Melissa Giddins

Exploring technology and literacy in education.

OneNote 2007

I presented today at a Head Teacher conference about OneNote use across all subjects. Realising that I had not yet blogged about this information, I thought I would start a series of blog posts on utilising OneNote in the classroom. Obviously, as an English teacher, my examples will be English based, however the information about OneNote is relevant to all subject areas.

The first thing to say is what we did that worked. We introduced OneNote as the students’ daily notebook, replacing their exercise books (though students still had exercise books available to them). We created templates for each subject area, so that students in any class were working in a similar environment to the other classes in that subject. This assisted students that moved between classes, but was more supportive to teachers that were just starting out with integrating technology.

Each faculty brainstormed what would be the appropriate sections and pages that would be on the template. We then created a sample template to show the students, and created a Word document with instructions and pictures for the students to set it up.  While we could have simply provided the OneNote template to the students, students learned more about how to use OneNote by setting it up for themselves and it was a really fast process. If we were the first subject to set it up, the process took longer, but if another faculty had already set up a OneNote template then students knew the process and only needed to know the names of the sections we required. Ten minutes and it’s done.

This has been incredibly successful and all our teachers now use the laptops with students in the classroom on a regular basis. Mission successful!

Some recommendations for creating templates for a subject:

  1. The teachers that will be teaching the subject to classes of students with laptops should get together and brainstorm different uses for OneNote in the classroom – BEFORE trying to create a template.
  2. Now that you have some ideas about how OneNote might be utilised in the classroom, it is easier to think about what sections and pages you will have set up. So step 2 is to plan the sections and pages.
  3. Create a model template and have it projected up in the classroom when students are creating their templates. Fast workers will create what they can see on the screen and then help the people around them.
  4. Encourage students to help each other. You can’t be everywhere at once and you want to set good precedents for students helping each other and learning from each other.  
  5. We made the students title the Notebook: “English Year 9” (or Year 10 etc) because next year we don’t want them to get confused with which English notebook is the relevant one. This worked very well going into Year 10 this year.

Our sections in the English template:

  •  There are four sections and two section groups on the main page:
    1. Homework – and we used the Simple To Do List template for the pages in this section
    2. Glossary
    3. Journal
    4. Wide Reading
  • The two section groups are English Topics and Spelling.
  • Within English Topics are sections labelled with the names of all our units of work. Within Spelling are only two sections: Personal Spelling and Weekly Spelling.

Not all classes use all the sections all the time, but overall this has been spectacularly effective.

Next blog post in this series will be hints and tips on OneNote 2007 use.

June 1, 2010 Posted by | OneNote | , , | 4 Comments

New tool: Prezi.Com

A success story for you.

I wanted to give my students an opportunity to use their laptops to synthesise information from a brainstorm and wanted to get them to learn a new skill for something relatively easy so that we could utilise the tool for something more difficult later. I chose Prezi as the tool that we would learn. Prezi.Com creates a presentation that is very different to the linear nature of PowerPoint and gives students the opportunity to think more about visual techniques including reading paths and hierarchies of importance.

The lesson went very well and being such a positive experience, I decided that it was a tool that was going on my list of good ideas and useful tools. Here is the process we followed:

  1. I created a Prezi (prior to the lesson) and showed it to the students so that they had a demonstration of a possible end product.
  2. On the Interactive White Board (IWB) we went to the Prezi.Com website and I showed the students the first two YouTube videos available under the Learn tab on the website.
  3. Students then signed up and created an account of their own and began creating Prezis – it took only a few minutes to sign up.
  4. Students worked on their prezis and once satisfied with the finished product, gave the link to me and it was posted on our Moodle page so that everyone could look at each other’s work.

Here are two examples of the students’ finished products:

Some tips for the new user:

