[Guest Post] Blogging from #EduWin by Sharon Davison

Editor’s Note: Sharon Davison was kind enough to spend some time with the EduWin Crew last week.  After being amazed by her dedication and insight on the subject of blogging we asked if she would write a guest post for EduWin Weekly!  Below you will find some great advice on the power of blogging, enjoy:


Thinking About Blogging?

Sharon E. Davison

Kindergarten Teacher in Vermont

Sharon Davison

Many people ask me continually why I blog and how I manage it all.  I don’t have an easy answer.  For me blogging is about voice, presence, perspective and connectedness.  I began blogging because I wanted to use my voice to connect with others to develop a larger audience with a variety of perspectives about what I am passionate about, learning.  Blogging has opened up my world and given me confidence in my ability to use my voice to express my ideas as well as interact with others and their experiences.

 

The most important point for me, was the idea of audience.  It is really important to think about your audience.  Is it your students? families? both? other professionals?  Once you have given this some thought you will begin to think about what you want to share.  This is where you develop your voice and share your perspective.  Once you begin to think about this and develop your ideas, you then begin to blog about what you are thinking.

Then you develop your audience further or not.  For me I wanted to share my voice globally, so I did!  I tweeted my blogs, used publicize so every time I posted, my posts were on linkedin, facebook and twitter.  Through the use of social media, I discovered how amazing, supportive and interactive it can be!  Soon people started following me and commenting about what they were reading and connecting with.  Through this interaction I was then able to connect with a broader audience. This is important because as an educator I want to have many perspectives when it comes to learning.  I am interested in what others are discovering with their students and communities of learners.  Together when we share and connect, we have so much more opportunity to collaborate and share our voices in meaningful ways. Through our shared perspectives we are able to enrich and make learning meaningful for the students and professionals we connect with.

 

Blogging is an amazing way to share your voice, connect, collaborate and experience what it is like to be a digital citizen.  Digital citizenship is here!  As an educator of young students and their families I have a unique opportunity to begin to model “how to” be a safe, kind, responsible digital citizen.  I model this in the beginning through the use of many different technological tools.  Blogging is an easy way to model this with and for your students and their families.

 

The benefits here are endless.  Many of my students are able to share their kidblogs not only with other peers in our classroom, but our learning buddies, my students families and extended family too!  Click here to read about a post I wrote on the benefits of blogging with young children.

 

I have had students travel abroad and share photos of their trips with us!  I post on our class blog to share.  Other students and their families use their kidblogs to say hello and post about their travels throughout the summer or about a book they are reading.  This past year my students were able to learn about African animals and the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France because one of my students parents traveled there.  This type of experience is authentic and became very engaging for my students because one of their classmates was motivated to share because their father was away.  We used Skype to connect and say hello as well as have conversations about the animals in Africa and the Eiffel Tower in Paris!

 

Through my interactions and relationships with my students I am able to connect and collaborate in global ways.  The technology makes things easy, enriching and available for everyone.

 

Interested In Starting A Blog?

Things to Think About For Teachers:

1.Look at blogging platforms. Kidblog, Blogger, WordPress, Edublogs are some.  Which platform seems to fit your style?

2.Audience.  Think about who you want to share your voice with and why.  Are you thinking about a specific curricular topic? Professional reflections? Explorations and Discoveries with your students?

3.Frequency.  How often will you post? Why? Who will be blogging?  You?, You and your students? students? This is important.  I am invested in my blogs and find them as endless opportunities to connect and reflect globally.  Think about your personal commitment here.

4.Public or Private? How are you going to promote, share and publicize your blog?  This is important to think about.  What are your reasons for keeping it public? private?

5. Focus of your Blog.  This is important.  Do you want to blog about your professional practice? Discoveries and experiences with collaborative tools? A specific curricular area?  Click here to read an article I had published on the types of blogs I have created and their purpose.

6.Keep it Simple! Think about your purpose and goals for your blog.  Start off simply.  Keep a focus and explore it.  This way you will have time to experience not only how to blog, but what possibilities make themselves available to you and your students.

7.Be Open To Change.  Through blogging you will experience how transparent your voice becomes.  This is important because it will help you develop your voice, keep an open mind and think about how blogging can change, open up your classroom and what you are exploring and sharing in the world.

