6 Tips for Teachers on Social Media in a Connected World

There’s no hiding from it anymore.  It’s either already sucked you in, or it’s coming for you. There’s even an entire huge initiative and month dedicated to using it to connect you with other educators around the world.

Social media may evolve and change over time, but it is here to stay.

social media (2)So, if you’ve resisted joining any social media sites (or using them professionally) until now, you can stop running from them… this isn’t the Walking Dead: social media apocalypse. All kidding aside, there are some things professionals should keep in mind when using social media, especially educators because we are always held to a higher standard in the public eye. I mainly use Twitter for my PLN, but these tips can apply to any social network.

  1. Don’t be afraid. Being cautious and smart is different than being afraid. If you’re afraid to even get started and sign up, or once you sign up you’re too afraid that something bad will happen to use the account at all, you will never fully understand or benefit from it. I’m not saying be willy nilly and don’t give anything a second thought before posting, following or ‘friending’. Just be open to it, give it a try, and don’t over think everything that you’re keeping yourself from ever posting or connecting with others.
  2. Only post things you wouldn’t mind showing up on the home page of your local newspaper… or the New York Times. It’s way too easy to fire off a tweet or Facebook post in a fit of anger when you’ve been wronged. It’s also very easy to post a status or picture that was funny in context with a small group, but wasn’t the best thing to post on the internet for all to see. Some things should still be kept private among a group of friends. You don’t want to be the next negative educator headline, so make sure you are using your absolute best judgement.  Actually, think of the most responsible person you know who always makes the right decisions.  Use their absolute best judgement. If the thought I wonder what Suzy Q will think of this or will anyone think this is inappropriate crosses your mind, then don’t post it. Remember, this includes things you “like,” favorite, retweet, share, are tagged in, etc.
  3. Think long and hard about setting up a separate professional account or not. My personal recommendation is to have a separate account. Remember, I mainly use Twitter, so that’s what I’m referring to most here. It is actually against the terms and services to have a separate Facebook user account, which is why I really don’t use it professionally. I understand the argument for being transparent and not separating accounts, but sometimes I just want to keep my personal life separate from work. My family and friends don’t care about the latest formative assessment web tools and my PLN does not care about who’s wedding I’m in or attending this weekend. If you decide to go with two separate accounts, the newspaper headline tip applies to both accounts equally. I’m not telling you which way to go here, just telling you my personal belief and suggestion.
  4. Post about your subject area, your school, your class, education and teaching in general, etc. Remember you’re trying to use social media as a professional tool and resource.  I’m not saying it’s never okay to share some personal stuff, but you’ll build your PLN much faster if you’re talking about stuff other like-minded educators care about on a regular basis. You also want to make sure you’re talking about these things in a positive way. Talking about a great program your school is putting on next week is an awesome way to use social media.  Talking about how poorly run the faculty meetings are at your school is a terrible idea.  That being said, the point of your PLN is to share ideas, resources and get some help on different issues when you need it. I would just be careful about the way you phrase those requests for help… remember the person who plans and/or runs those faculty meetings you’re displeased with may see your posts. You might ask your PLN during a twitter chat how they make the most effective use of their time together in faculty meetings or ask if anyone has had success flipping faculty meetings to take ideas back to your building.
  5. Boundaries still apply. Be careful not too blur the lines of educator and student/parent relationships if you use social media to communicate with students and parents (which is one of the great reasons to use social media, but not the only way you can use it professionally). This is one that you’ll have to use that responsible person’s judgement from tip #2 again to be your blurred lines guide.
  6. Make connections and grow your PLN. I go back to tip #1- don’t be afraid. Don’t be afraid to reach out to other educators on social media that you may have never met in person. Find other teachers who teach the same subject or grade level as you or other administrators in your position and add them to your PLN. Request to connect with them; accept when they ask to connect with you. Try participating in a Twitter chat (you can just lurk the first time to get comfortable)- this is where the power of using Twitter professionally comes from, in my opinion.  Try searching Twitter for a hashtag or chat that relates to your subject/grade to help you find some people to follow.  If someone is using an abbreviation or hashtag that you’re unfamiliar with, ask them what it means. Connect, ask, share, grow.

