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Tagged With: pln

End of Year Tips: Update Your Online Presence

year-end computer maintenanceThis week, I’ll share three holiday activities that will get your computers, technology, and social media ready for the new year. Here’s what you’ll get:

  1. Update Your Online Presence
  2. Backup and Image your computer
  3. 22 Ways to Speed Up Your Computer

A note: The links won’t work until the articles publish!

Today: Update Your Online Presence

For most teachers I know, life zooms by, filled with lesson planning, meetings, classes, collaborations with their grade-level team, parent meetings, and thinking. There are few breaks to update/fix/maintain the tech tools that allow us to pursue our trade.

But, that must happen or they deteriorate and no longer accomplish what we need them to do. Cussing them out does no good. Buying new systems takes a long time and doesn’t fix the problem that the old one wasn’t kept up. If they aren’t taken care of, we are left wondering why our teacher blog or website isn’t accomplishing what it does for everyone else, why our social media Tweeple don’t answer us, and why our TPT materials languish. There’s a short list of upkeep items that won’t take long to accomplish. The end of the calendar year is a good time to do these:

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Categories: Blogging, Digital Citizenship, Teacher resources | Tags: , | 1 Comment

What BloomBoard is and How it Energizes Professional Development

bloomboardBloomBoard is a professional development website for teachers and administrators. On the teacher side, educators learn, share, and discuss teaching ideas. The resources–including over 10,000 articles, videos, lesson plans, and more–are clear, easy-to-navigate, and user-friendly, with opportunities to collaborate with other teachers. What truly makes this educator-oriented site unique is that teachers can earn topical micro-credentials that can be used by their school district or state credentialing agencies (depending upon the circumstance). To earn these, teachers view the required materials, answer a set of questions, and then submit evidence of impact on practice such as lesson plans, instructional materials, and videos.

On the administrator side, BloomBoard offers the ability to look at reports and recommend resources for professional development. Analytics provide insight into which professional development resources and topics are most popular.

Alongside BloomBoard’s free content are premium pieces such as tools to collaborate with colleagues, private spaces for virtual discussions and document sharing, a dashboard to monitor the most widely-used district-wide collections and micro-credentials, the ability to create unique micro-credentials, and dedicated support from BloomBoard instructional practitioners. Within a district hub, admins can also create programs around particular topics such as ELL and special education that enable them to set shared goals, resources, and opportunities for collaboration and conversation.

bloomboard topicsHere’s what you do:

  • sign up for a free account
  • fill out a profile with your interests and goals
  • start reviewing recommended materials or browse the resources

Pros

  • The problem often with professional development isn’t a lack of resources; it’s identifying the ones that fit specific needs. BloomBoard does this for educators.
  • Resources are recommended that fit teacher grade level, subject area, and teaching interests.
  • BloomBoard tracks the progress of each teacher’s professional development and chronicles how they hone their skills.

Cons

  • One piece I always seek out on educator websites is an active forum where I can ask questions of colleagues and work through problems. While BloomBoard does offer this (a great plus), it’s too new to be robust. I look forward to what it will grow into over time.
  • Another feature that really isn’t a con, simply on a wishlist: Teachers and administrators can curate collections, but not load their own material. On the plus side: The reason is that BloomBoard wants to review the material and ensure its quality before making it Bloomboardavailable.

Educational Uses

Here are six ways to integrate BloomBoard into your professional development:

  • provide a curation of quality, tested resources organized by topic so teachers have a one-stop shop for informing themselves on topics of interest.
  • track teacher professional learning for credentialing or recertification (or salary schedules).
  • quickly find out who’s knowledgeable on a particular education subject (by reviewing earned micro-credentials).
  • engage in group study of a topic to promote grade-level or school goals.
  • extend learning using the BloomBoard recommendations, based on teacher profiles.
  • stay up-to-date on education pedagogy with easy-to-access and reliable resources.

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Categories: Education reform, Reviews | Tags: | Leave a comment

7 Tips for Using Social Media for Professional Development

professional learning networkTell me if this sounds familiar:

With the 2016 New Year, you resolved to build your Professional Learning Network–finally, to stop living in the 20th century where your world revolved around a sticks-and-bricks building, a landline phone, and the mailbox. You joined all the big social media platforms (Twitter, Facebook, blogging–just for starters). The plan was to connect with the movers and shakers in education, learn from them, and have them as a resource for those times you needed help on a lesson plan or to select the perfect webtool for a project. You committed hours to it, and then days, eager to make this work because everyone you know talks about how much they learn from social media. Now, six months into it, you know too much about your followers’ lunch plans and almost nothing about their educational pedagogy. You’re frustrated, angry, and ready to give this whole failed effort up.

Without knowing anything about you other than that paragraph above, I’m going to predict that you didn’t manage your social media, got intimidated by the words ‘friend’ and ‘defriend’, and quickly became overwhelmed by the volume of information that flooded your inbox every day. The purpose of a social media-based PLN is to extend your reach beyond the narrow confines of the bubble you live in, but that isn’t what happened for you.

Before you unplug from the virtual world, try these seven steps. They’ll clean up the clutter, smooth out the wrinkles, and put you back in the driver’s seat of your online life:

Keep your stream pure

Only accept or seek friends who are in your professional area of interest. This is less like a speed-dating party and more like a job application. When you come across a promising educator, visit their social media, pass judgment on whether they fit your needs, and then make a decision.

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End of Year Tips: Update Your Online Presence

2016This week, I’m providing tips for end-of-year technology maintenance. These are activities that could (or should) be done once a month if you’re active on your computer, but AT LEAST do them yearly.