Blogging with Students?

Things To Think About:

1.In the beginning be very explicit and intentional about blogging.  Show your class blog, post on it daily, 3-4 times a week and explore it with your students. I usually start with 3 simple phrases…  I noticed,I observed, I wonder. I have these phrases in my classroom as part of our culture.

2. Blogging needs to be a part of your culture, not an add on or a reward.  Be sure to have opportunities throughout the day for your students to look at your blog(s) and have conversations about what they see.  Your students will become independent through your example, excitement and modeling.

3. Commenting and leaving compliments is vital.  Be sure to model this for your students, and with them.  This is another opportunity for you to be explicit about being a safe, kind and responsible digital citizen.  After my students make posts I email my parents to tell them and then I ask them to post a positive comment on their child’s blog and others.  I usually say it is okay to post on a child you do not know.  This is important because again I am modeling how people we may not know may also have something important and kind to say about your idea.

4. Showcase and Highlight!  Give your students daily/weekly opportunities to share their blog post and ask their peers to share what they notice.  This is an awesome way to get at commenting with younger bloggers.

5. Widgets! I have a map of the world on my class blog and kidblog also has this feature.  It is important because it begins to give students an idea about audience and perspective about where in the world their ideas are being explored and shared.  Another nice example of how to be a safe,kind, responsible, digital citizen.

6. Be Explicit! When I first introduce blogging to my students I always begin with a familiar text.  I do this because it is important to have have real, tangible things that your students have experience with.  I show/ask them to tell me what they notice about the text…  it has a title, illustrations, words, words match the illustrations, etc. Then I can show them what it looks like when they post.  They will also need a title, an illustration or photo and words that give the illustration meaning.  Through this type of modeling your students will begin to make authentic connections with text and creating a post.

8. Audience(digital citizen)! I also use the example of how a blog is an online journal that never goes away.  This way people outside of our classroom can see and listen to what we are learning.  I again use an example of their science journals.  What do you notice?  How is our blog and your science journal similar? different? It is important to be explicit and give concrete examples for your students.  Starting with something familiar to help them make the connection with their blog.

9. Blogging Tips! Develop simple “how to” blogging tips with your students.  This way they have control and own the expectation for not only “how to” blog, but what components their post needs to have.

 For example: (Last year these were our blogging tips in  @kkidsinvt)

1. Log into your kidblog

2. Create a new post.

3. Have a title.

4. Write nice words that match your picture.

5. upload your photo or drawing from Doodle Buddy or an iPad(ask a friend if you need help)

6. Touch blue button to save post.

7. Logout

 

I blog because it is a valuable way for me and my students to connect and collaborate globally.  I have endless opportunities to model explicitly not only “how to” blog, but the reasons as well.  It is important to always share how it is related and supports learning.  I do not blog because it is something I have to do, but rather it is a choice, I’m very happy with because it supports learning for everyone and most important, it gives everyone a voice.

Blogs I Have Created:

Summer Reading Blog(use, interact with only in the summer)

Life Studies Blog(a science focus)

Class Blog(focuses on everyday life in Kindergarten)

Kindergartenlife Blog(where I reflect professionally)

Kidblogs(former kkids individual blogs)

Published Articles and Posts:

ISTE:Blogging

SmartBlog Post:Benefits of Blogging

Kidblog Interview

ePals Teacher Spotlight

DonorsChoose Blog

Digital Wish

Wiki’s I Have Created:

Class Wiki

Math Wiki

Literacy Wiki

 

EduWin Weekly Show #16: Connections

 

This week on #EduWin Weekly: Hosts  Michael Walker and Dennis Grice visit with Florida educator Matthew Bergholt about his innovative “playground” that allowed teachers to connect with other educators as well as with technology tools at the FLGA Conference.

 

 

 

 

 

Show Hosts: Michael Walker and Dennis Grice 

View our Show Notes


Give us some feedback! Email eduwin@edreach.us to send us a note. Or leave a comment below. 

EduWin Weekly Show #15: Apptober


This week on #EduWin Weekly: Hosts  Michael Walker and Dennis Grice celebrate “Apptober,” sharing some of their favorite Apps for education. They also celebrate some of this week’s EduWins, including ones from Jen Hegna and @recessduty.