  1. Students will have to sign up and create an account before they can use it. The good news is that there is no requirement to activate the account through the email address prior to being able to use Prezi, which means they create their account and can then start creating a Prezi immediately, and they don’t need to worry about using their DET email account or being able to access their email at school.
  2. The first two YouTube videos under the Learn tab on the website are very useful to show to the class. The first one you may even want to show twice, depending on the age of the class and their overall “savvy” factor.
  3. When they begin to create their first prezi, the first YouTube video begins to play and it needs to be closed (with the big red X in the top right corner of the video) before students can start creating their prezi. On the DERNSW laptops getting to that big red X can be difficult.  You will need to close two or three of the toolbars at the top – look for a little “x” on the far left of the toolbar and click on it, then when the dialogue box comes up, click on”Disable”. That may be enough for some laptops, but for others I had to autohide the toolbar at the bottom of the screen as well in order to see the X so that we could close the video and students could start working on their prezi. To autohide the toolbar at the bottom of the screen, right click on the toolbar, choose Properties and from the options tick Autohide.
  4. Getting the URL from the students for their prezi was a little tricky as they were wanting to copy and paste the URL from the top of the page. This is the WRONG one! The student should go into My Account and click on their presentation. On the bottom right hand side of the dialogue box that opens there is a URL written there with the words COPY LINK written next to it. If you click on the copy link button it acts like you have highlighted the link and clicked copy, now you can choose paste in either an email, onto a word page, etc and the link will be pasted there. I had students paste the link into Edmodo and I copied it into our Moodle page from there.

Following my experience I would also make the following recommendations:

  1. Take the time to either create a model or find one on Prezi.Com to show the students. It helps them to understand what it can do and what you want.
  2. Allow plenty of time to show the YouTube videos, have them sign up, deal with any difficulties such as the toolbars needing to be closed, etc before they actually start creating the prezi. I allowed two lessons in total (50 minutes each lesson) and there were still some students that didn’t quite finish and will be completing them for homework across this week. I have a fairly savvy class and the prezi was only simple that they were required to make, so you may need to allow more time than this.

Prezi.Com was a success with my Year 10 English class and I shall be using it again with other classes I am sure.

May 19, 2010 Posted by | Digital Education Revolution (DER), Laptops 4 Learning, Web 2.0 tools | , , | Leave a comment

Remembering the beginning

There is no doubt that no matter how well you think you have taught something, people will be at different points in their learning and understanding. This is true for both students and teachers. A group of teachers can sit through the same professional development and walk out with different information and ideas. The video below was shown to our executive group when we were talking about leadership, to remind us that our staff are sometimes several steps behind where we think they are, and patience is not only a virtue, but required. I showed this to my faculty in our faculty meeting today and while it served its purpose as a little light relief, the point was to remind my staff that not only can we feel like this (and do this) but so too do our students. Not every student in the classroom is digitally competent, and we the teacher become the helpdesk.

May 18, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Learning from Failure

I had a reminder again today about how important it is to be flexible as a teacher. I would like to add to that and mention how important it is to be flexible when planning to use technology in your lessons. Let me tell you a tale.

As you can see from my previous post, I had an idea and sought advice as to how to implement my idea. It was simple.

The Idea:

My class would collaborate, discussing themes from a text they had just studied (Twelfth Night), looking at key ideas and which of these could be seen as Universal Themes, relevant to a modern audience, brainstorming to create an entire list to work with.  They would then look at the idea of appropriation, defining the term, and exploring how they could utilise the universal themes to create an appropriation of Twelfth Night.

The Plan:

The brainstorming process would take place digitally, to save time. Usually I would have everyone grab eight or so different textas and write all over the whiteboard with the students then copying down the results in their books afterwards. Considering this is a Year 10 class and they all have DER laptops I decided to find a way to brainstorm and record results digitally, saving time and utilising their laptops.

First idea was to use Google Docs – blocked. Wallwisher – blocked, but you can have it unblocked for a specific closed version but I did not have time to set that up. I looked at a few other programs and then found one called PrimaryPad through a blog called Free Technology for Teachers. Primary Pad did exactly what I wanted and it wasn’t blocked. I set one up, tested it, everything worked, so I put the link for our PrimaryPad discussion onto our Moodle page ready for the students. Then, knowing how things sometimes don’t go as planned, I created a wiki on our Moodle as a backup in case the Primary Pad thingy didn’t work, and placed that on their moodle page too.

Next step in the plan was to have students create a presentation with Prezi.Com to synthesise their ideas. I created a quick prezi myself as a demonstration and then placed the link for the demonstration and Prezi.com on their moodle page.

The Reality:

One student didn’t have her laptop as it was in for repair and there were none left in the pool to replace it, one student’s laptop just would NOT connect to the internet, one student’s trackpad/mouse wouldn’t work. Well, only 3 not working right out of 28 ain’t bad.

Primary Pad kept disconnecting from their server with a “server synchronisation” error. After five minutes or so of countless attempts by all in the class, I figured this was a compatibility issue with the DET server and all its numerous layers of permissions. So we went to Plan B. We opened the moodle wiki, only to discover that only one person could have the edit page function open at a time. Kind of defeats the purpose of a wiki in my mind and definitely did not meet our needs, but nothing I could do about it at the time. Plan C – we got textas and brainstormed on the whiteboard and then the students copied the information into their OneNote notebooks. They have a section for Appropriation in their OneNote notebooks for English so I told them to just use that – please take note that thinking on one’s feet does not always allow one to be creative (they had mindmapping software on their laptop for goodness’ sake and I didn’t get them to use it!).

