Twitter is a powerful tool for connecting with others. It is one social media tool that continues to intrigue us and connect us in new ways all the time.
First just a whisper, twitter arrived on the scene in 2007. Twitter was mocked by some but embraced by others. I started using it in September 2008 to connect with other technology and education professionals. It has been an amazing tool for connecting, learning and collaborating.
I had the opportunity to work with a group of teachers learning about using Twitter for the classroom. Below is the presentation given to Archbishop John Carroll High School in Radnor.
Many of today’s resources available to connected educators are free. They are a gift that educators use to learn, grow and connect. Twitter, Facebook, Blogger and Skype to name just a few – are free! Connected learning support can incur expenses though. Money for things such as hardware, connectivity, software, assessment systems and professional development are needed.
Conferences and meetings have always been places where people could go to learn. At conferences you hear of new concepts, design new strategies, learn a skill. In today’s web enriched environment though, we can do all of those things online. We attend webinars, tweet, and Linkin. We email, Facebook, skype and chat. We can learn online easily and explore topics in depth.
So why attend conferences face to face? To meet people face to face, to hear their stories, to build relationships. To quote this piece by Sr. Geralyn in the VFLR blog. If we are to provide well for the learning of today’s students we need to
Broaden their vision with your understanding of their world. If that world is way beyond your knowledge, leverage some assistance from another educator.
Just listen to these young adults as they discuss the benefits of Face to Face talk below.
As educators, it is important for us to discern how to best support all new and innovative venues for learning – to make online learning, educational uses of technology AND face to face learning the best it can be!
As powerfully as the tools of today can provide learning and forge connections, face to face gatherings
can deepen our learning and partnerships.
An upcoming conference is planned in Philadelphia and is hosted by Powerful Learning Practice. The agenda is packed with inspiring speakers and collaborative opportunities for educators. This can be just the place to talk with connected educators from all over the world.
Having the opportunity to meet and greet innovative and passionate educators does not come along every day. I’m happy to be part of the planning team for this conference. I look forward to connecting with other educators there – face to face!
14 Resources for Needs Assessments and Evaluations
In bringing the benefits of technology to education and indeed to any organization, needs assessments and surveys are a valuable tool for School CIOs and school leaders. These can work hand in hand with your school plans and technology plans. Both in the planning stages and during implementation, surveys can provide you with valuable feedback which can lead you to the goals you envision.
Seeking input and feed back is essential to the success of any initiative. This survey feedback can act as a ‘GPS’ telling you where you are currently and what you need to do to get to your destination. Your school or district technology plan is your map. Needs assessments and surveys can get you on the right path and keep you there.
These assessments can look at both classroom technology and overall technology needs in your school or district. Below are some resources for this purpose
Note: These resources have been updated, August 2012
Topics for Assessment – Consider Survey Topics
Tech Support and Equipment
Digital Learning and Skills
Lesson Planning for 21st Century Learning
Emerging Technology, New Ideas
Framework & Assessment Instruments – Below are some existing Surveying Guides and Instruments
Framework – Base it on given frameworks such as ISTE’s Nets, P21 or other frameworks
Local Vision - Base it on current school/district vision and other existing plans such as Technology plans
Tools to Use – Sampling of Available Online Tools
Clarity – Brightbytes tool for assessing educational technology. Provides recommendations in easy to use formats for schools, boards. Graphical representation of results. New and dynamic. Ask for a tour.
Zoomerang – Survey Tool- Free version or get additional features by subscription
Survey Monkey – Survey Tool - Free version or get additional features by subscription
Google Docs - Google Forms – Free. Includes many options. Data imports into spreadsheet format
As our lives are led to a great degree online, we are daily tasked with thinking about how our online actions and the actions of others impact us. In the early days of the web, it seems as though there was a big focus on online safety. Safety online is VERY important. We need to assure that there are safe measures employed and advocated by all.
Typically, when people act with mutual respect and responsibility, we say that they are good citizens. When this is in place in online interactions, we call it digital citizenship.
On top of the safety issue though is a real and recurring need to talk about appropriate ways to interact. As technology evolves and reinvents itself daily, these issues are ever changing too.
Digital Citizenship Issues
How to comment appropriately
How to license your work and cite the work of others
How to keep private information private
How to speak to a global audience
What are the rules for using particular social networks? How can I make sure I comply?
What makes up a positive online reputation?
When my children were small, there were daily reminders that were part of our daily lives. Be careful, don’t cross the street without an adult, don’t talk to strangers’. When we look at young people today, do we feel as thought they are getting the right reminders about online safety and responsible online behavior? Are these imparted daily by adults that students trust? Below I am sharing my updated list of Digital Citizenship Resources. Which are your favorites? What would you add?
When schools and families take the time to share good digital citizenship practice, it is of benefit to us as individuals and to our global family!
17 Digital Citizenship Resources For School Leaders, Teacher Leaders and Families
These sites have resources for teaching Digital Citizenship in the classroom
“Be both a leader AND a follower, teacher AND student. Learn from people who inspire you AND inspire others with your boldness. Lead with conviction AND be prepared to change direction. Walk an authentic path AND inspire others to walk theirs. A leader is anyone willing to grow and change and live out loud.”
I saw this quote online today via communications specialist Randi Thompson. It really struck me as a quote that applies to connected educators everywhere. Whether twittering, in online forums, webinars, or any number of venues I see this is a great mantra for connected educators!
In order to allow people at all levels of your organization to lead, they have to be empowered to do so. Allowing new forms of learning and connecting is key to any school or organization today.
Do teachers have access to tools for connecting? Computers, tablets
Is the internet connection free of overblocking of sites?
Does professional development time allow for learning and exploring new web tools?
Is mentorship encouraged?
Are successes shared regularly?
Do policies support collaborative tools such as Twitter, Wikispaces and more?
The more we can empower educators to connect online for their professional benefit and for that of their students, the more we are the light that is needed in education today.