First thing I want to do is give a huge shout out to my PLN on twitter. They have no idea the impact of their words, wisdom and knowledge that they have shared with me over the last 5 months. 5 months, wow it doesn’t even feel like that much time has gone by since I went to a regional workshop and discovered the power of twitter and its possibilities.
I never really embraced social media up until the aforementioned workshop. I’m not on facebook and thought that twitter was something that was a waste of time. My eyes were opened in a big way and the power of the hive mind is amazing. Sitting in that workshop last May, with my ipad, I had my socks blown off. I had a twitter account but never used it for much. Since that day my use has been incremental each day to the point now where I have a hard time digesting all the great content I miss each day when I am at work. I try to keep up but between my laptop, phone, and ipad I still miss so much good stuff.
The advancement of twitter into my life and methods completely changed the way I do things and how I operate. Google docs is now the center for all my document needs. I only open Office software for some more advanced formatting options that might be needed or to view a document from a friend or colleague. Evernote really is my trunk and the elephant couldn’t be a better symbol of what I keep in there. I use it so much I had to upgrade really quick during my transition time moving my notes, bookmarks. documents and images to the cloud. Knowing this material is accessible on any of my devices at all time is amazing. These are things I never thought would have been possible 5 years ago, when I started to use gmail and begin to integrate tech into my classroom full time.
I am pretty blessed to teach US Government/Economics in my computer lab with 30 machines on a daily basis but the desire and thirst for knowledge is already being borne out in my students.
We use edmodo as a discussion board on a daily basis. The students love being able to multi-task and participate in a class discussion at the same time. Students who normally wouldn’t speak up participate regularly and students make their arguments just as in depth in writing as they would verbally. Diigo is a wonder and I wish I could go back in time to use it while I was in school. Research and sharing has never been easier to accomplish. The material still has to be digested and thoughtfully considered for use, but the students love not having to take notes and being able to share with their colleagues is something they appreciate to say the least. Then there is gmail. Backing up work, gdocs, calendar, etc, etc, etc, each week it seems like we discover a new aspect of google’s service that helps our classroom work in a smoother more connected way.
There are more tools the kids have discovered and ideas that are already in the works for blogs posts later in the evening. This is one mans journey and search for knowledge and wisdom to help students accomplish more than they ever imagined because they can.