Aside from the tips above, I do recommend educating yourself about best digital citizenship practices beyond these six tips. If you’re looking for ideas on how to incorporate social media into your professional lives (especially school administrators), I recommend reading Eric Sheninger’s Digital Leadership and checking out my Twitter resources. And of course, don’t forget to connect with me!

What other tips do you have for educators on social media?

Tech To You Later!
-Katie

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Takeaways from #CE14

#CE14 logo from connectededucators.org.

#CE14 logo from connectededucators.org.

October marked Connected Educators Month, and there were online events going on at all hours of the day, every day throughout the month. I took part in a number of Twitter chats, free webinars, and even a free course form ASCD on blended learning!

Of course, the Twitter chats throughout the month were worth wile and had an abundance of ideas sharing going on. I was bummed that I couldn’t attend the chat with Secretary of Education Arne Duncan this year, but hopefully I’ll be available next year!

I was also very pleased with a number of the free webinars I watched.  It’s easy to start feeling like you hear the same thing over and over sometimes, but many of these webinars offered refreshing new insights and ideas (and weren’t just a sales pitch for a product)! The three I liked the most from the month were Quick Tech Ideas for Quick Writes by Joan Sedita and Alise Brann; the Disruptive Innovations in Education: Classrooms Without Walls radio show with Mike King and Tom Murray; and Flipping for Professional Learning: School Leader’s Guide to Improving Professional Development with Steven Anderson.  If you have a chance to catch any of these archives, they’re worth the time!

The ASCD course authored by Caitlin Tucker gave me some great new ideas to help teachers introduce a blended learning environment in their classrooms. I will admit I was a bit skeptical about how much content would really be provided in a free course, but I am happy to report that I was very pleasantly surprised!  It would have been a fabulous course for teachers and administrators who had little to no experience with blended learning environments. I would definitely recommend this course if it is offered again- and even if there is a fee associated (my certificate of completion says it’s worth 20 clock hours).

I was really pleased with the amount of sharing and free resources that were truly available to educators all over the world through the CEM initiative. If you missed it this year, mark your calendar for next year and start connecting now, so you’ll be ready for #CE15!

Did you participate in #CE14? What did you think?

Tech To You Later!
-Katie

District-Wide 30 Day Twitter Challenge

In honor of Connected Educator Month, I will share what I have been meaning to write about for a month now… getting teachers connected on Twitter!

Twitter ChallengeIn August, I led a couple of optional, face-to-face trainings on Twitter for teachers and principals in my district. Most of the resources I used for the trainings can be found on my site. (Hint: TodaysMeet worked out great to have people paste their twitter handles and follow each other during the training!) I know Twitter can be confusing to people at first, so I tried to think of a way that would encourage teachers to further learn about and actually use the powerful networking tool once we left as a group.

I thought a 30 day Twitter challenge would be the perfect way to encourage the use of Twitter and make sure teachers continued to network with teachers in other buildings in the district and with educators outside of our district. I assumed I would be pleased with the results because after all, once you can convince an educator to open their mind to Twitter they’re pretty excited about the sharing going on. I never expected to be as impressed with the connections being made as I was.

To prepare, I did a quick search of the hashtag we used to make sure no one else was using it and compiled a list of challenges for each day in a Google Spreadsheet. Challenges consisted of things like following other educators who teach the same subject, sharing a favorite resource for the classroom, and other quick, easy tasks. At the end of each of the trainings I told the teachers and principals about the challenge and that it would be starting the following week. Once it had begun, I tweeted the challenges each morning and afternoon.

Actually, I have a confession to make. I scheduled all of my challenge tweets ahead of time in Tweetdeck! This helped me make sure I didn’t forget to send it one morning. It was that easy to get started, and it took on a life of its own.  As the challenge progressed, I noticed participants tapering off, which was expected. But as they stopped completing my daily “challenges,” I noticed they kept tweeting on their own and began using Twitter with their students, staff and for their own PLNs… EXACTLY what I hoped would happen! Many teachers joined in on the challenge after it started or created their own Twitter accounts because someone in the challenge encouraged them to participate, and they heard that others were having fun with it. I made a Storify to summarize the challenge and share with others.

