Monday, 29 August 2016

Twitter: The Bread Breaker

In a post I wrote a few months back "INQUIRY: 120 CHARACTERS AT A TIME," I constructed a fantasy teacher team, consisting of educators I've long admired through blogs and Twitter. The reality is, Twitter allows you to have a limitless staffroom.
Once you get involved in Twitter as a way to grow professionally, the possibilities are almost limitless. -Howard Pitler, Ed.D. (full text here)
The applications of Twitter have allowed me to invite experts into the classroom (including some feedback from Margaret Atwood). Not only did Austin Kleon inspire me to trial blackout poetry with my class, but he helped praise my grade 9 poets via Twitter as well. I've followed conferences around the globe, and taken part in professional development chats through Twitter.  As of last year, I've been able to invite big thinkers to feature as guest authors for a monthly #teacherbookclub (more on that here). Some of the best questions I've cultivated as a learner have been the direct result of developing a professional learning network via Twitter. Time and time again, Twitter reminds me to break down my own echo chamber, to invite debate, and to listen to a variety of perspectives.  The Teacher Toolkit has a great list of profiles on Twitter to check out, he reminds us to connect with PSHE experts, with educational psychologists, authors, CEOs, and people who have alternative lenses when it comes to teaching and learning. One of my all-time favorite podcasts, Note To Self, reminds us that we need to be active in order to truly be open-minded:

If leadership sets the tone and enables teachers to be innovators, how can they best use Twitter as an agent of change?

Screen Shot 2016-08-28 at 2.11.51 PM

To start with, connected teachers need connected leaders.  

I'm always impressed by administrators who make time to 'walk the talk,' in order to openly promote authentic reflection, contemplation, and general public thought perspiration. A great example of that is Paula Baxter's  (Primary Head of ISPP, Cambodia) very first post available here.
I am a teacher first and a principal second. I come to school every day because I love kids and learning. That’s the story I wanted to share, and that I am still sharing today.
George Couros does a great job of introducing fellow leaders to Twitter in his post "Social Media for Administrators." For the rest of my post, I'll focus on ways I've been inspired by leaders using Twitter:

1. Leaders rethinking leadership:

'Reflection,' doesn't have to be clichè. The more stakeholders we see engaging in reflection, the more street credit it will have for students.

2. Creative curation

Every school year is unique.  Taking the time to use Twitter to preserve moments, to document, and to be in awe of what we do when we 'do learning,' is admirable.

3. Provocation

Some of the best learning experiences we can have are the byproduct of a good old fashioned argument.  If you can't feel comfortable hosting a debate with your colleagues, explore that further.

Sentiment is as important as situational awareness. Some arguments stir organizational emotions in ways others do not. Similarly, some disagreements energize the enterprise just as surely as others drain the life out of people. Having the same most important argument for years tends to be a very bad sign. (full text from HBR here)

4. Leveling up on gratitude

So very, very much happens behind the scenes to allow schools to do what they need to do.  The #SISrocks hashtag out of Shekou International School is a lovely example of a tag gone viral in the best possible way.

5. Learn in the great wide open

I love knowing what my leaders and colleagues are reading. I love talking to people about their favorite podcasts.  Our media diets matter.

One of my school's fabulous librarians, Ms. Day has 2,707 books on her Goodreads shelf. Yes, 2,707. Many members of staff have commented on her uncanny ability to know what to recommend to them at the drop of a hat.  One scan of her Goodreads/Twitter presence and you'll know why that's not so shocking. A librarian has the power to shape the way we approach inquiry, and the value we place on learning for the sake of learning.  One of my favorite quotes about libraries comes from comedian Paula Poundstone:

The truth is libraries are raucous clubhouses for free speech, controversy and community.

–Paula Poundstone
When I spend a few minutes in the library or scoping out our librarian's Twitter feed, I see someone championing that vision: building a space for a learning community in the best possible sense.  How lucky schools are everywhere, that leaders like this are leaving a trail of breadcrumbs for the rest of us.

If you are a school leader, how are you using Twitter to leverage your communities?

Kat Selvocki Follow Trail of (gluten-free) bread crumbs.
Kat Selvocki Follow
Trail of (gluten-free) bread crumbs. Via Flickr

Cross-posted from @FriedEnglish101

Digital Bytes 29th August 2016

Not All Screen Time is Equal: Some Considerations for Schools and Parents

Jose Picardo provides a balanced look at screen time in this article for schools and parents. He addresses issues such as the media’s propensity for click-bait headlines that don’t advance the conversation, but instead feed the flames.
Six Good Places to Find Free Music and Sound Effects

We all know the impact music can have on creating a “movie in your mind”, so finding great examples of free music is really important. Look no further than Richard Byrne’s post on Six Good Places to Find Free Music & Sound Effects to get you started.
Handwriting Doesn’t Matter

This New York Times article examines some recent studies about handwriting and looks at them with a critical eye. Author Anne Trubek suggests we shouldn’t do something just because we’ve always done it.

When students can learn to type without looking at the keys, they achieve “cognitive automaticity” and are able to “focus on higher order concerns”.

Monday, 22 August 2016

Using your iPad or iPhone as a Remote to Control Your Keynote

Keynote gives you the ability to control your presentation from an iPhone or an iPad. This allows you, as the presenter, the chance to move around and not have to stand beside your computer.

Your notes from your Keynote will be available to you on your iPad. You can tap the screen or swipe from the right to the left to advance your slide or you can swipe from the left to the right to go back to the previous slide.

To connect your iPad to your computer, they both need to have Keynote open and be connected to the same wifi network. The tutorial video below shows the screens side by side in real time and will help you connect Keynote on your iPad to Keynote on your computer.

Keynote remote setup from UWC South East Asia on Vimeo.

Another fantastic feature of controlling your Keynote from your iPad is the ability to draw on the slides.

Digital Bytes 22nd August 2016

10 Reasons Every Teacher Needs a PLN
Sylvia Duckworth’s illustrations are becoming legendary in the edtech world, and this one about PLNs is no exception! The staff at TeachThought have added some ways of getting started with each of the 10 Reasons Every Teacher Needs a PLN, so why not extend your PLN by trying some out?
Real World Math: Things that Don’t Look Like Math but Really Are

Rebecca McClure shows us that kids are actually engaged in more mathematical tasks than people realise.

This article would be a great one to share with parents at the start of the school year, particularly those who have students in the early years.

Quik is a fantastic free app that allows you to quickly make slideshows on your iPad or iPhone.

You can tap and add photos and/or videos and even choose from a wide variety of music.

Your slideshow is created in minutes and then can be shared in a variety of ways.