Many of our teachers still use Safari as their browser of choice at our school. There's nothing wrong with this BUT, as a teacher who regularly uses Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, Keep & Forms as well as Gmail, there's a lot of advantages for switching to Chrome. Over the next week or so I am going to try to show a number of ways in which Google Chrome consistently proves to be a better choice - for me anyway! - in the classroom.
Extensions are little add-ons which make your browser experience better for you. I have several extensions in Google Chrome that I would not - and could not - live without.... For more great extension suggestions check out the awesome Kasey Bell's "Shake Up Learning" post here http://www.shakeuplearning.com/chrome-database/.
Tab Scissors and Tab Glue: two awesome extensions that allow you to split your browser so you have 2 windows side by side - a great way to compare sites, work in two windows at once, copy and paste information etc. And, when you're done, you 'glue' them back together with the click of a button.
Session Buddy: This awesome extension allows you to save and share a set of tabs very easily with the click of a button. Think about the times where you're doing research or conferencing with a student or opened up a plethora of flight comparison websites and you need to shut down your computer or go into another meeting. With Session Buddy it is very easy to save or share a 'session'.
Black Menu: For Google Apps users, this is a life-changer. From one button, you have instant access to all your Docs AND all your favourite Google Apps. Definitely worth a look!
Google Calendar: Easily view and add events to your Google Calendar
There are MANY more Extensions that are designed just to make your life easier - just go to the Chrome Web Store and try out a few - you won't regret it...! It is important to note that both Safari & Firefox also have extensions - I just like Chrome better :)
Doug Peterson from 'Off the Record' suggested that his readers share their PLN experiences and, as he plays a big part in my PLN, here I go!
Firstly, what is a Personal/Professional Learning Network to me? I see my PLN as my way to develop professionally; to find out - and share - new, cool, interesting resources and ideas; to find out how other educators deal with similar issues and challenges; to - especially as an international teacher - network and link up with like-minded educators from around the world.
As suggested, I'll use Sylvia Duckworth's amazing Sketchnote skills as a visual since my artistic skills are limited to say the least :)
The following sites are my go-to links to keep me up to date and on the pulse of education, technology updates and life in general... On top of my teaching colleagues, my family & friends - and sometimes my Facebook feed, these guys are my lifeline! I connect with these experts using my 'TOR' account and 'Twitter' through my 'feeddler' app and save and store any of my finds to my Diigo ready to share with my colleagues...
In no particular order...:
A Media Specialist's Guide to the Internet: http://mediaspecialistsguide.blogspot.com
Ask a Tech Teacher: http://askatechteacher.com
Free Technology for Teachers: http://www.freetech4teachers.com
Hack Education: http://hackeducation.com
ICT For Educators: http://ictforeducators.com
Kathy Schrock's Kaffeeklatsch: http://blog.kathyschrock.net
Langwitches Blog: http://langwitches.org/blog
Larry Ferlazzo's Websites of the Day...: http://larryferlazzo.edublogs.org
Ozge Karaoglu's Blog: http://ozgekaraoglu.edublogs.org
Tech Transformation: http://www.maggiehosmcgrane.com
The Electric Educator: http://electriceducator.blogspot.com
The Nerdy Teacher: http://www.thenerdyteacher.com
The Whiteboard Blog: http://www.whiteboardblog.co.uk
Google Gooru: https://www.thegooru.com
Educational Technology Guy: http://educationaltechnologyguy.blogspot.com
Mr. Bass Online: http://blog.mrbassonline.com
doug --- off the record: https://dougpete.wordpress.com
Blogging About The Web 2.0 Connected Classroom: http://blog.web20classroom.org
Around the Corner-MGuhlin.org: http://www.mguhlin.org
Lisa Nielsen: The Innovative Educator: http://theinnovativeeducator.blogspot.com
iPad Academy: http://ipadacademy.com
Global Digital Citizen Foundation: https://globaldigitalcitizen.org
The Digital Human Library: http://digitalhumanlibrary.com
More Than A Tech: http://morethanatech.com
The Ed Tech Roundup: http://www.edtechroundup.org
Cycles of Learning: http://www.cyclesoflearning.com/learning--instruction
Shake Up Learning: http://www.shakeuplearning.com
Managebac Blog: http://blog.managebac.com
Ditch That Textbook: http://ditchthattextbook.com
So this year I am doing TWO (one of them twice!) presentations... I have embedded them below - as well as links to some useful resources... Please let me know what you think - especially if you are there watching me/falling asleep/avoiding eye contact!