To implement your own challenge, here are my suggestions:

  • Lead a face-to-face training first. People feel more brave and willing to step out of their comfort zone when they have a buddy (you!) by their side. This will show them the ropes and get them comfortable following people and sending tweets.
  • Create a list of tasks that are very simple, and will only take seconds to minutes to do. Our to-do lists are already out of control, so no one wants to sign up to do something that’s going to take a long time, every day, for an extended period of time.
  • Tasks should encourage participants to learn a new aspect of Twitter, make new connections or share new resources.
  • Include a task that encourages participants to get their “classroom neighbor” to join, so others who did not attend your initial training can start Tweeting.
  • Include a task that encourages participants to check out a Twitter chat, so they can see the real power in Twitter.
  • Create a list of the tasks each day, so teachers can see what’s coming, complete their task early if needed or go back to catch up. I created my list in a Google Spreadsheet that I shared out by creating a shortened URL with bit.ly (see my challenges here: bit.ly/middie30).
  • Offer prizes for participants and the winners! I also created a certificate of participation for every teacher who participated (even one day).
  • If I do this again, I would probably only do 15 days. I think cutting it in half would seem like less of a commitment, and potentially encourage more people to participate.

Overall, the feedback from teachers was great, and the Superintendent was very happy to hear more of our teachers were joining Twitter! In a training I led yesterday, one of the participants shared a resource she found, “on Twitter” with the rest of the teachers in her department.  I was thrilled to hear that teachers are still actively using Twitter as a part of their own PLN and as a result of this challenge!

How have you encouraged educators to become active on Twitter?

Tech To You Later!
-Katie

5 Ways to Prepare for Connected Educators Month

In addition to Photographer Appreciation Month, National Roller Skating Month, National I Love Lucy Day and National Pumpkin Cheesecake Day (just to name a few), October also serves as Connected Educators Month!

connected educators month 2014According to the Connected Educators Month website, CEM is, “a celebration of community, with educators at all levels, from all disciplines, moving towards a fully connected and collaborative profession. Convened by the connected education community, with the full support of the U.S. Department of Education, building on the success of previous years with hundreds of new events and activities from dozens of organizations and communities. We’ll be working together, in October and beyond, with all stakeholders, leaving no device unturned, no country or learning environment unexplored.”

In short, it’s a great time to make connections with other educators around the world through formal and/or informal opportunities sponsored by CEM and the CEM partners. Last year, US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan even hosted a Twitter chat in honor of CEM!

So how can you get ready to join the conversations about education with people from all over the world, expand your PLN (personal learning network) and learn a thing or two in the process?

  1. Explore the Connected Educators Month website to become more familiar with the initiative.
  2. Look at the full calendar of events and add some of them to your own personal calendar. The CEM website even tells you how you can download your personal CEM calendar to your Google calendar or your iPhone/iPad (if you register for free).
  3. If you have a Twitter account, start searching and using the hashtag #CE14 to join the conversations on Twitter.  I would recommend using Tweetdeck or another similar service that will allow you to add a column to help you filter through all the Twitter chatter and keep the CEM conversations together. If you don’t have Twitter, check out my resources and create an account… yesterday!
  4. Sign up on edConnectr to get connected to other educators who share your interest.  You fill out a handful of questions when you sign up that ask you about your interests, your areas of expertise, areas you could use some help with, etc., and then the site suggests people to connect with who fall in those same categories as you.
  5. Bring up Connected Educators Month at lunch, in the faculty room, at your next meeting, to your teacher friend from another building.  Talk about it to anyone that will listen and anywhere that you can spread the word! After all, the power of CEM comes from millions of educators actually connecting with one another.

These are just a few of the ways to get ready to participate in Connected Educators Month.  How will you get ready to participate and connect?

