As a former technology teacher and now leading Instructional Technology, I have had a lot of experience with web 2.0 tools. In fact, I would consider myself an early adopter in education with many of the tools we used in this course. I started using twitter in early 2007 and after establishing the right twitter handle, have been using that name since 2008. My first handle was @NedsKeeper, after my blog's name. Unfortunately, the only way to change my name at the time was to create a second account. I have been using @LeaAnne ever since. Although I don't post often, I read Twitter almost daily. I made an extra effort this semester to post during any professional development session or any project I was working on. My big celebration is that I am almost to 2,000 educational tweets.
My youtube account had its first video published five years ago. Although I have been using the site for the 12 years it has been around, I didn't make my account until I was in a position to need to publish regularly. Before that, I always published on my own server and sent links through that. That is funny to think about now. I don't even have or need a server for myself anymore. I loved creating new playlists during this course. Although I had done it before, I had never really established a value in that tool. Now I can clearly see the value and have made even more playlists than I had to for this course. The newest playlist is one I am building with all the videos the Discovery Educator Network has created by its members over the past ten years. There are so many out there and I will be adding them over the next month to make a huge bank of videos for others to watch.
One thing I loved learning about was the concept of aggregating websites. I saw that word on the syllabus at the beginning of the course and had never heard that word before in regards to technology. I loved the process of rethinking how we organize information. I love to organize. I had so much fun creating the page in protopage and making it pretty to look at. I love the appeal of pictures and inviting pages.
My favorite project though was the last one. I had the opportunity to relearn iTunes U and iBooks Author. The first is really an online course creator and the second, an aggregator of sorts. What a fun build. It took a lot of time and creation and I did get a little burnt out at the end of building it, but I was able to create something that my school can use for years to come. The course was all about Plagiarism and Research and it certainly was a worthwhile effort. What I learned though, is that there are other tools out there that can provide the same opportunities and you don't have to have an apple device to create and/or view them. I loved doing this, but will search for other, more effective tools in the future to accomplish the same tasks.
In all, this course was fun for me. I love learning. I loved playing with tools with a different set of goals in mind. I enjoyed learning new ways to use the tools and new things I could do to reach my students more effectively. I look forward to developing these learned skills moving forward.
After weeks of blogging throughout my college course titled Web 2.0, I have seen a change in the leading link on a google search using my name. My blog has actually bumped up to the top link in the search. Apparently, all of the posts and visits has had a positive affect in changing the results people will get when looking for me.
Unlike most people though, I have a variety of ways to search for my name. I can look for Lea Anne Daughrity, which is what I did first, LeaAnne Daughrity, and Lea Daughrity. Upon each search, the page looks a little different, as seen below:
It appears that by doing these searches and seeing the effect I have had with just a few weeks of blogging, that I may want to make an effort to do more online with the Lea Daughrity version of my name. The third search result isn't even me. I have used twitter a lot more through this course as well and I can see that it has firmly made its presence on the front page of all three searches. So, if I continue to use that often, I will probably see that moving all the way up to the top on all searches. The one thing I found that I was proud of was that my youtube station has moved up in the ranks significantly. I have a lot of videos that I am proud of on that site and I love that it is having more of a presence now. I think the result of this class is a positive one. Although I have had a presence on the web, I can now see concretely what things I can do to change my presence to be more in line with how I want it to read.
Over the last six weeks, I have done a lot of reflection on my learning. This was due in part because of the current courses I am taking, as well as, because I want to ensure I am on the right track for future success and more importantly, enjoyment. I have always enjoyed sharing my passion of learning with others. It wasn't until this year that I began to question where I intended on going. Maybe it is the 40 year itch, or the dreaded midlife crisis. Regardless, reflection has been a big part of my daily routine. Because I am a teacher, I have mentally made KWL charts out of this information, beginning with what I know.
I know that some of the success of the learner I reach depends on my ability to continually focus on the learning while following new trends and growing my own knowledge base. I know the basis for the technology tools we use have built upon each other for as long as I have been alive, so when you know one, you have a starting point for the next. I know the reality of me mastering every tool and being able to share them all isn't a reality. I know tools are fleeting and that the best chance of success is providing understanding and encouraging the passion within. I know I never want to stop learning.
