Top 5 tools to connect with other educators and curate classroom resources

January 7, 2014

Quick overview: Welcome back everyone! Are you looking for new ideas, resources, and fresh ways to deliver your content this semester? There’s often too much stuff out there to sift through… Where do you start?

Edudemic: Edudemic has teacher guides on educational technologies and current trends, the best in educational technologies (i.e. – apps, hardware) and resources for students. Very well organized, lots of useful and frequently updated content.

Appitic: Got a new tablet over the holidays? If you’re looking for apps to recommend to your students, Appitic may be a good place to start. Apps are sorted by subject area, academic level, bloom’s taxonomy, and more. In addition, you may also want to check out this EdTechTeacher site which organizes apps by learning objective.

Twitter: I’ve said this many times before, but Twitter is still my very first choice for keeping up to date with my PD throughout the year. You can use Twitter to help find classroom resources and teaching strategies and start building your PLN. Once you give a shot, you’ll see why thousands of other educators are using Twitter too! If you’re interested, I’d be happy to come to your centre and provide a hands-on workshop.

Pinterest: Use Pinterest to explore and curate PD resources for yourself or to create organized “pins” around different topics for your students to explore on their own. If you’re teaching in an individualized setting, I genuinely think Pinterest has the potential to be a game changing tool. I’m head over heels for Pinterest but I’ve already professed my undying love for Pinterest in a previous blog post.

Educlipper: Educlipper is a visual bookmarking tool, developed by leading educator, Adam Bellow. If you like the idea of Pinterest, you’ll like using Educlipper too. Designed specifically for education, it’s school safe. Click here to try Educlipper yourself.

Link for Edudemic web
Link for Appitic web
Link for Twitter web, Apple iOS, Android
Link for Pinterest web, Apple iOS, Android
Link for Educlipper web, Apple iOS

(Source: Thanks for Jason Bronsther, lead automobile mechanics teacher at WQCC, WQSB for getting me hooked on Edudemic and Adam Bellow for showing us EduClipper at ISTE 2013, San Antonio.)


.. And now for something completely different: It’s time to start a PLN!

October 30, 2012

This ICT tip could be best applied to the following subjects:

all

What is this about? After polling hundreds of FGA teachers from across the province, the area where FGA teachers indicated they needed the most help was networking with other teachers. As so, we’ve started a huge push towards helping teachers find proven ways to network with one another by helping them create their own Personal Learning Network, or PLN for short. Starting a PLN is a relatively easy way of ensuring that you obtain relevant professional development throughout the year, sort of what you’re doing right now on our ICT blog! But first, a word from our umm.. sponsor:

Here’s my short video that explains how a PLN works:

.. and here’s Marc-André Lalande’s take:

How should you start? If you’re interested in starting your own PLN, please don’t hesitate to contact Marc-André Lalande (@malalande) or myself (@a_spector). In addition to Twitter, there’s also other free tools to help you establish your PLN such as The Educator’s PLN which is an active network of teachers who participate in discussion groups, share resources, and more. For those of you already using Edmodo in-class with your students, you may want to check out the Edmodo Teacher Communities to connect with same subject teachers and obtain materials for your course.

Without trying to sound pushy or preachy, I’d really love to see more of us starting a PLN. Speaking to you as a teacher, it was a game changing experience when I started using Twitter for my own PD last year. Instead of waiting for PD at conferences or workshops, I now get my PD whenever I want and what’s most relevant to me.. I’m now constantly discovering new Web 2.0 tools, iPad apps, and teaching strategies throughout the entire school year. I’d be more than happy to help you go through the steps to get setup or come into your centre to provide a hands-on session. Just let me know! (Thanks to Marc-André Lalande also Steven Anderson, Kyle Pace, and Tom Whitby from “Understanding & Using Web 2.0 Tools to Create Personal Learning Networks” @ ISTE 2012, San Diego)


Consider this: Twitter for Professional Development?

January 17, 2012

This post could be best applied to the following subjects:

all

Quick overview: A short video explaining the benefits of using Twitter for your professional development as a teacher.

What is this about? Believe it or not, Twitter can be an invaluable educational tool that can help you easily connect with other educators in order to find new ideas and resources to use in your classroom.

