8 Ways To Keep Current With Technology and Technology Integration In the Classroom
Create a Personal Learning Network (PLN) and use technology as a method of communicating, collaborating and sharing ideas. Your PLN may be local: educators in your school, nearby schools, or district wide. Alternatively, you may also decide to develop a virtual or global PLN using social networks such as Twitter , Educator’s PLN, Classroom 2.0, or for Canadian content CEET.
Use a social networking tool such as Twitter to communicate with other education professionals. Twitter is a micro-blogging web2.0 tool where education professionals share ideas, resources, ask for help, and provide opportunities to collaborate. Updates, or Tweets as they are known, are restricted to 140 characters. Therefore communication is to-the-point. To find education professionals already using Twitter follow the link: https://spreadsheets.google.com/ccc?key=0AmdX57Dqx0tEcE1fWkU1QlMwU2dxRGFibmhsOFoyYUE&hl=en_GB
Participated in Twitter chat such as #edchat – a weekly discussion about education issues at 4pm PST on Tuesday’s, or #teachertuesday
Use an RSS reader such as Google Reader. An RSS reader brings all your favourite blogs to you instead of having to go out to the Internet to view them. Once you’ve subscribed to some educational technology blogs, you can share your feeds with other educators. My Shared Google Reader Feeds
Take advantage of social bookmarking. Social bookmarking tools such as Diigo and Delicious allow users to store their bookmarks on the web, which makes them accessible from any computer with an Internet connection. Additionally, these tools allow users to share bookmarks with others. In other words, if you find a great resource site and you’d like to share with your PLN you can do so with one click of the mouse. A very powerful tool in the PLN arsenal.
Participate in Virtual Professional Development (VPD). Sometimes as educators we need to take control of our own learning because our Districts are unable to provide differentiated professional development for all teachers. With this in mind, I’ve found workshops, webinar’s, and webcast’s covering a wide range of technology related topics everyday of the week. Here is a link to view upcoming events.
Join and participate in technology Ning’s, Wiki’s, and blogs. These spaces are kept current by educators who believe technology integration should be the norm and not an add on. Here are links to my technology Ning’s, Wiki’s, and some excellent technology blogs.
Take some time to share your ideas with other teachers in your school. Soon you’ll be learning from them. Sharing and learning with and from others educators makes it easier to keep current with technology and technology integration in the classroom.
RSS stands for Really Simple syndication. An RSS reader is the inverse process of visiting your favourite bookmarked sites. Rather than spending time searching your favourite websites and blogs for new postings an RSS reader allows you to follow updates and track new posts from one single easily navigable page: You’re reader homepage.
I use Google Reader but there are several other equally powerful options such as Newzcrawler, FeedDemon, OmeaReader, and Bloglines. Most websites/blogs have an RSS button for you to click to follow, but if no RSS button is present Google reader still allows you to follow updates by clicking on the Add Subscription button and pasting the url into the box on the left hand side of the page.
Once subscribed to a website/blog you create an RSS feed. The name of feed will appear in the left hand plane, under the heading Subscriptions. A number will appear next to the subscriptions which indicates the number of unread items associated with that feed. Clicking on a feed will open a list of posts, in chronological order, in the main window. When a feed is selected for viewing it may view it in one of two ways. Expanded view allows for the reader to see the headline and the first few sentences of the post, whereas List view allows the reader to only view the headline. These options are located in the top right hand corner of the main window.
One of the most exciting options in Google Reader is the ability to share feeds with other people. This is especially useful when building Professional Learning Networks (PLN’s). To share an item, click the Share or Share with note button underneath an item. These items will appear in Your shared items. You can also click the Email button to send individual items directly to your friends. You have the option to automatically share your shared items with a list of friends or with your Gmail chat contacts. Click the Sharing settings link to customize who can see your shared items and whose shared items you’d like to see.
It’s also possible to follow someone else’s Google Reader feeds as along as they first share their feeds publically. If they’re choosing to share publicly, you can just search for their name using Reader’s People Search. To search for someone, click the Browse for stuff in your left hand sidebar. Next, click the Search tab. Finally, type in the name of the person you’re searching for under the heading Find people to follow. You can also search for a topic or interest. People Search is also available in your sharing settings.
Instead of wasting valuable time searching the Internet for resources, let Google Reader do the work for you. To sign up for Google Reader click the highlighted link. Happy RSSing!