RSCON3 – Free PD in your PJs!

Want the chance to be inspired by education professionals from around the world while relaxing in your PJs?

RSCON3 is the third Reform Symposium e-conference for educators.

It is 100% free and is scheduled to be held on July 30th – August 1st, 2011.

RSCON3 will focus on interactive presentations that help teachers create engaging and motivating lessons, build relationships with students, engage parents, integrate technology effectively and much more.

This event is suitable for anyone with an interest in education.

RSCON3

My presentation – Connecting with Global Blogging Buddies

Time – 10:30am Saturday 30th July (GMT+10 time). Click here to find out what time this is for you.

Summary – One of the most exciting aspects of educational blogging is making global connections. In this presentation I will discuss how my grade two class came to have many blogging buddies around the world who we collaborate with regularly.

Five things you can do:

  • Visit the Reform Symposium website to register, check out the schedule, presenters and more.
  • Write the time for my presentation in your calender. Click here to find out what time this is for you.
  • Tweet about the conference using the #RSCON3 hashtag. Click here to follow #RSCON3
  • Get a badge for your blog, Facebook, Twitter profile or website to say you are attending RSCON3.
  • Let the staff at your school know about RSCON3. You could email them the link to this post or print off/email this flyer.

What are you looking forward to at RSCON3?

Keeping up with Blogs

I became a proud iPad 2 owner this week and it’s been a steep learning curve to learn as much as I can about my shiny new tool!

After getting my iPad I was inspired to work on updating the blogs in my Google Reader.

I know I’m not alone in being a little neglectful of my Google Reader from time to time, but it is a very useful tool.

If you are unfamiliar with Google Reader, you can find out more about it here. In a nutshell, Google Reader captures all of the new content from your favourite blogs and websites so you don’t have to be checking them all the time. Google Reader describes itself as a “personalized inbox for the entire web.”

One of the reasons I was neglecting my Google Reader is I had too many blogs in there and I guess it became a case of “I don’t want to look as I know how many unread items I’ll have!”

I have now condensed my Google Reader to include blogs that I have a particular interest in and connection with.

Using Flipboard and Reeder on my iPad, I hope to keep more up to date with all of my favourite blogs!

There are so many fabulous education blogs out there and along with Twitter, reading blogs is my top form of professional learning.

Image: 'Flipboard' http://www.flickr.com/photos/38305415@N00/4818276266

Image: 'Flipboard' http://www.flickr.com/photos/38305415@N00/4818276266


Blogs I Subscribe to via Email

I like these blogs so much that I don’t want to miss any of their posts. I have signed up get new content delivered to my inbox.

chrisbetcher.com – Chris Betcher is an ICT integration teacher in Sydney and always produces interesting and well written posts.

whatedsaid.wordpress.com – Edna Sackson is a Teaching and Learning Co-ordinator at a PYP school in Melbourne. Her posts are guaranteed to make you think!

langwitches.org/blog – American teacher/consultant Silvia Tolisano and I share a passion for globally connected learning and I have learnt a lot from her posts.

teachingliteracy.global2.vic.edu.au – I team teach with Kelly Jordan so I can’t miss any of her blog posts about literacy in junior primary.

ilearntechnology.com – Kelly Tenkely, an American teacher/consultant, never fails to be on top of the latest web 2.0 tools. Always something new to learn.

theedublogger.com – if you’re into blogging, this is a must read. Everything you need to know about educational blogging by Australian member of the Edublogs team, Sue Waters.

Blogs in my Google Reader

Blogs about Education and Technology – I prefer to follow blogs that are updated fairly frequently (but not daily!) and I enjoy following blogs from people I “know” on Twitter. It usually doesn’t take long to figure out whether a blog has a style and content that appeals to you.

Class Blogs – there are some class blogs I like to keep abreast of such as Mrs Yollis’ class blog, Mr Salsich’s class, Mr Avery’s classroom blog, Open the Door to B4 and A Peek Inside.

