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Monday, January 28, 2013

Time to Connect the Dots...and #MOedchat

Saw this tweet today...

...and this tweet yesterday from #educon

The tweet from Annie Palmer (@palmeram) and the motivating Dr. William Hite (@sdphite) #educon presentation kicked up a little dirt in my brain; and when the dust settled I could see clearly. Yes, indeed. It's time to purposely and deliberately CONNECT with other educators more often; time to take that step beyond simply communicating. Let's connect the dots and create pathways for collaboration. Commenting on a blog or replying to tweets or participating in an edchat or #edcamp would be a great place to start. How many times have I read a blogpost that made me think, but I didn't take 1 minute to comment? Plenty of times! A few words of support and connection will suffice. I'm adding a new goal to my LIFT app.

Educators like to be engaged about their thoughts and ideas, and they like to help make things happen. They just need to be pulled into the conversation and the fun. Let's make this #eduparty bigger and better....and truly more connected. It will benefit the kids and heck all of us for that matter. This purposeful connecting is key as John C. Maxwell says clearly in his book, Everyone Communicates, Few Connect. 

To start my purposeful co
nnecting and engaging,  I direct messaged Annie today and this is just one bit of our 'connection.'

She is a Missouri educator in a neighboring district to mine. I was glad I DM'd her and established a communication pathway for the future. I can't wait to read the book. :)

I am quite excited for #MOedchat which kicks off its inaugural chat this week! Talk about an ideal vehicle for connecting, engaging, and collaborating. Andy King (@motechtrainer ) is the person responsible for reaching out and connecting MO educators with a tweet, a google doc, and ideas for starting a regular #MOedchat. Thanks, Andy! Without his efforts to engage us in the planning process, we wouldn't be doing this. 

By the way, our first #MOedchat is this Thursday, 1/31/13, at 9pm CST; it continues every Thursday, same time. We welcome all Missouri educators but we welcome with open arms educators from all over the world. #MOedchat is another venue for educators to CONNECT and gain the knowledge that they have a voice in education! It's liberating and powerful.

Check out just a few of the connections/collaborations between MO educators and even @cybraryman1 during the #MOedchat planning process! 

 MO educators google doc list--add your name!

Have a wonderful week and may you connect some dots and bring others into the fold!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

#ETMOOC Introductory Hello!

I'm excited to take part in #ETMOOC. I keep trying to come up with puns associated with the #ETMOOC. With a little more time I'll stretch it into something lame and possibly, possibly so bad it's funny.

Why #ETMOOC? I want to connect to others, read and dialogue with educators around the world about edu-ideas, issues, and dreams. Educators do not talk enough. We are stuck in the same system the kids are. Top down. We don't direct our learning/prof development. We sit and git. We are not inspired and our natural learning styles are not engaged. We sag under pressures.

Time to change that, educators! Get involved on Twitter, just as a 'lurker' is how I started. Attend an Edcamp. They're free. They'll change your view. Take part in a MOOC. No pressures and you're in charge. Just open your mind to be the learner you are.

Here is my #etmooc introductory assignment from week one--a ThingLink interactive image that includes a 2 minute Youtube video.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

UPDATED: 9 reasons I use Flickr as an Educator, Learner, and Photographer.

I house all my photos on Flickr AND I use it as a learner, photographer, and educator. Here are just 9 reasons I like Flickr.

UPDATE June, 2013

1. Feel the Flickr Love! 2013 FLICKR UPDATE: Everyone gets the following on Flickr-FREE!

  • 1 Terabyte of photo and video storage
  • Upload photos of up to 200 MB per photo
  • Upload 1080p HD videos of up to 1 GB each
  • Video playback of up to 3 minutes each
  • Upload and download in full original quality
  • Unlimited monthly bandwidth

2. I can access all my Flickr photos via phone, computer, tablet!

3. I can tag all my photos and then search my tags quickly to find a collection of  pictures on 'birds' or 'trees' or 'ipads.' Nifty for presentations or lesson resources for kids.

4. I can control privacy levels for each of my pictures--private, contacts, friends, family, friends & family, or public. I house all my personal and professional/edu pictures on there and adjust privacy.

5. I can upload pictures & videos straight from my phone and computer/tablet to Flickr

6. I can EDIT my photos IN Flickr--both on the website (Aviary) and on the Flickr iPhone app. I really like the Flickr iPhone app. I can upload and edit in Flickr iPhone app, or I can edit using another app and then upload the picture to Flickr on my phone. The app is a whole 'nother post, says this midwesterner. 

7. As an educator, Flickr is a great Creative Commons photo bank for kids to use in research and presentations. The pictures on Flickr are safe in my experience. I know several elementary teachers that use Flickr with their students.

