3/22/2013

Two-Part Friday Special - Evernote for web and iOS


Evernote is both an App and a website that I find very useful to use because Evernote works on just about EVERY device or computer you can find. 

"Device-agnostic" is the term I use for tools that work on any device and I can count on everyone having access to. Device-agnostic technology is great to start using today because you don't need to depend upon having an iPad, iPhone, Android, or other particular device to utilize the tools. 

Why to use Evernote on iPad:

Evernote.com as a writing and organization tool: 


~60 seconds each

3/21/2013

What does your school and city look like on Wikipedia?



Not much there, right? Guess what?, One of your classes should update this Wiki. Maybe a few classes working together to build content for OUR site?? Athletic and fine arts achievements could be a start? A complete history of how our school got started and the buildings we have been in?  Adding to this Wiki could be incorporated into so many of our content standards that reference community, communication, all forms of local history.

Wiki 
Noun
A Web site developed collaboratively by a community of users, allowing any user to add and edit content.

Your students could create a whole new Wikipedia page for our school district as a whole, and one for each building! The only school in New Ulm referenced is New Ulm High School. 
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Ulm,_Minnesota  and even New Ulm's city page could use some more content added to it. 

Start a meaningful project that is shared with a greater audience on the web. What a wonderful way to showcase student work!

Want help getting started? Ask me. Want to take the project on your own? This is how easy it is to edit Wikipedia and share how your students experience New Ulm better: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Help:Editing

3/20/2013

Q: I think I want to start a blog A:



BLOGGER.com (or blogspot) is a great tool to publish thoughts and ideas online, and improve writing! There is a lot of research out there (find some here) that those who blog gain composition and comprehension skills that are difficult to teach without authentic experience writing for a broad public audience (online). This blog post by Chris Betcher, an australian educator I met at the Sydney Google Teacher Academy in 2011, references a project I heard Chris talk about that began to get me motivated to utilize blogs more in my classroom.

What's great about Blogger: You can worry about the content and make it look sexy later. Really, the reason for blogging is to focus your thoughts and ideas in writing, while giving you a venue (and reason) to share the idea - at least that is one way to look at it. 

Write down a few ideas (Posts) and THEN play with layouts and templates to make it look good.  I can definitely help you out with this, just give me a few times I can stop by if you want help. 

If you can sign in to blogger.com with your Google Account and find the orange pencil button, you will have your space to beging writing


3/12/2013

How to watch a 30 Second tech tip


Now that you have seen a few of these 30 second emails from me, Today's 30 second tech tip is actually shorter than 30 seconds. It is a 20 second video that explains how to get the most out of a 30 second tech tip. 

Watch video here: http://goo.gl/92zBN

Why are these tech tips 30 seconds? Even though your life is full of planning, organizing and creating inspiring experiences for others, everyone can find 30 seconds to learn a quick tip that might make them more productive. Spend less time on the tasks you need to do everyday, and more doing what you want. 

If you can't take 30 seconds today, will you really spend more time another day to catch up?  

Things you do every day that take longer than 30 seconds and are less meaningful than tech tips: 
  • Peel an orange
  • Hold the door open 
  • Wash your hands
  • Pour cereal 
  • Open mail 
  • Brush your teeth 
  • Check voicemail 
  • Print anything 
  • Dial a number and listen until it rings 
  • Staple papers
  • Refill a water bottle
  • Take attendance
  • Open your garage door 
  • Tie your shoes

What's your excuse? 

3/06/2013

Working with the National Educational Technology Standards for Teachers (NETS)

As a part of our spring staff development day, teachers were asked to complete a self-assessment on the International Society for Technology in Education's (ISTE) National Educational Technology Standards for teachers.

Educators work with standards on a daily basis. No matter your political opinion on state or federally mandated learning measurements, any measurement of learning across the board can be considered a standard group of measurements. 

