This blog is my attempt to share information with faculty, introducing new apps, websites, or other snippets of information that may be of use to faculty. I am also using it to keep track of projects I'm working on that might be good to reference in the future.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Email to Faculty - end of summer professional development

Aloha Faculty: 

Over the summer I have done some Professional Development on the technical side, and wanted to share some info with you.

As we all know, the internet is full of exceptional opportunities to learn something new, though it can be daunting figuring out where to begin.  This summer I had several things I wanted to explore.  One was Twitter, and it is a great resource for educators and life-long learners.  

I've had a twitter account for at least the past two year, but did not really understand how I could benefit from it, or why I wanted to get on ANOTHER social media platform.  Following Linda Lindsay's (@MauiLibrarian2) lead, I started investigating Twitter (she's a pro).  Using Twitter can provide opportunities to meet experts in education, find out popular trends and topics in our field, and feel connected - but beware, you can also loose time like any other social media platform....don't become an addict. I use it as a research tool, and have not used it to follow the kardashians or vote on American Idol, or anything like that.  
Twitter is much more than what you see on TV :-)

There are a ton of beginner resources, but I found that I liked these to begin:

http://summerls2014.blogspot.com/ - This is an ongoing weekly challenge that allows you to  practice using Twitter while building your professional learning network (PLN)  #summerls   I'm only on week 4 of this challenge as i started late, but that is fine - they are on week seven right now.  If you are only going to look at one, look at this.  This will walk you thru how to use it to help you as an educator.

http://teacherchallenge.edublogs.org/  - this site has some info and beginner tutorials for twitter, but they also highlight some cool websites/tools/apps that can be used in the classroom.  


To me, one of the hardest things to do is figure out what videos to watch, what courses to take or what areas to look at, but Twitter can help with all that once you figure out how to use it - but it can be overwhelming at first, so don't get discouraged.  This could take up a bunch of time at first, so plan to start looking into this before school starts, and you will definitely find a lot of cool information you can use in your classes.


STEP #2:
Become a follower/fan of our own Linda Lindsay.
Twitter @MauiLibrarian2 - https://twitter.com/mauilibrarian2

And WATCH LINDA'S WEEKLY GOOGLE HANGOUTS - "Google Rocks! Hawaii".

The great thing about her hangouts is that you can go back at anytime later and watch the videos to just keep up with things.  She also has show notes so that you can check out links or apps they talk about on the hangout.  I've watched last the 3-4 weeks worth, and I feel lazy for missing out on this earlier.  I usually can't make the live hangouts, but going back and watching it after the fact is still really beneficial.

I've always thought Linda was an amazing librarian, and kind human being, and I know the kids love and appreciate her - but I didn't realize what a celebrity she is in the world of Google and Education online.  She has almost 14,000 followers on Google+, over 2,000 on Twitter, and she has guests on her hangout show from all over the world and shares information that she gathers from so many sources.

What a super 'Rock Star' we have on campus.

Step #3 - Apps/Tools I thought some might find interesting

Voxer: This is more than just a walkie-talkie tool.  Though we will use it for our Chaperone activities to help stay in touch, and I hope to get us started for Orientation day.  I really think using it as a tool in our world language classes could be great.  It is also an easy way to communicate easily via voice, text and pictures, with students on assignments, etc. Everything is saved so students and teachers can go back later to check things. Many educators use as a tool to expand their PLN, but I haven't gotten that far yet.  Voxer.com
  
Thinglink.com or https://www.thinglink.com/edu:  This web site lets you take a picture and embed some clickable links that will display pictures or videos.  it's fun to play with and could have many uses....I think the kids will like it.
You can also learn more about using thinglink.com in your classes: 

I've been trying to use this to save interesting papers or web sites I come across.  Using Twitter I come across so many interesting articles that I want to be able to refer to later, and so saving it in Evernote is great.  I'm also trying to put meeting notes in it and such. I used it recently for some First Lego League meetings I had on Oahu. 

It can do more than just take notes, and one project i'll be testing year will be using it to take my morning attendance and then emailing it in - that way it is quick, accurate and I won't forget to walk to attendance folder up to drop off.  For each student all I'll have to do is tap a little checkbox to mark them present, tardy or absent...perfect use for a phone screen.  I think I've figured it out with Evernote and look forward to trying it out. 

Google just came out with Google Classroom, a new tool for google apps for education.  I have requested an account, and will try to test it out this semester.
Here is a short description of it from Google:
"Classroom is designed to help teachers create and collect assignments paperlessly, including time-saving features like the ability to automatically make a copy of a Google Document for each student. It also creates Drive folders for each assignment and for each student to help keep everyone organized.

Students can keep track of what’s due on the Assignments page and begin working with just a click. Teachers can quickly see who has or hasn't completed the work, and provide direct, real-time feedback and grades right in Classroom."
You can go to Google and request an invitation to check this out.


Good luck!
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