Student Blogs – Sue Waters has an excellent post about how to add student blogs to a folder in Google Reader. While I don’t have any current students blogging just yet, I do like to keep track of my former students who are still blogging such as Rhiannon and Bianca.

Vanity Alerts – If you’re active in the online world, you might like to set up vanity alerts to keep track of your name or sites being mentioned. This is good to form relationships, satisfy your curiosity and monitor plagiarism.  Sue Waters describes in this post how to set up these alerts using various online tools and Google Reader.

New bloggers – I like to support new bloggers where I can and Google Reader is a good way to do this. Two new blogs I have enjoyed lately are PrimEd by third year out graduate teacher, Kirby Goodey and An Aspiring Primary Teacher by student teacher, Ashley Azzopardi. Both Ashley (@ashleyazzopardi) and Kirby (@KirbyGoodey) are active on Twitter too.

Finding other Blogs

I have found that Twitter is a fantastic way to keep track of other “must-read” blogs. Popular blog posts are often retweeted and easy to find out about if you’re a regular Twitter user. Finding out about blogs via Twitter is a bit of a lucky dip but you can find some real gems As Sue Waters said, it is a bit like an (ever changing) buffet!

What blogs do you like to follow?

How do you use RSS feeds or email subscriptions?

What do you use Google Reader for?

Top 10 Twitter Tips!

Without a doubt, Twitter is my number one form of professional development and I am always recommending it to other educators.

I first joined Twitter in early 2009 although I didn’t start using it daily until early 2010.

I find Twitter to be a one stop shop to meet like-minded educators. It is a place where I can find advice, give advice, find great links, share my work and engage in general musings about education.

For me, Twitter has never been a place where I tell people what I am eating for breakfast or catch up on celebrity goss. While I use Facebook to keep up with friends, Twitter is purely a professional medium for me.

If you’re new to Twitter, this is a terrific video that explains how Twitter can be used as a professional development tool for teachers

(I came across this via Michael Graffin @mgraffin – thanks!).

As a regular Twitter user I thought I would offer some advice to new Tweeters.

1. Give it a chance! So many people who join Twitter have trouble getting their head around it or forming connections with others. I was using Twitter for months before I felt like I was a real part of the Twitter community and knew what I was doing. Make yourself check in to Twitter daily for a month before you make any decisions about whether it is for you.

2. Get a desktop application. The Twitter website is not overly user-friendly and most Tweeters use a desktop application to access and organise their tweets. I recommend TweetDeck. It is free, straightforward and available for Mac, PC, iPad, iPhone, Android etc. With TweetDeck, you can easily keep track of conversations, make lists and incorporate your other social networking sites (eg. Facebook).

3. Give and take. I have seen some people use Twitter simply to let others know about their new blog posts. While this is one great use of Twitter, why not strike up a conversation with someone or offer someone some advice? Like everything in life, you will find Twitter to be a more worthwhile and enjoyable experience if you give and take.

4. Tweet in less than 140 characters. Make your important tweets short enough so others can retweet them without having to shorten the tweet. If people have to go to too much effort to shorten your tweet (eg. after RT @username is added), they may decide not to retweet it.

5. Know where to put @username. I have seen so many people lately “retweet” a message by starting with @username. Don’t forget, with most Twitter applications, people will only see others’ replies if they are following both the sender and recipient of the update. Eg. you might think Mary has a great blog so you tweet “@mary has a great blog about teaching www.blog.com, check it out!” Only people following you and Mary will see the tweet. This really limits your audience.

6. To follow or not to follow. Some people only want to follow a certain number of people (eg. 100) so they can keep track of their tweets. If people follow me or retweet me and they are “quality Tweeters” (eg. teachers or involved in education), I will follow them back. I prefer not to follow businesses or commercial tweeters unless I’m particularly interested in them. Some people will disagree but I find this “following back” method polite. Over time, this can mean you could have 1000+ people you are following. Obviously that would be too many to keep track of but I create a list in Tweetdeck of people I’m particularly interested in. Currently there are about 150 people on this list. That may seem like a lot but some people don’t tweet all that often and I don’t feel compelled to see everyone’s tweets.

