Crowdsourced Twitter Video Guides
Mar06

Crowdsourced Twitter Video Guides

One of my Twitter PLN, Australian languages teacher Jess McCulloch has crowd-sourced an excellent guide to using Twitter. Jess drew on her own Twitter PLN and asked them to record short videos to explain different aspects of Twitter to a new user. You can view the videos here: http://stepintoasia.wikispaces.com/Twitter My own guide was on choosing a suitable Twitter username: It was put together for a course Jess was running, but I hope she doesn’t mind me sharing it here for you all to take a look at! It’s a great idea – and is yet another demonstration of why Twitter can be such a powerful tool for educators – it can put you in contact with hundreds of other teachers around the world who are more than happy to share ideas and resources with each other. Thanks again Jess for asking me to be involved, and for having the idea in the first place. Again, take a look at http://stepintoasia.wikispaces.com/Twitter and let me know what you think in the comments below!  ...

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Hosting #ASECHAT on 5th December
Dec01

Hosting #ASECHAT on 5th December

#asechat is a weekly online science education discussion group on Twitter which takes place on Monday evenings from 8.00-9.00pm (UK time). Everyone is welcome. The target audience includes science teachers from primary and secondary schools and further education, laboratory technicians, trainee teachers, teacher educators and anyone else with an interest in science education. Science educators from outside the UK are very welcome too. The topic for discussion for the next chat on Monday 5th December will be “Using Interactive ICT resources in science teaching” and I’ll be hosting the chat on that evening. I’ll be hoping to share some of my favourite science resources, as well as discuss how you might use them in the classroom. Other teachers taking part will also hopefully be sharing their ideas too. If you’ve never taken part in a Twitter chat before then #asechat would be a good place to start. If you can’t access the chat live, you can always access an archive on the ASE website, usually from the Tuesday onwards. You can find out more about #ASEchat here : http://www.ase.org.uk/news/ase-chat/ http://www.omg-science.org.uk/2011/11/23/ase-chats/ Hope to see some of you in the chat on Monday!    ...

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Things I’ve Been Reading Recently (Aug 2011)
Aug31

Things I’ve Been Reading Recently (Aug 2011)

A short post to collect a few things I’ve read recently and linked via Twitter, but worth reposting to the blog too. Go check them out Thoughts on writing a social media policy in schools by @simfin The Myth of the Digital Native by @merlinjohn Blooms Taxonomy for iPad Apps by @Langwitches All I need to know about Twitter I learned at kindergarten by @timbuckteeth A complete guide to web, Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus privacy and security! by @suewaters CLIS: Progression in Understanding of Science Concepts from Ages 5 to 16 Hurricane Irene photos by The Big Picture.  ...

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TwHistory – historical tweeting
Aug10

TwHistory – historical tweeting

There have been several great time shifted (in real time) twitter feeds like British War Cabinet or the Apollo Moon Landings (from a few years ago). Or even Such Tweet Sorrow which recreated Romeo and Juliet in tweets. Also not forgetting Gunpowder Tweeting and Plot. TwHistory provides another platform to do this. Students or volunteers pick a well-documented historical event. They pick real historical figures who were at that event, and create tweets based on those events. These tweets are then scheduled to be broadcast in real time. The end result is a virtual reenactment of a historical event, broadcast in real time. For example the Battle of Waterloo: Past broadcasts can be downloaded as a CSV file, so they can be accessed again in the future. It’s an interesting idea, that would make for an interesting class project. Go take a look at : http://beta.twhistory.org/ Thanks to Keri-Lee Beasley for the link.  ...

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10 things that caught my eye last month
Jul01

10 things that caught my eye last month

Here are a few things that caught my eye on Twitter and the various blogs I’ve been following, that I haven’t had time to write about separately. Digital learning tools from Eduweb (via @ourClassroomCDN) Cool Graphing Calculator (via @TechRav) You Want iPads For Your School … But Is That Enough? – iPads in Education (Via @Langwitches) A quick guide to using Twitter for Educators (via @creativeedu) Technology Usage Parent Letter and Consent Form Dear Photograph :  layer old photos ontop of new while taking a new photograph (via @2SimpleAnt) Miss USA : should Maths be taught in schools a riff on the scary Evolution video of a few weeks ago (via @jessmcculloch) iPad Apps in Education (via @mylesp) The Obsolete Technology Website : good for looking at the history of tech A guide to different blogging platforms (via @chrisrat) I do tend to tweet things like this on Twitter so be sure to follow me at @dannynic...

