“Summertime and the Learning is Easy”

Pardon the play on words in the classic song (performed by Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong); it’s such a part of my childhood that it immediately came to mind when I was contemplating this post.

But the learning really is easy when awesome opportunities abound – most for free and in my own backyard (physically or virtually) – and I am all about learning!

  • June 4th 8:00 “Be the Change You Want to See” TL Virtual Cafe (http://tlvirtualcafe.wikispaces.com/Join Shannon Miller, Doug Johnson, Dhaivyd Hilgendorf, Mary Kunesh-Podein, and Gina Light as they lead a discussion on what makes a media center the perfect learning environment.  Previous webinars are archived on the site, so be sure to watch any you may have missed.
  • June 12-13th Upstate Technology Conference, Greenville, SC  If you didn’t preregister for the premiere upstate tech conference, make your way to Greenville EARLY on June 12th to snag one of the 100 on site registrations available.  You will be sorry you missed this one!  Earn RCs while attending interesting, informative presentations at the upstate’s FREE premiere conference. (2011 Session Handouts still online!)
  • June 14 SCASL (South Carolina Association of School Librarians) Summer Institute  How can you use data to inform your instruction?
  • Sept. 8  EdCamp Atlanta EdCamps have been springing up around the country as educators take charge of their learning. 
  • Ongoing:  TwitterOnce you have logged in (or signed up for an account), type in one of the following hashtags to search for some of the best sources you’ll find to improve your practice: #tlchat, #edchat, and #edtech Set aside an hour or two a week and you’ll be amazed at what you can learn!

What professional development opportunities are available to you this summer?

Resources for Teacher Librarians

Slidestaxx by Donna Baumbach (AuntyTech)

Teacher Librarians Rock!

I am always ___________ (fill in the blank:  in awe of, extremely grateful for, in debt to, inspired by) the people in my PLN (personal learning network).

When I sign into HootSuite to catch up on tweets, I often feel like a contestant on an old game show entering a glass enclosed booth filled with money being blown in the air. The contestant is given a limited amount of time (say thirty seconds) to grab as much of the money as possible.  Whatever he can grab becomes his.

Although the tweets flying around contain just as much wealth as that glass enclosed booth, there is a HUGE difference:  the buzzer never dings while I’m visiting with my PLN and the wealth they offer remains available even if I have to step away from the computer.

Take, for instance, what Donna Baumbach shared today on Twitter:  a Slidestaxx entitled “Lesson Plan Resources for Teacher Librarians.” (seen above)

Or, how about this:  Carolyn Starkey’s Livebinder entitled “School Librarians and the Common Core Standards:  Resources‘? (seen below)

Livebinder by Carolyn Starkey

Role Models for Sharing

Looking for ideas to promote reading through technology?  Colette Cassinelli created a Google Site to share the resources she was using in a presentation at ISTE this summer.  She has freely shared this on Twitter and it is a treasure chest of great ideas to help fire you up for the new school year. “Got Books?” is just one more example of a passionate teacher librarian sharing with others in her PLN.

Google Site by Colette CassinelliThis are just three resources I’ve recently added to my Diigo Library to refer to as I plan lessons and activities.  The teacher librarians and other educators in my PLN exemplify all that is right in education.

If finding awesome resources like this doesn’t convince you to jump on the Twitter bandwagon, I don’t know what will.

The resources shared here are just the tip of the iceburg!  What is your favorite Twitter find recently?

 

ALA and ISTE: Attending Conferences Vicariously

Cold Light

Ever feel like you’re on the outside, looking in?  It’s not a bad thing!  If, like me, you are not attending either of the “biggie conferences” this weekend, you can still keep connected to those who are and learn vicariously though them.

Getting Live Feeds

First, you need a Twitter account.  (If you have never used Twitter, now is the PERFECT time to see this powerful learning tool in action – promise!)

Have no idea how to get started?  Visit David Wees’ “Eight Videos to Help Teachers Getting Started Using Twitter.”  He includes information on not only how to sign up for and customize your Twitter account, but also videos on how to use Tweetdeck, an application that simplifies and organizes your Twitter experience.

