Showing posts with label Professional Learning Network. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Professional Learning Network. Show all posts

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Monday, April 20, 2009

5 Interesting and Educational Twitter Finds

Almost every day I see thousands of Twitter messages. And since I switched to using TweetDeck I have been able to see more tweets from educators than I was able to before.

Here are five interesting and educational things that I saw on Twitter today.
1. WordPress MU Site Admin Guide from @suewaters
2. Great Keyboarding Resources from @elemitrt
3. Five Inspirational Earth Day Videos from @mashable
4. Successful Use of Web 2.0 in the Classroom from @josepicardo
5. 50+ Google and Yahoo Search Shortcuts Cheat Sheet from @thepuck

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You Did It! I'll Be a NECC Newbie

Thank you to everyone that donated to the NECC Newbie project created by Beth Still to send me to NECC 2009 in Washington, DC. Yesterday, while I was on a "computer break" a very large donation was made by the kind folks at VoiceThread. That donation represented almost 50% of the goal of $1500. But, it wasn't just VoiceThread that made reaching this goal possible, it was everyone who donated, Tweeted about the project, and blogged about the project that made it possible for me to attend NECC. The full list of public donors can be seen here.

As I mentioned above, I was on a "computer break" yesterday afternoon and evening so it wasn't until this morning that I learned that the goal had been met. Needless to say, I was very excited to read on Beth's blog that the goal had been met. Thank you to all of the folks that Tweeted their congratulations yesterday. I'm sorry that I wasn't online to respond to each of you as the Tweets came in.

Later today I will have more to share about the NECC Newbie project and my NECC plans, but for now I just want to say thank you everyone and I hope to meet many of you at NECC.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

7 Interesting and Educational Things on Twitter

I wasn't great about posting my Twitter gems this week, but I will get back into the habit on Monday.

This week I tried TweetDeck for the first time and I'm hooked on using it. TweetDeck allows me to see my full Twitter stream as well as create groups of Twitterers to track. For example, I have created a TweetDeck group labeled "teachers only" so that I can follow the tweets from teachers in my network without seeing tweets from the other people in my network. I have found that creating groups allows me to scan through the tweets of my network faster than I can when all of tweets from all of my network are arranged vertically.

Here are seven interesting and educational things I've found on Twitter this week.
6 Steps to Get Started on Twitter from @rickdog
A Tour of Twitter Headquarters from @angelamaiers
The Interview That Will Bag A Job from @DelaneyKirk from @nancydevine
Google Earth API Demo Gallery from @crafty184
The Fractions Rap from @thecleversheep
Why Libraries Matter from @larryferlazzo

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Thursday, April 16, 2009

Ning Hits One Million Networks - Have You Joined?

Visit Classroom 2.0
According to many sources today, Ning, the do it yourself platform for creating social networks now hosts one million networks. Reading the stories about Ning hosting one million networks made me think that it might be a good time to remind people of a few good Ning networks for teachers.

Classroom 2.0 is probably the largest and most well-known Ning network for teachers. Classroom 2.0 has nearly 22,000 members from a wide range of academic disciplines. The discussion forums and groups in Classroom 2.0 can provide a wealth of information. I am a member of Classroom 2.o although I'm not a particularly active member.

The EFL Classroom is a network for EFL teachers. EFL classroom has more than 6,000 members.

The National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS) Ning is a network of more than 300 social studies teachers. I joined this network a couple of weeks ago and immediately started learning about great resources and ideas that I can use in my US History courses.

There are hundreds of smaller niche networks for teachers of all content areas and grade levels. If you're looking for a way to connect with people that teach the same things you teach, try Classroom 2.0 or do a search for one of the many niche networks. If you still don't find just what you're looking for, create your network and send out invitations.

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Friday, April 10, 2009

5 Interesting and Educational Twitter Gems

Before I share my latest list of Twitter gems, I have a question for Twitter users. Do you think it there is such a thing as following too many people?

