Online sharing with Pearltrees

Pearltrees is a free, visual and collaborative library that lets you keep everything you like at your fingertips. Its unique interface lets you organize and retrieve your favorite web pages, photos, and notes — even offline. You can also leverage Pearltrees’ community members to discover amazing stuff related directly to your interests. Enrich your account with those you like best. With Pearltrees, you can cultivate your interests wherever you are.


My View
I have spent some time and gone through this application.  This application reminds me a little bit like Pinterest.  This can collect all things you find interesting on the internet.  It allows you to organize them into “pearls” that stack like a mind map.  Students can use this tool to create online portfolios.  They can upload files as well as type text or bookmark websites.  Their ideas can be organized in any way they see fit.

The price is right for this app.  Free.  There are paid plans that give you more options but you get plenty for free.

The Best 1:1 Device is a Good Teacher

Self-Paced Professional Development

Here are some options for self-paced, learn-when-you-can professional development. Your district will not hand you these options, but I encourage you to seek them out.

iTunesU

iTunesU is an iPad-based repository of courses, lectures, and resources for teachers and students. The content can be accessed exclusively on the iPad, and the material is all vetted for accuracy and copyright. Courses can be accessed or created by individuals or teachers through iTunesU Course Manager. Course manager is only available on the Apple platform and when using the Safari browser.
Coursera
Coursera is a free online course catalog that allows anyone in the world to take courses from some of the best instructors on the planet. Coursera does not offer accreditation for teachers yet, but they are advocating for this issue. Regardless, this site is chock full of courses that anyone can take at any time.
Google+
Google+ is emerging as a credible venue for professional development and anytime learning. It’s a free platform, and if you work in an organization that employs Google Apps for Education, you already have an account. Google+ offers Google “Hangouts” as the venue for presenting professional development sessions. The best part about this option is that Hangouts are archived on the YouTube account of the author or group.
Twitter
Everyone in education loves Twitter. Twitter can be a great venue for learning if you organize it and filter it (I recommend TweetDeck). Jumping headfirst into something like #edchat will only confuse and overwhelm you. My recommendation is to use Twitter sparsely at first. Find a few educators to follow, and spend a good amount of time listening, reading and processing. Follow Steve Anderson, Kristen Swanson, Alec Couros, John Spencer, Lyn Hilt, Rich Kiker, Dean Shareski, Joyce Valenza, Kyle Pace and Edutopia — to start. But start simple and listen to what the aforementioned educators have to say.
EdCamps
EdCamp is the standard professional development for education. I’ve attended and organized several EdCamps and find them to be the most rewarding experiences that I’ve had in education. I’ve made great connections and friends as a result of this format, and it is a professional development that allows everyone to participate and have a voice.

Flipping the Classroom Requires More Than Video

Flipping the classroom has become a large passion of mine. It is one of my ongoing professional goals to implement next year.

I have to agree with these four bullet points. Poor video lectures are worse than the live version of the same lecture. They need to be engaging.

iPad is King in Education! Here is why. @web20classroom

Today I was reading the blog of Steven Anderson, District Instructional Technologist with Winston-Salem Schools in Winston-Salem NC, where he was discussing “Taking a Step Back and Thinking Critically About Technology“.  Take a moment to read the article to understand my standpoint below.

So why is iPad King in Education?  Apps!  When you have a center store filled with over 500,000 apps, with 25 billion downloads, and countless developers always creating new things, then selecting the iPad for your classroom seems obvious.  Now with the creation of the iBooks Author, Apple has just added another tid-bit to entice educators more than they already do.