I want to know that I am always heading the right direction, or that I have a PLN that will redirect me when I am straying off course. I want to know how to keep growing my network and my craft as technology changes and people move on. I want to know that what I am doing is continuing to encourage others through my own trial and error. I want to know how to never be afraid to fail big, in the hopes that I can succeed even more as a result of it.
Because of these, I will learn my ever-changing strengths and share my knowledge through webinars, blog posts and in-person events. I will continue learning and growing my PLN, so that I can continue to find new opportunities to share my passion. This happens by simply being present online and participating in Facebook, Twitter, Glide, Snapchat, Pinterest, Instagram and the latest and greatest. I will learn where my expertise lies and continue to reflect on my craft by writing and taking courses in college or in the newest MOOC course, or the latest webinar series. I have actually started a webinar calendar for myself and my school to ensure everyone know where the latest learning is happening. If you are like me, we are busy. We have kids and a family and jobs and hobbies. We have obligations that force us to forego some of the things that we want to do. However, these things, I can do. I will do. It is my passion after all, and if you find me with my nose in the computer, it isn't likely to be netflix I am watching, but a TedX video or a webinar on the newest trend in learning.
OnThis week was the introduction of "Social Bookmarking" for use in the classroom or within your PLN. I have actually been using social bookmarking for almost 10 years. Many years ago, I really needed this tool to help me organize and sort through all of the different tools and activities I wanted to try. After several of the tools I had invested time and effort in, went away, I honestly just stopped using them. It's not that I didn't need them anymore, but maybe that I found other ways to organize. I love the idea of keeping information in this type of format, except that I rarely go back and dig through the sites I saved. So then I have to ask myself, why spend the time doing this if I don't utilize it to its fullest extent? I now wonder if anyone else has experienced this same phenomena. My favorite part of the tool is the ability to share and build a list of resources together as a group. I think this is probably the greatest feature. I also really like that when building a resource list, you can share it with others. I can see this being useful during class projects and collaborative group work. When a group of people work together to gather resources, the end results are much better than when one person tries to do it on their own. The key in that instance though would be organizational ground rules that everyone would have to follow in the build. Social bookmarking definitely has its benefits and its purpose.
One project I have been working on at my own school is the development of a webinar calendar. Our school has decided to give teachers PD hours for taking webinars online and learning new things. While I create online courses for the teachers, this extension of what I am doing should help to grow the teachers in a greater capacity. I am not an expert on every subject in every curriculum field. Allowing teachers the flexibility to take courses from content experts around the globe will hopefully prove to be beneficial in a number of ways. In doing that, I have created a shareable google calendar that people can join, but sometimes you miss a webinar and really want to go back and watch it. I have started building a Diigo bookmark collection of places teachers can go to see archived webinars through the tags PD, Archives and Webinars. The tags are a great way to sift through the endless amounts of resources one has saved. Using them effectively can be incredibly beneficial in the long run. I am hoping that through the help of my PLN and maybe my classmates as well, that this site will become rich with archived resources that teachers can quickly access and get into the learning.
If there is one thing I really like to do, it is organize. I have no idea why, I just do. I love things to be neat and tidy and I cannot stand a messy desk. If you have a messy desk, it doesn't bother me. But, if I have to sit at your messy desk, it will make me crazy. That is why I love all things digital. Less paper means less mess for everyone.
This week, I aggregated with a website I would deem an oldie but a goody! Protopage is an aggregator of all things on the internet. It doesn't have a lot of flexibility in certain areas, but it allows the page builder to add many different types of elements. For instance, I was able to add Youtube playlists in two different ways to accommodate two different looks. I made one a nice list of words and the other was an actual embedded video that, when clicked on, will lead you to the actual youtube playlist page.
I found it interesting that when I posted a twitter hashtag it showed up nicely. But when I used the @ symbol to do a search for things I've posted, it looks like a bunch of coding, instead of worthwhile posts. I don't really like that.
I really enjoyed spending time looking through the news feed options and the cartoons as well. Since I love Dilbert, I thought it would be fun to add him to the page in addition to everything else. I did have a bit of a struggle with the weather widget though. When I clicked on it, it said San Francisco, CA and it had the weather from there. So, I edited the widget to have my zip code and then changed the name, but the name reverted back to my zip code. I never could get it to change. I am guessing it is a glitch in the widget itself.