The Twitter client I use is HootSuite which is an online application (you don’t have to install anything on your computer).  There are many YouTube tutorials to help you get started with HootSuite, but I’ve embedded one below you might want to watch.

HootSuite

Using Hashtags

Once you have chosen your Twitter client, you want to set up columns, or threads, based on hashtags.  Then either Tweetdeck or HootSuite will do all the work of finding the conference tweets for you and you can sit back and let all the conference updates come to you!

American Library Association Conference – #ALA11, #ala11

International Society for Technology in Education – #ISTE11, #iste11

HootSuite Conference Columns

Let the Learning Begin!

Some of the best professional development of the year is about to begin.  Are you ready?

Image used through a Creative Commons license

“Cold Light” by Scott Ripton (Quasic) http://www.flickr.com/photos/ripton/3108800277/

All the News That’s Fit to Print

Ever pressed for time but want to keep up with the latest news being shared by your colleagues on Twitter and Facebook?  Then subscribe to the #TLChat Daily Paper.li.

Click on the image above to be taken to the #TLchat Daily Paper.li site.  On the right side click on the “subscribe” feed.  Enter your email address, and – viola – you’ll receive a daily email informing you when that day’s Paper.li has been published.

Joyce Valenza explained how Paper.li works in “Curating the #TLChat Daily.”

On days when I barely have time to check my email, I know that I can catch up on the latest and greatest links being shared by others with my same educational interests.  And if I don’t even have time to check my emails (you have days like that, too, I’m sure!), then I can check the archived news when I have time to catch my breath.

Conferencing Vicariously

This week I am attending the Education Business Summit in Greenville, South Carolina.  Although the program includes many interesting, informative sessions and motivational keynote speakers, I continue to check Twitter to see what is happening in DC and Denver.  Many members of my PLN have traveled to these cities to attend conferences I’ve only dreamed about:  ALA and ISTE.

Twitter allows me to experience some of the excitement and innovation occurring at other conferences by following hashtags.  For those unfamiliar with the term, Wikipedia defines a hashtag as “a non-hierarchical keyword or term assigned to a piece of information (such as an internet bookmark, digital image, or computer file). This kind of metadata helps describe an item and allows it to be found again by browsing or searching.”

Tweetdeck

To simplify my Twitter use, I have installed Tweetdeck on my laptop and iPhone.  Tweetdeck is the equivalent of a social dashboard allowing the user to customize to suit her needs. The hashtags I have been and/or will be  following are #iste10, #ebc10, #sigms10, and #ala10.  Check here for a list of other ALA hashtags for various interest groups.


The above screenshot displays several of the columns in my Tweetdeck dashboard.  If you’ll look closely at the last two columns, you will see that they are labeled “search #iste10″ and “search #ebc10.”  All tweets tagged with those hashtags are displayed, allowing me a glimpse into what is happening concerning those two events.

@AuntyTech (Donna Baumbach) has begun an archive of the #sigsms10 tweets here.  This hashtag will really pick up tomorrow as the SIGMS forum (with the now legendary “Learning Tools Smackdown” lead by Joyce Valenza and Gwyneth Jones) gets underway in the morning.

Jewels

In case you haven’t been following these hashtags, I thought I’d share just a few of the jewels that I have found through them.  Perhaps seeing these will whet your appetite for more!

  • List of smackdown tools shared at Edublogger Con – and a blog post discussing them
  • Free download of book Teaching with Netbooks by Brad Flickinger
  • Blog post on Edublogger Con session on student blogging  – includes great links to guidelines, Web 2.0 Code of Conduct, and a pdf on setting up blogs as electronic portfolios
  • Readability, a tool that removes the clutter from web pages, making reading more enjoyable
  • HP Teacher Experience Exchange - teachers sharing lesson plans
  • DEN Summer School 2010 – great professional development on digital storytelling, professional learning networks, and project based learning

What exciting, innovative ideas have you come across either through attending the conferences, or following the tweets of those who have attended?

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