I agree with Steven that there are a lot of schools and districts buying iPads just to say that they have them. (Points to myself.)  While I did support the purchase of the iPads for our main curriculum tool now looking back I would go another way.  I am one of those educators that believes that “I” am the curriculum in my room, everything else is just a tool that I use.  So why would I go with something else rather than the just sticking with the iPad?  Simple, Google.  The collaboration that comes with Google Docs, Calendar, Blogger, and other various tools is ULTIMATE.  In a profession where collaboration works, Google needs to be used in schools more often than it currently is.  While the iPad does work with Google, it does not tap into Google’s collaborative features.  This is why I personally would go with the Chromebook.  I like those collaborative features and students need to learn to collaborate more than they currently are.

iPad is King in Education

Today I was reading the blog of Steven Anderson, District Instructional Technologist with Winston-Salem Schools in Winston-Salem NC, where he was discussing “Taking a Step Back and Thinking Critically About Technology“.  Take a moment to read the article to understand my standpoint below.
So why is iPad King in Education?  Apps!  When you have a center store filled with over 500,000 apps, with 25 billion downloads, and countless developers always creating new things, then selecting the iPad for your classroom seems obvious.  Now with the creation of the iBooks Author, Apple has just added another tid-bit to entice educators more than they already do.
I agree with Steven that there are a lot of schools and districts buying iPads just to say that they have them. (Points to myself.)  While I did support the purchase of the iPads for our main curriculum tool now looking back I would go another way.  I am one of those educators that believes that “I” am the curriculum in my room, everything else is just a tool that I use.  So why would I go with something else rather than the just sticking with the iPad?  Simple, Google.  The collaboration that comes with Google Docs, Calendar, Blogger, and other various tools is ULTIMATE.  In a profession where collaboration works, Google needs to be used in schools more often than it currently is.  While the iPad does work with Google, it does not tap into Google’s collaborative features.  This is why I personally would go with the Chromebook.  I like those collaborative features and students need to learn to collaborate more than they currently are.

Technology-Enhances-Learning-Infographic

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I am not surprised by the fact that “Traditional textbooks help my students” is so high. They do, but they do not keep them engaged. I am a little surprised with the results “Traditional textbooks engage my students”. What bothers me is the “Agree somewhat”. I have NEVER read a textbook that kept me engaged until the very end. Most of the time it gets to a point where it is just drudgery but I continue on because I know that I have too. Students don’t feel that sentiment. They completely check out.

I believe that we can have the same content that is currently in our textbooks, but just delivered in a more engaging way. Currently I am exploring Apple’s iBooks Author and all of the options that come with it.  I am using it to create some curriculum with readings, review questions, and videos, rather than going with my normal approach.  I am very optimistic that this will prove to be much more effective.

Leading with Instructional Technology Post 5

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I was completely blown away with Doug this evening.  I was anticipating that this evening would be mostly teaching about Google tools and how they work, of which I do know most of them.  Hearing Doug speak into about how important it is to having students be creating material during their learning venture.  Creation is the most difficult part of Bloom’s.  A lot of teachers do not really spend a lot of time using that upper-end Bloom’s because they find it very time consuming and difficult.  It is suppose to be difficult.  Most of the learning that we experience in our lives comes from difficult tasks.  Even if we were not able to accomplish it the first try, once we did we never forgot how we succeeded in that.  It is time for more teachers to be innovative with their kids and get them creating authentic content.  I can totally see how Google Apps can help with this.  

In order for me to really start diving into this with my iPads in my classrooms I really need to have more access to technology.  Students do not have email and are not allowed email access while at school.  Seems a little bit backwards for me to have such a rule but then give them an iPad to use everyday.

100 Serious Twitter Tips for Academics | Best Colleges Online

Twitter’s popularity has soared recently, and for good reason. What started as a simple way to update friends about daily life has grown into a powerful tool for business, communication, and education. While many campuses are just picking up on the educational rewards possible with Twitter, there is still plenty of room to create new and exciting ways to use Twitter on campus. The following tips will help you know just how to get started using Twitter in academia, teach you etiquette, offer strategies and benefits, provide suggestions for specific ways to use Twitter, list tools to use with Twitter, and more.

Getting Started

If you are new to Twitter or could use a few more basic pointers, check out these tips.