 

 

 

 

 

Show Hosts: Michael Walker and Dennis Grice 

View our Show Notes


Give us some feedback! Email eduwin@edreach.us to send us a note. Or leave a comment below. 

EduWin Weekly Show #14: David Wees on Integration and Math


This week on #EduWin Weekly: Host  Michael Walker visits with Canadian Educational technology consultant, IB & MYP Math & Science teacher and Educational Advocate David Wees about his recent EduWin’s in Technology Integration and Math Instruction.

 

 

 

 

 

Show Hosts: Michael Walker and Dennis Grice 

View our Show Notes


Give us some feedback! Email eduwin@edreach.us to send us a note. Or leave a comment below. 

EduWin Weekly Show #13: First Week EduWins


Eduwin Weekly Show 13: First Week EduWins

This week, Hosts Dennis Grice and Michael Walker chat with Elementary Principal and Co-Moderator of the “EduCoach chat”, Jessica Johnson about her innovative “Bucket Filling” initiative with her students. We also give a shout out to “@osseonicethings,” a student sending positive messages about classmates that has gone viral.

Show Notes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

EduWin Weekly Show #12


Eduwin Weekly Show 12 California Student Media Festival

This week, Host Dennis Grice chats with Discovery Education Network Star Teacher, Tony Spittell, about his work and the California Student Media Festival.

Show Notes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

EdCeptional #036 – Getting Fired Up with Jen Wagner

It’s time to kick off a new school year, and what better way then by trying some new things. Tonight we chat with Jen Wagner about Projects By Jen, International Dot Day, Flat Stanley, and ClassDojo. We also introduce our new #Eduwin segment!

 

 

 


Show Host: Anne Truger (@atruger)

Show Guest: Jen Wagner (@jenwagner)

Show contributors:

Patrick Black (@teachntech00)

Deb Truskey (@debtruskey)

Tricia Lazzaro (@tlazzaro11)

Here’s our Show Notes! 


Visit the EdCeptional Channel to view past broadcasts. 

Contact us with any questions or comments – edceptional@edreach.us

#EduWin Weekly Show #11: Our Summer Vacation #EduWins


This week on #EduWin Weekly: Hosts  Dennis Grice and  Michael Walker share their favorite #EduWins on their summer vacations. Highlights include Dennis’ trip to the  Discovery Education Summer Institute and Mike’s family road trip to the Pacific Northwest. In addition, we give a shout out to the start of Connected Educator Month, and invite all of you to participate in as many activities as you can! It’s a MAJOR #EduWin!

 

 

 

 

 

Show Hosts: Michael Walker and Dennis Grice 

View our Show Notes


Give us some feedback! Email eduwin@edreach.us to send us a note. Or leave a comment below. 

Mobile Reach #32 – Google Drive: Into the Wild


Mobile Reach #32 – Google Drive: Into the Wild  Chad and Judi joined by friend and colleague Sue Gorman (Racine, WI).  We discuss some articles we found related to mobile learning in the classroom and dive into Google Drive which was just released this week.   Chad shares a way that he garnered some movie tickets using Google Voice.  We also share out some Mobile Apps and Sue shares an #eduwin.

Show Host: Chad Kafka (@chadkafka)

Co-Hosts: Judi Epcke (@jepcke), Sue Gorman (@sjgorman)

The Mobile Reach Show Notes


Leave us some feedback! 

Contact us with any questions or comments- mobilereach@edreach.us

I had a great class today!

Today I had an epic #EduWin, and I didn’t even plan for it.

I recently became the liaison to some of the social sciences here. This has resulted is a slew of pretty specific classes (not to mention following up someone who was excellent at his job). It’s tough because I don’t want to change much, but I also want to put my stamp on things. Also, I majored in Theatre and History, so I am missing some of the basic vocabulary.

Today’s class was modeled on my predecessor’s lesson plan. The professor kindly brought in an example of a final presentation. She said it was partially for the students, but I think it was really for me. I cannot tell you how much I appreciated it. By seeing that presentation, and realizing that the students needed an interactive element. I was able to tweak my class slightly and give the students something to work with.

One would think I had brought in candy with how excited everyone got over Poll Everywhere. Massive #EduWin.

