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

Thursday, July 25, 2019

Two Alternatives to the New Twitter Interface

If you're one of the many people who doesn't like the new Twitter interface, I'm one of them, you don't have to use it in order to still enjoy connecting with others through Twitter. First, you can do what I did and switch to using Tweet Deck to view new Tweets, replies, mentions, and to post your own new Tweets. Tweet Deck lets you see Tweets separated into columns of mentions, hashtags, and lists that you've created in Twitter.

The second alternative to using the new Twitter interface is to use the Minimal Twitter Chrome extension or Firefox extension to remove the sidebar clutter from Twitter. In the following video I demonstrate how both Tweet Deck and Minimal Twitter work.


Here's how you can create lists in Twitter.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Please Practice Good Digital Citizenship

I talked about this briefly on my Anchor podcast yesterday, but I need to elaborate a bit here. During the last year I have increasingly seen teachers sharing and or reacting to posts on social media without actually reading the full article. For example, see the screenshots below in which teachers have shared Facebook posts without actually reading the article or trying the tools mentioned in the article. How do I know they haven't? They say to the friends they've tagged, "I haven't read this, but I thought of you." See a few examples below (click the images to view them in full size).
What's funny about showing a video to your students that you haven't watched?





I don't know about you, but I don't want people making recommendations to me if they haven't actually tried the product or read the article.

I'm also concerned about this pattern because if a teacher is using this bad practice in his/ her social media accounts, what is he/she teaching to students about digital citizenship? In an era in which we are increasingly hearing about viral fake news stories, it's important to make sure we're not the ones contributing to the problem.

A similar problem reared its ugly head on Sunday on the Free Technology for Teachers Facebook page. I posted this article about gaining access to sites your school filters. Roughly half of the comments on the post were from people who clearly didn't read the article at all. In other words, they were responding to the headline. After 24 hours I took the post down because I was tired of moderating uninformed comments and spats between those commenting.

Please, use social media to share things that you think are helpful to your friends and colleagues. Just read before you share. Your colleagues, friends, and students will thank you.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Apply for a National Geographic Teaching Adventure

The Grosvenor Teacher Fellow Program is an annual program administered by National Geographic. This unique professional development program, open to teachers in the U.S. and Canada takes teachers on field work expeditions to interesting places all over the world. Some of the places teachers could go through the program include Antarctica, the Galapagos Islands, Iceland, Greenland, and Norway.



Applications are due by December 31st. You can get read a set of program FAQs here and see a sample application here. The program is limited and competitive so click here to apply today.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Twitter Bingo - A Fun Way to Introduce Twitter to Teachers

I spent yesterday working with teachers in Canton, Connecticut. A Twitter Bingo board was one of the first things that I noticed when I walked into the room in which I gave my opening talk. I immediately snapped a picture of it and Tweeted it. Throughout the day that picture was liked and reTweeted dozens of times.


The Twitter bingo chart that I photographed was developed in part by Ruth Kidwell. Ruth later replied to a Tweet from a teacher who wanted to use the chart for introducing Twitter to his colleagues. Ruth's reply included a link to the Google Drawing in which the Twitter Bingo game was created.


It is one thing to talk to your colleagues about using Twitter for professional development, but it's another to get them to actually use it. Twitter Bingo provides people with a fun way to learn about how Twitter works.

Monday, July 29, 2013

The Difficulty With "Best" and "Must Use" in Professional Development

We've all been in a professional development workshop in which we had to learn to use a specific instructional method or a specific website/ app/ software. The trouble with this is that despite what some education reformer activists and politicians tell us, teaching and learning can't be put into a one-size-fits-all program. This is why I enjoy trying to see as many presentations as possible when I go to a conference. When I'm at a conference I want see how other people teach the things that I sometimes teach.

If you're planning PD workshops try to include a couple of alternative tools for each activity. The tool that you love may not be loved by everyone in your workshop. The reason the tool you love may not be loved by others could be as simple as visual appeal. For example, last week at the Practical Ed Tech Summer Camp we spent 30-40 minutes on EduClipper. Many people liked it and ran with it quickly. There were also a few people who didn't care for EduClipper because the interface was too busy for them. So instead of trying to persist in getting those people to use EduClipper, I showed them Diigo. Diigo offered the same kind of social bookmarking experience as EduClipper, but in a format that was more visually pleasing to those who were turned off by EduClipper's layout. The "best" bookmarking service for one group of my students wasn't the same as the "best" bookmarking service for the other group.

Every week a new round of blog posts appears on the web with titles like "The Best Apps for X in School" or "10 Sites Every Teacher Must See." The problem with those posts is the same problem as trying to force everyone to use the exact same tool and method when there are other options that work just as well. It's because of that that I try to avoid using titles like that in my posts. I am guilty of writing list posts, but I do try to keep "best" and "must" out of my posts because what's best for me is not necessarily best for you. That said, a topical list can be good for discovering the best app/ site/ tool for you and your students.

