Twitter

I had already used Twitter under my personal account with quite a few people who I follow their posts. However creating a new account that is specifically for teaching and technology has been refreshing since now all my teaching and technology information can be found in one area.

My Twitter account I created I also called Techie4Teachers to match my WordPress site.
To follow me on Twitter click here

I created the layout of my Twitter account to match my WordPress site as well.

Techie4Teachers Twitter Site

I read a tweet on 5 Power Tweeter Tips on How to Use Twitter like a Pro
The article talks about how the beauty of Twitter is that you can network with people who you don’t actually have to know and share personal information with like you do with Facebook.
To start with a subject that you’re wanting to find more information on, simple type the subject into the search line.

Join the conversations
From that point, just join the conversation. Conversations are simply start with @Techie4Teachers as an example and then your reply.

Check out WeFollow.com to find prominent people by the interest you are looking for more information on.

Lists
You can organize the people you follow by lists, whether is by certain subjects, or where they live so you can separate and clean up your Twitter stream based on what you’re specifically looking for.

Hashtags
Another great article to check out How to Effectively Use Twitter Hashtags
F
or those you who understand websites and metatags, think of hashtags like those. So if I hashtag a tweet that I create as #AppleNetworkingProblems, I can plug that same Hashtag into the search and I’ll find other tweets that people have posted with the same subject.

As a teacher, I could assign my student to go out and find different magazine articles that they like the design of, then have them hashtag it #CSNVerbGfx and when I lookup that hashtag I should be able to locate my class and their assignments.

And last but not least… make sure your Twitter handle is out there for people to find!

Happy Tweeting!!

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Exploring the Wiki World

After reviewing two different videos: Jimmy Wales: How a ragtag band created Wikipedia & Mercator Lecture – Jimmy Wales, I decided to start exploring the world of wikis. I loved learning how with a wiki you can have a network of people contributing to one source. Especially knowing that the information contributed can be monitored and regulated. While researching different educational wiki sites, I’ve found some great one that have some great technology resources for educators.

Educational Origami

http://edorigami.wikispaces.com/home

Educational Origami

Educational Origami was one of the favorite sites that I found for resources for educators. It had links ranging from Bloom’s Digital Taxonomy to Learning Styles, Digital Citizenship and various Web 2.0 tools.

21st Century Teacher

The 21st Century teacher breaks down what an educator needs to consider for educating our students.

http://edorigami.wikispaces.com/21st+Century+Teacher

Learning to Change Video

Gardner’s Multiple Intelligences Theory

On this page they discussed Gardners’s Multiple Intelligences Theory and then break down the different categories as well as programs that can be used in the classroom to focus on that category.

http://edorigami.wikispaces.com/Gardners+Multiple+Intelligences+and+ICT

Digital Citizenship

The Digital Citizenship even contains a page with a tool in it, which school can use to analyze their students knowledge.

Digital Citizenship Analysis Tool

http://edorigami.wikispaces.com/Digital+citizen+Analysis+Tool

Web 2.0 Tools

http://edorigami.wikispaces.com/WEB+2.0+Tools

This page was great since it listed all the various tools and it easily able to be updated by contributors.

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The Other Wiki that I explored is called

Cool Tools for Schools

Cool Tools for Schools

http://cooltoolsforschools.wikispaces.com

This site was a great source for just education tools. I liked how it was very simple and had graphics to accompany the layout. There was a wide variety of tool categories such as:

  • Presentation
  • Collaborative
  • Video
  • Slide show
  • Image
  • Graphing
  • Creativity
  • Widgets.

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Creativity

The Creativity Page I found most interesting as then on the page they went into further categories such as:

  • Thinking
  • Games
  • Simulators
  • Classroom Activities
  • Animations
  • Creating your own games.

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Teacher Resources Page

The Teacher Resources Page was nice because they then broke down the links based on subjects such as:

  • Reading
  • Oral
  • Written Language
  • Mathematics
  • Professional Development, etc.

Professional Development

Under Professional Development they had a very cool link to http://learner.org

From here teachers can get various ideas of how to expand technology and creativity into their curriculum.

Teacher Resources - Learner.org

Both of these site are great resources for educators, with a slightly different feel to them. The Educational Origami site focuses on the classroom as a whole from a Learning Theories point of view all the way to technology tools. The Cool Tools for Schools is great for resources, plus it’s easy to navigate with the graphics and layout. The beauty of these wikis is that educators and technology gurus can consistently update and add new resources that are discovered and become available to people.

After viewing all of these, I’m going to start a wiki to use in my classes, where students can upload their projects when they are completed and then the final project can be available for the parents and other students to view. The students will enjoy having their work online as well as the ability to continually update where they are. The parents will get to visually see the work that their children have completely.

Word Press

This week the EMT that I wanted… and even more needed to learn more about was WordPress. Since we are using this site for not only the EMT course that I’m currently taking but throughout my entire Master’s program… I felt that I really needed to be more versed in this.

Having a background in web design, I could’ve done the WordPress site where I pay for the hosting and create a site from the WordPress download. However, I’d like to not only be able to show students and teachers how by using the WordPress site you can customize and create a free site for many different uses.