1. Resources for Creating a Purposeful Digital Footprint
And if the pretty visual of resources above doesn't work for you, here is a list of the links!
Reviews & Age Ratings - Best Movies, Books, Apps, Games for Kids: https://www.commonsensemedia.org/#
Center on Media and Child Health: http://cmch.tv/
ConnectSafely | Online Safety: http://www.connectsafely.org/
Family Online Safety Institute: https://www.fosi.org/
Digital Citizenship Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/Digital-Citizenship-166749830146929/?ref=bookmarks
Digital Citizenship @ GWA - Blog: http://gwadigitalcitizenship.weebly.com/
2. Designing Learning Presentation (lunchtime keynote)
And here are some great sites to continue the conversation...:
Rethinking the Classroom – Research – Herman Miller
Here are some tools, resources & inspirations to support your learning and teaching through Science...
In order to share, I am using a tool called lessonpaths.com - let me know what you think!
So when better to start - the early hours of New Years Day because the neighbours are keeping me awake (why can everyone else sleep through it!?)!
My plan is to post more regularly this year - I'm going to try using this rediscovered tool to visualise the resources... Let me know what you think - of the resources and the tool!
For the past year I have been wrestling with the current 1:1 iPad set up at my school and have devised the following 'appflow' infographic - this is Version 2 (see Version 1 here). I tried to take the apps that the students currently use (removing a LOAD of the content based ones) and create the workflow of 'absorption', preparation/creation and presentation along with a few 'must-have' tools. I have tried to organise the student workflow to help both students and teachers organisation and planning.
Part of my inspiration came from an EdTech Conference in Jo'burg where Sabba Quidwai showed us the awesome work that Steve Bambury has done with the Chemistry of Combos.
I have used Thinglink to link each app icon to information about how it can be used - click here to see this Appflow on Thinglink.
Please PLEASE give me feedback - let me know what you think!
Maintaining a positive Digital Footprint is an essential skill these days and although many of our students role models (celebrities, musicians & even politicians!) fail miserably, it is our duty as educators to support them and ensure that our students are able to make good choices...
This site, created in collaboration with Kimberley Leiske, a counselor from GWA Dubai, shares topical discussions, thought-provoking videos and useful links to other resources in order to support us all. Have a look!
The current (but flexible!) agenda:
4:00: Full Dome Interactive Demo in the Planetarium (always good to start with something fun – and a great way to ‘encourage’ you to get there on time )
4:20: Review of the year (here are some of the things you have already said) (Be ready to share the highlights!)
- Looking back: successes at your school (things you are proud of)
- Looking forward: aims for next year/things to improve at your school
4:40: As a network…? Please add your thoughts to this Padlet
5:00: Complete the ‘Evidence of Impact’ Survey. This is REALLY important - even if you can't make the meeting, please complete this survey!
5:15: Any Other Business?
We are surrounded by cellphones, TV's, laptops, tablets and gaming consoles. We are consuming that technology like never before - to stay connected, to keep in touch, to communicate and to socialise. We recognise that this is different from when we were young and therefore we are able to USUALLY (with exceptions - anyone played Candy Crush!?) separate ourselves and maintain some semblance of balance.
Our children are different. They know no different.
Their role models - including parents, peers and celebrities - are using using technology all the time and children see this as normal. Without boundaries and guidance these 'digital natives' will struggle to find a balance.
SO how do we - as good parents - manage this? Here are my suggestions - things that I strive (it's not easy!) to follow with my son & daughter:
1. SET EXPECTATIONS THAT APPLY TO THE WHOLE FAMILY
Different rules for different members of the family will not work. Any expectations have to be agreed upon by parents and siblings alike. They need to see you agreeing with the rules that you are setting them. Practice what you preach!
2. MAKE THE AGREEMENTS TOGETHER
If you involve your children in the discussion they are much more likely to agree to the consequences. They will have ownership on the decisions made especially if it was them that suggested it in the first place. It's a team effort!
