BLC10 25 Ed Tech Leaders To Follow

Whether your PLN is overflowing or just starting to grow, this list may help you to refine your network to best suit your learning needs. Today I will be sharing the slidedeck with some folks at BLC10.

These leaders will challenge your assumptions, answer your questions and make you think. If you are not sure where to look for the right people, or you just want to learn about some fresh voices.  These ed-tech leaders write blogs, maintain wikis, UStream their keynotes and publish their podcasts. You can find them all over the cloud. (This list will not include any of the presenters at BLC10 as attendees can meet them face-to-face.)

Running and Reading

I speak with educators frequently about not starting from a blank slate. As teachers and administrators, you are so busy that recreating the wheel is not a productive use of your time. You should consider checking out what resources are out there before you begin writing curriculum, preparing for a presentation, or designing a unit of instruction.

This is not an original concept. But so many of us worked in isolation, behind the closed doors of our classrooms for so many years, that it doesn’t come naturally to us to reach out to others for assistance. It has just been recently that so many of us have join in on Social Bookmarking, Nings and other methods of sharing resources with each other.

As I was watching this video, it linked the whole week together for me. It’s funny how as you drive in your car, or are out walking the dog, (you know, the times you actually can catch moments to think to yourself) how everything becomes somehow connected…

Will Smith says in this video “There’s no new problem you can have with your parents, with school, with a bully, with anything. There’s no problem you can have that someone hasn’t already solved and wrote about it in a book.”

On Tuesday, I was listening to a middle school math teacher introduce exponents to her class. She spoke with them about the Twilight book series and the upcoming movie release. The students used their calculators to figure out how many people would become affected should one person in the class be bit by a vampire. I was impressed at how engaged they were and the teacher really made a great decision as to her choice of pop-culture connection to meet her objective.

Tuesday evening when I was doing home work with my daughters, I looked through the papers that their teachers sent home and was happy to see this. I figured that “Why I Can’t Skip My 20 Minutes or Reading Tonight?”,  couldn’t be unique to this particular school, so I Googled it and found that it’s widespread. I saw some familiar websites in the search results including the one I’ve provided from 1st grade teacher Marcy McGowan of HW Mountz School in Spring Lake. Here I was again with the exponents. The idea of how far behind my daughters would be if they didn’t complete their reading assignment each night. (Thankfully they both have a love for reading and at this point in time, it’s a non-issue.)

Friday morning I taught a podcasting workshop and would you believe it, the theme of exponents came up again as the enthusiasm exploded for just how many students and families this type of technology would be able to help int he district.

Will said “the person that works the hardest wins”.

He also said that the two keys to life were running and reading. If you haven’t watched the video yet, please take ninety seconds to watch it and then go read these books.

The Tipping Point
http://books.google.com/books?id=MMlxzMNkE_0C&printsec=frontcover#v=onepage&q=&f=false

Disrupting Class
http://books.google.com/books?id=wiBcUl44FEcC&printsec=frontcover&lr=#v=onepage&q=&f=false

Everything Bad is Good for You
http://books.google.com/books?id=9_YZyOfgqbEC&printsec=frontcover&lr=#v=onepage&q=&f=false

Using the Power of Twitter: Building Online Learning

Map of lthumann's relationships
Map of lthumann's relationships

I realize there are many amazing posts on the merits of using Twitter to develop a PLN. I also realize that there already exists dozens of collections of tools for making the most of Twitter. Yet, as I prepare for my presentation at NJECC‘s annual conference tomorrow, I am compelled to write one of my own.

Tomorrow, sometime after the lunch hour, I am presenting “Using the Power of Twitter: Building Online Learning” at NJECC’s 23rd Annual Conference. Here’s the session description:

“How can educators around the world use technology to connect, collaborate, teach, support and inspire each other? Collaborative Internet applications allow educators to create online communities that support their professional learning and relieve their isolation. In this session we will focus on the ways two social networking tools, Twitter and Classroom 2.0, can be harnessed to build a rich and powerful learning community. We will discuss tips and tricks to leverage the potential of these networks. We will provide resources to help attendees set up their own networks during and after the session. Finally, we will capitalize on the face to face connections within the workshop to further enrich our online learning community.”

There’s so much about Twitter that I won’t be able to share because I will want attendees to take advantage of the face-to-face networking time before they go off to develop their online learning networks. I thought I would mention some of the tools and topics I would have liked to discuss tomorrow here, so that anyone attending still has access to the information – all in one place – and of course to share with my PLN what I feel are valuable resources.

Twitter Memes and Hashtags:

Follow Friday
Each Friday, Twitter users suggests other Tweeters to follow. They end or begin their Tweet with #FollowFriday (An example.)

Gr8t Tweets for the month of March
Re-Tweet (RT) one great Tweet a day and include the hashtag #gr8t at the end.  All Gr8Tweets show up on the Grt8Tweets Wiki home page. Here’s a list of who’s participating. (Though I’m sure there are many, many more.)

