find some interesting.

While you may feel that your hours spent commenting, liking, and sharing on Facebook are mindlessly wasted, numerous studies have shown a link between social media use and boosts in intelligence and the brain’s all-important grey matter.

Read the entire article here.

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Tech tools are everywhere. Which ones should you master? New ones seems to be popping up everyday and it’s hard to stay on top of them. We all should know many of these, but which ones? This is a great article that doesn’t necessarily tell you specific tools to know, but the functions that are essential for all teachers. Take a look and see where your strengths lie and what areas you need to explore more.

Technology integration can be a daunting task, especially with the myriad of tools out there to choose from. Where do you begin? Mulling it over, I have come up with ten types of tools that should serve as the foundation of a student-centered approach to technology integration.

Read the entire article here.

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Every day I seem to find an article about learning spaces. Whether it’s the classroom or the school library, a lot of people are talking about transforming these learning spaces to reflect today’s technology and today’s learners. These ideas fascinate me and I’m looking at ways to alter the physical space I work in to meet the needs of my students. This article shares a few examples from school districts around the country.

Surely you’ve heard the not-so-funny joke that if Rip Van Winkle were to wake up today he’d recognize only one thing: the classroom, with its cookie-cutter rows of desks and a blackboard and teacher up front. But we all know that mobile devices allow digital learning to take place anywhere—on a bus, a beach, a bed, or at a ball game. That’s why some districts are turning their libraries, unused closets, and classrooms into open, collaborative spaces that better reflect the open, collaborative learning of today.

Read the entire article here.

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Jan 16

Twitter Favorites (weekly)

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

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Jan 16

ChatterPix Kids + PhotosfromClass = Creativity

Screen Shot 2016-01-16 at 11.51.21 AMThis week, I took iPads into the classrooms due to standardized testing in the computer lab. I wanted the students to create something related to their knowledge of reading strategies. I decided to try using ChatterPixKids as the app of choice. Chatterpix Kids is an app that can make anything talk — pets, friends, doodles, and more. Users take a photo, draw a line to make the mouth, and record their voice. My idea was to have students find a picture of an animal and then use the app to create a short video sharing the reading strategy We had the app, we needed the pictures.

I don’t believe it’s ever a good idea to just let students search Google for images, especially elementary aged students. I decided to use photosforclass.com, one of my favorite sites to get copyright free or Creative Commons pictures. Using the site was extremely easy for the students to use, they simply went to Safari on the iPads, went to photosforclass.com, and searched for their animal. I reminded the students they needed to make sure their animal’s face was looking forward so it worked well with the app. They had little trouble doing this and with a brief demonstration of how to save the pictures to the iPad camera roll, they were often running. The students had a great time with this and created some fun videos, some of which can be found below. I think this was a neat way for students to share reading strategies with their classmates. I saw joy in their faces and heard a lot of laughter as students continued experimenting with the app, trying out different voices and creating other videos they shared with their classmates.

Saving the videos to the devices was simple. I only wish sharing the videos from the app to social media was possible. I would have loved to tweet out the videos easily. Instead, I had to upload the videos to YouTube and share that way. It worked, but it wasn’t very efficient.

This link will take you to a folder with more videos the students created.

 

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Jan 09

Twitter Favorites (weekly)

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

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Jan 02

Twitter Favorites (weekly)

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

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