Where am I going with this? Teachers: Make sure you give the librarian as much information as possible. Don’t take it for granted that the librarian will know the nuances of what you’re going for. It’s funny how the smallest of words, in this case “interactive” can remind us of something cool to bring to the table.

Librarians: part of our job is going out and finding cool and interesting tools that our colleagues may not know exist. After all, most people don’t say to themselves, “Hmm I think I’ll go find something free that makes flow charts better than Word.” The second piece is remembering to actually tell our colleagues what we’ve found.

My project for tomorrow: I need to have a list of awesome and interesting things somewhere other than my rather absent-minded brain. I’ll make sure to send you guys a link when it’s done.

Speaking of awesome and interesting things, Daniel Laird, Media and Design Specialist at SUNY Oswego, will be our guest on the podcast this week. We’ll be talking about some apps that every teacher might want to add to their toolbox.


Emily Thompson is the host of EdReach’s show LiTTech, a show for the innovative librarian. LiTTech highlights the innovative news, gadgets, and resources for the literary educator. You can follow her on Twitter @librarianofdoom

5 Reflections From My Day Off of School

I had Presidents’ Day off from school recently. It’s one of the perks of being a teacher. Oh, don’t get me wrong. There are lots of perks when you are a teacher.  Our day ends at 3pm. No weekend work. Long winter breaks, spring break, and of course, one of the main reasons all educators decide to become a teacher; summer vacation. Are you picking up on my sarcasm? I hope so, because I’m laying it on pretty thick. Actually, my President’s Day off turned out to be a day ON to reflect. A number of ideas came to mind, but a few thoughts seemed to resonate in the Eduverse on Twitter that day.
Reflection #1: How can we ask students to be lifelong learners if we aren’t learning ourselves? Educators must become digitally literate.
I consider myself pretty tech savvy. But it wasn’t until April of 2011 that I decided to actually use my Twitter account.  650+ followers later, Twitter is now the best professional development and learning tool I have ever encountered. Did I mention ever?! Teaching is my third and last career, and thank goodness I took the Twitter plunge. Even though I consider myself a “content expert,” if Google can answer my students’ questions, I better have more to offer. That’s where Twitter comes in. I have read more, learned more, and connected more with innovative thinkers from all over the world, more in the past 10 months than possibly the other 39 years of my life on earth. Education reform, technology in the classroom, digital media, iPads, apps, apps, and more apps. Educational pedagogy, inspiration, motivation, support…..you bet. I encounter it all. I am more committed than ever to continue my life long learning.
Reflection #2: I never ask a student to complete an activity I wouldn’t do myself. I don’t do worksheets. Neither do they.

I came into the year wanting my students to blog. So I began to blog last summer. I now submit educational blogs to 6 national publications. I have certain expectations and techniques for video production. I personally produce 3-4 videos a month, and work directly with my students on these real projects to exemplify those techniques. I was a terrible test taker and poor note writer as a student, so we don’t take tests in my class. I prefer to videotape and record lessons as tutorials, rather than having students spend time taking copious notes. My students collaborate, work independently and create videos to tell stories, promote positive news, and to show content comprehension for a variety of subject matter.

Reflection #3: I never did well on tests. I performed best on project based learning & assessment. Guess which one we do in my class?

I have come to realize that I have successfully been implementing project based learning for the past seven years. Now, my critics will tell you that’s because of my content; broadcast technology and film. My content must be presented as projects. In part, they are correct. But I firmly believe that by basing my classes and instruction on projects for comprehension and assessment, students have fallen in love with the process and therefore like completing our coursework. What’s preventing you from creating at least 1 project based lesson in your class?

Reflection #4: We ask our students to collaborate, share, communicate, & create. Shouldn’t teachers do the same in their work?

Through my blogs, video publishing, tweets, podcasts, educational conferences and various other forms of social media, I relish the opportunity to reach out to educators all over the world to hear their stories. I want to learn from them. Share a common experience. I believe that not only should all educators find their niche in a similar fashion, but that it should be a requirement. Not a state mandate or school mandate, “you must do this…..” causing teachers everywhere to cringe. But rather, each of us should check our internal ticker, look in the mirror, and realize, there is a greater world out there for all of us if we allow for it to happen. Educators everywhere, please, take the leap. Take the initiative to guide your own professional learning. You won’t regret it.