3. SET LIMITS
Whether you limit the time or the frequency, boundaries need to be in place. No matter what, you are still the parents and consequently, still should be making the decisions that are best for your kids. This should be a given. No means no!
4. EXPLORE THE ALTERNATIVES
There are so many other exciting, fun, interesting things to do as a family that do not require technology. Trust me - there is - you just have to search it out. Whether it's a trip to the park or the zoo, or quality family time building, making or playing something, you'll soon realise that technology is not the only option...
5. THINK ABOUT THE 'WHERE'
Access to technology needs to be monitored. When it is accessed behind closed doors, you - the parent - are no longer in control. Cellphone, laptop and iPad use should be limited to public areas of your home where a quick glance is sufficient to ensure the appropriateness of the site or game that they are playing.
6. THINK ABOUT THE WHERE... AND THEN THINK AGAIN
I see kids on iPads in cars, restaurants, parks - all over the place. The iPad is seen as the new babysitter. And it's a damn good one too! However, we should still be in control - technology isn't the only answer; a novel, a toy, a game, a sketchbook are all great alternatives as is conversation. Real time, two way, verbal communication that doesn't involve thumbs, electronic devices or a wifi signal :)
Ultimately, we are teaching our children what is right and what is wrong. We are teaching them how to behave and how to make good choices and even better decisions. This is not about technology this is about basic parenting. Did YOUR parents tell you that you had enough TV, that you weren't allowed out to play until you had done your chores, that you had to put the comic down until after you had eaten? I bet they did - and I bet YOU did as you were told...!
What do YOU think? What have I missed? And what do you agree/disagree with...?
Here is the presentation (my first Haiku Deck - great stuff!) I made to introduce this to parents from our school:
Another excellent meeting - in fact, as Syed rightly said, it was more like a conference with so much sharing of excellent practice across the network - thank you to all that were present, apologies to those who attempted to join my failed Google Hangout and, above all, many thanks to the generous hosts at The Westminster School - Dubai...
Facebook: groups and security settings
Scroll down to see another post regarding this along with a comparison between the advantages of Facebook Groups, Pages or a regular Blog...
Please click here or scan the QR Code to the right to request to join our ICT Network Facebook Group
Sites created by us!
(a work in progress - send me the ones I missed!)
Other amazing sites and resources
(a work in progress - send me the ones I missed!)
This post has been a long time coming! Even though I feel that there is a lot of information out there to support teachers and students with this, many of us still get it wrong. We BELIEVE that we are secure and safe but, especially with regular Facebook changes & updates, we are not!
Checking - and rechecking - your Settings
As a general guideline, you should only have 'friends' be able to see your updates. A great way to check is to 'view as' so you can see what different people AND the general public can see when they view your timeline.
I was shocked to see some extremely inappropriate spam on my timeline when I 'viewed as public' and was able to rectify the situation immediately. I strongly recommend that you 'view as public' regularly just to be sure...
Another important note is that if you upload from another device, the settings may differ allowing everyone to see photos that you have uploaded - worth checking!
Should I use a FB Page, a FB Group OR a blog?
Information summarized from this source and from my own thoughts. Please contact me if you are unsure of what to choose!
For more information, click here
Another successful meeting kindly hosted by Mario and the rest of the team at Winchester School Dubai (Oud Metha) – thanks again for your hospitality! We had 13 attendees in total - an increase in the last meeting…!
Syed from The Westminster School, Dubai enthusiastically shared his iBooks Author created interactive 'textbook'. This prompted a lot of discussion about the use of iPads in the classroom especially in a BYOT environment AND the limitations of having device specific resources as opposed to cross-device options like Adobe DPS. Some interesting discussions... :)
Google Drive, once again, was a highlight of discussions - from the youngest to the oldest students! We discussed the sharing and collaboration features, auto-save, the ability to access - and edit - from any device and many other positives from our experiences. Tony shared a Process Journal from his school (created as a Google Presentation) where students could add images, videos as well as written work in a format created by the teacher. So basically an online workbook - amazing potential!
Any Other Business?
NEXT MEETING: Wednesday 29th January - anyone like to host? Let me know!
Maryam, a colleague from Winchester - Dubai, shared a thought-provoking video with me yesterday (see below) and it has inspired me to collate several of my favourite "educational technology" clips. I have brought them together here - and below.
