Twitter is a great resource for educators, but it can be a bit overwhelming when trying to focus your attention on a certain group of people or activities. Twitter makes that a little easier for you by allowing you to make Lists.
A Twitter list is a collection of specific people you follow on Twitter. For instance, I have a “Top Educators on Twitter”. When I am trying to focus solely on educational tweets, I can select that list and it filters out all of my other followers. You can create as many lists as you like to help keep you organized and allow you to focus on a specific area.
The video below will walk you through the process to create a list. Keep in mind you can create a list from your followers or from someone else’. You just need to start looking!
Thousands of educators swarmed Austin, TX last week for the TCEA18 Conference. There were educators from all over the country, and even some outside the U.S. I had a great conversation with some new friends from Canada! You could feel the energy in the Convention Center as a ton of collaborating and communicating was happening between educators that either just met or maybe run into each other every February when TCEA rolls around again.
I always marvel at the way the “4 C’s” shine through this week:
- Creativity and Innovation
- Critical Thinking
Twitter explodes with all these amazing insights and ideas. People are liking and retweeting at a furious pace. It is the apex of technology and education. Then it happens…
…we go home. Much of the excitement falls away as we get “back to the grind”. Those amazing ideas now seem distant as we are faced with “reality”. All of a sudden we don’t feel we can do any of this: I don’t have time… my team won’t come around… administration will never agree to this… the list goes on. We don’t just see this after a major conference either. It happens after every good training you have ever gone to. You are fired up when you are there, and just as quickly you are back to where you were and those ambitions seem miles away. It is time to push past these roadblocks and get to implementing what we know will be amazing activities for our students. They deserve it, and so do we!
Try using these 5 keys to help keep you on track:
- Start small. I know we often leave a training or conference with about 15 things we are going to incorporate tomorrow. It doesn’t work that way. Pick one thing to start with and follow through with it. When you see and feel success it will push you to the next project.
- Bring a partner, or at least have one that can hold you accountable. Ideally this is a team teacher or someone else that teaches what you do. This way you can push each other past those rough spots.
- Create a plan. This seems very easy, but it is also effective. Set timelines and goals for the activity. Calendar reminders work well for me.
- Put it in your lesson plans and be realistic about the time frame. If it is there, you then have to allow time for it. This can get you moving.
- Tell everyone what you are going to do. If you publicize it, people will more than likely ask how it is going. This gives you a push to keep moving in the right direction.
By following these keys you are setting yourself, and your students, up for success. Finally, when the activity is done, share it! Jump on Twitter and share out your story. Motivate others to do the same.
Here is a list the presentations I am a part of for the TCEA conference the week of February 5-9. I hope to see you there!
TXED at TCEA- Twitter Chat: Create and Collaborate
Monday, 12:00-1:30 PM
Hilton, Salon G
Meet the Txed moderators! You will learn to collaborate with other educators remotely to prepare, create questions and graphics, schedule tweets, and moderate a Twitter chat utilizing Voxer, Google tools, Canva, Hootsuite, Tweetdeck, and more! Start your own local or global chat on Twitter to ask questions, get answers, and grow your PLN! 1.5 CPE Credits
Premium Registration Required. Advance registration is not required. All sessions fill on a first come, first serve basis.
3D Printing: It’s Elementary!
Wednesday, 9:00-11:00 AM
Ballroom G: Poster Pavilion
Co-Presenter: Dusty Roden- @DustyRoden
The ability to take a student’s idea or design and produce something that they can hold and feel excites teachers and students alike! 3D printers can be used across the curriculum, enhancing the learning in our elementary classrooms and building the problem-solving skills all students need. SR CPE Credits
OneNote: Organize and Optimize
Wednesday, 2:00-3:30 PM
Co-Presenter: Chelsea Murray- @MrsMurryAg07
Classroom planning and organization is no small task. OneNote gives you the freedom to collaborate and share digital resources with colleagues, organize parent communication, and track student data. The classroom notebook feature allows you and your students the freedom to share and collaborate with each other while also allowing for individual student communication and assignment collection. All of this information is available at your fingertips, whether you are on a computer or mobile device. OneNote will optimize your day to day educational life. Work smarter, not harder, using this amazing tool!
Battle of the Tech Assessment Tools
Wednesday, 5:00-6:00 PM
Co-Presenter: Dan Perez- @danperez4ed
Are you tired of waving hands, blurted answers, and papers, but can’t make sense of the sea of assessment tools? Kahoot, Socrative, Quizizz, and more…how to decide?!? In this session we’ll go over more than 20 of the most popular free formative assessment tools, the devices required, the data that can be collected, and other pros and cons of each.
Tell Your Story, Your Way
Friday, 8:00-9:00 AM
Co-Presenter: Dan Perez- @danperez4ed
Everyone has a story to tell. Give your students a sense of pride by sharing that story with others through their eyes. Digital storytelling allows students to express what they have learned and any opinions they have toward any topic. Discover how we introduce digital storytelling to our teachers and leave with access to the resources we provide.
ABCYa.com has a FREE app that many of you will find useful called Word Clouds. It is a simple app that allows you to create a visual from a group of words you have collected. It is similar to websites such as Wordle, but this allows you to create it straight from the iPad so it can then be included in a presentation or video project.
When you open the app you are prompted to type or copy/paste the list of words you would like to use to create your word cloud. If you list a word multiple times it will take precedence and show as a larger font size than the other words. This will draw attention to it as being a word you really need to focus on.
