There is no doubt that my PLN on Twitter has provided an abundance of quality information and resources in K12. I am connected to over a 1000 teachers, admins, edtechnologists, librarians, and “edu-minded” IT administrators. It has been a crucial part of my professional growth. As I continue to evaluate systems in education, from operational to instructional systems, I feel the need to look outside of my K12 PLN and expand my connections to other institutions, businesses, and organizations that can bring unique perspectives when applied to K12.
One area I am looking outside of K12 is data-analytic software. Data-informed instruction and operations will only help schools run more efficiently and effectively. Based on my previous post on The All-In-One K12 Software Solution, K12 products are just not ready for what I feel is needed for data-analytic software. This is where I feel the business world might have the products we are looking for if tweaked to K12 education. Companies like IBM’s SPSS, SAS and CRM solutions like Salesforce might provide some insight how we effectively use software to improve data-analytics.
Another area of the education model that has peaked my interest is e-learning. Often K12 institutions have looked to higher education for leading the way on e-learning products and virtual best-practices. While higher education provides great value, I have been actively researching how corporate training and professional development is being deployed across businesses. I went to DevLearn a couple years back in San Jose and found myself one of few K12 representatives attending. Despite being an outsider, I learned how many businesses were deploying virtual learning across their companies using game-based applications, virtual worlds, social networking, and mobile computing. The E-Learning Guild is an excellent resource for K12 folks to start researching because they have been tackling the digital learning industry intensively.
There are many other industries that will help expand my systems knowledge in how to effectively operate and educate students in K12. I want to expand my PLN to add folks in business, engineering, religious, non-profit, gaming, and fringe technologists who are bringing strategic change in their respective industry. In addition, I have found my PLN is US heavy, that needs to balance out to add PLN in other parts of the world. I am especially excited to start connecting with more PLN from Asia. Always appreciate connecting with PLN from #edbrunei.
When I first started Twitter back in August of 09, I had about 30 followers and was more interested in learning from others than actually engaging in conversation. It was primarily due to unfamiliarity with the tweeting culture more than anything. It wasn’t until I a few months later and the help of @simpleK12 that really launched my full use of Twitter. I had roughly about 70 followers when @simpleK12 recommended me to their followers and thus propelled me to engage with a bigger education community. Thank you @simpleK12!
Since then, I have engaged with many educators and technologists on various hashtags. It even inspired me to create a hashtag for K12 Technology Administrators called #EduIT. However, I noticed a change in my Twitter use since the early days of PLN engagement. I use to have daily conversations with folks and reciprocation was there. In the last few months however, I have felt like back in my early days when I had about 50 or so followers, less engaged and more reading and tweeting without engagement. For someone who has over 1000 followers, it has occurred to me that this is a sad state of my Tweeting. I normally interact with only a handful of my followers (maybe 20-30) and I find that to be a poor effort on my part. I have to remember the whole point of being on Twitter is to engage in dialogue to grow as a professional and share resources amongst each other. Because of my less than engaging effort, I found my learning has steadily decreased as well. I remember a paster saying “when in need, sow a seed.” I wrote this post as a reflection to change my engagement habits on Twitter. I hope to connect and learn more from my larger PLN.
I am launching Google Apps across seven schools this summer and asked my education PLN to help provide reasons why they use Google Apps? Thank you to all the valuable PLN members on Twitter for providing this amazing list! Keep the responses coming, I will continually update this list.
- @pmcash Students create a folder for a course/teacher. Store all work in the folder, teacher has access, no need to share each item.
- @kelalford I use Google Docs for myself to be able to collaborate with other teachers. Want to try to introduce third graders this year.
- @kelalford we use it to create grade level tests.
- @dmantz7 I like using Google Apps for Education because it can be integrated into Moodle. Also add Creately (mind mapping) to GAE domain.
- @jenroberts1 5 ways I use docs in an English class and 5 tips to make that easier: http://tinyurl.com/28wpje2
- @techmunoz #edtech I love google apps–forms, because it makes it so easy to create a quick assessment that you can embed or email 2 stdnts.