Reflection #5: Quote from student – “We learn more than technical skills in Mr. Goble’s class. We learn life skills.” Bingo!

We all truly want to prepare our students for a successful life. That is the essence of why we became educators. I don’t believe we chose this profession to stand in front of a row of desks, talk for 50 minutes, and expect students to glean wisdom from us that would guide their successes. I believe we all want to engage our students in the creation and recreation of their thoughts, ideas, hopes and dreams, that are relevant to the world they will live in, not the world we were told was in store for us. Beyond the curriculum, we are in fact teaching our students life skills that will hopefully empower them to make smart choices for the rest of their lives.

Presidents’ Day was a great day off from school. I feel very accomplished, rested and ready to get back to my class. Can’t wait for spring break to see what creeps into my mind next.

#EduWin-ners Circle 1/24/12 – Relationships Matter

 

The title of this post might seem a bit trite or obvious, but some recent #EduWin tweets caused me to reflect on how critical relationships are in education and how important it is to spend time developing them. Positive relationships are made, they don’t just happen.

There are different types of relationships in these #EduWin posts, but they all demonstrate respect and trust between students and teachers.

As a child, I would never have thought to contact my teacher like this student did; especially not after I had moved on from the class. Teachers were to be revered. They were adults and we were just kids. Clearly @MusicTechie developed such a warm relationship with this student that he thought to contact her to help his friend.

Got an email from an 8th gr about copyright and wants me to talk to one of his friends, he thinks ANYTHING on the net is useable. #EduWin
@musictechie
Carol Broos

 

This #EduWin really speaks to the notion that as educators we may never really know the impact we have on students. And to the idea that students can grow and change, even beyond our classroom influence.

Just had a great grown-up conversation with a student who literally hated me (and much worse) three years ago when I taught him. #eduwin
@pronovost
Robert Pronovost

 

The trust mentioned in this tweet goes both ways. The ability for these teachers to become students and be taught by their students is not something that all teachers would be comfortable experiencing. This culture of learning is definitely something to be admired.

Today's #eduwin students are now teaching the willing teachers how to set up websites with Google Sites, even with some advanced features 2
@k_shelton
Ken Shelton

 

Finally, in this tweet, the relationship extends to parents — a beautiful comment from a father to a son. There is faith that comments will be encouraging and that parents value the fine arts experience for their children.

Rt @: A beautiful comment from father to son about his artwork on @ #artsed http://t.co/5px9izU6 -so sweet #eduwin
@fuglefun
fuglefun

 

And speaking of relationships, a BIG Thank You to friend of EdReach and executive director of Next Vista for Learning, Rushton Hurley (@rushtonh), for mentioning #EduWin in his recent conference appearances.

Spread the word about the best things happening in education….What is your #EduWin? Post daily at: whatisyoureduwin.com. Not sure what to say? Some ideas for an #EduWin post can be found here.

#Edu-Winners Circle 1/10/12 — A Little Help From Our Friends

 

There have been a number of #EduWin posts sharing instances of collaboration, shared successes, or teachers helping teachers.

 

 

Planning

Great conversation w staff about next steps at our JH, technology-wise. #EduWin
@tdonovan
Tom Donovan

 

Students Collaborating…Spontaneously!

Stud script w/lots of collab 4 their next movie btw these r last yrs kids making movies that were not assigned! http://t.co/r0xMq1vJ #eduwin
@lhighfill
Lisa Highfill

 

Learning from Others

@ You rock! I am putting that idea away for next year when I teach Soc again. I just teach it 1st sem. #EduWin #Sociology

 

Helping a Colleague

My #EduWin is helping our school psych get onto an iPad and she wants to ditch her laptop now.
@jimohagan
James O'Hagan

 

These interactions may come naturally to teachers today, but in my first years of teaching the idea of collaboration was a very foreign concept to my grade level colleagues. They actually discouraged me from asking too many questions, “We all just kind of do our own thing”. More than a decade later, my role is to collaborate with all of our district teachers, administrators, and staff in the area of educational technology. The successes of my teachers excite me as much as the student successes we all celebrate. Outside of school, I work with other educators in professional organizations, to record podcasts, and to plan and implement ways we can move education forward. I can’t image a day without collaborating with other educators; face-to-face or virtually.

