Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The Social Learning Network

Hello to the attendees at the COTA Conference in Kelowna!

BIG IDEA for this session: learning is participatory

We are going to spend some time using and talking about how social networks, mostly twitter, can be professional networks.

Login and view your timeline

Twitter is like a newspaper in that every time you login there is a stream of text, links and thoughts to explore.  Scroll through your list of tweets from people you follow. 

Please start by posting a comment to this blog with a link to your twitter account so we can connect to each other.  My twitter address is:!/jmcconville1000, I look forward to following you back.

Write your Bio

Then upload a picture – most people won’t follow people without the basic information.

Following others

You’ll notice right away that people start following you.  Don’t be alarmed most people find you by the connections that twitter suggests.  When it comes to following people back here are some suggestions:

  • Follow people that have similar roles as yourself.  I always follow back educators that follow me.
  • Follow local people that you know!  Obvious but sometimes overlooked.
  • Politicians and special organizations are all tuned to twitter now.  Check for BC politicians or your BCTF executive.
  • News organizations that you visit will send out tweets of their headlines with a link to the full article if you are interested.
  • Look for people that don’t tweet too often.  If they are writing about what they had at the conference lunch then move along.

Make a list to categorize the people you follow such as people from your district to join the conversation.  Here are my lists.

Reply and Retweet

Now that you have a few people in your timeline it is time to send a thought, comment or response to someone.  Retweeting is a way to repeat what someone else said to your followers.

Sending a Tweet

Most people spend a while ‘lurking’ and reading other tweets before sending out their own post.  Looking for ideas?  Here is my guide to writing a good tweet.

Search Terms & Hashtags

They sound weird but are simply a way to find people having a conversation about a specific topic. Check out #Canucks (during a hockey game), #edchat (adhoc educational conversations), #bcedplan (BC’s education plan) or  ____

Advanced Skills – experts only

Use a tool like TweetDeck to personalize the experience. Twitter on your cell or other device.

Manage your followers – some tools to help you weed and prune.


Will this supplant twitter AND facebook in the future.  Google thinks so. View this video that explains how G+ works.  Unique features include circles, hangouts and more.

Looking for more?

If we have time here are some activities we can explore from my other session called ‘Digital Classrooms that Work’ at this conference.

Presentation by Brian Kuhn on Twitter and social networks.

Join the conversation by posting a comment below with a link to your twitter account!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Digital Classrooms that Work

Hello to the attendees at the COTA Conference in Kelowna!

BIG IDEA for this session: create to learn

Please contribute to each of the activities below so that we have content to demonstrate how they could work in a classroom environment.Ed_Tech_purpose_graphic.JPG

Survey with Google Docs

Surveys can be quickly created to gather feedback from students.  They can also be created by students for math lessons.  Google docs make them easy to share and have a very graphical view of results.

  1. complete this survey
  2. view results – click on ‘Form’ show summary of responses to see the graphical results.
  3. Notes and explanation of how it was created.  Google docs can be collaborative even if students don’t have a google (gmail) account.

Blogging as a Class with Posterous

Posterous is a blogging site that allows you to simply post by sending an email.  The email can include picture attachments, office documents, sound clips or links to YouTube videos.  All file types will be converted to a format suitable for viewing on the internet.

  1. Be a guest blogger on my site by sending an email to  Test the site by including a photo, image, a link to a youtube video or a document.  Once the posts are approved by the teacher they will appear on the website.
  2. View the results at

Draw & Poster


Quizlet lets you make matching games.  Try this Internet Safety Quiz.

Engrade is an online gradebook that has built in portal technologies for students and parents to check in at home.  See more about Engrade.

Wiki document sharing

While google docs aren’t classified as a wiki they do have the amazing ability to allow live synchronous writing.  Try this online debate.

Voice discussion about pictures with VoiceThread

Voice comment on the following pictures or respond to what others have shared.  You’ll need to register for a voicethread account.  The VoiceThread is embedded below or you can view on the VoiceThread site.


Thanks for reading, participating and exploring the links.  Leave a comment below.  Share a link to your twitter account or post about which digital learning tools will you try with your students?