- @soltauheller we use googledocs to create surveys then to look at graphs that are produced – we can send the link to anyone we like
- @soltauheller have also used it to do collaborative unit planning with other teachers
- @bandlady All my students use google docs & presentations; so easy to share #edchat #edtech
- @coreygin Some reasons for Google apps: Simple, accessible, available anywhere anytime using any computer. And best of all: Free!
- @oh_the_places Used Gdoc for students to write collaborative letters – requesting info/decision from principal, parent letters, etc.
- @mtrump Too many ways to list in 140 characters
- @shfarnsworth #edtech #edchat – communal lesson plans that all teachers, study hall teachers, subs, at-risk teachers can access on google docs!
- @pughamy accessible, collaborative, community of resources #edchat #edtech #googleapps
- @pmcash Use anywhere, collaboration, FREE #edtech#edchat
- @jasonschimdt123 I want it for the communication and collaboration tools. I use GApps in my class, spoof it with a class email acct.
- @doremigirl Project assessment http://ht.ly/28KAi; teachers using GDoc to brainstorm curr ideas, sharing folders for diff classes GSites 4 Ss
- @wmchamberlain cloud based is nice, plenty of apps that allow them to be worked on locally too. Easy to share and collaborate with.
- @mtrump I share several G-calendars out of many with key people so they know if I’m in meetings or PD, etc. Integrates w/ Outlook Cal. if needed.
- @mtrump And collaborative editing on G-Docs = priceless! Teachers use for PLC planning….
- @mtrump Also use G-forms for instant surveys and assessment of classes/school/district. See the forms on http://bit.ly/dltTkg – they link to SSheet
- @thnorfar editing collaboratively-google apps
- @franze98 1 thing i liked over exchange (besides cost) was the more granular options for e-mail groups
- @marcellarepp I love igoogle-It is a great, quick way to organize all my websites I enjoy&areas that I want to keep connected with everyday.
- @carolgau Google docs – st collaborate and create rubrics, st make presentations for class
- @ariellehg multiple students take notes in a google doc using different colors focusing on different things ie: numbers, vocab, stories…
- @rosengo I have students use Google Pres for collaborative Socials presentations about Mesopotamia and Early Homonids. #edchat #edtech
- @MrA47 I use google docs with my students to go paperless. We are creating spreadsheets now and charting survey results
- @rkiker I use all the Google Tools b/c of simplicity, reliability, global access,and collaboration. Not sure why I wouldn’t use them.
Here are my reasons why I use Google Apps in K12 Education:
- Unified communication for all staff members using tools such as video chat, email, docs, wikis, and shared calendars.
- Growing list of available apps through Google Marketplace.
- Empowering users to contribute to the knowledge database using sites and docs.
- Access anywhere and anytime.
- Postini services provides strong mail filtering capabilities.
- Uses Google search engine for all our applications. Simpler to find information and hard to find emails.
- No servers to manage.
- Scalability of users is simple.
- Capability to combine multiple domains under one management interface. Schools can separate teacher and student domains.
- Google Docs editing on the go using mobile technologies is now available.
I am what I call a “Post-Listings” member on Twitter. Although I never experienced the traditional old school way of follow and unfollow on Twitter, I understand the dynamics of following people for various reasons. Reasons can differ from actually following someone for PLN purposes, to just following to get followed right back. However, when Twitter introduced lists, it added a third option to the mix. Now a person can just create a list for a certain group or PLN, and add them to a list rather than follow them directly. This new dynamic has some positive implications for future use of Twitter. I for one tend to follow PLN people who follow me back to create a PLN community that I can directly communicate with. I also seem to get the same response back. The addition of lists allows me to condense my following and followers to focus on my PLN of educational technology. For my other interests, such as entertainment and parenthood interests, I just simply create a list and add people who fill those needs without directly following them. I wonder if other people have migrated to this format. Using this dynamic allows me to curtail the madness of following a thousand people who are simultaneously tweeting. Now, I can see the important messages that pertain to my PLN. Once again, I am relatively new to Twitter, but this makes sense to me. Maybe there was a program that did that before (i.e. TweetDeck, HootSuite), but thank you Twitter for making lists.