I used to have a sign up in my classroom that read, “None of us is as smart as all of us”. Isn’t this the spirit of Twitter, Pinterest, and the other numerous social media sites? How are you collaborating with colleagues; in real time and asynchronously? How are your students collaborating? How has collaborating with others made your learning and your students’ learning richer or more meaningful?

Spread the word about the best things happening in education….What is your #EduWin? Post daily at: whatisyoureduwin.com. Not sure what to say? Some ideas for an #EduWin post can be found here.

#EduWin Isn’t Just for Educators!

Everyday, educators are sharing their positive teaching and learning experiences with each other via the WhatIsYourEduWin.com website and the #EduWin hashtag on Twitter. You may be wondering… what is an #EduWin? An #EduWin can happen any time someone takes education forward. It is a way to celebrate all the fabulous things that are taking place in the world of education every day! So far, educators from all over the globe are sharing a daily #EduWin, and it is inspiring to read each and every one of them. (You can read all about how #EduWin came to be here!)

With the start of the new year, I have been trying to think about some innovative reflection techniques to bring into the classroom. The teacher in me knows that it is crucial for students to always be an active participant in the learning process, which includes reflection. I’m always trying to come up with new ways to incorporate that piece. I think it is incredibly important to celebrate both successes and failures with students everyday. It is even better when they can verbalize their own successes and failures, because I know that’s where honest learning comes into play. So for the second half of this school year, I have decided that I will be asking my students to share their own EduWin daily. I want to give them a few minutes every day that is dedicated to  reflecting on their own individual learning. By sharing their own EduWin with their peers, I am hoping that it will also inspire other students, just as I am inspired by other educators’ EduWins.

There are many ways for students to start sharing their own EduWins, and I am still deciding on which method I will be using in my classroom. Here are a few ideas that I have been thinking about:

  1. Use the website WhatIsYourEduWin.com to tweet from a classroom Twitter account,  or students’ personal Twitter accounts
  2. Make a classroom bulletin board where students add a thought bubble with their EduWin everyday
  3. Write a classroom EduWin journal with daily entries (it can even be anonymous!)
  4. Photograph an EduWin and use the Project 365 app or website to track their daily EduWin
  5. Create a Posterous blog where students email their daily EduWin to a website

I know that there are numerous ways that the EduWin experience can seep into our classrooms and benefit our students; I will have to continue to think about what will work best for my students. And whichever option I choose, I know I will be sharing their #EduWins via WhatIsYourEduWin.com. Please feel free to help me brainstorm and add to the list!

#EduWin-ners Circle 12/12/11 — The Movement Begins

The invitation to post an #EduWin has been in place for just over a week. This idea seems to be catching on evidenced by a few hundred unique tweets from educators sharing moments, large and small, from classrooms around the world.

As I read through the submissions, I noticed some categories emerging:

Spreading the word about #EduWin:

 

Small Moments:

Today, I scored an #EduWin by helping a student complete missing homework after school. http://t.co/LujmTfRG
@tchrmom2boys
Heather Peretz

 

Personal Moments/Personal Learning:

Today, I scored an #EduWin by learning how to sync audio from DSLR and Zoom recorder in Final Cut Pro X. http://t.co/YOZSYBgo
@_luisfperez
Luis Perez

 

Game Changing/Life Changing Moments:

@ yesterday, a new AAC user started using my name to get my attention, in the correct context!!!! #eduwin
@teachntech00
Patrick Black

 

Collegial Moments: 

Today, I scored an #EduWin by taking time to help a French teacher find the right song for her student's French video http://t.co/tlv6iU5M
@dgoble2001
Don Goble

 

Global Connections:

Today, I scored an #EduWin by setting up a web conference so our students could talk public policy w students in China. http://t.co/jjhdGLvu
@clsaarinen
Carrie L Saarinen

 

While I enjoyed reading all the #Eduwin tweets, one story I would like to highlight comes from this tweet:

I can only hope that #wrvt students are inspired to change and improve the world by Skyping Suu Kyi from class this evening. #eduwin
@jessysaurusrex
Jessysaurusrex

After reading this posting, I was intrigued to learn more about the story behind it.