Of course, there are occasions when the "everyone has to do this" PD session cannot be avoided. If you have to lead a refresher on first aid you probably don't want people improvising. Or if your school has just spent thousands of dollars for a new student data management system, you probably cannot say, "this doesn't work for me, can I use something else?"

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

My Five Favorite Google Reader Alternatives

The final countdown to the end of Google Reader is on. In eleven days Google Reader will be closed. I've tried a bunch of alternatives to Google Reader over the last few months. These are the five that I recommend using.

Feedly is a great service for reading your favorite RSS feeds on your iPad, Android device, or in your web browser. Feedly will import all of your Google Reader subscriptions for you with just one click.
I enjoy using the visual layout of Feedly which I feel enables me to browse through my RSS subscriptions more efficiently than if they were just in a list like in Google Reader. I also find it very easy to share from Feedly to Google+, Evernote, Twitter, and many other services.

Flipboard is an iPad and Android application that allows you to read your RSS subscriptions in a magazine-style format. This spring Flipboard introduced the option to collaboratively create iPad and Android magazines by sharing items from your feeds to your magazines. Watch the video below to learn more about collaboratively creating digital magazines with Flipboard.


The Old Reader is a free service that you can use to subscribe to RSS feeds and read all of the latest content from those sources in one place. So that you don't have to re-subscribe to the blogs that you love, The Old Reader will allow you to import your Google Reader subscriptions. You'll notice that The Old Reader looks and acts very similarly to Google Reader. The Old Reader will allow you to share posts, write notes about posts appearing in your account, and organize your subscriptions into folders.

Feedspot is a simple Google Reader replacement. It doesn't have any of the visual effects of Flipboard or Feedly. What it does have is a clean interface that may remind you a lot of Google Reader. In fact, it even uses some of the same keyboard shortcuts as Google Reader. Learn more about Feedspot in this Tekzilla video.

FlowReader is a free RSS reader that I tried earlier this week. I have to say that they couldn't make it easier to import your Google Reader subscriptions. To start using FlowReader just visit the homepage and click "Import Your Google Reader Feeds Now." After clicking that button authorize FlowReader to access your Google Reader feeds and all of your feeds will be imported into FlowReader. If you are using categories in Google Reader, those will be imported too. After importing your feeds you can connect your social media accounts like Twitter, Google+, and Facebook. You can also connect Evernote, Instapaper, and many other bookmarking services to your FlowReader account. FlowReader lets you read your feeds in full article view or in a headline-only view.

Applications for Education
I've always believed that as educators we have a responsibility to continue to read and learn about ideas shared in our field. Creating a set of blogs and websites that you subscribe to is a great way to read and learn about new ideas in our field. These Google Reader alternatives make it easy to create a set of subscriptions and read them on your favorite device. 


I have also tried Zite, Netvibes, NewsBlur, and Pulse. You might also want to take a look at MyLinkCloud's support for RSS feeds.

Monday, June 17, 2013

FlowReader Makes It Easy to Transfer Google Reader Subscriptions

Google Reader users have 13 days left to figure out how they are going to subscribe to and read their favorite blogs after Google Reader shuts down. FlowReader is a free RSS reader that I tried this afternoon and I have to say that it couldn't be easier to import your Google Reader subscriptions.

To start using FlowReader just visit the homepage and click "Import Your Google Reader Feeds Now." After clicking that button authorize FlowReader to access your Google Reader feeds and all of your feeds will be imported into FlowReader. If you are using categories in Google Reader, those will be imported too. After importing your feeds you can connect your social media accounts like Twitter, Google+, and Facebook. You can also connect Evernote, Instapaper, and many other bookmarking services to your FlowReader account. FlowReader lets you read your feeds in full article view or in a headline-only view.
Headline-only view in FlowReader.

Applications for Education
Everywhere I go I try to encourage people to create a list of blogs and websites that can aid their professional learning. FlowReader could be a great place to create those collections and keep up with the latest information from your favorite sources.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Professional Learning in the Digital Age - A Free Webinar

Last month I wrote a review of Dr. Kristen Swanson's fantastic new book Professional Learning in the Digital Age. It's a practical guide to using the web to become a better educator. I tend to be a slow reader and I still devoured the book in one afternoon.

Tomorrow, at 4:30pm ET Kristen will be hosting a free webinar about the ideas that she shares in the book. Knowing Kristen it will be a great hour full of practical ideas and inspiring conversation.

Click here to register for the Professional Learning in the Digital Age webinar.