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Ten Twitter Tips for Teachers
May22

Ten Twitter Tips for Teachers

I’m a massive fan of Twitter. I have personally found it to be the best source of new ideas and tips out there, and it’s free! It can take time to build up a decent sized network, but once you follow enough people then you begin to see the benefits. I’ve written a short guide to Twitter for Teachers before, but I’ve updated some of the ideas and added a few more things that you can do to make your Twitter experience much more useful. 1. Follow Follow Follow Twitter is all about following people. The more people you follow, the more tweets will appear in your timeline. There is a critical mass to Twitter. Early users often give up as the few users they follow may not yield many interesting or useful tweets. You need to start following lots of people (50+) to start getting useful communication. Once you follow a few people – look at their twitter pages and see who they talk to, or who they follow. If they sound interesting, follow them too. Gradually build up a network of Twitter users who interest you. Also – take a look at the “Who to Follow” page which will suggest other followers based on who you follow.  Very handy. Hopefully, those people you follow will also follow you back. Which brings me to: 2. Add a Bio to your profile Whenever I get a new follower I check on their Twitter account to see if they are worth following back, or whether they are an automated spam bot. The first thing I check is their bio – the short piece of information that you add to your profile. If they say they are a teacher, or a teaching student, then I will pretty much always follow them back. If there is no information here, then I am more wary of them, and most likely will not follow unless their tweets look interesting. It’s important to put something here – even if it’s just that you’re a teacher interested in Twitter. 3. Keep an eye on Hashtags Hashtags are short codes used to help keep information on similar topics organised on Twitter. You can add a hashtag to any tweet just by using the # symbol followed by a word or acronym. Hashtags are often used during Teachmeets or other conferences to allow everyone attending that event to discuss it, even if they are not following many of the people at that event. Here are some good hashtags for teachers to follow : #ukedchat #edchat #mathchat #pgce #nqt #scichat #edtech #teachmeet If you want to take part in...

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Create fake Twitter updates with Twister
Mar27

Create fake Twitter updates with Twister

Russel Tarr‘s Classtools.Net website is already a firm favourite on my training courses because of the great Countdown timer and random name picker tools. And if you haven’t already seen them, where have you been? He’s now created a fake tweet generator called Twister which lets you create fictional “status updates” that can then be screen captured or printed for display work. It has similar uses in the classroom to the Fake Facebook ideas I wrote about last month. Some examples have already been provided such as Alexander Fleming and John Lennon. Take a look for yourself : http://classtools.net/twister/  ...

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Fake Facebook Pages
Feb11

Fake Facebook Pages

Here’s an idea from Glenn over at History Tech Blog for creating fake Facebook walls or Twitter conversations. For the fake Facebook you could use a website called My Fake Wall which is quite fun, but has a lot of adverts all over it. Click on the different areas and add the information required. It’s pretty straightforward. As an alternative Glenn recommends this Fake Facebook powerpoint template and also this rubric to give to students to guide them through the task. It would be a great way of creating pages on characters in plays or books the class is studying. Also do the same thing for historical figures. Ideas for Science could include creating discussions between famous scientists, create facebook pages for elements etc. And many more. For example here’s something I knocked up very quickly for Sodium: I used the Windows snipping tool to make a screengrab without the adverts. As a way of creating fake twitter conversations Glenn recommends : http://faketweetbuilder.com/ You could use this to recreate sections of dialogue from plays in Twitter or create your own story in a new way through tweets instead of regular chat. Thanks for the tip Glenn! Update – Also check out this template for a Facebook page in Smart Notebook produced by Amber Coggin...

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Gunpowder, Tweeting and Plot
Nov01

Gunpowder, Tweeting and Plot

A quick mention for a great Twitter project being led by Chris Leach, a primary school teacher in Northants. His class, along with other local schools, will be tweeting as the main characters in the Gunpowder Plot – leading up to the attempt to blow up Parliament on 5th November 1605. Characters include: Robert Catesby, Thomas Percy, Thomas Wintour, John Wright, Christopher Wright and Ambrose Rookwood, as well as the Earl of Salisbury and even King James I himself. The project can be followed on Twitter by going here : http://twitter.com/chrisleach78/gunpowdertweetingplot You can also keep an eye on #gtp2010 hashtag It’s a great idea – and one that demonstrates a novel way of using Twitter with a primary school class. I’d be interested to hear from other teachers that are trying similar projects to help their students really understand the characters involved in historical or literary events....

