It’s easy to innovate when you have great innovators!

This school year has brought about a lot of change for my school, especially when it comes to the use of technology. In the last 6 months, we rebuilt a brand new school website, all the teachers at my school have created their own class websites, we created our Twitter,Facebook and Linkedin group, we purchased a class set of laptops and we have started to experiment with tablets and iPads. Furthermore, we created an online course for our grade 9 Information Communication in Technology Business class.

As the school’s ICT Coordinator, I am really proud and honored  to work with such a dedicated and hardworking team of teachers!

There is however one individual in particular who has embraced all of this new technology in her classroom with creativity and natural ability. Mme Nora, our Kindergarten teacher, has created an amazing classroom blog with daily updates of what her students are learning. She has also created her own twitter account to share her knowledge and collaborate with Kindergarten teachers around the world in addition to integrating tablets and laptops into her daily lessons.

Therefore, it is my pleasure to nominate Mme Nora’s acadekinders blog for the Best class blog award for 2011 : http://acadekinders.weebly.com/index.html

Please join me, http://edublogawards.com/nominations-open-the-2011-edublog-awards-are-on/
Happy nominating!

Mind Maps

As a visual learner, I see the great importance in using mind mapping tools with my students when planning a project, when doing revision for a test and even when they need to write everything down that is in their head.
Before using mind maps with my students, I noticed that many times their ideas in their writing were disconnected, they would often go off topic or they would get stuck because they didn’t know what to write about next.
With mind maps, students can link their ideas, insert images and even insert videos (depending on the tool they use). They can use colors and they can make their plan come alive. Students also tend to spend a lot more time on their “plan” when using mind mapping tool. Then, when it comes to writing, they are very prepared and feel more confident throughout the writing process.

Here is a link to 100 reasons to use mind maps :
http://www.mindmapinspiration.com/100-reasons-to-mind-map-paul-foreman/

Mind Map Ideas mindmapinspiration.com

Another great thing about mind maps, is it good for all ages!

Here is a list of 5 FREE Mind Mapping tools available online:
https://bubbl.us/ – Brainstorming made simple
http://mind42.com/ – Collaborative mind mapping in your browser
http://www.mindmeister.com/ – The leading online mind mapping tool (MindMeister goes mobile: iPhone. iPad. Android.)
http://www.mindomo.com/ – Mind mapping made easy
http://www.wisemapping.com/c/home.htm – Visual thinking evolution

Here is a great tutorial on how to use these 5 mind mapping tools:
http://h30411.www3.hp.com/posts/1018306?mcid=Twitter

Happy mapping!

The magic of Twitter

This post is dedicated to all teachers who are not yet on Twitter or who are currently building their PLN (Personal Learning Network),

While studying my B.Ed, I remember my teachers always saying ‘Do not re-invent the wheel’. When I started teaching, to avoid re-inventing the wheel, I would search online for what I was looking for. Unfortunately, I found that sometimes it could take a long time to find exactly what I was looking for (or I didn’t find anything and ended up having to create something from scratch). This can become frustrating, if it happens often, since our time is so precious.

Over the years, as I have gained more experience teaching and I have learned that the Internet does have a lot of great resources but so do other teachers. So my conclusion is this, to avoid re-inventing the wheel we don’t just rely on Internet searches, but we create and establish our PLN that should include (at least this is what I believe) connections made on Twitter. I strongly believe this because I have found this tool one of the quickest ways in finding an answer or resource.

Here is an image to help display how Twitter works for Educators:

http://blog.lifeisbalance.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/pay-it-forward.jpg

For example, you are looking for a Free Online Tool similar to Microsoft Publisher.

You can either ask your question (using Hashtags to target a certain group),  or direct your question to a few people in your PLN. You can even do both at the same time to increase your audience, however remember you only have 140 characters, so use them wisely.  After you have Twitted, you wait 🙂 Hopefully you will have a response fairly quickly. If you don’t get a response, follow up with those you contacted and you can even re-post your Tweet by re-wording it.  The magic of Twitter comes into play when people start to Re-Tweet your question and you get a fairly prompt response!

I have to admit, this may not happen overnight, but the more your become familiar with Twitter and the more your build you PL, the more the magic will happen.

For more tips on learning how to use Twitter as an educator, check out : http://twitterforteachers.wetpaint.com/

For a list of chats to get involved in on Twitter visit:
http://www.cybraryman.com/chats.html

Let the magic begin!

PS. To learn more about creating your PLN visit:
http://onceateacher.wordpress.com/2009/05/05/pln-your-personal-learning-network-made-easy/