Once you have compiled your list, the app will show you an example of what your cloud will look like. You have options here to change the layout, color scheme, and font. There is also a randomize button that will change the way your cloud looks. Each time you press randomize it will change the look. Click on the “3 line” option in the upper left for other options such as editing your original word list, saving your cloud to your photo library, or creating a new cloud.
As you can see, it is fun and simple to use while still creating a clean visual for any presentation or media project you are working on. Give Word Clouds a try!
I am a big fan of Twitter. I learn more from Twitter than I do from any other staff development or conference I have ever been to. Twitter also is a great place to make connections. I now feel I have a broad range of “Tweeps” out there that are able to help me out when I need it. Nobody has the ability to know everything. Twitter grants me access to people all over the world that each have an abundance of knowledge in specific fields. If I don’t know, all I have to do is ask.
Once you begin to feel comfortable with Twitter itself, you can spread your wings a little more involved and become involved in Twitter chats. For those that don’t know, this is a time set aside for anyone on Twitter to join in on conversations based on a foundation of questions set by a person or group. You use a hashtag to follow along and interact with the conversation. For instance, I am involved in the #TXed chat group. The chat is from 8:30 – 9:30 PM CST every Wednesday night. Questions are posted every few minutes. You post a comment, including the hashtag, and then start chatting with others that are posting comments as well. It is a great way to get new ideas and meet new friends along the way.
To learn more about how to follow along with a chat using Twitter.com, check out these Twitter Chat Tips. It will give you some tips and tricks to help you get started.
If you want to find out what chats are going on, visit this link by @cybraryman1. It lists a large number of chats that occur every week dealing with education.
As you become more and more involved in chatting and Twitter in general, you will realize that you want more from just what Twitter.com has to offer you. TweetDeck is a great alternative for you. TweetDeck allows you to create additional columns built specifically to do things like follow a certain person or hashtag. For instance, I have a column that posts only tweets that have the hashtag #TXed in it. Then when we chat I do not have to weed through all tweets or do a special search through Twitter.com. I simply need to focus my attention on that column. Two other cheat sheets have been created to help you get started and understand TweetDeck: TweetDeck Getting Started and TweeDeck Column Options will give you a taste of what TweetDeck can do and get you up and running in no time.
I hope to see you soon on Twitter. Make sure to give me a follow, @pwagnerlcisd, and ask any questions you think I can help you with. It is possible I will know, but more possible I will know somebody else that can help you even more!
A timeline is something that seems to present itself at every subject in every grade level. You are always sequencing something. This week I ran across a great site for creating timelines from ReadWriteThink.org. I have used their stuff in the past and this one lives up to the bill: easy to use and a nice product at the end.
Upon accessing the program, you will be prompted to enter your name and a title for your timeline.
A new window will open up. Here is where you can start adding the information to your timeline. Click on the dotted line to start adding your events. A wizard will open in a new window. Fill in what is pertinent to your project. You can add a label or title, short description, and full description. You can also add an image from your computer. The label and short description will appear with an image (optional) on the timeline itself. If you choose to add a full description, that is listed on an adjoining page upon completion. It does not appear on the visual timeline.
Once you add an event to the timeline you are able to drag it to the correct location. If your events need to change their sequence you are still able to do so later. You can drag the cards above or below the line and to any location. The marker on the line can also be dragged to a new location if need be.
You have the option to save your work as you go along and return to it. A file is saved to your computer. Upon returning to the site you can choose to open an existing file and continue working. Note that the program itself will NOT save your work. You must save it to your computer if you do not finish.
When you are completely done, choose to finish your work. You will have options to save, print, or email. The final format for the project will be a PDF. Click here to view an example timeline.
Do you have iPads in your classroom? There is a free app that follows the same format as the program online. You can access your camera roll to add images and your final project is saved as an image to the camera roll if you choose. Click here to visit the app in the app store.
I am fortunate that the district I work for has seen the need for technology integration in education. I believe we are front runners. We do not wait for others…when something is out there that will benefit our students we jump at the opportunity to give it a try. One big example of that are the iPads. All campuses have iPads. The number varies by available funds and, of course, some administrators jumped in feet first while others tip-toed in to test the water. This accounts for a varying student:iPad ratio. In any case, along with district checkout options, all teachers in the district have access to devices if/when they are needed.
What tends to draw teachers to the devices are all the apps available to them to serve as a “tutor”. We know it is impossible to get a 1:1 teacher:student feel. These devices can help with remediation and practice in a more engaging way. Let’s face it though…drill and kill is drill and kill whether it is being done on an iPad or a sheet of paper. I am not saying iPads cannot be used for this, but this should not be the ONLY reason they are being used.
Get your students creating! There are many wonderful, free apps out there that allow them to be creative while still showing you what they know. It gets them to dig deeper into a concept. It allows for an even better understanding of what you are teaching them. They can become the tutors as well.
I have had an opportunity over the last few years to go into rooms of varying ages and abilities to work on project creation. It never ceases to amaze me how engaged the students are when they are creating. It is also quite incredible to view some of their finished products. All you need to do is take a look at their finished pieces to see that they haven’t just memorized something that they will soon forget. They have truly learned it…grasped the understanding of a concept and taken it even further. Create…create…create!
If you are looking for some fun apps to get you started, Tellagami, Chatterpix for Kids, and 30 Hands are some great choices! Do a search for any of those on my blog to learn more about them.