Part two went well! My prezi loaded and played for them. I played the YouTube demonstration/instruction videos to the class, they went to the Prezi.com site, signed up and started creating! I did have to go around to at least half the class and close tool bars and autohide tool bars in order for students to be able to see the X at the top right hand of the movie that kept trying to play over top of their first prezi. Once we had taken care of that though, we were all systems go.

Lessons learned:

  1. Just because the DET internet filter says that something is “allow” doesn’t mean it will work. Check it first. At school.
  2. Your definition of a wiki and someone else’s definition of a wiki may not be the same thing. Also known as “one wiki is not always the same as another”. Now I couldn’t really check this one by myself because it needed more than one person logged in to check it, but I could have checked it utilising another member of staff, had I done this preparation at school and not at home. So, check it first and start preparation earlier.
  3. Have a backup plan for your backup plan.

In future:

  • I am going to try to create a shared OneNote page for a “brainstorm and record” activity. As you can’t set one up from a DER laptop, this means setting one up from the staffroom ahead of time, ready for the class to use.
  • I would also like to have a go with Wallwisher so will try setting one of those up in advance and having it unblocked.
  • The students have Freemind on their laptops so I could get them to create a mindmap rather than just typing results of verbal brainstorm into OneNote.

On the bright side, the students REALLY enjoyed using Prezi.com and overwhelmingly said it was more interesting than using PowerPoint, was fun to use, made them think about more elements of visual literacy than using PowerPoint and they learned how to use it quickly and with little fuss or teacher instruction required.

Moral to the story? Learn from everything, failure included, and above all – be flexible!

May 17, 2010 Posted by | Digital Education Revolution (DER), Laptops 4 Learning, Moodle | , , , | 7 Comments

PLN in Action

I spend a lot of time talking to teachers at the beginning of their journey into the integration of technology and I promote the idea of a PLN (Personal/Professional Learning Network) to each and every one of them. As part of this I recommend getting on Twitter and following educators there. On Twitter, there is a constant flow of information and you can partake in more professional development in an hour on Twitter than you could at a full day workshop, both from the accumulation of resources and practical suggestions, and from the philosophical discussions.  Beyond that though is the ability to ask a question and receive suggestions, ideas and alternative resources. To illustrate this for all the newbies out there, let me show you an example of what happened yesterday.

I posted on Twitter that I was going to be using Google Docs with my students for the first time on Monday and that the principal would be watching, did anyone have any suggestions? hints? tips? Firstly, it got Retweeted by @sandynay to reach a wider audience than just the people who follow me:

 sandynay RT @melissagiddins: Going to use Google Docs for the first time with kids on Monday, with principal watching! Any hints? tips?

Then the responses started rolling in:

After receiving these, I put out a message saying that Google Docs was blocked, so maybe I would try wallwisher and did anyone have any tips or suggestions about that? The responses continued to roll in:

I then sent a tweet back explaining that the students would be brainstorming ideas and that normally I would just have the students write all their answers on the whiteboard but then they have to copy it into their books so I was looking for a digital solution to cut down time. The responses continued:

As you can see, this is now a flood of information, suggestions and alternative resources. I then said that I had forgotten how to do a filter check to see if students had access to a website. Two instant responses:

Then I checked out Nota that Pip had suggested, and asked whether I should create a private version rather than a public version.

I felt like I had received plenty of info and suggestions and said thanks to all those who had participated in the conversation. The responses, however, just kept rolling in, long after I had gone offline, and were waiting for me when I returned:

Not bad for a Saturday morning. I had access to numerable suggestions and resources, philosophical advice, past experiences and all of it answered when I needed an answer – on Saturday when I was doing the preparation, not on Monday when maybe I could make phone calls. For the record, here are the statistics:

  • 49 responses in total
  • 5 links to other websites with lists of alternative tools
  • When Google Docs was clearly unavailable the following suggestions were made: wallwisher, Nota, Lino-It, Sticky Notes, Wikis, IWBs, Moodle wikis, bubbl.us, Freemind and Moodle 2 wikis.

Really, people, that is incredible. Why be on Twitter? Why have a PLN? If this doesn’t demonstrate a practical application for both, then I don’t know what will convince you!