The story: @PlaidAvenger (aka John Boyer), a Virginia Tech professor, created a YouTube video to request a Skype Interview with Aung San Suu Kyi for his World Regions class. The Burmese political leader accepted the invitation and the 30 minute interview took place on Monday, December 5th. There were other tweets and #EduWin submissions that mentioned Skype conversations, one even occurred in my district, but the belief that Professor Boyer thought this interview was in the realm of possibility is inspiring to me. No advanced technology was used or needed; they held a microphone up to the computer speakers to hear Suu Kyi’s answers. Bringing the world into every classroom is doable: a computer (a webcam is helpful, but not necessary), an internet connection, and the desire to connect. Why don’t more teachers take advantage of these opportunities? The world is truly becoming flatter and most anything is possible. Thank You, Professor Boyer, for modeling this for your students, and for me.

Spread the word about the best things happening in education….What is your #EduWin? Post daily at: whatisyoureduwin.com. Not sure what to say? Some ideas for an #EduWin post can be found here.

Image credithttp://www.clipartpal.com/clipart_pd/education/ribbon_11174.html

Sharing Success in 140 Characters: This is #EduWin

There are amazing things going on in education. Every day. It’s true.

But perhaps you didn’t hear about them. Perhaps you were over at The Huffington Post reading about how all of America’s schools are failing once again.  Perhaps you got stuck over at the New York Times reading about how low teachers get paid, or about more student hazing incidents on college campuses. One thing is for certain- there is never a shortage of negative stories about education. You may have trouble finding those stories here at EdReach.

We think it’s important to light a fire under education, but at EdReach, we also think that it’s important to light a fire under something so much more important to the success of our education system: innovation and transformation.

Innovation and teacher success are happening all over the country, didn’t you know? EdReach was built as a broadcasting channel to highlight the amazing things teachers do everyday. Check out any number of our videocasts, podcasts and blog posts- they all highlight the awesome things teachers do all around the world. EdReach’s mission has been to bring those voices together and remind America- remind the world – about the many successes teachers are having all over the place. We’ve brought it down to one word, a Twitter hashtag, if you will:

#EduWin

#EduWin is a idea.  An idea- not started by us, but at a powerful conference this past summer by a woman named Candace Shively. Twitter can be a powerful place to aggregate conversations, to aggregate resources, and – hey – why not to aggregate teacher success stories?  Success in education is happening all the time – why not share those success stories with others, so we can also enjoy the resources that come of them?

To share an #EduWin,  go over to our sister site: www.whatisyoureduwin.com to get started. You’ll need a Twitter account, so what better reason to start using Twitter, if you haven’t already? You aren’t required to follow Justin Bieber, Ashton Kutcher, or any Kardashians at all. Simply share a story, a moment, a link, or nominate some other educators for an #EduWin. Do you know teachers that deserve an #EduWin? Do you know principals, administrators, or superintendents that deserve an #EduWin? See how some people have been using it already today:

Today, I scored an #EduWin by having kindergarteners write rhyming words on the IDEA wall! http://t.co/0lgwxmbr http://t.co/n6xY0rls
@egreene07
Elizabeth Greene
Today, I scored an #EduWin by helping teachers align expectations and increase knowledge through collaborative scoring http://t.co/pPwQhfWU
@cmcollins13
Christine Collins
Today, I scored an #EduWin by sharing this wonderful story from one of my former students http://t.co/fMtm2FlL http://t.co/tlv6iU5M
@dgoble2001
Don Goble

Take a moment at the beginning of your day, at the end of your day- use #EduWin as a place to reflect on your teaching, on another teacher’s practice, on your own children’s teachers, your school district, or on education as a whole.

Share success in 140 characters.  What is your #EduWin today? Go to www.whatisyoureduwin.com  and tell us.


You could be helpful in spreading #EduWin! A simple tweet can go a long way. If you’d like to give the movement a boost, place this 250×250 badge on your site. Simply copy the embed code provided there. It will remind people that reflecting on a job well done, is just as important as doing the job.