How to search solely through Flickr's Creative Commons photos?
  1. Click on the magnifiying glass in search bar. Click on Advanced Search. Scroll to bottom and select  "
  2. Type your topic and harvest photos! You could 'crop' them, too. Corny, I know....  :o)
8. I can peruse or join photography groups on a multitude of topics I'm interested in and then participate in discussions/photo challenges. I can hone my photography skills and meet new photographers...and educators. Education groups on Flickr are pretty sparse. What eduFlickr groups might we create and for what purposes? Potential here.
  1. Flickr Group: "Water... Oceans, Lakes, Rivers, Creeks"
  2. Flickr Group: "Geographical Landforms"
  3. Flickr Group: "Birds Photos"
9. Last but not least, as an educator I can create GALLERIES of up to 18 photos on a certain topic to share with kids
How? Find photos you like. Then on each picture's page, select ACTION (top right) and select ADD TO GALLERY. Create your gallery at that point. (FYI: If the photographer doesn't want her/his photos in galleries, the choice to add it to your gallery will not be there.)
Hey, #sschat, think what you can do with landforms galleries and city galleries just for starters. #scichat could create galleries on animals, habitats, and more.
  1. Flickr Gallery: Christmas Lights
  2. All the Flickr Galleries on 'Landforms.' Hi, #sschat!
  3. Flickr Gallery on Harlequin Ducks (I created this in 2 minutes)

Finally, don't forget to check out the Flickr Blog. Great pictures, challenges, and even Flickr Meetups.

That was a quick run through Flickr. There is MUCH more to it. Search around and enjoy. Feel free to add comments below on ways you use Flickr. Love to learn from and with you.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

New Year's Day Walk -- Birds and a Snowy Sunset.

Time to reflect on the year past and muse about the new year. What better place to do that than outside in nature. 22 degrees F, snow, and a brilliant sunset made it memorable. Nature is a good friend.
  • Best birds I saw in during my walk here in Kansas City near the Missouri River were a YELLOW-BELLIED SAPSUCKER hanging out halfway up a tall Cottonwood by the river and several HARRIS'S SPARROWS mixed in with a flock of Dark-eyed JUNCOS.
  • Saw/heard 15 different species to kick off the year in about an hour. Far cry from New Year's Days past when I'd go out for a half-day and see/hear 50+ species. :)
  • Started my 2013 year bird list today at home and added to it on the walk. As any good birder will do, I like to note firsts on New Year's Day. My first bird of the year (seen) was a Dark-eyed Junco and my first bird of the year (heard) was the ubiquitous House Sparrow.
Red Cedar, snow, and sunlight Missouri River 1/1/13 Sunlight through a Red Cedar on a snowy New Year's Day

Below are the records I put into eBird.
  • eBird is a tool anyone can use, including kids at school. Citizen Science. You share your sightings with scientists and eBird keeps, organizes all your data for you. Win-win. WEEK REPORT:  Species Totals
Report Details
Date range:Jan 1, 2013 - Jan 7, 2013Total # of Species:15
Total # of Checklists:3
Location(s):   English Landing Park (MO River); Prairie Point area; White Alloe Creek CA

Jan 1Jan 2Jan 3Jan 4Jan 5Jan 6Jan 7
Number of Species15------------
Number of Individuals276------------
Number of Checklists3------------

Total Number of Birds   (sample size)
Species NameJan 1Jan 2Jan 3Jan 4Jan 5Jan 6Jan 7
Canada Goose122
Red-tailed Hawk1
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker1
Downy Woodpecker2
Blue Jay3
American Crow3
Black-capped Chickadee6
Tufted Titmouse2
American Robin48
European Starling21
Harris's Sparrow3
Dark-eyed Junco42
Northern Cardinal3
Red-winged Blackbird2
House Sparrow17

Here is a short video of some semi-distant JUNCOS both on the snow and flying up into the short trees. It was just me, the cold, the snow and a nice-sized flock of juncos. Peaceful and awesome to be a part of their day. Listen to their twittering little song/calls.

Happy New Year everyone!

Education and "Elf." What will your students build this week?

While watching and laughing at "Elf" with my daughters over break, the teacher in me saw an edu-theme in this clip.

This 2 minute scene, while funny in the movie, is the reality of our school 'system' for kids--adult centered and adult focused. Content focused. It's not a fun world for kids. It's not a world where kids actually learn a whole lot. View it from a learner's perspective.

Buddy (student), jumping up with much enthusiasm"Sooo, what are we going to build?"
Dad (adult) at desk with stern tone: "We don't do that kind of work here, pal."
Dad (adult) at desk with no smile"Please don't touch anything."

Buddy (student) was full of smiles, enthusiasm, and compliments (purpley dress, fun name to say, and pretty face.)  Positivity and eagerness.

Dad (adult) was full of frowns, grumpiness, and the need for quiet. "No."

If kids could BUILD/MAKE/DO things each day at school (and it wasn't scripted for a narrow learning goal), they'd be happy campers. #makerspaces #pbl They'd be aggressive learners in charge of their learning instead of passive learners in an adult system.  (Hopefully not passive-aggressive learners. LOL)

Does your classroom belong more to you or more to the kids?

I proudly and happily use my Twitter PLN for ideas, resources, and inspiration when building my unit/theme activities for my students. The next step for me is to include the KIDS (duh) in that planning process up front; ask them what they think/what they want to learn/how to learn it/ ideas they have. That starts Thursday!

Happy New Year to all my fellow educators, and to anyone named Francisco. That's fun to say, after all.