How does it work? Twitter isn’t at all like Facebook. You don’t have to share personal information or spend a lot of time if you don’t want to. In fact, it’s perfectly OK to simply start “following” people or educational organizations you find interesting and see what they have to say from time to time. It’s soft of like tuning in to watch the evening news to see if anything interesting has happened. However, instead you’ll tune-in to “follow” web resources and teaching tips tailored to your classroom needs.

Need help? Are you an FGA teacher looking to sign-up for Twitter and need some pointers where to start? Give us a shout by e-mail. If you’re already on Twitter, we are: a_spector (Avi) alainphaneuf (Alain) and malalande (Marc-André). We so strongly believe in this self-guided approach to PD, that if there’s only one thing we hope you take away from our ICT Blog this school year, it would be to start using Twitter!

Video Tutorial: To explain the pedagogical benefits of using Twitter for PD, my colleague Marc-André Lalande has put together an amazing (5 minute) video called “To Tweet or not to Tweet: (Source: Marc-André Lalande, RECIT FGA Pedagogical Consultant, via r.u.aware blog)


ICT Tip: How do I use Twitter and setup an account? (Part 2 of 2)

April 18, 2010

This ICT tip could be best applied to the following subjects:

all

Quick overview: A step-by-step video tutorial on how to use the Twitter website. This post is a continuation of last week’s article on using Twitter in the classroom.

How does it work: If you’d like to know more about the advantages of using Twitter in the classroom, please refer to last week’s blog posting. This blog posting focuses more on the “how to” side of things and features a step-by-step video tutorial on using the Twitter website and how to set up your own account.

Blocked in your school board? Is Twitter blocked in your school board but you want to try the Twitter Experiment in your own classroom? If you are a Quebec (FGA) Adult Education teacher, contact me and let me know!

Video Tutorial: For more information on how to use the Twitter website, please click the large play button below:


ICT Tip: What is Twitter and how can it be used the classroom? (Part 1 of 2)

April 14, 2010

This ICT tip could be best applied to the following subjects:

all

Quick overview: An overview of the Twitter website and the pedagogical possibilities of using it in your classroom.

What is Twitter? Twitter (www.twitter.com) is a social networking web site. In a nutshell, a social networking website is an on-line community. The Twitter website enables individuals to create small public messages (140 characters maximum) called Tweets that others can follow. On Twitter, that’s all you’ll find. No pictures, music, or anything else fancy. Just short Tweets comprised only of text.

How does it work? Upon signing up for your own Twitter account, you can start creating your own Tweets that you’d like to share with others. Other Twitter users are then free to follow your Tweets which instantly appear on their screens as you post them. Likewise, you can also “subscribe” other people’s Tweets. The interesting part is that no permission is required on either end. This means you can subscribe to Tweets of famous movie stars or your friend next door. If you’d like to see a screen shot of an actual Twitter account looks like, please click here.

Criticisms of Twitter: You may often hear that many people choose to use Twitter to Tweet silly things like what they ate for breakfast or that they are waiting for the bus. As a counter argument, people could choose to use a telephone or computer in an equally ineffective matter if they choose to… Twitter is simply a tool, how it is used depends on the individuals using it!

What are the advantages of using Twitter? The neat thing about Twitter is that it can easily be updated from a computer or a cell phone. Many of our students are already using Twitter in their personal lives and use it daily to communicate with their friends and family. Why not try embracing what your students know (and like!) and use it in your classroom?

How could it be used in the classroom? In one example, Twitter could be used by students to collectively Tweet their ideas in a classroom while a lecture is taking place. A computer connected up to a projector could be used to show all the live Tweets (called a Twitter feed) as the lecture happens in the classroom. This allows a large class of students to equally participate in a class discussion, via Twitter. As Twitter messages can only be up to 140 characters long, it also forces students to more effectively convey their thoughts. Below is an inspiring video from the University of Texas demonstrating this pedagogical approach to using Twitter in a classroom. It’s short and definitely worth the watch. If you are interested in experimenting with the use of Twitter in your own Quebec FGA classroom please contact me to set up an appointment!

“The Twitter Experiment” by Kim Smith, University of Texas

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