Chrome Web Store Extensions for Teachers

Some of you might have noticed that EdReach is focused on sharing tools this week.  My first choice was sharing all the resources I use from the BBC.  They have great activities for my social studies and language arts class, but it is a very specific tool that might not be pertinent to most.  I finally decided to share some of the tools I use within the Chrome web browser. Google is the creator of Chrome and they make it very easy to integrate tools within their browser.Extensions

LastPass-
This is my favorite password collector.  I have one master password and it allows to me to store and create secure passwords.  You don’t believe it is secure? Just ask Steve Gibson (GRC) who is considered one of the top security gurus in the world.  This program is best within the browser.  I have used it on an Android phone and and iPad and it doesn’t run smoothly.

Chrome Web Store link for LastPass

Google Mail Checker-
This is a simple extension that indicates if you have any unread messages.  Sometime it is not quick in updating its status, but overall it does its job.  When you click on the icon it takes you to your inbox.

Chrome Web Store link for Google Mail Checker

Delicious-
I stopped using this social bookmarking tool and have recently returned.  There are no other bookmarking sites, in my opinion, that do what I want them to do.  Delicious is not perfect, it is just the best tool for my job.  How do I use delicious?  I use Delicious to help teachers I train and it helps my students find the information they need.  (I also have a lot of game links too!)  This extension allows you to bookmark any current page, add a title, add notes,  and add tags.  Bookmarking has become a process and I have learned to streamline this process.  I have created a “New” folder on my bookmarks bar and every few days I will add those bookmarks into Delicious.  After they are added, I then place them into a folder which syncs to all my browsers by using the tool below.

Chrome Web Store link for Delicious

My Delicious Links

Xmarks-
I am torn by this selection.  I used the original Foxmarks, which then turned into Xmarks. (That might have been the time when adding ”X” to words was cool)  The purpose of this program is to be able to sync your favorites with other browsers you use.  You can even sync across different browsers.  This can be very handy in a work situation where you might have limitations on what programs can be installed.  This allowed me to have the bookmarks I have at home sync with those at work.  (Be careful on what you bookmark)
Eventually I was having trouble syncing my bookmarks with Xmarks.  I don’t know what the problem was, but it got very annoying.  It was at this time when I started using Chrome almost exclusively and realized that I could sync my browser information using my Google account.  This was great and it did a wonderful and quick job of updating my favorites until this past spring.  I noticed that my bookmarks had not synced for 15 days.  I researched the problem and it could not be solved.  So now I am back to Xmarks and it seems to working well.  If anyone has any new information about this type of sync, please let me know.

Chrome Web Store link for Xmarks

Screen Capture (by Google)-
This is my newest and favorite extension.  I found this while trying to find pictures for a Prezi, another great tool.  This screen capture tool allows me to capture a page, visible content, whole page, and a region.  I can save the image as a PNG or JPEG.  You can edit the image by highlighting, adding text, and lines.  This extension has become very popular and it is easy to see why.

Chrome Web Store link for Screen Capture

 

Apps

I was going to include all the apps I use within Chrome but time, space, and making this a quick read will not allow it.  The list below is just a quick reference of the apps I do use.  All of them except TweetDeck are simple links. Please let me know if you have any questions about their functionality.

Chrome Web Store Links

Remember the Milk- A great to-do list.

Tweet Deck- A great way to see all your tweets and Facebook stream.

Google Calendar- A simple link to your Google Calendar.

Google Docs- A simple link to your Google Docs.

 

Image- Created using Screen Capture (by Google) from within Google Chrome

Inspire Any Student Writer With StoryBird

StoryBird is a web tool that allows students to use artists’ artwork to create a story book.  I have used this tool in the classroom to help reluctant 4th and 5th grade writers find motivation for creative writing.  There are many applications for use, for example: creative writing, using art with spelling words to create a story, illustrating content areas in creative ways… the possibilities are endless!

To start the year you might think about having your students create a StoryBird highlighting their summer vacation, or you might create one to help explain some of your classroom procedures.

StoryBird has amped up its efforts to offer its tools for educators by including the ability to set up classroom accounts for students.  The registration is easy and does not require students to have email addresses.  Check out the teacher page here.

Once the class is created you can give logins to students and begin mixing up some great stories.  The students can share and favorite their peers’ stories.

So if you have never checked out StoryBird you should take some time to do so; and if you have used it in the past, but have gotten away from it, it’s time to revisit an ol’ favorite.

StoryBird Tour:

Image: Attribution Some rights reserved by umjanedoan