When I begin my final project evaluating, selecting and incorporating these types of tools into my instruction, I will use some other tools I would like to learn/relearn. I think I might try iTunesU to deliver full course and Discovery Education's Board Builder (similar to Glogster) to deliver course components or individual instructional activities. Using these two items will give me a chance to not only relearn an old tool, but to create examples for the teachers in my school to see when I present this in future PD.
Twitter is such an interesting mixed bag of tricks. What I love about it is the briefness. Sometimes the facebook rants seem to go on for hours, but it just isn't an issue in Twitter. Over the last few weeks, I have reminded myself why I have always loved twitter. I have friends that have made their careers from this social media outlet. There consistent posting and their focus as created for them a crowd of followers that now expect to learn from their expertise. This morning, I jumped on, fully expecting to see a bunch of random posts that would force me to move on. Today, I spent an hour just reading. My first big score was learning that google has now added a QR reader into their app. This made my day. We use these for all kinds of things at school and the only thing that would be better is for the iphone camera to start reading them. I found teachers posting their classroom activities and of course, political rants, but this morning, I learned a lot. Some days, it just isn't that way, but today was a good day. Another great find was tsom eof the upcoming sessions at TCEA next week. I had to post and ask who in my class was going to be there in hopes that we could meet up. I haven't heard back from anyone yet, but I can't wait to attend.
One last thing that I wanted to share this week is my love for Buffer. Buffer is a scheduling app for social media. It allows me to schedule the posts when I want them to go out and I can do it long in advance. So, if I am leading a twitter chat, I can pre-schedule the question release so that I can actually participate in the conversation. If I am posting the questions and trying to participate too, it can be overwhelming. Buffer changes that. I also love that it will post to multiple social media and I can post as much as I want. So, if I am posting a lot in short spurts, but would rather spread them out, I can do that with buffer by just hitting that schedule button as I go. The only down side I have found is that if I am using it to schedule email and I need to change something, I have inadvertently sent the email at the time I was fixing instead of putting it back into schedule mode. Regardless, I love the app and pay for it so that I can use it regularly. Being an instructional technology director, I schedule most of my emails so that I don't overwhelm my staff and so they can expect the emails at the same time every week.
This week, I had the opportunity to spend time on and learn through Youtube and twitter. I spent time playing on Youtube, watching videos and building playlists about topics suggested and some I was interested in. I also spent time on twitter, searching hashtags and participating in twitter chats. For several years, I have enjoyed Cybraryman's resources and I enjoyed visiting it again this week to see what he had added since the last time I was there. While the focus of our assignment was hashtags, I have always found his ever growing edchat schedule to be incredibly helpful. Some nights I want to learn and this list allows me the opportunity to find learning that's right for me.
While I have had youtube for quite some time, I have never spent a lot of time building playlists around specific topics. While several lists I created where things my professor asked me to search for, i also made several lists for myself. The following are the lists I made and the link to them:
1. Libraries and Makerspaces
2. Videos that speak to the use of web 2.0 tools for learning
3. Videos on using Wikispaces
4. Videos on using Twitter and Twitter tools
I also have a 5th playlist that I created a while back that I wanted to include, since I created all of videos I made. It is called
5. Macbook Lessons.
The Macbook playlist features videos that I created for a facebook page I once made. I had a district full of teachers with new macbooks and felt like facebook was the best avenue to reach the group I wanted to reach. However, I also created a wiki with many other macbook lessons and ideas that might be of interest, even though its fairly dated.
While none of these tools are particularly new to me, I did enjoy looking through them again and remembering some pretty cool features available. For instance, I can share a playlist. As a teacher, this feature may be particularly helpful when building resources for a class. Also, I forgot that I can collaborate on a playlist with others. So,if I am trying to find the best videos about a subject, I can invite a group to create the playlist and then we can pour ourselves into one list together and not duplicate our efforts with the final product. As a matter of fact, I just suggested to my group that we should build our current project playlist as a collaborative group in our class, so hopefully, I can share that playlist here at the end of the week.
A wife, mother, teacher, life-long learner and an avid runner.