Tech To You Later!
-Katie

A Parents’ Guide to Teens on Social Media by Liahona Academy

As I was browsing Twitter the other day, I came across this What Your Teen Is Doing On Social Media – The Parents Guide 2014 by the Liahona Academy.  I thought it was a very relevant and current guide for parents. For any teachers or schools working to build a partnership with parents to educate and raise good digital citizens, this is a great resource!

The picture below is a summary of the guide.

Created by: Liahona Academy

See the full version of the 2014 Social Media Guide

2014 Social Media Guide

 

 

How does your school help educate parents about social media and what students are doing on the web?

Tech To You Later!
-Katie

Personalized EdTech PD

You’ve seen it before.  In fact, we’re all guilty of it. Telling teachers to personalize/individualize/differentiate (insert your preferred buzzword here) learning for students. But then when PD time rolls around for teachers, we give them the all the same thing. How can we personalize PD for teachers when we only get such limited time for PD?

After participating in a Webinar with Tom Murray this past winter, I feel relieved.  He gives so many great suggestions and answers to this question.  You can watch the webinar recording here, and I highly suggest you do (and encourage your administration to watch it too)! Skip to slide 8 if you want to skip the introductions.

One of my favorite ideas from Tom, is to take full advantage of anytime/anywhere PD by allowing it to “count” for your teachers.  This would include Twitter chats.  If you’ve participated in one, you’re probably going-great idea!  You have witnessed first hand the idea and information sharing that takes places during educational Twitter chats.  If you haven’t, you need to.  Almost anything should count for PD credit as long as teachers can show evidence of what they learned or took away from that experience.  After all, the goal really is that people learn something they can apply to their teaching as opposed to sitting in a room for a designated number of hours, right?

Secondly, I love that Tom suggests allowing teachers to create their own edtech goals (with input from tech coaches and admin). Great idea again, Tom! With input from the administration and tech coaches, goals will be aligned with the school’s mission and each teacher will focus on something they’re interested in and directly relates to their classroom/teaching.  All teachers will be appropriately challenged and choose goals in their zone of proximal development- less tech savvy teachers can focus on smaller tasks and ways to integrate technology while advanced users can push themselves.

personal edtech goalsAfter this webinar, I created a personalized goal sheet for teachers.  My idea is to have teachers create 2-3 goals and write them on the goal sheet.  One goal would have to relate to PD-anyway they saw that being accomplished. The other goals would need to relate to their teaching and classroom environments.  Teachers would need to show evidence of all goals during end-of-year evaluations, whether that be through a blog (which could be a goal in and of itself), a portfolio, or example of students’ work.  Once all goals had been decided and submitted, I could assess the wants and needs for next school year and find commonalities to plan group PD sessions like Lunch & Learns. (unfortunately, do to forces beyond my control, I wasn’t able to implement this for next school year, but I’m definitely hanging onto it for the future.)

To download the goal sheet, click the image to the right.

What are some ways you personalize educational technology PD for your teachers? What do you think of the personalized goals or non-traditional forms of PD counting for PD credit?

Tech To You Later!
Katie

 

Twitter Chat Key

Every chance I get to tell someone about the benefits of Twitter for an educators’ PLN, I take it.  Twitter has truly become my go-to source of real time ideas, feedback, Q&A, etc., which allows me to connect with people from all over the country and the world.  This is mainly a result of Twitter chats. In my opinion, Twitter is honestly the world’s best faculty lounge!

The biggest difference between a Twitter chat and just using a #hashtag in a Tweet is the chat takes place (usually for one hour) at the same time and day of the week every week (or every other week/once per month).  During this hour, people are actively on their device, looking at the feed of tweets using the hashtag.  You can do this by clicking on the hashtag in Twitter, which will create a feed of all tweets using that hashtag. You can also set up a search column in TweetDeck for the hashtag, which is essentially the same thing but is much easier to manage, especially in a very active chat. In order to keep the conversations connected, every participant includes the hashtag somewhere in each tweet.  Anyone can use the chat hashtag throughout the week to connect with like-minded people, just know you’ll receive the most interaction during that designated chat day and time.