7. Let others know who you are! I do not follow back anyone who doesn’t have a bio. There are so many “spam” Tweeters out there, that I wouldn’t want to risk it! It takes minutes to make a bio that tells possible followers who you are. I much prefer people have a real photo of themself, rather than a cartoon avatar or other picture. People will feel much more of a connection with you if they can see who you are. Finally, when signing up for Twitter, it is best to use your real name (or close to) if possible. Being online and part of a PLN isn’t about hiding or pretending to be someone else. I don’t believe in having an online you and and offline you. Let us know who you are. Your digital footprint is valuable!

8. Use hashtags #. Hashtags mark key words or topics in tweets and help to categorise tweets. It is a way to get your tweet out to people who may not necessarily be following you. Hashtags can appear anywhere in the tweet. Clicking on a hashtagged word in any message shows you all other tweets in that category. Some hashtags you might like include #edtech #edchat #elemchat #comments4kids #vicpln. If you go to a conference you will generally find they have a hashtag so you can tweet before, during and after the event and connect with fellow delegates. Tip: don’t over hashtag your tweet – 3 is enough!

Here is a post I wrote all about Twitter hashtags if you want more information.

9. Drop in and drop out. One of the great things about Twitter is you don’t have to keep up with everything. I love Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach’s analogy of Twitter being like a river. The river keeps flowing but sometimes you might just walk past and have a quick look, sometimes you might hang around a dip your toes in, other times you might spend hours swimming around. You can use Twitter as your time and inclination permits!

10. Ask for advice. If you’re not sure how things work on Twitter just ask. I am @kathleen_morris and I’m always happy to help! Don’t know who to follow? Tweet me and I will give you some suggestions!

twitterfollow

Need more convincing on the power of Twitter? Chris Betcher has written a fantastic post. Find it here.

What are your thoughts on Twitter?

Share your Twitter tips!

Two Victorian Conferences

My team teaching partner, Kelly Jordan, and I have been accepted to present at two conferences in Melbourne in May.

As many of you know, Kelly and I have been blogging with our primary classes since 2008 and it is something we are passionate about after seeing so many benefits.

In our presentations, we plan to cover topics such as:

• How to get starting with blogging
• How students react to blogging
• The many benefits of blogging
• How to incorporate blogging into the curriculum
• How to address internet safety issues
• How to use blogging to flatten classroom walls and build global connections and projects
• Some of the web 2.0 tools that can be incorporated into blogging
Tips for better blogging

DEECD INNOVATIONS SHOWCASE

“This annual event features Victoria’s most forward thinking practitioners who will share the innovations making a difference in their settings.”

WHEN: Friday 13th May 2011

WHERE: Melbourne Convention Centre, South Wharf

COST: Free *hurry, limited places available!

WEBSITE: http://www.education.vic.gov.au/researchinnovation/showcase/default.htm

ICTEV2011 STATE CONFERENCE: IN TOUCH

“ICTEV’s 2011 conference aims to put you in touch with educational colleagues who will enthuse and inspire you to integrate technologies in your learning and teaching.”

WHEN: Saturday 21st May 2011

WHERE: Melbourne Grammar School, Wadhurst Campus, Domain Road, Melbourne

COST: $70 pre-service teachers, $180/$230 ICTEV member, $279 non ICTEV members

WEBSITE: http://ictev.vic.edu.au/conferences

Kathleen, Leo and Kelly

Here is Kelly (right) and me with the third member of our teaching team – our class mascot, Leo!

Will you be attending either of these conferences?

What do you think makes a good conference?

Tech Tools for Teachers is Back!

ABOUT TECH TOOLS FOR TEACHERS

Simon Collier and I began a free e-newsletter for educators called Tech Tools for Teachers in January 2010.

Each edition of the e-newsletter highlights an online tool or site that can be used in the classroom and provides step-by-step instructions on how to use it.