  1. Set up an account for your class. Academhack has excellent step-by-step instructions for getting your class set up with a Twitter account.
  2. Explore ways the class can communicate with Twitter. Doug Belshaw outlines three ways to use Twitter with students here.
  3. Learn about the benefits. This article profiles three professors’ use of Twitter with their classes and watch this video about Twitter at college.
  4. Learn from others’ experience. Some of those who have used Twitter in an academic setting have graciously shared their experiences and resources. Get started with Howard Rheingold’s delicious bookmarks on Twitter usage.
  5. The Beginner’s Guide to Twitter. Read this blog post for great advice on getting started with Twitter.
  6. Ten Top Twitter Tips. Find helpful Twitter tips, including understanding the different types of messages.
  7. How to Use Twitter: Tips for Bloggers. Get some basic tips here.
  8. Twitter 101: Clarifying the Rules for Newbies. This article takes a look at three Twitter mistakes those new to Twitter can make and how to avoid them.
  9. Lunch n Learn: Twitter for Beginners. Watch this video presented by Birmingham City University.
  10. VIDEO: A beginner’s guide to Twitter. The article accompanying this video offers great suggestions for those just starting out with Twitter.

Twitter Etiquette

There’s nothing worse than finding out you unwittingly committed a faux pas, so brush up on your Twitter etiquette here.

  1. Keep direct messages private. If someone sends a direct message, be respectful and continue this conversation privately.
  2. Don’t post one-on-one chatter publicly. It’s a waste of everyone else’s time to read about your plans with a friend to meet up for coffee. Keep those conversations private and you won’t risk burning out other followers.
  3. Ask questions. Remember that Twitter is at its best as a communication tool, so don’t just write what’s on your mind, also ask questions to open the dialog to others.
  4. Be nice while tweeting during a presentation. This blog post recommends only tweeting something you would be comfortable saying face-to-face.
  5. Be prepared to feel the sting. Not everyone thinks before commenting on Twitter, so be prepared to have others tweet comments about you that may not be so diplomatic.
  6. Make dedicated accounts for each class or project. Don’t try to lump more than one group together. It can get confusing and too overwhelming.
  7. Don’t send messages just to make a post. Make sure what you are tweeting is relevant to the discussion happening on the feed.
  8. Learn the etiquette. This wiki page offers plenty of information on Twitter etiquette as well as ways to help manage your Twitter experience.

Strategies

These strategies will help you use Twitter smarter.

  1. Use hashtags. Hashtags, or the # symbol before keywords, can add order to what may seem Twitter chaos. This article describes three ways to use hashtags.
  2. Play BackChatter. BackChatter is a Twitter game that draws those attending a conference into becoming interactive participants.
  3. Find and use apps. Applications can enhance your Twitter experience, so learn how you can find the latest apps for Twitter here.
  4. Join Twitter Freaks. This Diigo community offers a great selection of resources for using Twitter.
  5. Twitter Tweets for Higher Education. Find some interesting suggestions for using Twitter in academia here.
  6. TwiTip. This blog features advice for using Twitter to your best advantage.
  7. 35 Twitter Tips from 35 Twitter Users. These tips ranges from being honest to recommendations for apps to better manage your Twitter use.
  8. 100 Totally Free Twitter Power Strategies. Find tips lots of strategies and tips here.
  9. Twitter tips – tools for your tweets. Not only can you find tools to enhance your Tweets, you also learn some basics about using Twitter here.
  10. Top 10 Twitter Hacks. Learn more than ten ways to make Twitter work for you with this article.

Ideas for Instructors

Instructors can benefits from these Twitter tips.

