Techconnects

Celebrating Connections – Ed Tech In Schools

October 11, 2012
by ncara
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Connected Educators A to Z – T is for Twitter

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.

Related Resources

If you are new to twitter and are looking for others to follow, check out this list of people to follow in education by Edudemic.

 

August 18, 2012
by ncara
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Connected Educators A to Z: G is for Grants and Funding

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.

12 Tips for School Technology Funding

  1. Heed The Research – Stay on top of the ever changing learning environment  http://ncara.edublogs.org/2012/02/09/emerging -technologies-to-watch-2012/
  2. Tune in to Digital Learning Needs – Find out about the latest strategies and tools for learning. How are they being used successfully?
  3. Build a Team - Tap teachers, parents, students and members of the school and local community
  4. Make a Plan -Technology plans and Curriculum plans should work hand in hand
  5. Create Smart Goals – Goals should be specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time trackable
  6. Dig In to Grant Resources  - Explore funding options online. From shopping rewards to larger grants, there are many untapped resources available to schools
  7. Aim For Quality, Free Access to grant databases 
  8. Jog the Web Funding Sources – The web is replete with resources to boost funding. Find ones that meet your needs and pursue the support you need
  9. Tell Your Compelling Story – Let your school community know about the school goals and the learning that is happening. They will love to be a part of the success story.
  10. Get Social – Use social media to connect with the larger school and local community. They are on Facebook, Twitter. Your school should be too!
  11. Meet Supporters Where They Are – Blend face to face and online communications to reach out. Realize that people have varying connections preferences.
  12. Evaluate and Begin Anew – Set regular times to assess and gauge progress. Adopt an ongoing schedule for seeking new funding and support for your programs

12 Links for School Grants and Funding

  1. The Foundation Center – Site and Newsletter
  2. Grant Space via Foundation Center (Search areas for free Foundation Center access) – Find Us
  3. Guidestar – Funder Resources
  4. Technology Grants- News and Resources
  5. K-12 Grants – K12Grants.org
  6. E-School News – Funding Page
  7. Specific Tech Companies have offerings – Acer
  8. Tech and Learning Grants Directory – 2012-2013
  9. Non Profit Technology Network
  10. US Government – Funding Pages
  11. Full Collection of Resources – Sheryl Abshire
  12. All #TechFunding Links in presentation – Diigo

Recently I had the honor of presenting to a the Educational Technology Committee at the Diocese of Harrisburg. Below are the resources shared that day.

August 17, 2012
by ncara
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Connected Educators A-Z: F is for Face to Face

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!
PLP Live 2012 - Friday September 28 - Philadelphia

August 13, 2012
by ncara
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Connected Educators A to Z: E is for Evaluation

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

  • Technology Integration
  • Tech Support and Equipment
  • Communications
  • Professional Development
  • Digital Citizenship
  • 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

Create Your Own – Ways to Customize to Your School/District Needs

  • TIMTechnology Integration Matrix created by the University of Southern Florida – Matrix which has been a model for other states and schools
  • 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.
  • ZoomerangSurvey Tool - Free version or get additional features by subscription
  • Survey MonkeySurvey Tool - Free version or get additional features by subscription
  • Google DocsGoogle Forms – Free. Includes many options. Data imports into spreadsheet format
  • Loti - Loti Survey - Administrative and Teacher Available

Related Posts

August 11, 2012
by ncara
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Connected Educators A-Z: D is for Digital Citizenship

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

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Web

These sites have resources for teaching Digital Citizenship in the classroom

  1. Google Interactive Lessons http://www.google.com/edu/teachers/youtube/curric/index.html
  2. Google’s Family Safety Center http://www.google.com/goodtoknow/familysafety/
  3. Common Sense Media http://www.commonsensemedia.org/educators
  4. Netsmartzhttp://www.netsmartz.org/educators
  5. Be Cyber Wisehttp://www.cyberwise.org/
  6. Digital Citizenship Site http://www.digitalcitizenship.net/
  7. Yahoo Safely http://safely.yahoo.com/
  8. Cable in the Classroom http://www.ciconline.org/DigitalCitizenship
  9. FOSI Family Online Safety Institute http://www.fosi.org/

Blogs and Projects

These blogs address topics around Digital Citizenship frequently

  1. Anne Collier – Net Family News http://www.netfamilynews.org/
  2. Danah Boyd http://www.zephoria.org/thoughts/
  3. Innovative Educator Blog http://theinnovativeeducator.blogspot.com/
  4. Digiteenhttp://www.digiteen.org/

Research To Know About

This research is related to the topic and can provide insights

  1. Zero to Eight -Children’s Mobile Technology Use in America by Common Sense Media http://www.commonsensemedia.org/research/zero-eight-childrens-media-use-america
  2. Youth Safety on a Living Internet Study  – Study
  3. The Good Play Project http://www.goodworkproject.org/research/goodplay/
  4. Pew Internet and American Life Project http://www.pewinternet.org/
  5. Netsmartz Statisticshttp://www.netsmartz.org/sitecore/content/Netsmartz/Statistics

Related Posts
Online Safety Bridge Between Home and School -  TechConnects
Getting Started with Digital Citizenship – TechConnects

August 9, 2012
by ncara
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Connected Educators A to Z: C is for Connecting

C is for Connecting

Connected Educators Creed

“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.