I tend to agree with people like Robert Scoble (80K followers, follows 86K) and look at every real person (not automated spammers) as someone that I can potentially learn something from. In that regard there are very few times that I don't follow someone back that follows me. I currently follow 1638 people. This is a list that I grew organically by following people that I find interesting and that others in my network find interesting. When I see someone in my network mention a name that I haven't seen before, I usually end up following that new person. With a network as large as mine I find it impossible to keep up with everything. Despite not being able to see everything, I still think it is important to grow my list because it adds potential learning partners. In essence I'm using a quantity model. If I see enough tweets I'm bound to find good information. Other people believe in a quality model and are very selective in their following decisions. Which model do you use? How many do you follow?

Here are five fun, interesting, and educational things I've found on Twitter in the last 24 hours.
1. 12 Best Google Keywords for Finding Classroom Resources from @mrs_smoke
2. A Closer Look at Achievement Gaps in Math from @educationweek
3. Educational Technology Timeline from @isteconnects
4. Are You Too Old to Learn Spanish? from @spanishblog
5. Stick Science Cartoon Contest from @dannynic

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Tuesday, April 7, 2009

5 Fun, Interesting, and Educational Things on Twitter

Due to the frequent sightings of the Twitter "fail whale" and my offline responsibilities of lesson planning I wasn't able to compile my 5 favorite tweets of the day yesterday. This list is a compilation of links from yesterday and today.

Here are five fun, interesting, and educational things I found on Twitter in the last 48 hours.
1. Michelle's EdTech Cafe from @mnebel
2. 2nd Grade Students Using Blabberize from @lthumann
3. Marley and Me - Free Audiobook from @dkdykstra
4. 25 Ways to Use Wordle in the Classroom from @cyndidannerkuhn
5. The Twinkies Project from @mspahr

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Sunday, April 5, 2009

5 Fun, Interesting, and Educational Things on Twitter

Today's Twitter tip for teachers new to Twitter is to post updates even if you're just getting started an only have a handful of followers. By posting updates you're letting people know what you can contribute to the education community. When people are trying to decide to follow you or not (this is a 30 second process for most people) they're going to be looking at your updates to see what you're about. If you don't have any updates or just one update and it's "trying Twitter" people aren't as likely to follow you compared to if you have a handful of updates containing something like "looking for and considering how to use Google Docs in my classroom."

Here are five fun, interesting, and educational things found today on Twitter.
1. Free eTextbook - 21st Century Physics from @monarchlibrary
2. Visual Fractions from @mtechman
3. Gossip Girls and Boys Get Lessons in Empathy from @lebby
4. FETC Free Virtual Conference for K-12 Educators from @bergenhagen
5. Six Public Speaking Tips for the Young Professional from @slidemagnet

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Saturday, April 4, 2009

5 Fun, Interesting, and Educational Things on Twitter

Today's Twitter tip is to follow Larry Ferlazzo. As many readers probably know, Larry Ferlazzo authors an excellent blog containing great resources for education. Larry just joined Twitter yesterday and has started sharing some of his great lists of links on Twitter.

Here are five fun, interesting, and educational things I found today on Twitter (follow me here).
1. Stop Bullying Now from @joy49
2. The Sudden Charm of Public School from @ELFdotorg
3. SMART Board Search Engine from @paulawhite
4. How To Identify Phishing and Spam from @wimkhan
5. Tuition-Free Education Courses for Teachers from @snbeach

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Thursday, April 2, 2009

5 Fun, Interesting, and Educational Things on Twitter

This is now the fifth day of posting my five favorite Twitter finds of the day and I've now decided on a format these posts. In each post in the "5 Fun, Interesting, and Educational Things on Twitter" series I will try to share a tip for improving and building your Twitter network.

A simple thing that can help you build your Twitter network is to occasionally retweet something that you find interesting or useful. In your retweet include the original tweeter's name. The person who's tweet you retweet will appreciate it, it helps that person get noticed, and in turn that person may reciprocate down the road. Even if the other person doesn't reciprocate, it's still a good thing to do as it shows others that you're willing to contibute to a learning network.

Here are 5 fun, interesting, and educational things I found on Twitter today.
1. Internet Safety Videos for Teens from @nycrican2
2. Find Your Teachmate from @angelamaiers
3. What 4th Graders Know About Money from @HaydenTompkins
4. Global Best Practices in Financial Education from @chollingsworth
5. Connectivism Education Ning from @Darcy1968

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

5 Fun, Interesting, and Educational Things on Twitter

Before sharing my five favorite Twitter finds of the day, I want to pass along another tip for those who are new to Twitter and trying to build a network of contacts. If you're new to Twitter, don't be afraid to jump into a conversation. If you see an interesting dialogue going on between a few of the folks you follow, simply use the "@" symbol before the users' names and put in your two cents worth. Some of the people I've had the best interactions were started by someone just jumping into a conversation.