Last year, I led our faculty in professional development for Twitter.  Last night I was participating in #edtechchat, when I received a notification from one of my teachers. She was participating in a chat on her own- I was really proud of her (go, Katie!) and excited to see another teacher reaching out, trying new edtech things, and growing!

twitter chat keyShe sent me a message and asked what is all this Q1, Q3, A1, A4 stuff? I was immediately taken back to the days when I first started chiming in and participating in Twitter chats.  Catching on to all the character-saving lingo took some getting used to, and I still find myself Googling certain abbreviations every now and then to stay in the know. This inspired me to create the image in this post using Photoshop for a quick key/legend of some commonly used lingo.

If you’re interested in more resources for teachers to build their PLNs and classroom ideas using Twitter, check out my Twitter resources page. Cybraryman also (always) has some great resources you should check out, too.  And of course, for a comprehensive list of educational Twitter chats, check out this list.

So, what popular Twitter chat terms did I miss in my key? How have you found Twitter chats helpful?

Tech To You Later!
Katie

Facilitating PD in my PJs: Moderating my First Twitter Chat

Tonight I had the pleasure of moderating my first Twitter chat: #1to1techat (1:1 teacher chat).  This has been my favorite Twitter chat, professional development, and weekly motivation for a long time now.  I was flattered when Shaelynn Farnsworth asked me if I wanted to moderate this week.

You can check out the archive of #1to1techat on 2/19 by clicking here.

Before I answered her, I got very nervous. What if I didn’t have a good answer to someone’s question? It only took me a few minutes to calm down and realize, she wasn’t asking me to be an expert at anything.  The beauty of a Twitter chat is that it is a bunch of educators and practitioners coming together to exchange their expertise, brainstorm and bounce ideas off one another. I’m sure someone learned a thing or two from me, but I bet I learned the most from everyone else!

If you’ve participated in a Twitter chat before, you get the benefits.  If not, don’t worry-they happen every week day, so you have time to see it for yourself.

#1to1techatA Twitter chat is the easiest, most affordable (free!) and convenient way to connect with other educators across your state, the country, and even the world.  You use a program like TweetDeck, or even the Twitter search feature, and follow the chat by setting up a column (or searching) the designated hashtag (in this case, it was #1to1techat) at a specific time.  They usually last an hour.  A moderator poses questions to facilitate the conversation, and you- as a participant- include the designated hashtag in all tweets to keep it in the stream for others to see and respond to.  Twitter chats are like the best faculty room/hallway conversations and brain storm session you’ve ever had… on steroids!

“…until you look at Twitter, you won’t realize the sheer volume of conversations that are happening without you… It was kind of scary and awe-inspiring at the same time: the education world had been going on without us, and it was going really fast.”
Jody Passanisi and Shara Peters

Some Tips for Moderators and Things I Learned Along the Way:

  • I invited some individuals, (Twitter) lists of people, and  other common hashtags/chats to join us. The more people that are involved-the more fulfilling the conversations!
  • I had my questions pre-typed and double checked for the 140 character limit. This made it a lot easier to copy & paste the questions from a Google Doc (which I was also able to easily share with Shaelynn for feedback prior to the chat).
  • I used TweetDeck on my Mac to keep track of everything going on during this fast paced chat. I had multiple columns dedicated to the chat based on replays, RTs, favorites, etc.
  • I kept a notepad and pen near by to jot down any new tools, sites and go-to gurus that I want to investigate after the chat. HAH! I did not write one thing down because I didn’t have time. I’ll have to go back through and re-read the tweets and check out the archive.
  • Chats go fast and it’s easy to lose track of which question you’re on or what the question is.  After participating in #NTchat (new teacher chat-another inspiring chat) a couple of times, I borrowed Lisa Dabbs idea of pointing out the question as the moderator like so,
    —>Q1: question here. #hashtag.”
  • As hard as it will be, pay attention to time. I got caught up in conversations and didn’t leave as much time for some questions as I’d have liked.

