This is a cross post from my blog. As one of the technology leaders at my school, I have had to immerse myself in technology. This post describes some of the tools that I use on a day to day basis. But first, here is a little background.
I was reflecting recently about the learning that I have done over the past few years in terms of technology. A few years ago, I attended a conference in Calgary, AB and I had the pleasure of listening to Ian Jukes and Will Richardson.
These two individuals, among others, blew me away! I was absolutely amazed by what they knew about technology and its applications to education. I remember Ian Jukes telling us that schools of today are doing a great job of preparing kids for the year 1965. Will Richardson was talking about becoming a digital citizen and having an on-line presence. During one of the breaks, I bought Will’s book and I began reading it in the hotel room that same evening. As I read through the book, I made up my mind that I would try to become a technology leader in my school and in my district. At that time, I had no knowledge of blogs or wikis and I had only dabbled on Twitter.
As the years have progressed I have been intrigued by a wide variety of technology and Web tools. I have concluded that it is impossible to use all of these tools, but I have been able to incorporate some of them into my work. The purpose of this post is to share the tools that I use most often.
Twitter – the most important learning tool that I have ever used. I have had the pleasure of learning and sharing with a group of fine educators. I think I have learned more on Twitter in the last year than I have in the last five years of PD sessions. I wrote a blog post about how I use Twitter.
Blogs – I think about blogs as tweets that are longer than 140 characters. There are many blogs that I follow regularly so I have added them to my RSS reader in Outlook. This way, I can read my favourite blogs when I read my email. As you can see, I have also started blogging myself. It is a great way to reflect on my practice, share my learning, and record my thoughts so I can read and refer to them later. I use wordpress because it is so easy to post and to add web parts to my site.
Diigo – is a web-based bookmarking site. Whenever I find a great article, I bookmark it using Diigo. If you tag and organize your bookmarks, they are so easy to find at a later time. I also have Twitter set up so that when I mark a tweet as a favourite, it automatically sends it to Diigo. Diigo also allows me to share my bookmarks with others.
Posterous – is a service that I use to keep cool images or quotes. When I post something here, I have it set up so that it will automatically share the post on Twitter.
Lino it – allows you to set up an on-line placemat where anyone can place a sticky note. We have used these at meetings and during Master’s classes to share thoughts and ideas.
Todaysmeet – this is a twitter-like microblogging service which allows us to have a back channel during a meeting or class.
Prezi – by far the best presentation software. Try it and you will never use PowerPoint again.
Google+ – I just started using this one recently. My favourite feature so far is the Google Hangout which allows up to 10 people to have a face to face meeting without being in the same room. We are currently planning an Edcamp in Edmonton and all of our meetings have been Google hangouts. Google+ is a cross between Twitter and Facebook which allows you to share things with certain “circles” of people. For example, I can share something with my family that my colleagues will not see.
Hootsuite – my apologizes to the owl…I posted this and then remembered what a timesaver Hootsuite is. Hootsuite helps me to manage 3 twitter accounts (2 personal and 1 school @AustinOBrienHS), a LinkedIn account (that I don’t look at very much), and my WordPress account (I was amazed to find out that I could post to WordPress from Hootsuite). This is an awesome application because you can be in many places at once without jumping around and logging in multiple times. You can also manage other SM (Facebook, myspace, etc.) with Hootsuite. The link shortener is a nice feature!
Just are just a few of the tools that make my learning more authentic. I have come a long way since the conference in Calgary where I felt like such a noob with all of this technology.
My last word…there is so much technology out there, yo u never have time to use it all. You need to find the tools that make your life (and learning) better and easier. I believe that if we model this type of learning, it will be the best way for our students to learn.