Like today.

For most teachers I know, life zooms by, filled with lesson planning, meetings, classes, collaborations with their grade-level team, parent meetings, and thinking. There are few breaks to update/fix/maintain the tech tools that allow us to pursue our trade.

But, that must happen or they deteriorate and no longer accomplish what we need them to do. Cussing them out does no good. Buying new systems takes a long time and doesn’t fix the problem that the old one wasn’t kept up. If they aren’t taken care of, we are left wondering why our teacher blog or website isn’t accomplishing what it does for everyone else, why our social media Tweeple don’t generate activity, and why our TPT materials languish. There’s a short list of upkeep items that won’t take long to accomplish. The end of the calendar year is a good time to do these:

(more…)

Categories: Blogging, Digital Citizenship, Teacher resources | Tags: , | Leave a comment

How to Build Your PLN

plnWhen a colleague tells you she heard about a new tech tool from someone in her PLN, do you first wonder what she’s talking about–not the tool but the three-letter acronym? Or maybe you think, ‘Of course  [Amanda] has a PLN. She’s a geek.’ You might even understand the purpose of a PLN–to provide educators with a collaborative learning environment–but think you don’t need one, or staff development provided by your school is all you can handle.

What is a PLN

According to D. Johnson (2013), a PLN is:
..
“a self-created set of experts, colleagues, and resources…that meet one’s daily learning needs.”

More simply, it’s:

…an extended group of knowledgeable people you reach out to for answers, and trust to guide your learning.

These individuals can be anywhere in the world, but are always carefully selected by you for their expertise in your subject area. It doesn’t mean they have all the answers. It means that when you have questions, you trust them to inform your thinking, guide your research, and provide answers and directions scaffolded from their personal experience. You may never meet them in person, though you likely collaborate through Google Hangouts, Skypes, or pre-arranged TweetUps.

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Categories: Teacher resources, Teaching | Tags: , | 8 Comments

Who Am I? Sandy Wants to Know

ask a tech teacherIn December, I was tagged by efriend and fellow tech educator Sandy Kendell for the Sunshine Award. I rarely respond to these, but thoroughly enjoyed the non-ed details she posted about herself. Who knew she liked to sing? Because I focus on education and technology in my blog. I rarely share anything personal–stories about my son (who’s in the Middle East) or my daughter (who’s tech-ing it up in DC) or my absolutely wonderful husband and dog. In the spirit of the new year, I’m going to open the lens of my life from pinhole to panorama.

Here are the rules:

  1. Acknowledge the nominating blogger–Kudos to Sandy Kendall, a trend-setter and opinion maker. When I want to know what the education community thinks about a particular tech topic, I wander over to see Sandy.
  2. Share 11 random facts about yourself–see below
  3. Answer the 11 questions the nominating blogger has created for you–see below
  4. List 11 9 bloggers.  They should be bloggers you believe deserve a little recognition and a little blogging love!--see below
  5. Post 11 questions for the bloggers you nominate to answer and let all the bloggers know they’ve been nominated.  (You cannot nominate the blogger who nominated you.)–done

11 Random Facts About Me

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Categories: Blogging | Tags: | 4 Comments

Weekend Website #117: Co-Teaching Wikis

teach techLast chance to join the co-teaching wikis. By the end of this month, they will be private, unviewable without a membership. Drop over and check them out:

With Teaching Wikis (K-5 only), you follow along as a tech professional teaches each lesson in the SL K-5 curriculum textbooks. Presented in a comfortable wiki format, you can ask questions as the lesson is presented, start a discussion with other teachers using the curriculum, access additional resources. It’s your mentor, your sidekick, your best friend in the tech ed field.

If you own any or all of K-5 Structured Learning technology curriculum (5th edition), you have free access to the grade-level teaching wikis. Just look on the front page of the book for a code. If you don’t own the curriculum, you can purchase access on a yearly basis here.

Questions? Contact me at askatechteacher@gmail.com

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Jacqui Murray has been teaching K-8 technology for 15 years. She is the editor of a K-8 technology curriculum, K-8 keyboard curriculum, K-8 Digital Citizenship curriculum, and creator of technology training books for how to integrate technology in education. She is webmaster for six blogs, CSG Master Teacher, an Amazon Vine Voice book reviewer, Editorial Review Board member for Journal for Computing Teachers, Cisco guest blogger, a columnist for Examiner.com, IMS tech expert, and a weekly contributor to TeachHUB. Currently, she’s editing a techno-thriller that should be out to publishers next summer.

Categories: 1st, 2nd, 3rd Grade, 4th Grade, 5th Grade, Teacher resources | Tags: , | Leave a comment

Why do Educators Use Pinterest?


Jacqui Murray is the editor of a technology curriculum for K-sixth grade, creator of two technology training books for middle school and three ebooks on technology in education. She is the author of Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy. She is webmaster for six blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice book reviewer, a columnist for Examiner.com, Editorial Review Board member for Journal for Computing Teachers, Cisco guest blog, IMS tech expert, and a bi-weekly contributor to Write Anything. Currently, she’s editing a thriller for her agent that should be out to publishers this summer. Contact Jacqui at her writing office or her tech lab, Ask a Tech Teacher.

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Categories: Social media, Teacher resources, Web Tools | Tags: | Leave a comment

16 Ways Educators Use Pinterest

16 Ways Educators Use Pinterest

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Categories: Social media, Web Tools | Tags: , | Leave a comment