Here are five fun, interesting, and educational things I found on Twitter today.

1. An Overview of Teaching Styles from @chrischampion

2. Zoey's Room - Tech Community for Middle School Girls from @cristama

3. Rethinking the Way Schools Use Time from @jluff

4. Bob Marzano's CUE Keynote from @angelamaiers

5. Backgrounds in Web Design: Best Practices and Examples from @styletime

Monday, March 30, 2009

5 Fun, Interesting, and Educational Things on Twitter

The feedback on my idea for sharing my five favorite Twitter finds of the day received very positive feedback so I will continue posting my favorite links. If you have a great find that you'd like me to post, please DM me on Twitter.

Before I list my favorite five, just a quick note about building a Twitter network. If you're new to Twitter, please fill out your profile. Many people won't follow you back if they see that your profile is blank. People like to know a little about the people they follow.

1. SMART Board Wiki from @icpjones

2. Microsoft to Give Free Software to HS Students from @ptraylor

3. Cartoon - Twitter in the Classroom from @centernetworks

4. Dear AIG, I Quit from @mikefj40

5. PowerPoint Hell: Don't Let This Happen to You from @slidemagnet

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Sunday, March 29, 2009

5 Fun, Interesting, and Educational Things on Twitter

I've written a lot about Twitter as a tool for personal and professional learning. The blog post Seven Ways to Find Teachers on Twitter is one of the most read posts ever on this blog. I read hundreds of tweets a day, many of those tweets share links that are interesting and educational, but don't quite fit with the intent of Free Technology for Teachers and therefore I don't blog about them.

This morning I had the idea to start saving some of those aforementioned links along with the name of the Twitter user who shared the link and post my favorite five tweets of the day. I'll post the link along with the name of the Twitter user. My intent is two fold, first to share interesting links and second to help people build their Twitter networks. (Out of respect for privacy, I will not share Twitter users who have protected their updates. Likewise, if your updates aren't protected but you still don't want me to link to your Twitter id, please contact me at richardbyrne at

I welcome feedback on this idea. If you think it's a good idea or if you think it's a rotten, terrible idea please let me know.

1. Nine Great Reasons Why Teachers Should Use Twitter from @mrslwalker

2. 360 Degree Views from the Peak of Mt. Everest from @misterlamb

3. Transforming Teaching In Plain English from @angelastockman

4. Smart Board Revolution Ning from @paulawhite

5. Thoreau Page

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Monday, March 16, 2009

An 8th Way to Find Teachers on Twitter - We Follow

To follow up on the popularity of my blog post Seven Ways to Find Teachers on Twitter I thought that I should share the news of a new service that makes it quite easy to find educators on Twitter. We Follow was launched over the weekend by Digg founder Kevin Rose. We Follow is a user powered Twitter directory. You can add yourself to the education directory by simply sending a tweet to @wefollow followed by the hashtag "education." For example I added myself to the education directory this way @wefollow #education. I also added myself to the technology and blogger directories using the same method.

We Follow ranks every Twitter user in each directory by the number of followers that they have. For example, in the education directory I'm currently ranked 28th with 1,216 followers and Kevin Jarrett is ranked 14th with 2071 followers. By the way, if you're not following Kevin, you should be. He shares a lot of great thoughts about elementary education and technology in the elementary classroom. As it is a user generated directory, there may be some people in the directory that aren't actually academic educators, but have chosen to use that hashtag anyway.

Overall, We Follow may be the easiest way to find teachers on Twitter. If you would like to follow me on Twitter, my user name is rmbyrne.

If you're not sure what Twitter can do for you, please take a moment to read the introduction to my post Seven Ways to Find Teachers on Twitter. If you're new to Twitter, you may want to start developing your network with these ten people.

