Sunday, April 26, 2015

Socializing School Events With Social Media

Last week I received a copy of Guy Kawasaki and Peg Fitzpatrick's book The Art of Social Media. It's a quick read that is full of actionable items. One of the chapters of the book is about incorporating social media into physical events like conferences. As I read the chapter I thought, "this could apply to school events."

Here's the general outline of how this could work:
1. Let's say your school's music program is having a fundraiser event like an auction or a costume contest.

2. Pick a hashtag for the event and let people know about it. Print it out and plaster it on posters with prompts like, "remember to tag your pictures, #myschoolrocks."

3.  Use a tool like TweetDeck or Hootsuite to monitor the hashtag and reTweet, Pin, reGram, tag, and otherwise help the event's hashtag grow.

4. After the event is over go through and choose a bunch of pictures and or Tweets to create a collage of highlights of the events. Tools like Pic-Collage and PicMonkey make it easy to build collages. (Remember to ask for permission to re-use another person's pictures). Post the collages on your school's Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram accounts. Of course, you'll also want to use the collages in your school newsletter too.

Why do this?
1. Your students and their parents are already likely to be using social media during after-school events.

2. By encouraging the use of and tracking a hashtag you can have a better sense of what is being said about the event.

3. People love to see pictures of themselves (the selfie stick is the new symbol of narcissism) so by including their pictures in news about the event they're more likely to share news about the event.

4. If the event went well, people had fun, and money was raised (or whatever the event's goal was), you now have a small army of people who have positive feelings about the school that they are sharing throughout their communities. Sharing good feelings and comments about your school is always a good thing.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

The Week in Review - New Pageview Record

Good morning from the FreeTech4Teachers.com World Headquarters in Woodstock, Maine. For the third day in a row we are experiencing squalls, wind, and generally just a winter that won't quit. I probably jinxed it last week when I raved about how spring had finally arrived. Before I head outside to ride my bike in snow, I have this week's week-in-review to share.

This week saw FreeTech4Teachers.com receive a new record high for pageviews for a one month period, just over 1.1 million views. Put another way, that's 1.09 million more than I ever expected when I started this blog nearly eight years ago. A huge thank you to those who have been with me since the early days. And thank you to everyone that has helped the site grow by sharing posts through Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and other networks. It's seeing Tweets like the one below that make it fun for me to keep blogging. Thank you.


Here are this week's most popular posts:
1. A Handful of Tools That Help Students Analyze Their Own Writing
2. 124 Recordings of Famous Poets Reading Some of Their Poems
3. Google Classroom Now Supports Teacher Collaboration and Announcement Drafts
4. g(Math) for Google Forms Now Supports Handwritten Responses
5. How to Use Handwriting in Google Documents
6. 100 Practical Ed Tech Tips Videos
7. 10 Topics for School Blog Posts


PD Opportunities With Me
Please visit the official advertisers that help keep this blog going.
Practical Ed Tech is the brand through which I offer PD webinars.
BoomWriter provides a fantastic tool for creating writing lessons. 
Storyboard That is my go-to tool for creating storyboards and cartoon stories.
MidWest Teachers Institute offers online graduate courses for teachers.
HelloTalk is a mobile community for learning a new language.
Discovery Education & Wilkes University offer online courses for earning Master's degrees in Instructional Media.
PrepFactory offers a great place for students to prepare for SAT and ACT tests.
MasteryConnect provides a network for teachers to share and discover Common Core assessments.
The University of Maryland Baltimore County offers graduate programs for teachers.
Boise State University offers a 100% online program in educational technology.
EdTechTeacher is hosting host workshops in six cities in the U.S. in the summer.
SeeSaw is a great iPad app for creating digital portfolios.

Friday, April 24, 2015

How to Use Handwriting in Google Documents

Earlier this week John Stevens tipped me off to using g(Math) to add handwritten responses to Google Forms. This morning John sent me a direct message on Twitter to tell me that you can now use handwriting in Google Documents through the g(Math) Add-on. John wrote out step-by-step directions with screenshots here. I made a short screencast of the process. That screencast is embedded below.


Thanks again to John Stevens for the tip. And thanks to John McGowan for developing g(Math).

How to Cite a Tweet in MLA, APA, and Chicago Style

As social media has evolved it has crept into academic work. I've even given research assignments in which I've asked my students to seek out and cite quotes from people on Twitter. More and more I'm asked, "how do I cite a Tweet?" In fact, I was asked this in an email last night. If you're citing for a blog post, you can just embed the Tweet. If you're citing for a more formal work you will want to follow guidelines of MLA, APA, or Chicago Style.

Guidelines and examples for citing a Tweet in MLA style can be found here. Guidelines and examples for citing Tweets in APA are available here. If you need guidelines and examples of citing a Tweet in Chicago Style, click here.

Those who use tools like EasyBib or RefMe should note that the Tweet citations generated by those tools don't exactly match the guidelines set by APA, MLA, or Chicago Style. I tried both tools for citing Tweets and found that I had to slightly modify the formatting produced by those tools.

How to Embed a Tweet Into a Blog Post

Last night I received an email from someone who had a question about sharing Tweets. She had seen my post about QR codes in which I shared a Tweet that had a picture in it. She wanted to do the same to share on her classroom blog the Tweets that parents and students sent during and about a school event (I think that's a great idea).  The process is rather easy and I demonstrate it in the video embedded below.