Overall, I’d say it went pretty well. Well after the hour was up, people hung around to keep talking and sharing ideas (no thanks to me, but rather the people who participated and shared their experiences and ideas). When is the last time you were a part of “sit & get” PD where teachers weren’t looking at the clocks and ready to race out the second it was over? When was the last time people were actually bummed PD was over already?!  All of these people will continue to check out the ideas and tools shared on Twitter and implement them into their own classrooms to improve their instruction/facilitation.

This is the power of twitter chats, my friends!

Have you participated in a Twitter chat before? What did you think? What tips do you have for moderators?  What are some of your favorite Twitter chats?

Tech To You Later!
-Katie

Facing the Consequences: Poor Social Media Choices Lead to Lost Opportunities

As I was collecting resources for our school-wide digital citizenship day, I decided to make a Storify  of a number of news stories about people losing their scholarships and jobs over poor social media choices.  A couple of Google searches and about an hour later (with multiple interruptions within that hour), I had way too many links to include in the Storify.

Great for me to help make the point; bad for our society who clearly isn’t getting the message. social media digcit

I’ve added this Storify to my growing list of digital citizenship resources page on my website. In addition to students reviewing some of these examples during the Hiring Process & Ramifications of Poor Social Media Presence sessions on our DigCit Day, I’m also hoping to bring in some guest speakers.  I’d like business owners, HR employees, and anyone involved in the hiring/selection process to talk to our 9th-12th grade students about their personal experiences checking social media before/after interviews.

I’m getting excited about this Digital Citizenship Day as it is really starting to take shape and become much more than just a couple of ideas presented to teachers at a faculty meeting. I’ve had teachers coming to me with their own lesson ideas and Prezi’s ready to go for the day!

How you address online presence and social media with your students?

Tech To You Later!
-Katie

13 Best Multi-Platform EdTech Tools of 2013

13 best edtech tools of 2013It’s the time of year for ‘Best Of 2013’ lists, so I thought I’d create my own.  This list contains the 13 best multi-platform (web, iOS, Android, etc.) apps and sites for the classroom (in my opinion).  Whether you’re a BYOT, 1:1 iPad, 1:1 Chromebook,  1:1 something else, or still convincing the movers and shakers in your building to switch to a BYO or 1:1 program, you’ll be able to use all 13 of these sites with your students!

13: YouTube: With over 6 billion hours of video being watched from the site every month, there is no explanation needed for the video sharing giant.  However, it is worth putting on this list for many reasons.  You can enrich your classroom with TED talks, Kahn academy videos, and much, much more coming from YouTube. Your students can upload and share their own video creations to reach a much broader audience than the 20-30 kids in your class. It goes without saying that YouTube has become a very powerful tool in education.

12: Skype: Has your field trip funding been cut? Bringing in a guest speaker not feasible because of the cost and distance?  Then give Skype a try! Skype has literally removed the walls, roads, mountains and oceans from our classrooms. Your students can now connect, face to face with anyone in the world. Their website has a lot of lesson ideas, volunteer guest speakers, and more.  Check out PD I did with my teachers about Skype here.

11: Evernote: Evernote is like having every notebook you’ve ever created, every idea you’ve jotted down, and every resource you’ve collected with you at all times.  You can share notebooks you’ve created with other people to view or collaborate with you.  You can snip webpages, upload photos and so much more.  Their enterprise has expanded to additional apps to make Evernote even more powerful, and they’re even making hardware now.  Evernote kept me organized as a varsity cheerleading coach. You’ll never run out of uses for Evernote.

10: Linoit: Always coming up with new ideas on the go? Looking for a space where your students can collaborate and brainstorm? Then Linoit may be just what you need!  Linoit is an online bulletin board that you can keep private or share with others to collaborate with you.  You can post stickies, photos, videos, documents and even post to your boards via email. To create a board, you will need an account, but (depending on your settings) you can allow your students to post to the board without an account- one less password to remember! Check out PD I did with my teachers about Linoit here.

9: StudyBlue: These online flashcards will help your students study & produce less paper waste! Based on the flash cards you create, or use from the millions of other sets already uploaded, study blue will quiz you and give you progress reports and feedback.  It syncs with Evernote and you can collaborate and share your set of flash cards with others.