Finally, for an excellent video introduction to Twitter, please watch this video from Common Craft.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Seven Ways to Find Teachers on Twitter

As I've mentioned numerous times in the past (this marks the 35th time I've written about Twitter), not a day goes by that I don't learn something from my network of Twitter contacts. My network now includes 3000+ followers and I'm also following 2900+ Twitter users. As the size of my network increases so to do my learning opportunities increase. Having a Twitter network is a great way to learn about new resources for teaching. A Twitter network is also a great place to exchange ideas about teaching. If you're not familiar with how Twitter works, this short video from Common Craft offers a great explanation. If you're a Twitter user looking to expand your network the following are seven ways to find other teachers on Twitter.

1. Twitter 4 Teachers wiki. The Twitter 4 Teachers PB Wiki was started by ed tech specialist Gina Hartman. This wiki is organized content teaching area so that visitors can connect with Twitter users who teach the same subject(s).

2. Educators on Twitter is a Google Docs Spreadsheet started by Liz B. Davis. The list is constantly growing as new additions are added almost daily.

3. Twitter for Teachers is a wiki started by Rodd Lucier with the purpose of educating teachers about the use of Twitter as an educational tool and as a professional development tool. You may want to check out who the contributors to the wiki are and follow them. Rodd has also produced a great video demonstrating how to use Twitter, Delicious, and Google Reader to find more Twitter users of interest to you.

4. Jane Hart, founder of the Centre for Learning & Performance Technologies, has compiled a list of nearly 800 educators on Twitter. Each entry is accompanied by a short summary about the Twitter user.

5. Twitter search. Located at the bottom of the Twitter page is a search link. Try searching for key words commonly used in educational technology. Then follow the Twitter users who are writing messages containing those key terms.

6. Look at who others follow and who others send "@" messages to. One of the ways that I've built up my network is to look at who the "popular" people follow and follow them. If someone you currently follow sends an "@" reply that appears in your Twitter stream, check out who that "@" message was sent to. Chances are good that the recipient of that message is also interested in the same topics you're interested in.

7. Start engaging conversations. There are a couple of ways to do this, you start a conversation around a resource that you've discovered. Another way to start a conversation is to pose a question or problem that you would like help solving. People are generally willing to offer feedback. If someone sends you an "@" message try to acknowledge it (you may not always be able to do this because of time lapse) people seem to appreciate acknowledgement.

One last place to start finding other teachers on Twitter is to check out my blog post 10 Teachers to Follow on Twitter.

If you have additional suggestions about ways to connect with other teachers on Twitter or you would like to promote your own Twitter account, please leave a comment.

Shortly after this post went live Twitter changed their UI just a bit. The search box is now at the top of the screen and you can now see "trends" based on the most popular words and tags of the moment.

Update #2:
Two weeks after writing this blog post, We Follow was launched. We Follow makes it very easy to find other teachers and educators on Twitter. You can read more about We Follow here.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Alltop - Links for Homeschooling

Last Wednesday I wrote a blog post about Alltop. Alltop is a Guy Kawasaki project and it seems that he never stops working to improve Alltop. Today, through one of Guy's Twitter messages I learned that Alltop has a page dedicated to sharing links about homeschooling for homeschooling parents. If you're a homeschooling parent or work with homeschooling parents check out Alltop's Homeschool page.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Zigtag - Semantic, Social Bookmarking

Last week's announcement that Google is shutting down Google Notebook has many of us scrambling to find a new bookmarking and annotation tool. One of the bookmarking and annotation services that am trying as a Google Notebook replacement is Zigtag.

Zigtag operates as a browser add-on on the left side of your browser window. From there you can "tag" or bookmark websites using your own descriptions or pre-formatted descriptions. In this regard, tagging is semantic or based on "natural" language. If the loss of browser window space is a concern for you, you can also right click to tag pages through Zigtag's browser add-on. Watch the video below for a visual explanation fo Zigtag in action.

Zigtag is a social bookmarking service so, as you would expect, you can easily share your bookmarks and search other users' bookmarks. Within Zigtag you can create or join groups for sharing bookmarks with other users with similar interests. If you're not the sharing type, you can choose to keep some or all of your bookmarks private.

Finally, if you have bookmarks saved in your Delicious account or bookmarks in your browser that you would like to continue using, Zigtag has an import option for your convenience.

Applications for Education
Zigtag's group option could be useful for creating professional learning networks. The group option could also be useful for students that are working in groups on research projects.