Archive for January, 2014

Have you ever heard of Digital Learning Day?  Yeah, me neither!  I saw someone post something on Twitter about it, so I had to check it out.  Apparently, it’s a pretty big deal, and it’s taking place on February 5, 2014!  According to the website, www.digitallearningday.org, “Digital Learning Day is about giving every child the opportunity to learn in a robust digital environment everyday, with the goal of success in college and a career.”  There are lots of options for teachers who want to participate.  You can sign a pledge to support digital learning,takethepledge sign up to receive email updates with lesson and activity ideas, and you can add your planned activities to a map and network with other teachers who are planning activities similar to your own.

I have taken the pledge, and I challenge you to take it as well.  Simply click on the “Take the Pledge” image above to be taken directly to the pledge.  I have also added my planned activities to the map.  I am planning to coordinate several Google Hangouts across my district.  I’m going to connect elementary, middle, and high school classrooms to play a game of “Who Am I?”, where the students will ask questions to identify famous authors or historical figures.

Some other activities that teachers have added to the map include:

  • examining websites for authenticity, validity, and reliability
  • learning how to compose emails and safely communicate using GMail
  • Geocaching
  • creating a “What Is It?” picture book by taking up close pictures using microscopes and document cameras

Are you going to participate in Digital Learning Day on February 5, 2014?  If so, please leave a comment and share what you’ll be doingand don’t forget to add it to the map at www.digitallearningday.org.  While you’re there, check out the great lesson plans and the Tip of the Day.

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Twitter, Google+, Facebook, Pinterest, blogs, wikis, and the list goes on and on.  In a previous post, I talked about how easy it is in our digital world to get totally overloaded and overwhelmed with the constant barrage of information coming at us from all directions.  Especially those I just mentioned, which seem to be favorites of connected educators everywhere.  Being able to locate information that is pertinent to you and access it when it is convenient is a very important skill for both you and your students.  The process of locating and organizing information is called “content curation“.

If it were up to me, I’d classify content curation as the fifth C.  I feel that with easy access to more information than has ever been available before, finding and organizing all of it is just as important as creating, thinking critically, collaborating, and communicating.  In fact, reflecting on  the original 4 Cs, being able to curate content is a skill necessary for each of them.

The two tools that I am currently using to help me curate the ginormous amount of information that catches my eye each day are Evernote and HootSuite.  Let’s start with Hootsuite.

I love HootSuite because I can have access to all of the Twitter hashtags I follow, all of the blogs I follow, and my Google+ connections all in one place.  Plus it’s FREE!  HootSuite looks a lot like a browser within a browser because, like Chrome, you create tabs.  Each tab can be labeled with a different topic you’re interested in, a different social media platform, etc.  On the tabs, you add columns with hashtags, lists, blogs, etc.  You can organize your tabs and columns in a way that makes sense to you, and everything is in one place!  You can tweet or post directly to your Google+ page or profile from HootSuite, as well as use the favoriting option in Twitter (this will come in handy in a moment).  Here is a screen shot of my HootSuite dashboard.

Screenshot of Hootsuite dashboard.

Screenshot of Hootsuite dashboard.

 

Evernote Evernote is probably my favorite tool of all time!  I love it because I can have it on all of my devices, no matter what the operating system (Apple vs. Android), and when I update on one device, my account updates on all of them.  In Evernote, you set up notebooks, and then add notes into those notebooks.  Notes can be text, images, and if you upgrade, voice memos.  All notes are searchable, even images of handwritten notes!  How cool!  Within my Chrome browser, I’ve added the Evernote Web Clipper extension, so when I find a website or blog article that I want to save for later, I just clip it from the web straight into whatever notebook I designate.  I have set up an IfThisThenThat recipe so that when I favorite a tweet from Twitter that I want to read later, it sends it straight into my Evernote.  I can then read those articles off-line on my phone or iPad at my convenience.

Please give these two tool a try, and let me know what you think.  If you need help getting things set up, please email me at iteachteacherstech@gmail.com or connect with me on Twitter: @BoucherLauren.  Let me know what you think of these tools below in the comments section!

Clustr Map
Google+