8: NearPod: With all this talk of flipping the classroom, making classrooms student centered as opposed to teacher centered, I think some teachers get the idea that people expect them to remove all lecture from their classrooms.  While I agree with making our teaching more student centered, I think there is still a need in each classroom for some good old lecture sometimes.  NearPod takes those traditional boring, dis-engaged PowerPoint lectures and turns them into a whole new experience for kids.  You control what slide your students see and there are many different activities you can embed in the presentation for formative assessment.

7: TodaysMeet: This backchannel is a great way to answer questions, or better yet, have students answer other students questions (or teachers answer other teachers questions during PD), without interrupting the entire room.  It allows you to continue flowing with your lesson without leaving others behind who may be confused about something.  It has also become a powerful tool used at conferences. There is no app for iOS and Android as of now, but the mobile web version still functions on those devices.

6: InfuseLearning: Talk about a formative assessment revolution! InfuseLearning is similar to Socrative; there are a number of different question types you can use with your students throughout a lesson.  Teachers need an account to create and save their questions ahead of time, but students do not need an account! They simply use an access code to get to your questions. The reason I like InfuseLearning more than Socrative is the draw feature (at least at the time this post was written, Socrative did not have this feature to my knowledge). Once you’re finished with the lesson, you can download students’ responses for immediate feedback on your lesson and their understanding.

5: WordPress: This is a powerful, free, blogging platform with many different privacy settings to keep your students’ thoughts as private or as public as you want them to be.  Blogging is an incredible way for students to practice their writing skills, collaborate with other students, connect to others outside of the building, and really begin to take their writing seriously.  One of the teachers at my school has really done some incredible things with WordPress and class blogs. Even if you’re not ready to take the step to get your students blogging (I promise it’s not as tough as it may seem.  Here are some resources to get you started!), I would highly recommend blogging yourself.  It’s a great way to reflect on what you’ve done, remember what worked & what you need to change this time next year, and share resources and ideas with other educators.  Don’t keep all those great things you’re doing in your class to yourself!

4. WeVideo: This video editor makes it easy for students to upload, edit and share impressive videos.

3: Google Drive: This list would be nothing if it didn’t contain Google Drive and Docs, Spreadsheets, Presentations and Forms. The Drive allows you to upload and share documents with anyone in the world.  Docs, Spreadsheets and  Presentations allow your students to create, share and collaborate with others on their work. Group activities, peer editing, and collaborative work takes on a whole new meaning with Google Drive apps.  Forms allow you to create surveys, quizzes, collect contact information and more very easily, and it automatically puts the responses in a Google Spreadsheet to easily analyze the information.  I couldn’t say enough positive things about these innovative tools.  Check out PD I did with my teachers about Google Drive and Apps here.

2. Twitter: Who would have ever thought 140 character thoughts would become such an important part of the education process? Whether you use it with your students or not, you’ve GOT to get on Twitter and start connecting with other educators for yourself! I’ve learned more and gotten more ideas from my PLN on Twitter than any single undergraduate and graduate course or school provided PD session. The real power of Twitter comes from weekly chats, where educators come together on the same day/time every week using a #hashtag. It’s now, it’s immediate, it’s relevant, it’s people who are experiencing the same things as you, it’s easy and it’s free. Read about the PD I put on for my teachers here. For a list of my Twitter resources, click here.

1. Schoology: I picked Schoology as the number one, multi-platform edtech tool because of it’s versatility.  In one place, you can organize your classroom with the easy to use LMS, have online discussions with your students, collect and grade work from students, create and grade with rubrics, give tests & quizzes and receive immediate data about students’ performance, reward students with badges, and SO much more!  I very much prefer Schoology to Edmodo for a number of reasons, click here to read why. Schoology brings a whole new element to your classroom!

So there you go- there’s my top 13 multi-platform edtech tools of 2013 list! What multi-platform tools would you add to the list?

Happy Holidays!

Tech To You Later!
Katie