  1. Present a faculty forum. Once you have a semester or two of Twitter use in the classroom, host a presentation for fellow faculty members to help educate them on how to use Twitter in the classroom.
  2. Live blog a conference. Use Twitter to live blog a conference or lecture. Not only are you keeping notes for yourself, but you have created a record for others to access as well.
  3. Notes after class. Twitter can serve as a notepad to record thoughts and ideas after class.
  4. Lesson plans. Twitter your lesson plans so you, your students, and even other instructors can see what you are doing.
  5. Collaborate. Geography no longer has to divide good instructors. Learn from and share with other instructors at your own campus or at campuses around the world.
  6. Instant feedback. Especially in a large lecture class, Twitter provides instructors an opportunity for instant feedback on the class as it is occurring.
  7. Find support. Reaching out for advice or feedback on a specific task or project is easy with Twitter. Read Tom Scheinfeldt’s description of an outreach community created around Omeka users.
  8. Increase class participation. Having students use Twitter invites more class participation, from acknowledging their attendance to finding a daily schedule.
  9. Problem solving. If you have run into a snag, post your problem on Twitter and watch the creative solutions roll in.
  10. Testing new technology. Easily find participants on Twitter to help you test new technologies like Jeff Utecht did.

Benefits for Students

These tips offer benefits for students, improving their learning environment.

  1. Asynchronous class conversation. Students can discuss topics relevant to what is happening in class as something happens away from traditional class time.
  2. Create community. Students who come together as a community are generally more open to communicating and learning from one another in class. Twitter promotes a sense of community through its sharing of personal information.
  3. Create a greater depth of interpersonal understanding. Getting to know small bits of someone over time provides a greater picture of who that person is, therefore developing a deeper sense of understanding that promotes more openness and sharing in the classroom.
  4. Make better connections with professors. Students and professors can communicate through Twitter to open up better working relationships.
  5. Post questions about assignments. If students are stumped, posting a question on Twitter opens up opportunities for other students to help clarify or for the instructor to step in.
  6. As questions without raising a hand. Standing behind Twitter is sometimes less intimidating than raising a hand and having an entire class staring at you when asking a question. Twitter can encourage asking questions or finding clarification.
  7. Provides “backchannel“. The term “backchannel” refers to the conversation occurring secondary to the main lecture or presentation. Read about some of the benefits of the backchannel in this article.
  8. Brings together online communities. Creating a sense of community in online classes can sometimes be challenging. Twitter can help create this sense of community.

Tips for the Class

Implement this tips in class for a new way of finding and sharing information.

  1. Twitter search. The search tool on Twitter will immediately provide you with any tweets including your given keyword, so go explore with topics from class.
  2. Direct tweet. Professors and students can contact each other through direct tweets without having to share cell phone numbers.
  3. Collaborate on projects. When working together on projects, set up a group using an app like Tweetworks to facilitate communication between everyone.
  4. Make announcements. Professors can send out reminders about upcoming tests, project due dates, or any other class news.
  5. Brainstorm. Brainstorm on class topics any time and anywhere ideas occur by posting them on Twitter and seeing who else contributes.
  6. Take a poll. Take opinion polls or get feedback by using an app like PollDaddy.
  7. Share interesting websites. Both professors and students can post interesting websites that are relevant to their class.
  8. Use tools to find answers from tweeters you don’t know. It’s one thing to gather information from your followers, but it’s a totally different opportunity to find answers from among a larger group of Twitter users. This article offers five suggestions to do just that.
  9. twiggit. Find interesting news articles or articles relevant to a current topic in class and share the results with this tool that combines Digg with Twitter.

Assignments Using Twitter

Try some of these assignments utilizing Twitter.