Tech Tools for Teachers is suitable for both primary and secondary teachers and we provide practical examples of how the tool or website could be integrated into the curriculum.

The purpose of Tech Tools for Teachers is to publicise and promote the use of ICT tools and web links to staff who are not regularly sourcing the available information on the net.  This in turn, increasing the use of the wonderful educational tools available online.

THE WEBSITE – TEACHING GENERATION NOW

This year we are making Tech Tools for Teachers bigger and better.

Matt Limb has joined Simon and me, and together we are Teaching Generation Now.

Today we launched our website

www.teachgennow.com.au

Tech Tools for Teachers - Teaching Generation Now

TECH TOOLS FOR TEACHERS e-NEWSLETTER IN 2011

We are continuing the Tech Tools for Teachers emails this year, but this time, due to popular demand, they will come out fortnightly rather than weekly.

Our format has changed slightly. You will still receive emails from Tech Tools for Teachers, with easy to understand, tried and tested technology ideas for your classroom. The bit that has changed is that these emails will be linked to our website where you will find the most recent Tech Tool in full detail, to help you out step by step. You can also browse an Archive of 2010 Newsletters at your leisure.

Of course, Tech Tools for Teachers is completely free and we encourage all educators to sign up. New subscribers can enter their email address on the right hand side of our website.

sign up

FOLLOW US ONLINE

Twitter

@techgennow

Facebook

Teaching GenerationNow

Email

techtoolsforteachers email

Stay tuned and spread the word! It is going to be an exciting year as we strive the meet the needs of this generation.

What ideas do you have for future Tech Tools for Teachers newsletters?

Student and Teacher Blogging Challenges

Whatever stage you’re at with blogging, there is always something new to learn. Fortunately, there is a great community of educational bloggers online and many different ways to engage in professional learning available. Even if you’re the only blogger at your school, you are not alone!

The Student Blogging Challenge and Teacher Blogging Challenge are two excellent forms of free professional development for bloggers.

Student challenge

Teacher challenge

These challenges were created by Sue Wyatt with support from Sue Waters and Ronnie Burt at Edublogs, and Anne Mirtschin.

This Venn Diagram summarises the two challenges:

(Tip: click on the image below to enlarge it)

Teacher Student Blogging Challenges Venn diagram

New Teacher and Student Blogging challenges are beginning soon, so head over to the respective websites to sign yourself or your students up.

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My Teacher Challenge Guest Posts

Last week, I was invited to write two guest posts for the Teacher Blogging Challenge.

Even if you’re not taking part in the challenge, if you’re currently blogging with your students you may find the information useful.

POST ONE Teaching Quality Commenting

POST TWOHelping Parents Connect with Your Class Blog

student challenge guest post

Have you been involved in any of the Student or Teacher Blogging Challenges? What did you get out of them?

How do you learn about blogging?

2011 School Year Begins

Today was the first day back at school for teachers in Victorian Government Schools.

All schools are spending the first three days on professional development and planning.

This year my school is focussing on in-house professional development. Each Monday night teachers will be presenting on Literacy, Numeracy and ICT. I am in charge of ICT professional development.

Last year, I set up a weekly lunch time ICT Drop in Session for teachers to assist them with blogging, IWBs and general ICT questions. I hope to continue with this this year to follow up on my Monday night sessions.

Today I presented to my staff about ICT. My guidelines were broad so I decided to offer my Top Ten Tips to Integrate Technology in the Classroom.

The ideas in the presentation are some of the areas that I will cover in PDs throughout the year. I knew not everything in the presentation would appeal to all teachers however I hoped there was something to inspire everyone.

The highlight of the presentation was skyping with the wonderful Linda Yollis in California, USA. Linda not only spoke about some of the ways she had used Skype in the classroom but demonstrated how Skype is actually used for those teachers who were unfamiliar with this tool.

How does your school structure professional development?

What are you focussing on at the start of the school year?

What would you include in your Top Ten Tips for Technology Integration?

How Has Teaching Changed?

If you’re a teacher who is trying to encourage other staff to use ICT, you have probably heard this before?

