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Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Will you use 1 photo or 1000 words? Photo Pin

Thank you Twitter PLN for another super resource: PhotoPin 

PICTURES and visuals are the way to communicate effectively.

We all know it.

Presentations full of words. Gobbletygook!

Presentations full of pictures that convey big ideas (along with a few words) are powerful and interesting...and fun. They make us think. They are open to multiple interpretations.

photo credit: Pink Sherbet Photography via photopin cc

PhotoPin allows you to find and use amazing Flickr photos on any topic; photos that are Creative Commons tagged as free to use with attribution. 

Just follow the Photo Pin directions here. Simple and easy.
Harness the power of Flickr to create effective VISUAL projects/presentations with Photo Pin.

'Spell with Flickr' + TwtPoll for #MOedchat

Found a blogpost thanks to my Twitter PLN about Spell with Flickr and ideas for using it. Check it out!

That link led me to create this...

letter M letter O letter e bead letter D photo.JPG letter H A Magnetic Letter T

and this....

Scrabble Rebus letter M letter O ANAGRAM letter E letter D Pastry Cutter Letter C BANANAGRAMS Letter H letter A letter T

in under a minute.

See here how you can click on each letter to get a new one. If we made a #MOedchat blog we could embed the word picture in it. Another tool to use!

Here is a Twtpoll our fine #MOedchat moderator @mrpowerscms shared out via Twitter. Please click on the link and vote if you are able to join in and learn with us.

Here is MY first Twtpoll, to get my feet wet with a new tool. 

Free. Easy to set up.

I was trying to embed Bill Powers' twtpoll (above) but found you can't unless you publish it yourself. So here is my first poll,  embedded. :) Good luck and thanks for playing!

Have you ever watched snowflakes MELT?

I had never watched snow melt from start to end.

I did on Feb. 25. 

I opened the back door and inserted my black sweater into the swirling mass of snowflakes for about 10 seconds. Winter storm #2 was upon us and I wanted to use the opportunity to let my mind wander and wonder. I pulled the sweater back inside and smoothed it out on the counter. With my iPhone 4s and trusty Olloclip macro lens attachment at hand, I began recording the story of one particular clump of snowflakes in a 70 degree room.

I was happily surprised by what I observed. 

Never sphere, I think you will enjoy this as well.


This is something you can show the kids at home or at school. Ask them to brainstorm a list of questions that arise in their minds as a result of this 'snowflake story.' What could they do to explore water's properties to find out questions and observe patterns?

Cool Story about using Creative Commons Flickr Photos.

I found this photo on Flickr.

Flakes 2
photo credit: NedraI via photopin cc

I wanted to use it. On the lower right of the Flickr photo page it was licensed for use...
Attribution, Non-commercial, Share-alike.

I asked for NedraI's permission anyway in the comment section under the picture. What a nice interaction and a new connection and friend.

Please click on the picture above to see my question to her and her response.

Here is a previous blogpost about why I use Flickr as a Learner, Educator, and Photographer.

Monday, February 18, 2013


By eldh on FlickrAndreas Eldh
Are you helping your educator friends adopt Twitter into their professional learning routines?

These Big Ideas/Goals will help simplify the learning curve on "The Twitter!" They'll help educators get connected to others and to their own voice and passion!

It is possible to offer fun and low-key training options for staff and then start your school or district PLN/hashtag and remove the walls that separate you from learning together.

Educators need a face to face startup training session and then at least 1 or more open-ended followups where you can personally help them where they 'are.'

--I use my Twitter blogpost as a guide.  

  • No Frills Fast Guide to Edu-Twitter 
  • I tweet it out to my colleagues/ edu-friends for reference as they progress. Simple to advanced.
  • There are MANY Twitter resources and guides out there available for use. Use what you know.

--There are many layers to a Twitter PLN and they take time to master!

  • Don't teach everything you know about Twitter all in one day; will overwhelm a beginner.
  • Keep it Simple; NO PRESSURE to tweet. Just monitor 5+ minute daily for a couple weeks.
  • Those 5 minutes will naturally 'get' longer once you 'get' it. :)
  • *DO ASK them to consider these questions BEFORE you begin intro. Solid anticipatory set. :)
  • Offer choice of beginning and progressing rooms for assistance/growth during PD.

Twitter Training BIG IDEA #1

Simple. Easy. Your single goal for 2 weeks is to...


Friends DON'T let friends, under any circumstances, leave their 1st Twitter Training UNTIL THEY... 

 1. ...follow 50-100 educators OR MORE 

    • Many educators that start Twitter follow 10 or fewer before they leave their informal training. A PLN needs to be robust and varied, especially for beginners. Don't be afraid to follow MANY educators.

2. ...know to click the HOME birdhouse ICON in upper left every time they're on Twitter

...and scroll through the tweets from the educators they follow for 5 minutes/day for a couple weeks. IT'S REALLY THAT EASY. No pressure. Just click on links, look at pictures, and have fun seeing what's out there. What will you find?! Where might this info take you?! 

...tell 'em this is their 2nd home for the next two weeks. LOL

3. ...know that a PLN is their Personal Learning Network and the BIGGER the better!
    • it is all the people they follow, that follow them, and any hashtag 'communities' they follow or participate in. It is GOOD to follow MANY educators. You will gain followers and grow your PLN as you CROSS THE LINES AND CONNECT THE DOTS...
    • There is nothing more you have to do or know. Just USE AND PERUSE until next time!

