Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Social Media in 2013 - Questions for School Leaders to Consider

This morning at the AAFCS conference in Houston, Texas I facilitated a workshop about social media for leaders of organizations. We started the morning by watching the latest version of Erik Qualman's Social Media Revolution then talked about a few questions to consider while thinking about using social media as the leader of an organization.

The questions we considered were:
What happens when someone Googles your organization?
What is being said about your organization without your knowledge?
Who represents your organization?
What will you share about your organization?
How will you handle negative feedback on social media?

Some resources to look at when planning social media policies for your organization: 
Edutopia - How to Create Social Media Guidelines for Your School 
Online database of sample social media policies

School leaders who have experience crafting social media policies, please feel free to add questions to consider in the comments below.

More Ideas for Using ThinkLink In Your Classroom

Last week I shared Donna Baumbach's great Google Presentation of 65+ ways to use ThingLink in your classroom. This spring ThingLink ran a contest in which students submitted their ThingLink creations. The contest is over now, but you can still see the submissions on the contest page. Some of the examples that jumped out to me were interactive diagrams of the human digestion system, an interactive version of Van Gogh's Starry Night, and a cute interactive image titled Puppies Count As Family Too. I didn't count all of the images on the page, but I'm confident in saying there is well over 100 interactive images created by students on the page. Take a look at the contest page and get ideas for your own use of interactive images in your classroom.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

K-5 Rocks - Lessons About Fossils and Rocks

The American Geosciences Institute produces K-5 GeoSource which is a site that hosts lesson plans and other educational resources for teachers. K-5 GeoSource has a very Web 1.0 look to it, but if you do a little digging you'll find some helpful materials. A few of the resources that I looked at were this free chart about types of rocks (link opens PDF), a science fair project guide, and a short Earth scientist career guide.

Applications for Education
As I mentioned above, K-5 GeoSource isn't the fanciest site you'll find on the web and it lacks any kind of interactive element for students. If you just need to find some ideas to use in your classroom, K-5 GeoSource could be worth bookmarking. The most useful aspect of the site might be the science fair project guide that you and your students could work through to plan a hands-on Earth science project.

EldonReader - Another Google Reader Alternative

The space created closure of Google Reader (just five days left before it's gone for good) is quickly being filled by lots of companies trying to be the "best" Google Reader alternative. EldonReader is the latest entry into this market that I've tried. EldonReader is a free service for organizing and reading your favorite RSS feeds. The display of your RSS subscriptions is very similar to that of Google Reader.

You can import your Google Reader feeds into EldonReader with just a couple of clicks. To import your Google Reader feeds just click the "Import Google Reader" link in the left hand column of your Eldon Reader homepage then authorize Eldon Reader to access your Google Account.

EldonReader makes it easy to discover new content to subscribe to. EldonReader features suggested content in a digital magazine rack display in your laptop's web browser or on your Android tablet (not available as an iOS app, yet). You can also discover new content by simply entering a search term in the EldonReader search box.

EldonReader isn't the slickest alternative you'll find to Google Reader, that prize goes to FlipBoard, but it could be good for folks who want a simple interface like that found in Google Reader.

Math Chimp Presents Freddy's Fractions - A Fractions Game for Kids

Math Chimp is a free site full of math games, videos, and other math review materials for elementary school and middle school students. Recently, Math Chimp released a new game called Freddy's Fractions. In Freddy's Fractions students help a sea turtle named Freddy find fractions that are larger or smaller than the one that is presented at the beginning of each level. Freddy's Fractions is available to play in a web browser. Freddy's Fractions is also available as a free Android app and as a free iPhone app.

Applications for Education
Freddy's Fractions is just one of many activities available through Math Chimp. Like most educational games the games could be used as fun review activities, but they don't offer much in the way of instruction. That said, the nice thing about Freddy's Fractions is that it is available on three platforms which is handy in a BYOD environment or any classroom environment in which you have a mix of devices being used by students.