The original site that I had created for this course, I tried to find a template that I liked the look of, but I found customizing this particular template not very easy for the uses of this course. I went through the training on Lynda.com. As I went through this course there were certain tools that I discovered that everyone should know about.

Chapter 3: Building a Profile – Highlights

  • Adjusting site settings and improving privacy and findability
  • Exploring Advanced Sharing Options
  • Adding Sharing Buttons to posts and pages

WordPress Sharing Options
Having multiple social media websites I found this linking and sharing ability on WordPress very helpful. I was easily able to link my WordPress site to my Facebook Techie for Teachers Page, Twitter, LinkedIn, and my Tumbler accounts.

This is a great way to keep your various pages up to date and make sure your content is the same on all sites.

Chapter 4: Creating Posts – Highlights

This entire chapter was very informative.. since I was having a difficult time differentiating between pages and posts. Coming from traditional website design, I was used to various pages being designated for specific information. WordPress had many great tools for adding posts and functionality as well as formatting your text. Here are a few of my favorites.

  • Creating a New Post
  • Advanced text formatting in a new post
  • Using Built-in tools to improve posts

There are a couple of options when you are creating posts, you can either do a quick post from the main WordPress page. Looking at the screenshot below you can see it’s laid out so you have your choices of which type of content you’re looking to post about. From there you can easily insert photos or a photo gallery as I did below. If you’re wanting a more customized post like the one I did for this particular post, you would need to access the setting from your WordPress dashboard.

From your dashboard settings you’ll go to the side link where it says Posts > Add New, or in the Upper Right Corner where it states New Post

New Post

Screen Shot 2013-02-16 at 10.24.38 PM

Kitchen Sink

Kitchen Sink

While you’re typing your post there is an option your should always have listed called the “Kitchen Sink”. This option allows the user many different text formatting options that you would otherwise not know was available.

This chapter was probably the most useful in terms of showing someone all these tools as well as various ways to insert media, and arrange it so it’s visually pleasing.


User > Personal Settings > Proofreading

There is an option you can also choose in your setting that will proofread your posts before you publish them.
This not only can help you to improve your writing, but there are even more options that are available to you such as: double negatives, jargon, etc… so you can tell WordPress to look for these items in your posts.
Once you hit Publish a pop-up will show and then all your corrections will show similar to a spellcheck function.

Below I have analyzed this tool based on: usability, navigation, content, appropriate audience, privacy options, cost and support for this ET.

  • Usability – As a designer at first to have a dashboard and not really getting any code, it was a little foreign at first. But as I watched the tutorials, I found that this would be a great asset to people who are wanting presence on the internet without having to learn code and to easily find a design from the WordPress site to plug in either a free one or a paid one.
  • Navigation – The Navigation wasn’t very difficult after I watched the tutorials, however prior to that without knowing where various tools were listed or how to access some of them, it would be difficult for someone to edit a WordPress site without assistance.  If you were given this site already designed, it would be extremely simple to manage and update with a few quick pointers.
  • Appropriate Audience – Any person who is looking to have a blog site or create a website using the WordPress design can easily have a site. This is geared towards ease of use and ease of creation, no matter the audience.
  • Privacy options – there are various levels of privacy options available with WordPress, although I’m not sure you’d want privacy with the purpose of blogging. However, if you created a pen name for yourself, you would be able to maintain that without anyone knowing any additional information about you.
  • Cost – the cost for a WordPress basic site is free. There are various upgrades if one would wish to have those. I myself did a Custom Design font upgrade which is 30/yr, but this is not a necessity to have a site.
  • Support – there are no many different support sites as well as WordPress itself if a user would need help on editing or designing for this tool.

So far this WordPress Tutorial has been an amazing tool that can be used by so many different people. I’m excited to finish the remainder of this course so I can share what I’ve learned!




Skitch

Evernote SkitchBP1_Skitch

While recently looking for various emerging technologies that I can apply to my day-to-day teaching I have had other teachers using Evernote in their classrooms, but I wanted to explore Skitch by Evernote and see what capabilities it had compared to its mother application. Since I teach design classes with visual assignments, this application seemed to be an appropriate fit to my needs.

After playing around with this application both on my computer as well as on my iPad and on my iPhone I reviewed it based on some criteria:

  • Usability – I am not a novice to many of these applications, even so I found it to be very user-friendly and easy to import existing students projects into the applications and draw notes and write comments to the students on suggestions on how to improve their projects. There are various ways to share the finalized image straight from the application to social media sites if needed. Due to the simplicity of the application it appeals to both novice as well as experienced users.
  • Navigation – the touch screen navigation on the iPad and iPhone was very user-friendly to click and draw. On the computer application, it was also very simple to choose the tool, the colors and type in comments where it was needed.
  • Reliability – While using this application I did not have any errors occur and most applications have regular updates that come to you via notifications so you have the latest versions where bugs and glitches are fixed.
  • Support – There are various tutorials on the Evernote site that walks you through how to use this app on multiple devices.
  • Cost – this application is both free through the application’s website as well as through the App Store on the Macintosh for all devices. However these costs have been known to change based upon popularity.

I was able to import various yearbook pages into this application and type up notes and needed correction to my students. From there I was able to save these corrections and email them straight from my computer.