Using Twitter Hashtags – This is a great explanation of what a Hashtag is and how they are used.

Ways to Build your Network:

Twitter4Teachers – An extensive list of educators on Twitter  – categorized by subject area / grade level
Who Should I Follow? – Find new Twitter Friends
Mr.Tweet – Discover great people relevant to your current needs

Searching for Tweets and Twitterers:
Twitter Search – Search by keyword, Hashtag or even Twitter ID
TweetScan – Searches Twitter and allows you to get e-mail updates
Tweetdeck – Group people together and have separate columns for @Replies, DMs, Groups and the public timeline

Cool Twitter Tools:

Tweet Wheel– allows you to visually discover which of your followers know each other.
Top Twitter Friends –  Including a list of your top 20 BFFs and suggestions of Twitterers to follow.

For discovering many more Twitter tools:

Top Twitter Tools for 2009
Twitter Fan Wiki

I know there are so many more tools and resources out there. Many folks in my PLN have created screencasts and video tutorials on how to use these tools and on the merits of using Twitter. They are all in my Social Bookmarks at http://delicious.com/lthumann/twitter or http://www.diigo.com/user/lthumann/twitter. I also bookmark anything related to Twitter to the Diigo Twitter Freaks Group. Please join us!

Del.icio.us Gets a Facelift

The New and Improved Del.icio.us
The New and Improved Del.icio.us

Was I excited when I saw that Del.icio.us, one of my favorite social bookmarking tools, had undergone a major overhaul.  Besides the aesthetic changes, they also have added some new AMAZING features.

I’ve outlined some of my favorite new features for you below. If you are a current Del.icio.us user, you have to take a look for yourself to really appreciate the improvements. If you don’t currently use social bookmarking, please watch this video from the folks at CommonCraft to see how this Web 2.0 tool will be  beneficial for you.

The improvements that immediately caught my attention were:

You can now search a Bundle!! – I use Bundles in my professional development workshops, but I was frustrated that they were not searchable, so this is something that I was really hoping for.

They’ve changed the way the number of times something is tagged is noted. It’s now very obvious how many times something has been tagged. See the screen shot below.

Really know the people in your Network. See their Top 10 Tags in their sidebar and if you’re confused by their funky username – assign them a nickname.

Check out the video from the Delicious Blog Flickr Photo Stream and make sure to note that Delicious has officially changed it’s domain.

And to read about what’s new from Del.icio.us themselves, just visit their website resource at http://delicious.com/help/whatsnew.

What’s your favorite part of the new-and-improved Del.icio.us?

Friend vs. Network vs. Follow

I follow people on Twitter because I want to learn something from them and be a part of the conversation. They post links to resources that I’m interested in, they’re participating in conversations with other Twitterers that I Tweet with and it all makes sense to me. Some of the people I follow don’t follow me. I’m okay with that.

Many Twitterers have paired down their networks to make the conversations easier to follow and I can understand that. I pretty much follow the 1:1 strategy with Twitter, but there are many people that follow me that I do not follow as I am not sure why they follow me.

On Diigo, we send “Friend Requests”. Have you had any that have not yet been returned? How would you feel if they weren’t? What’s the protocol going to be with this new PLN? David Warlick Tweeted the other day that he wasn’t sure whether he needed to join another network, but I was glad to see that he joined Diigo as I requested his “friendship” so I could check out his links.

How do you all feel about this? Are all of “your networks” on Del.icio.us reciprocal? Do you follow everyone on Twitter that follows you? Will you accept all of your Diigo friend requests? How do you plan to manage all of this?

I’m looking to my PLN for suggestions.

Social Bookmarking Conundrum

A lack of resources has not been of concern in recent months. Between Twitter, Classroom 2.0, my personal learning network and the all the Edubloggers, there is a rich source of information on virtually any topic of interest to an educator looking for information on technology.

The proof was in the pudding this past week when many of us “ed techies” decided to give Diigo.com a try. Within a week’s time, here’s what has accumulated as resources (and I apologize if I left anything out):

Steve Harrigan from Classroom 2.0 hosted a live event using Eluminate. You can find the recording of the interview with Maggie Tsai from Diigo.com and the corresponding chat log at http://tinyurl.com/2rszg4

Diigo also posted a video on Youtube.

Kristin Hokanson posted her thoughts and ideas on her blog at http://khokanson.blogspot.com/2008/03/dig-ging-diigo.html.

Liz Davis did a Jing screencast which can be found at
http://www.screencast.com/users/lizbdavis/folders/Jing/media/4c29ca40-49a6-4016-b401-5d1c6f8ebc7a.

Ryan Bretag posted his ideas as well as some great visual aides at
http://www.bretagdesigns.com/technologist/?p=531.

So, if you still need some help defining the difference between Del.icio.us (which has been my preferred social bookmarking site and I will continue to use it) and Diigo (which claims to be more powerful than existing social bookmarking sites), I gently stear you towards the resources listed above.

You’ll find me on both networks. I set my Diigo preferences to bookmark on Del.icio.us as well.