May 16, 2010 Posted by | PLN | , | 1 Comment

Enthusing about Edmodo

I mentioned on my blog last year that I was going to try out Edmodo (http://www.edmodo.com). Now let me gush enthusiastically at how wonderful Edmodo is! This is now the second year of classes and this year has been infinitely more successful because I set everything up right from the first week of classes.

Before school began, I set up the groups, archived last year’s groups and put a welcome message in for everyone. Then in the first week of school, first day of class with each new class, I gave them the group code and encouraged the sign up. I took them to computer labs and made them sign up while I watched and generally ensured that the majority of students were now connected with Edmodo.

Then I started posting homework on Edmodo, EVERY DAY. Even if there was no homework, I posted a message saying there was none. When students came in and told me they had forgotten they had homework I reminded them that they should be checking Edmodo each night.

This has been a very successful strategy. The number of students not completing work or being prepared for class work has perceptibly decreased. A parent commented to me that her daughter checks Edmodo for her homework every night and that they both like the ability to see what needs to be done. I have also had very positive feedback from the students regarding their ability to be able to ask me a question when they think of the question. I may not answer it immediately, if I am not online, but they can at least ask it at the time rather than trying to remember it the next day in class. Edmodo really comes into its own prior to assessment tasks. All my students know that they can leave a question, submit a draft for comment and seek reassurance at any time in the lead up to the assessment task. The students also use Edmodo to talk to each other – if I have not responded to a question and another student knows the answer, they will help each other out by answering questions, giving suggestions and encouraging and supporting each other. I had an amusing incident last term when prior to a science test one of my classes spent several hours on my English Edmodo group asking each other questions and helping each other to prepare for the science test. They then apologised to me for using the English group to do this but explained that there wasn’t one for science, so they were using what they had. This truly showed me how much the students value Edmodo as a communication tool when they were using it on their own, with no teacher input or direction.

Students are now also uploading tasks on Edmodo -the Wide Reading Log for Year 10 had a large number of students upload the task on Edmodo rather than printing it out and handing it to me in class. While we are not yet utilising all the aspects of Edmodo, as a communication tool it is winning hands down on anything else we have available, including Moodle. I think that we will utilise Moodle for most of the other tasks that Edmodo can do, but we will continue to use Edmodo for our class communication as it is the easiest platform for students to understand and access at any time.

If you are thinking about taking up Edmodo for the first time, I suggest that you read the first post on Edmodo that I wrote that contains instructions for how to get started: https://mgiddins.wordpress.com/2009/04/28/edmodo/.

I would also give the following recommendations for effective Edmodo use:

  1. Do something that ensures that all students have signed up – such as standing over them in a computer room until it is done!
  2. Post something on it EVERY DAY when you first start out, so that students get in the habit of checking it.
  3. Talk about it in class – “I have posted the topics on Edmodo”, “your homework will be posted on Edmodo by 4pm”, etc.
  4. Ensure that you do actually respond to students in a reasonably timely manner, particularly when you first start using it with a class, otherwise they will consider Edmodo as “not working” and a waste of time, and will stop using it.
  5. Prior to an assignment, set boundaries for your time e.g. “I will be checking Edmodo every few hours across the weekend” so they don’t expect instant responses, and “I will be signing off at 10pm on Sunday night – no further answers after that” so they don’t expect to continue talking to you until the wee hours while they catch up on the work they procrastinated about doing earlier.

Edmodo has been a roaring success with five of my classes so far, and I am sure will continue to be so through the next few years.  Other members of my faculty are now also using Edmodo on a regular basis and are also enjoying the benefits of better communication with students. Edmodo has proven to be one of the most useful Web 2.0 tools I have encountered.

May 16, 2010 Posted by | edmodo | , | 4 Comments

Podcasting Part Two

I created some podcasts on essay writing in 2008 and have made them available to students at two different schools now but had not really done anything more since then. I wrote a post about those podcasts last year: https://mgiddins.wordpress.com/2009/04/21/podcasting/. Recently, I find myself teaching essay writing again and realised that when a student is absent from the lesson where you explain the basics, it really impacts on their learning. As such, I once again started creating podcasts.

I use Audacity to create podcasts as it is easy to use and has options to add other layers such as background music. You can download Audacity for free: http://audacity.sourceforge.net/download/.