  1. Use it to teach a foreign language. Conversing with native speakers is an excellent way to reinforce foreign language lessons. See how this professor used Twitter to teach Italian.
  2. Learn from professional journalists. Study how these journalists use Twitter to enhance their careers or see what other teachers are doing.
  3. Do community service. Become inspired by this story of how Twitter helped bring water to 50 remote villages.
  4. Write a thesis. Consider writing a thesis (or a smaller research paper) on the effects of Twitter like this student did.
  5. Writing succinctly. Have students practice sharing complex thoughts in 140 words or less for a great writing lesson.
  6. Play Telephone. Play this old childhood game with a new twist by having students create a story chained together by their tweets or use twittories to accomplish this goal.
  7. Learn probability. While this math lesson was originally done for younger students, it is an excellent example of using Twitter to deliver hands-on learning.
  8. Study geography with Twitter and Google Earth. Follow this teacher’s lead to incorporate these two technologies into a dynamic geography lesson.
  9. Connect with classrooms in a different geographic location. Collaborate with another classroom to expand the possibilities of learning.
  10. Twitter-specific projects. Help students learn how to use Twitter by offering assignments such as this one from this Georgia Southern University instructor.
  11. Have a Twitter treasure hunt. Follow the example given here to create a treasure hunt with students’ prize being the completion of the assignment.

Follow These

Here are suggestions for people and things to track on Twitter.

  1. A professional. Keep up with what professionals in your area of interest are doing through their Twitter feed.
  2. A famous person. Many politicians and celebrities are on Twitter. Follow them to keep abreast of current events.
  3. Mentors. If professors or other key figures in your field of study are on Twitter, follow them to keep up with their research and activities.
  4. The news. Twitter has quickly become a recognized resource for up-to-the-minute news from well-respected news sources.
  5. Citizen journalism. World events, such as the recent protests in Iran, are beginning to unfold on Twitter. Students and instructors alike can follow citizen journalism right alongside the mainstream news reports.
  6. Track a word or phrase. Track a word or phrase to see how it is being used by others. This is a great way to learn the nuances of words and phrases.
  7. Check out the recent public updates. The recent public updates shows the most recent posts from all Twitter users. This is a great place to spot trends and see what others are talking about.

Twitter Tools

These tools can help your Twitter experience become easier and more dynamic.

  1. Twhirl. This powerful desktop client helps manage your Twitter experience through such helpful features as URL shortening, new message notifications, image posting, and much more.
  2. TwitterNotes. This tool lets you make private notes for yourself among your tweets.
  3. QuoteURL. A great tool for summarizing a Twitter project, this tool will put different Tweets together on one page.
  4. TwitPic. This tool lets you share photos on Twitter.
  5. bit.ly. Shorten URLs so that you use fewer characters when sharing web links on Twitter.
  6. Tweetree. Groups entire conversations together to help put tweets in context.
  7. TweetGrid. Create a customized search dashboard to enhance you Twitter searches with this tool.
  8. TweetScan. Have tweets emailed to you based on keywords you select with this tool.
  9. TweetDeck. This app allows you to create groups of Tweets to better manage all the information you receive.
  10. TwitterFone. When you are busy, use this tool to leave a voice message that will be turned into a tweet.
  11. Tweet Later. This tool lets you write tweets that you can schedule for posting in the future. Write reminders, then schedule them to post closer to when they need to be used.

Great Twitter Tools for Use in Academia

The following tools lend themselves to the learning environment of academia.

  1. Outwit Me. This site offers “intelligent Twitter games” and is a great way to have students get comfortable using Twitter.
  2. Atlas. Explore the world with tweets that are shown on a map.
  3. Twrivia. Get a new trivia question each day with this tool.
  4. weather. Science News Blog post frequent weather news and events occurring around the world.
  5. EarthquakeNews. From the USGS Earthquake Center, get tweets about any earthquake that registers over 2.5 anywhere in the world.
  6. Tweetizen. Find specific groups on Twitter or start your own group.
  7. GeoTwitterous: Personalized Twitter on a Map. This article describes how GeoTwitterous works as a great tool to map your Twitter network.
  8. Plinky. Each day this app provides a prompt in the form of a question or challenge, then you can reply by posting text, photos, maps, or whatever you can use to answer the prompt.

Finding People in Academia to Follow

Take these suggestions for finding professors, students, and more on Twitter.

