Wednesday, September 30, 2009

How Do I Introduce Twitter to Someone Who Is Interested?

This is a follow-up to my last post. Trying to avoid the cute guy to the right here, Mr. Fail Whale! :-)

The principal who approached me about having a Twitter account for his school doesn't know anything about it from personal experience, but he's heard about it and wants to try using it as a means to communicate with parents and students.

Before we talk about the logistics of using Twitter to communicate with stakeholders, I need to give him a high level overview of what Twitter itself is. Assume I have about 15 minutes with him.

Where would you start?

Have you made a similar presentation you wouldn't mind sharing?

Do you have a link to an already existing resource that you would recommend me using?

I have a few resources and ideas, but want to also take advantage of the wisdom of those with more experience. I'm naturally curious and have figured Twitter out on my own. Sometimes my biggest challenge is figuring out how to start with someone new that needs a little more guidance without overwhelming them!

Thanks in advance for any advice you can give! :-)

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Help Me Help a High School Get Started on Twitter!

First, thank you for taking the time to visit this post and offer your advice! :-)

A public high school I work with is interested in broadcasting info to parents and students via Twitter. I'm a relative newb to using Twitter myself, and have never even taught one other person how to use it, let alone a public institution.

My charge here is two-fold: gather enough info to present to our superintendent to hopefully get this approved and guide the high school in using Twitter and using it well.

Would love your advice! Some questions I have include:
  • What are the benefits of a public school using Twitter?
  • What are potential pitfalls of a public school using Twitter?
  • Do you know of examples of high schools already doing this and doing it well?
  • Would you recommend a 3rd party client and if so, which one and why?
  • Should tweets be public or protected?
  • What would you share with your superintendent? You don't know their previous knowldege of Twitter so assume no knowledge or experience.
  • What questions should I be thinking about/asking that aren't on this list?
I think that about covers it! Thank you in advance for any wisdom you can share. This is very exciting. I'll keep folks posted as the project progresses!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Did You Know? 4.0 - Shift Happens

Did You Know? 4.0 was released today. This video, also known in some incarnations as Shift Happens, started out as a PowerPoint presentation by Karl Fisch at a high school faculty meeting in 2006 and was later remixed by Scott McLeod. Since then, these men have continued to collaborate on updates to the video. I've seen the various versions of the video over the past couple of years and each time it fascinates me and makes me realize how _s_l_o_w_l_y_ the wheels of education turn in relationship to the wheels of the society which we serve.

Take four and three-fourths minutes to watch and contemplate:

There is so much to process from this video. As an educator who's been thinking about digital citizenship lately, the info on the number of text messages sent, number of "free" music downloads, and the percentage of people disciplined at work for online activities jumps out at me. We obviously have an important job ahead of us in the realm of educating folks the ethics of living in an online world.

That's not to say that the amazing facts about the size and power of computers, that 93% of adults in the US have cell phones (Really? I'm not sure why that shocks me or I have a hard time believing it), and that most of us will access the Internet off of handheld devices by the year 2020 are lost on me. Technology continues to transform our world at an almost incalculable pace. There is so much flying by in this video I'm no where near processing all of it yet.
How about you? What stood out to you in this presentation? What implications does it have for educators and education?

In case you want to see earlier versions of Did You Know? (they were more focused on education) or are interested in the thoughts of the authors, here are some links you might explore:

Enjoy the contemplation!!!!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Anyone Using ePals for Student Blogs and/or Email?

If anyone is using ePals for student blogs and/or email, I'd love to read about your experiences with this program as I begin to investigate it.  Please comment on this post. If you can leave contact info in case I have follow-up questions, that would be awesome, too. Thanks! :-)

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Daniel Pink on Importance of Intrinsic Motivation in 21st Century

This video is almost 19 minutes long...and worth every second of the watch. Although aimed at business, there is much to be gleaned for educators. Take some time to watch and reflect.

I just watched the video for the first time and want to take some time to digest. There's definitely an argument here for 21st Century skills like collaboration, critical thinking, and problem solving.

I came across this video on Doug Johnson's Blue Skunk Blog, where he also shares some thoughts.

What do you think the implications of the findings Pink reports might be for K-12 and/or postsecondary education and educators? I hope you'll share your thoughts with a comment!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Web Activity Packs from PBS Teachers

This looks pretty neat, so I thought I'd experiment! PBS teachers has posted web activity packs with code you can embed in social media sites (like blogs or even Facebook) or into traditional web pages. There's a wealth of resources under the topic headings of The Arts, Science and Technology, Health and Fitness, Reading and Language Arts, and Social Studies. When you drill down into specific resources, you find video, interactives, and lesson plans teachers can use with students. What a great way to reach digital learners!!!

Here's a sample of the Breakthroughs in Medical Research Web Pack:

Pretty nifty, huh? Be sure to check it out. And if you don't know how to embed it into your blog or website or whatever, find a techie friend to show you how. Us techies love to do stuff like that! :-)

In case you missed the link in the first paragraph, here it is again:

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Happy 40th Brithday, Internet!

Quick, short post. I'm sure others have waxed more eloquent, but I could not pass up this opportunity to wish the Internet a Happy 40th Birthday, today, September 2nd!

Most of us probably didn't become aware of the Internet until the late 80's/early 90's when the World Wide Web began to invade our lives, but the Internet itself had its beginnings about 20 years before that.

I'm pretty sure I wouldn't have the job I have today without the Internet. This job didn't EXIST when I was a kid or even when I started teaching. How about you?

Here's a couple of cool sites I thought I'd share in honor of the occasion:

Interactive Timeline: The Internet Turns 40
How many of these events do you remember? I remember using Mosaic!!!!

Happy Birthday, Dear Internet, Happy Birthday to You
Blog post from Vicki Davis, a teacher in Georgia who is big into technology integration. She puts the whole Internet thing into perspective:

Hope everyone has a Happy 40th Anniversary of the Birth of the Internet!