Twitter Training BIG IDEA #2

Now that can use and peruse on Twitter, it's time for you to...


  • Cross the Lines #  (#hashtag literacy#) 

        Image credit:
    • Type 'your' relevant hashtags into the search bar of Twitter once you're comfortable with monitoring the Home birdhouse icon tweets! 
    • Use the power of hashtags to search the world of educator ideas and resources.
    • Don't forget to ADD relevant hashtags to the end of your tweets to spread your ideas to people who will use them!
    • Keep handy 2-4 main hashtags you'll use to gather ideas, resources, or help via searching or adding to the end of reminders!

  • Connect the Dots

@ktvee, @jhox1, @jj_litt at #edcampkc
in Nov, 2012. ~lauragilchrist4 Flickr
    • Start actually connecting with educators like the ones in this picture via tweets, retweets, and replies whenever you feel comfortable and ONLY when you feel comfortable.
  • Share and read ideas/resources, or ASK for tips via Twitter!
    • ATTEND a local or regional Edcamp. What's the Edcamp buzz? 
    • Participate in a Twitter chat by 'lurking' or interacting at the specified chat time -- more connecting of the dots! I use Tweetdeck to monitor multiple chats, tweetstreams.
    • Follow educators you meet or that follow you. GROW your PLN. You just may find that you have a BIG VOICE and BIG PASSION for education since your world is now full of inspirational, supportive, and creative voices cheering you on....! 

Here is a slideshow of educators who have connected the dots on Twitter and person! Please, do yourself a favor and go experience an EDCAMP. Tis free! Edcamps embody true and vibrant learner-centered PD and are a great model for teacher learning/PD in schools!

Here's a little bit o' silly you can do now AND/OR with your trainees:
Say this 5 times fast, my educator friends!

"Top Twitter Trainer Tips" 

If you can DO this and do it well, I guess you could say you're (al)literate.  LOL

Sunday, February 17, 2013

#MOedchat 2/14 via Smore & Storify

I created a #moedchat Smore with date, time, and guiding questions for the chat. Easy and Fast, FYI.
    Here is a STORIFY Archive of all the #moedchat tweets from 2/14--created by Andy King @motechtrainer. Peruse quickly for the chat highlights. Great resource even if you were there for the entire chat. So much wisdom you can't take it all in at the time. Storify is quick and easy to use!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

PD: What's best for kids is what's best for teachers. Both are learners.

We've all seen this scenario. Educators 'sitting' in a traditional PD session at a school doing what they're 'told' to do. Heck, no one has asked them what they need, what they want to do or learn, or how they might want to go about achieving these things.  Teachers often don't know what they're meeting for in the first place. Why? No fault of anyone involved. The system is simply running as it always has. PD is being 'delivered' to teachers just like information is being delivered to kids. Ultimate goal of all this delivery of info is high test scores. (Not that there aren't other lofty, admirable goals, but ultimate goal always leads back to test scores.) This lack of learner control and choice leads to passive, unengaged learners, in both student and teacher.

Some of us have seen the other end of the teacher PD spectrum: Educators at #edcamps full of smiles, energy, and enthusiasm for education; on a Saturday no less; batteries recharged and ready to try out new things with their kids.  Could school/district level PD make teachers feel like this? YES!

We know what's best for kids: let them IN on their own education and learning. Give them control and choice;  rigor and relevance. Let them experience the JOY of real learning; learning that is social, dynamic, exciting, and freeing. They don't have this choice and freedom in the typical classroom thanks to focus on high test scores; the system itself locks us all in. 

What's best for kids is what's best for teachers. Both are learners. All learners need certain conditions to thrive. Teachers are the lead learners, though, and must be active and alive. Kids feed off of a teacher full of curiosity, engagement, and enthusiasm. Teacher learning and motivation, I believe in my heart of hearts, is of the utmost importance to school culture and to student learning and 'launching.' 

My district, in the summer of 2011, started NKCS Summer Academy. It is a week of PD courses designed and created by NKCS educators around topics of interest and relevance to them. Teachers leading and sharing with other teachers. You can sign up and take any classes you want. You are not required to take any of them. You can earn credit or money for leading and/or attending. The experience, of networking with fellow educators from my district in 2011, kicked me into a new and active learning direction. I took off in 2012 in technology and haven't looked back. I found Twitter and blogging and edcamps. I am a different educator than I was just under 2 short years ago. I am alive as an educator and I feel like a professional. I like it.

How do we change district and building level PD into active learning led by the learners? 
Should this be a high priority if we have kids' best interests in mind? 
How can we effectively use social media make it reality for both students and teachers? 

The shift has to be to the LEARNER instead of the INFORMATION. Will there be things the teachers must do or learn as building/district assignments? Yes. But who is in charge of setting up how all learning opportunities look and how they get accomplished is what counts. 

Once teachers start learning from each other in their own buildings and districts, teachers that thought they had no voice will get involved and start leading as well. It will snowball and you will see Shiny, Happy Teachers...and kids.

It's hard to shift control to the learner when the system is not set up that way.

Let's shift it anyway and shift hard.