Teachers need to use Twitter. It means you can have regular input from like minded people and from people who are involved in all sorts of areas. It broadens your knowledge and your thinking. I have access to a constant stream of professional input from all sorts of sources. New ideas, trends and processes come my way on a regular basis. I can use my own areas of expertise and knowledge to share ideas with others but I can help them too. A problem shared is a problem halved and people often go on Twitter to get technology help. I tweet my issues with devices and software and the same goes for others. An annoying block or difficulty can be quickly resolved – like my Samsung Galaxy Express stopping my Windows 7 laptop from accessing wifi. I just tweeted it. The fix was there by the next day. It means we are constantly helping and supporting each other but we are growing ideas and sharing inspiration too. It keeps you buoyant. You are never hunting for ideas nor blocked because you can’t think what to do. Another real advantage is you can combine with others to cover the content of meetings and conferences. This means that content is preserved so it can be utilised elsewhere in the real or virtual world. They are not separate. They run concurrently and what you do in the virtual world can be of real help in the real world. Twitter facilitates all of that integration of the real and virtual worlds and so takes away the burden of trying to battle it out alone in the classroom day in day out. Teaching can extend into virtual world and make some valuable, viable connections and impact. Those then can be used to grow your real world.
I have just downloaded the free version of Triptico onto my MacBook and it appears to offer a great deal so that I can really get an idea about how this works on my whiteboard. It does look like the sort of thing which teachers and students would enjoy using to make the content more appealing to create, deliver and absorb. Teachers will learn by using the numerous options for creating learning materials. They are all active learning approaches with an interactive edge. I like the sounds, the layout, the fact I can change the layout and the fact I can see already that I could use this to customise materials for my students. I like the timer and the random student picker. It is obvious these learning activities have been built by a teacher. They will not create everything you need but it is clear from the free version that it will make better and more interesting use of the whiteboard you probably have in your classroom.The other advantage it had is that you can obtain a networked version. I won’t have a lot of time to engage with this right now but I plan to look at it over the rest of the year so I can come back to the new year 2014 with some interesting whiteboard activities for my students.
How the eye works The relatively new site ShowMe works very easily on an iPad and you can access it on a computer. On the iPad you just download the ShowMe app and follow the prompts and cues. It is very easy on an iPad to create a lesson or an activity. ShowMe is a site for teaching a learning and if you look at the examples of the work already there you can see it will develop into a site where differentiating the curriculum will become easier and easier the more others contribute. It means there will be a bank of teaching and learning no matter what your style and needs. The iPad can record you as you are doing things and adding pictures or script so it means lessons can be created and shared anywhere any time. It is also a good way for students to share their learning and become peer educators. Some will be able to go straight onto the site and create an item. I am thinking I will need to have a few practice runs first and then float something for my public. It is is going to be a good resource bank for teachers and it will help new teachers. It will also become a useful spot to help students with long term absence problems. It won’t replace being in school but it will help buffer the time out of class. The items are classified into categories and the site features a number of them so you can always see something different to help inspire you. This is a site which will grow and mature the more people contribute…so I had better do my bit and start practising. Meanwhile I am setting up my profile.
TeacherCast is a dynamic hub for teachers. You can find everything you want and need and more. It is lively, informed, interesting helpful and incredibly positive. It adds the coolness factor to education.We know it’s a cool job. Others don’t. TeacherCast has created a lively centre so that you can go there and get real information which will really help you because they know what a real classroom needs. I downloaded the app and can now access all that lovely stuff anywhere. You can access the site from your computer so don’t feel you are being left out. That’s the point. TeacherCast knows we all have our own way of being connected. I love it! It has heaps of resources, discussions, things to ponder, apps reviews…something for everyone. Why am I so excited? You normally get longwinded theories and explanations on teacher sites. You get policies, frameworks, guidelines. Page after page after page. I read it, I use it. I do what you do and take it all in and put it into practice. It’s just nice to have a lively place to go with a bit of a buzz which will make me look at what I am doing from a different perspective.
I think everyone is getting excited about QR codes now. If you want data about QR Codes and their market penetration in different countries then Heidi Cohen has done a fabulous job of collecting it all and displaying it really well. This will help you to know how important QR codes are becoming. It may well be they are a fad but everyone has mobile technology and they want to use it. QR Codes give them that opportunity. Restaurants are starting to use them because they are a very effective way of engaging their public. Isn’t that what our schools and classrooms are about? Scoop it has some very solid links to sites which will help you work out how to use QR Codes to engage your learners and your learning community. Youngupstarts has 50 ways to use QR codes in a classroom. So , by now, you are probably developing some ideas about how to use QR codes. After 4 blog posts I am starting to get workable ideas. At the moment I am thinking a theme or a text and then the qr codes would surround that to link resources to help students learn the language and get the information they need to create their own assignment. it is also how students could link information to something they are doing. This would be especially useful to students who don’t have laptops but who do have access to mobile technology. There is a novelty value for sure, but the more you look , the more you can see that they are probably here to stay and will just get better at sharing information via mobile sources.
It ‘s not all in vain! For over a year I have blogged my heart out trying to get education on the internet and search engine agenda. When I first started this blog I was dismayed to discover that SEO ranking considered education to be a weak link. Oh really? Since then I have found so many educators who get on Twitter, YouTube, who create blogs, who have organised websites for teachers and education. World wide we are working together to bring education into the 21st Century and to make the online world know what we are doing. We are real teachers in real classrooms who share what we do . By doing this we have strengthened each other and helped each other but, more than that, the world can see what our job actually is. They can see for themselves what we actually do and hear it from the people who do it day in day out, year after year. We have to innovate with technology. We have to find the ways of making it work in a classroom. We have to be there trying to put it all together and keep up with curriculum implementation , performance management and best practice. Education does count. It is important. It is the future. So, I went to my spot on Slideshare and when I looked at the most viewed I finally have 5 slide presentations to do with education in the top 12. Do you know how heartening that is? My Slideshare network has always encouraged me and helped me to learn more and more. They are not all teachers but they are all tertiary educated and some are teachers. These people have helped me make better presentations which I can use in class but I can now also make better presentations which the rest of the world can and has viewed. Education is not a weak link and it is not unimportant. So, finally, I can say, thanks to all my online activity and the encouragement I have received ,that education is starting to count online. Take a bow, teachers.
YacaPaca is a site with resources for teachers and students listed in their subject areas. You can register with the site to derive the full benefit of it. It runs in several languages and has resources from several countries. Australia is not yet represented so maybe we need to get onto it! It is a sign of things to come. In order to manage our e-learning and changing workplace conditions and requirements then we need to become more used to online collaboration of one sort or another. Cloud computing and technology are taking us that way but in no way does it mean we lose contact locally and this site demonstrates it well. There are helpful approaches to e-learning here as well.
You can almost see the fan site on Facebook –I love the White MacBook or I’ve gotta White MacBook. We are teaching students who’ll be saying “When I was young we had fan sites”. There’s a group for it now on Facebook. The White MacBook site is a bit more than a fan site or a fan club. It has the trappings of the devoted MG owners group or the EH Holden group. The people who run this site love their white MacBooks and it is the THING. The site offers lots of photos, tips, tutorials and even though some of the help is quirky, it is nevertheless help and there is some good help and plenty of ideas to become more at home with your MacBook. So who gotta white MacBook?