Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The Super Book of Web Tools for Educators

Wow! Recently, I decided that I wanted to develop a Personal Learning Network (PLN). I knew there were many educators out there worth following on twitter, but am continuing to be amazed at the contributions these folks make to the learning / sharing community.

I only wish I had more time to visit all of the great resources that are being shared. I guess that's what the rest of my life is for... I'm trying to add some of the resources to my Web 2.0 Best Practices diigo group. Feel free to request membership and contribute to the group.

One resource that I feel compelled to share is The Super Book of Web Tools for Educators. The free e-book can be found on the Award Winning Free Technology for Teachers blog. The site is maintained by @rmbyrne, who I have been following on twitter. He spearheaded the free e-book project with the help of many other fine educators.

I hope you enjoy exploring the many tools in the book . You can view it online with the embedded e-book reader or download the entire book to your computer. It's a keeper for sure!


Wednesday, December 8, 2010

STEM video game challenge Q&A today!

Are you interested in the STEM video game challenge for middle school students? My game design and development students are participating. If you are looking for more information, they are hosting a live call this afternoon to address any questions.

The STEM video game challenge encourages students to use their choice of video game creation tools including Gamestar Mechanic, Game Maker, Game Salad, Scratch, Kodu Game Lab, or other tools to create original video games.

LIVE Q & A Call
Questions about the Challenge? Join us for a live Q & A call, open to parents, teachers and students.

Date: Wednesday, December 8th, 2010

Time: 4:30PM-5:30 Eastern Standard Time

How: Call Toll Free 1-866-213-1863 code: 4029345

Monday, December 6, 2010

on developing my PLN

Image from: http://www.onlinedegrees.org/building-your-personal-learning-network/

When I attended Graduate School online (to receive my degree in Online Teaching and Learning), I became very interested in the idea of creating sustainable online learning communities. The idea of such communities to keep people together to continue to collaborate and learn together beyond the timeframe of a class, professional development opportunity, etc. has stayed with me. In fact, I keep thinking that if I go back to school for my doctorate, my thesis would be based on this topic.

The interest came from the idea that we often get excited about a topic, but without fail, the collaboration tends to fizzle if not nurtured appropriately. My goal was to find a way to nurture this sense of community. But, how?

Perhaps my research has already been done and I can let it rest as people are developing and maintaining Personal Learning Networks. The technology may already be in place. I still think there is merit in further research and development, but for now, I believe I will embrace the work that others have done to encourage Learning Communities.

One of the challenges, as I see it, is to effectively link the various PLN puzzle pieces. Just today, I found 'The Educator's PLN' ning. I applied to the ning and look forward to exploring what it has to offer. I like the fact that part of the application asked for links to a number of my PLN sites.

To date, I am using a number of tools as part of my PLN. I will share them briefly here and in some of my upcoming blog posts. Feel free to comment on ideas you are using to create or develop your PLN.

Twitter - Twitter may be the easiest way to follow people as part of your PLN. I especially love that I receive tweets right to my phone. This makes it very easy to browse the tweets from people I am following as well as post something myself. It has taken me a while to warm up to twitter for some reason. Originally, I didn't see the point when I was using facebook, which seemed to satisfy all of my social networking needs. I now vouch for the fact that they serve very different purposes.

Blogger - I created a blog a couple of years ago. My initial goal of the blog was to provide support to the teachers in my school district. I posted responses to common tech questions and shared worthwhile tools (generally with a tutorial on how to use them). Since I began, I have been teaching a number of online Web 2.0 courses, so my blog has evolved to share Web 2.0 tools as well.

As I was searching for an image to include in the post, I found a great resource (http://www.onlinedegrees.org/building-your-personal-learning-network/)describing otner PLN tools. Enjoy :)