New twitter users usually look overwhelmed and, frankly, lost. Twitter is a world of its own, and a tool teachers should be using to establish a Professional Learning Network.
A Professional Learning Network (PLN) is a network of people with a common profession/practice that share ideas related to their field to learn from one another. Establishing a PLN early on in the teaching experience can prove to be highly beneficial. As a teacher, I know that first year is stressful. Attempting to manage students for the first time while integrating the great ideas from your credential/masters program does not always run smoothly. Having a PLN to work through the do’s and do not’s can really save a new teacher from drowning. But PLN’s benefit every teacher, keeping their ideas fresh and up-to-date while providing feedback and new resources. Twitter is one of the easiest ways to start a PLN.
To start a PLN on twitter, and to manage all those tweets, start with lists. Make a list of people that fall into the same category. I would start with a list of teachers in your content area or grade level. Since there are some awesome educators on twitter, follow with a list of those that inspire you. Have lists for local teachers as well as teachers whose tweets you love. Beyond lists, save your searches. Since I teach math, I saved #mathchat because teachers are always sharing math resources with one another. Other examples are #edchat or #HSMath. Personalize, but make sure you choose searches that other educators are posting in frequently enough. When you post something related to a search, make sure you # it. Lastly, start @-ing people. When you respond to educators, they will respond back.
Twitter moves fast. Establishing a PLN may not happen overnight, but with persistence, it could happen within two.
Conversations with teachers interested in technology integration usually come to a point where the teacher asks, “I understand HOW technology is beneficial, but I don’t know where to begin.” Professional development is most beneficial if the teacher takes away not only knowledge but an action plan for implementation.
I decided I would like to take on the task of compiling a HOW TO guide for teachers looking to cross the bridge to a student-centered, tech-oriented classroom… But I am going to need the help of fellow teachers with stories, suggestions, how to’s, how NOT to’s, etc. Please comment below, and let’s see what kind of support we can provide to those on the path to tech integration.
Wordle.net is an amazing word cloud site. You can either take your own text or copy paste text into a box and magically a word cloud appears. You can adjust the colors and fonts. I think this is a great tool for educators. In an English class, students could describe the character in a book using adjectives and then make a word cloud from those adjectives. In science, when you are learning about a theory students can make a word cloud of all the words associated with that theory. In math, when learning a step-by-step procedure, say solving linear equations, the students could write out the steps and word cloud them. When teaching rules and expectations to students, students could list all the words associated with the rule or expectation and word cloud them. Word clouds are not only educational tools, but they make for a great display of student work in the classroom. It conveys student knowledge and is appealing at the same time. Have your students create a word cloud through wordle or on paper.
Here are some examples of word clouds from wordle:
I have collected numerous resources for polling/surveying the audience. From texting to tweeting to posting on the internet, there are thousands of polling/survey sites and ways for an audience to participate. Check out the list below:
Free Online Surveys
I am designing a moodle course for one of my online classes currently. It is a “fake” course in which my team and I are learning to use moodle components for teaching and to further understand online learning from both the student and teacher perspectives. My team has chosen Google Apps as our ’emerging technology trend’ to center our course around. I stumbled across some fascinating articles as well as some great demos of how to use Google Apps for education. I had never really considered using google besides personal use until I started working on this project. Below I have posted some articles, videos, etc. that my team assembled for our moodle course on Google Apps. Of course you can always visit the Google Channel to see the plethora of videos dedicated to teaching the basic functions of all of their tools.
100 Things to do with Google Apps
What are Google Apps?
7 things you should know about Google Apps
Brown University and Google Apps