When do I have the time to learn about this?

Learning through Twitter, blogs, online conferences etc is just part of my day-to-day life as I have described in this post. This is extremely foreign to many teachers.

I began teaching in 2004. Today I had a conversation with someone who began teaching in 1984 who explained that for the first fifteen or so years of his career, there was no professional development. It was a common belief that teachers already knew everything. Work at home involved correction; not the sort of professional learning I engage in these days.

I have the feeling there was a belief in the past that taking work home to correct was a sign of a good teacher?

Today I see a commitment to lifelong learning, professional reading and collaboration as the sign of good teaching (among many many other things!)

While I don’t discredit correction, I prefer to do it as the students are working so they are involved in the process and get immediate feedback. A perfectly organised, complete and corrected exercise book does not strike me as evidence of ideal teaching and learning in 2010.

Something just clicked today that made me think that teaching has changed. Some teachers have made this change well and others have not.

How do we help teachers realise that an investment in self-motivated learning is now unavoidable if you want to provide the best possible 21st Century education for your students?

How do we help them leave their baskets of workbooks at school and say hello to someone in Twitter, read a blog or dabble with a web 2.0 tool?

teaching

Image: ‘AHO0711-003 Ingrid Alice wearing a Mariusgenser’
AHO0711-003 Ingrid Alice wearing a Mariusgenser
Image: ‘Flat Classroom Skype’
http://www.flickr.com/photos/8107002@N03/3122642792

Please leave a comment with your thoughts!

Global Education Conference Presentation

This week (Thursday/Friday), Linda Yollis will be presenting about our Ugandan Global Project at the Global Education Conference.

This is a free online conference for anyone around the world. The session is held in Elluminate.

The goal of the conference is to help everyone make connections with other educators and students in order to increase opportunities for globally-connected education activities and initiatives.

global educ conference

SESSION INFORMATION

TITLE: Ugandan Global Project
PRESENTER: Linda Yollis
TIME: GMT+11 Fri 19 Nov 2010 11:00AM (click here for international time conversions)
SESSION ROOM: CLICK HERE to enter the Elluminate session room, open one hour before session.
DESCRIPTION: The Ugandan Global Project (UGP) is a collaborative blog that brings six elementary school classes together from four continents in order to raise money for the African Rural School Foundation in Uganda, Africa. The UGP members walked on October 22, to raise money to purchase a play area for Ugandan students. The walk signified the miles some Ugandan students walk each day to get an education. The UGP blog incorporates cultural and geographic information from all of the students involved in the project. The teachers and students involved in the project are elementary school blogging buddies. The classes regularly follow the learning of each other via blog posts and frequently ask questions or share information in the comment sections of the classroom blogs. The teachers were looking for a way to use their international blogging connections to help raise the global and social awareness of their students.
WEBSITE: http://ugandanglobalproject.blogspot.com

Here is a video I made to conclude the Ugandan project

Thank  you Linda for sharing at this conference!

Please try to attend and spread the word!

Leave a comment if you have any thoughts or questions about the conference.

Learn It In 5: Instructional Videos

Last week’s Tech Tools for Teachers was about the site Learn It In 5.

Click here to read the newsletter.

Learn it in 5 is a powerful library of how-to videos, produced by technology teachers, for the purpose of helping teachers and students create classroom strategies for today’s 21st century’s digital classroom. These step-by-step how-to videos walk teachers through Web 2.0 technology, demonstrating how to use Web 2.0 applications like blogs, social networks, podcasts, interactive videos, wikis, slidesharing and much more.”

This is an example of a Learn it in 5 video about Wordle. As you’ll see, they give a step-by-step explanation of using Wordle in the classroom in less than five minutes.

These videos could be great for your own self-paced PD or could be shown to a staff as a quick ICT PD.

There are videos on all sorts of topics such as Google Docs, Animoto, Diigo Groups, Google Reader, Wallwisher and more. Click here to check out the full list of videos.

Could these videos be useful to you or your staff?

Do  you know of any other sites like this?