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Online Spaces and Codes of Conduct
May26

Online Spaces and Codes of Conduct

Following on from my blog post about the teacher who got in trouble for twittering, I’ve had a little bit of time to think about some of the implications of this. I was also given this link to the same story as reported in the Daily Telegraph which makes things sound a little worse. My first response is that this story would never have hit the media were it not for the mention of Twitter, which seems to be the tech buzzword of the moment. And I do think that there is more than just a hint of overreaction from the local authority. But the situation is worrying – I’m trying to promote the use of Twitter as a way for teachers to build up a network of experts that they can draw upon when needed, and stories like this are going to discourage teachers from taking it up. Taking some of the quotes from a “parent” and a  “local councillor” “She is paid a lot of money to do her job and it is unbelievable that she sitting talking about them on a computer rather than teaching.” “I do not pay my council tax so that staff can waste time on these sites.” “People should be spending time with real people rather than with cyber friends.” “It is a drain on public resources. It’s shocking.” All of which show a basic lack of understanding about what Twitter is and how it is being used. The one about “cyber friends” is an interesting one. Personally, if I have any question about teaching, I can ask my network on Twitter and get an answer within minutes is an amazing thing, and is one of the reasons why I recommend Twitter to teachers. The General Teaching Council for England has a code of conduct for teachers. You can read it here. (There is a similar one for Scotland here). There is new guidance in draft form at present, but for now this is the one that will be applied to us. The code of conduct states that: Registered teachers may be found to be guilty of unacceptable professional conduct Where they: 1. Seriously demean or undermine pupils, their parents, carers or colleagues, or act towards them in a manner which is discriminatory in relation to gender, marital status, religion, belief, colour, race, ethnicity, class, sexual orientation,disability or age and also Where they: 8. Otherwise bring the reputation and standing of the profession into serious disrepute. Which is a bit of a “cover-all” statement that seems to cover any manner of behaviours. So if a teacher is using social networking sites such...

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Twittering Teacher in Trouble
May23

Twittering Teacher in Trouble

I was half way through delivering a course on how to use Web 2.0 in the classroom when I saw a headline on the BBC news website that stopped me in my tracks for a second: Probe into Teacher Twitter Posts. I was gobsmacked when I read it. Now I will agree that a teacher does need to realise that their twitter feed can be read by more than just their close group of friends (unless you protect your updates I guess) and so as such it’s not really professional to complain about students in a way that they could be identified. I am being followed by a few of my PGCE students. I may have tweeted in the past that I am trying to muster the energy to mark their stack of assignments, but I wouldn’t be tweeting about how many failed etc (if any) since that’s unfair on the students to hear it that way. I wouldn’t complain about any of the students on Twitter (although, since they’re actually a lovely bunch this year I don’t need to any way!) Now the article does say “The teacher in question is not facing disciplinary action, although the council is looking into the matter.” Which makes you wonder what the story really is here. And how it ended up on the BBC site? And I’m concerned that the BBC can see fit to just take a teachers tweets and use them out of context It does seem to me that there’s a bit of a knee-jerk reaction to Twitter recently. A few months back there was a story about a magistrate who resigned after complaints that he was twittering about cases. Again the real story was that the council completely misunderstood how Twitter was being used. In fact it was being used to make the workings of the court more transparent, and no private info was being revealed. So what do you think about this? If a teacher is twittering during a class then maybe there is an argument that they are not fully focussed on their teaching. How would the teacher react if students were twittering during the lesson? But to blast a teacher for using Twitter at all? One sentence from the BBC article that amazed me was this one: Argyll and Bute Council policy states that teachers may access professional blogs which have educational value but are not allowed to have their own blog. Really?? They are not allowed to have a blog? As one of my Twitter followers Kate pointed out – “who is writing these professional blogs that Bute teachers are allowed to read?...

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Hubble and Shuttle Images
May20

Hubble and Shuttle Images

Here’s a couple of quick links to put a little awe and wonder onto your Interactive Whiteboard (or just your computer screen in general) As a space geek I am always a sucker for the images that the Hubble Space Telescope takes of deep space. They are absolutely awesome. And with the current Space Shuttle mission to upgrade Hubble taking place, this is a great time to bring a little newsworth science into the classroom. One of my favourite image sites, The Big Picture has a collection of amazing images of the Space Shuttle launch and astronauts working on the Hubble telescope. These would be great as part of a lesson introduction to have on the IWB. Would make good discussion starters – why are the astronauts floating like that? What materials do you think their space suits are made of and why? What do you think it would be like to look down on the Earth like that? What energy changes take place when the shuttle launches etc. The image gallery is here. And look around the site for some more excellent images on a wide range of subjects. All can provide a little awe and wonder when viewed large on an interactive whiteboard. If you want some images taken by the Hubble telescope itself, then you can download a wide variety of them from this site. Again, some awesome images that really show how huge the universe actually is. And finally, if you ever want to see what an astronaut thinks about space, then follow Astro_Mike on Twitter. He’s up there right now and he’s twittering about life up in space. Twitter is excellent – but to have people twittering from space is another level of awesomeness. Enjoy!...

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