  1. Colleges & Universities Directory. From Just Tweet It, this directory will connect you with both professors and students in academia.
  2. Professors :: Twellow. Professors on Twitter can add themselves to this directory.
  3. Twitter Professors: 18 People to Follow for a Real Time Education. Mashable offers a list of 18 professors you should follow and why.
  4. Twitter Grader. This tool will grade your Twitter presence, but it also provides a listing of the popular Twitter users in your area, providing an excellent opportunity to find people to follow.
  5. Follow Fridays. This popular activity of Friday recommendations of others to follow provides an opportunity to find interesting people to follow.
  6. WeFollow. Add yourself and find others in this user-powered Twitter directory where you can search by hashtags.
  7. TwitterLocal. Used in conjunction with Adobe AIR, find local Twitter users based on whichever geographic location you supply.
  8. Twubble. This tool searches your friend graph and selects others you may be interested in following. This is a great way to discover others associated with your school.

New Library for the 21st Century! #edtech

I think that this is fantastic!  Reading the main story on the Houston Press, there are some teachers and librarians that are up in arms about this.  Stating that students need to compete for the computers in order to access books.  Why?  Don’t most kids now days have smartphones?  And for the most part does a library really purchase 35 copies of every single book?  Ok maybe textbooks they do, but I doubt they purchase 35 copies of Twilight or Harry Potter.  The only thing that I don’t really agree with is setting up the library to be a lot like Starbucks.  While I do a lot of my focused work at Starbucks with my MacBook Pro just sitting listening to music and drinking coffee, I do not think that kids need to start down this path of viewing libraries as coffee shops.

 

To my library friends: Libraries are not like what they use to be.  I visit the New York Public Library at least 3 times a month and I have never even been to New York.  Libraries are starting to be located everywhere you are.  Have a computer?  Then you have ALL the libraries.

To my educator friends: This is the way of the future.  Students should not be bound by paper.  eBooks are the advancement of books.  Much like the worksheets you use in class.  Those are the advancement of the chalkboard and slates, but still we use them.

This principal should not have been awarded the “Rotten Apple in Education” award, unless this approach to changing the way student consume readings was truly for “designed to impress the new superintendent [Terry Grier] with the forward thinking nature of that particular principal at that particular school. ”  In that case then, yes he should have been.  Things in education should never be done to impress but rather for the right reasons and those are always the kids.

 

The twelve reasons below are reasons that more school should do this for the “right reasons”.


Original post from The Innovative Educator


A Dozen or So Reasons I Applaud Lamar High School for Ditching School Library Books

 


Librarians, educators, and parents are up in arms after Principal James McSwain of Lamar High School in Houston, Texas ditched many of the books in his library and re-opened the facility as a high-tech Reading / Research Center & Coffee Shop this year. To Principal McSwain, I say kudos for your foresight and bravery, though I know many of my paper-trained librarian friends and colleagues give this principal a big thumbs down.

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iRubric to the Rescue | Teacher Tech #edtech

I saw this post on Twitter and I had to check it out. Mostly because the name started with an “i”. Since I am a huge Apple fan, anything that starts with “i” esspecially in technology, totally catches my eye.While browsing through this website about the “iRubric” I noticed that it is much more than that. This website is a full course management system like Blackboard or Moodle called “RCampus”. It is a pretty cool little tool. Pretty easy to get around post and edit things as well. I did not spend a great deal of time working with the site because at our school we use Edmodo and I did not want to fall in love and try to get faculty and staff to use something new in the middle of the year. I do feel that “RCampus” has some potential.

 

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World of Warcraft Invades Language Arts Class

I never would have even thought of using WOW as a learning tool in schools until I saw this post and student responses given in the project. This is the kind of outstanding risk I like seeing teachers taking to incorporate technology in the classroom.  While there should be caution when using games like this that have violence included, there is a great deal of learning involved, especially in communication with a game like this.
I too play WOW from time-to-time during breaks from school and when we are not busy with family stuff and I will say that there is always a lot to learn in this game each time I come back and play from taking long breaks in between.