ISTE's measurements for teachers are a set of standards for all educators working and living in today's world, and beyond. I was first apprehensive to use ISTE's NETS for Teachers because the general morale around standards in education always seems to carry a negative connotation along with it. As an everyday learner, having both goals and feedback on where you measure on working toward that goal are basic vitals to successful learning. 

With that, the National Educational Technology Standards for Teachers are not a group of standards developed by a bureaucracy disconnected from education and what teachers do in a classroom on a daily basis. Just like many of the other content-specific educational organizations, the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) is an organization made of up of global educators focused on increasing learning through the power of technology (Read more about ISTE here)

Now that the mystery and negative atmosphere around standards have been debunked...

What is the point of ISTE's standards for Teachers? 

To quote ISTE

"ISTE's NETS for Teachers (NETS•T) are the standards for evaluating the skills and knowledge educators need to teach, work, and learn in an increasingly connected global and digital society.
As technology integration continues to increase in our society, it is paramount that teachers possess the skills and behaviors of digital age professionals. Moving forward, teachers must become comfortable being co-learners with their students and colleagues around the world." 
International Society for Technology in Education. NETS For Teachers. From http://www.iste.org/standards/nets-for-teachers on 3-3-2013. 
While no one can expect teachers who have not worked with these technology standards to speak fluently about them, it IS a basic expectation as an educator to be both reflective on instruction and a continual learner, identifying the ways an individual's technology skills either support or inhibit the role and purpose of an everyday classroom teacher. 

Just as the students in your classrooms grow on a constant basis, so does technology. (This probably won't change any day soon...) 

How does reflecting on educational technology standards for teachers help?? 

It gives educators a standard for measuring and reflecting upon effective educational technology, not simply technology skills for the sake of using tech tools. 

As a district leader, it provides the framework for technology implementation, professional development and staff support into the future. 

3/05/2013

60 second Tech Tip: Graphic organizer and mind mapping tool

60 second Tech Tip:  
Watch on YouTube
I found a great new graphic organizer and mind mapping tool last week called Lucidchart.com 


It allows you to both easily create and collaborate on graphic organizers that look like this: 







You can share and collaborate in real-time on mind maps, just like a Google Doc. You don't need to create an account, you are already signed in with your Google Account. 

3/04/2013

YouTube Part I: For Sharing and Learning



Yes, YouTube can be a place to find video of cats singing Christmas songs, watching home-made bicycle jumps turned into horrible accidents or college spring break videos. 

GUESS WHAT?!? That's not all that's on YouTube. 

YouTube is the #1 place to learn how to do seemingly anything in the world. From simple how-to's for a math problem to large home renovations, you can find step-by-step knowledge to learn things you never knew were possible. If you didn't know this, I challenge you to go to YouTube.com and try it out.
(A large reason YouTube is the #1 place for video is because YouTube is the easiest place to upload and share video from basically ANY device... computer, iPad, smart phone, etc.)

Five Steps to Your First YouTube Upload

Step 1:  Create a YouTube Channel (Google Doc) 

Step 2:  Upload video
Step 3:  Set video Privacy Settings 
  1. Public on the web. Videos show up on YouTube and other search engines. 
  2. Unlisted - Best way to share classroom videos. Can share with anyone by sending them the link to access video. Videos do not show up on YouTube search. More: What is an unlisted video? 
  3. Private - You need to sign into your account to view. Can only share with others if you manually enter in each email address. 
Step 4:  Share video

Step 5: Create YouTube Playlists to save and share all your videos


Grow your YouTube Powers: 
EDIT YOUTUBE VIDEOS ONLINE

    Search YouTube for what you need: Search Tips


    1.  Use YouTube Filters














    2.  Searching for videos ~4 minutes long. We don't have all day here.

    3.  View count, Upload Date, Rating, Relevance

    4.  If using video for class projects, encourage Creative commons videos.

    5.  Videos in HD (high definition) are better. Younger people are used to it, older people can see it better.