What have I missed? What would you consider to be the some of the more inspiring or thought-provoking videos to do with education and technology? Please share as a comment to this post!
1. Introductions: great to see you all. I hope you found it to be a productive and useful first meeting of the year! We had representatives from Winchester-Dubai, Westminster, GWA-Dubai, New Millennium School, Winchester-Jebel Ali... An involved and enthusiastic mix of educators with lots to share! Please leave a comment to share more thoughts, ideas and resources that I may have missed... :)
2. Wishes for the year:
- what do YOU want to achieve?
- what would you like to get out of the ICT Network Meetings this year?
- how should we share our work with the wider community?
3. Sharing: Great job guys! Lots of sharing!
4. Next meeting (Tuesday 26th November) will be held at GEMS Winchester School, Dubai (Oud Metha)
AND... one last thing: the easy way to make the GLG work for you!
Thanks again for joining us! Please leave a comment to share more thoughts, ideas and resources that I may have missed from this session... :)
We have a 'Bring Your Own Educational Device' Program at our school and get a lot of questions from students and parents. One of the (many - see here for our FAQ's) most popular questions is 'What device will be best?' This changes every day, and depends on the student, the subject, the usage and MANY other factors. Basically WE tell them that it is really down to personal preference - what works best for them...
However, here is an article from TechRadar (thank you Dan Grabham!) which I believe could be VERY useful for those students/teachers/parents who are out looking for their next device.
Let me know if you find it useful - and which one you chose!
This is one of the biggest frustrations in our school - especially at this time of the school year. All the large files and photos have eaten a massive chunk of your inbox space and the dreaded 'INBOX FULL' message appears. The automatic response is to archive but I personally think there is a better way - that helps you manage and organise your emails better: use the 'large mail search' to delete the biggest emails... See below!
I get really frustrated when it presentations take longer to prepare for than they do to actually present. With the following tools, that no longer needs to be the case - these LITERALLY take MINUTES to create professional looking, high quality products... the only slow part is uploading the photos - but remember you can resize them first...!
With a Computer
Accessible from your browser, www.fotor.com is a 'no registration required' photo presenting tool. It is VERY easy to use and there are lots of features to keep you busy. Throwing together these photos took less than 60 seconds.
With an iPad
A colleague in school showed me this yesterday. Since then I have probably already made TEN collages and none of them took more than 60 seconds! Pic Collage (also available on Android) is the easiest - and most effective photo presenting app I have ever used.
I am presenting once again at the GWA PD Share Day. Last time I looked at some of my favourite Web2ools:
This time I want to look at a few other great Web2ools as well as revisit some old favourites... :)
Google Drive has SO many possibilities and many GWA teachers are starting to experiment with it's features.
Edmodo is a great venue for a 'chat room' with your students and/or parents. It is completely controllable and private to who YOU want to share it with
Padlet is such a simple concept and so easy to use and set up. It's basically an online 'corkboard' that students and teachers can share ideas and answers
I just found Fotor a few days ago thanks to Richard Byrne at FreeTech4Teachers (great site by the way!). Looks amazing for presenting photos simply and effectively...
And here are some more GREAT tools to experiment with:
Teach100 seems to do a great job to collate the very best of Education blogs. Selecting posts from some of this great blogs could be a great way for you to keep on top of current trends, resources and conversations in education... What do you think?
Being 'connected' has it's advantages - being able to 'follow' experts in your areas of interest from all around the world has MASSIVE potential - imagine the learning and sharing this could generate AND this is exactly what is happening on Twitter, Pinterest and Google+ - question is, why are you not involved?!
Truly GOOD Professional Development is hard to come by - it is very unusual that what you want/need is what you get when you go on a course but online you have the opportunity to personalise your learning.
These are the teaching professionals with a focus on technology around the world that I follow:
Who do you follow?
NEXT STEP: how to organise your PLN... :)
Hello, I am Tony Potts, Primary Assistant Principal at the American International School of Lusaka, Zambia. Please feel free to ask me ANY questions...
I was previously a tech integration specialist, ManageBac Coordinator, iPad Coach & ICT/MYP Design Teacher in the same school and before this I was the PK-12 Director of Digital Learning, ICT Coordinator, teacher and technology integration specialist at GEMS World Academy, Dubai.
Here are some of the sites that I have been involved in creating:
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