I recently created podcasts on:

  • Planning an Essay Step 1: Part 1: Analysing the Rubric
  • Planning an Essay Step 1: Part 2: Analysing the Question
  • Planning an Essay Step 2: Creating a Thesis

I intend to complete the “Planning an Essay” series with Step 3: Points of argument. Hopefully I will have time to do this soon as I am currently in the midst of the essay writing teaching. I am also looking at a podcast on how to argue conceptually and how to come up with the concepts to argue in the first place, also perhaps one explaining the principles of supporting evidence for your argument. So many ideas, so little time!

Two important recommendations if you are thinking of podcasting: 

  1. Write a script first and read off the script. It makes for a much better flow and a smoother listening experience for your audience.
  2. If the podcast is for students – keep it short. Three to six minutes is about right for their attention span, up to about 10 – 12 minutes as the absolute maximum.

The advent of Moodle as a VLE (virtual learning environment) at my school has created a space where the podcasts can be made available to students, making the whole process considerably easier than in the past. (Had tried leaving them on a shared drive on the school server, providing them to students on a USB drive – all fairly clunky processes that were not overly successful.)

I have an Essay Writing Help topic now on my Year 11 Moodle page and have been able to upload examples, models, interactive writing websites and my podcasts. The feedback from this class of students has indicated that the Essay Writing Help topic and my podcasts have made a big difference in their understanding of essay writing. Particularly, because they can hear the information from me in class, then go home and listen to it again when they are needing the information revised, usually right before writing an essay. Also, those students who miss a lesson due to illness, sporting commitments, excursions, etc are then able to catch up on the information through the podcasts.

Once again, I am reminded of the benefit of podcasts and will continue to utilise them throughout this year, seeking feedback from the students, and will no doubt have learned much more from the process by the end of the year. I may even be able to create a podcast about something else other than essay writing if I can ever finish that series!

May 15, 2010 Posted by | podcasting | , | Leave a comment

Blogs – Who to Follow?

I have recently been expanding exponentially the number of blogs that I subscribe to and it is all through an interesting “pay it forward” type movement running through some blogs. They are essentially creating a blog post that lists all the blogs they recommend that you follow! This is a great source of new and interesting bloggers to check out, so as a result, I have listed a few of the posts from these bloggers where they recommend other blogs, just to get you started.

Firstly, most of the original blogs that I followed are on my blog roll here on this blog, so feel free to click away on those as a starting point.

Here are links to the blog recommendation posts that I have found thus far:

  1. http://edutechintegration.blogspot.com/2010/05/must-see-monday-pay-it-forward-and-pass.html
  2. http://thenerdyteacher.blogspot.com/2010/05/passing-on-lovetechno.html
  3. http://sharpsav.com/blog/blog-awards.html
  4. http://interactivecontentcorner.com/2010/05/07/follow-friday-these-blogs%E2%80%A6pass-it-on/
  5. http://2sparkley.edublogs.org/2010/05/08/thank-you-follow-friday-award/
  6. http://prettyfreaky.blogspot.com/2010/05/blog-awards-recognizing-fellow-bloggers.html
  7. http://www.freetech4teachers.com/2010/05/what-i-read-first-or-rss.html
  8. http://educationstormfront.wordpress.com/2010/05/17/pass-it-on/
  9. http://ilearntechnology.com/?p=2403
  10. http://carlanderson.blogspot.com/2010/05/pass-it-on.html

These blogs each give another five to ten blogs that they recommend you follow, and while there is a little bit of overlap, overall this will be an excellent start on your journey reading educational and inspirational blog posts from some innovative teachers out there.

Also, clicking back through the links of recommended blogs you may find many more lists and blogs, so follow the trail! And if anyone else spots a blog with this series of links I would love for you to post their link in the comments here.

May 15, 2010 Posted by | blogging, PLN, Social Networking | , , | Leave a comment

RSS Feeds

As a beginner to the integration of technology, I was introduced to the idea of blogging, but it was only when I started really using Twitter that I was exposed to a great variety of educators who were blogging out there in the world. For a long time, I just waited until I received individual blog posts on twitter and then I went to that link and read the post. I found a few blogs that I wanted to read on a regular basis so I bookmarked their sites and checked them every now and then to see if they had written anything new.  A few times, I tried to work out this whole “RSS thing” but didn’t have the time to look into it and work out how to use it.

Silly me.

Let me tell you how to make life simple when it comes to blog posts. Firstly, an RSS feed is simply a notification to you when someone on a blog you follow publishes a new post (I am sure there is a much more technical explanation than that but it will do for the moment!).

Step 1: You need a reader – some place where all those rss feeds can go so you get the notification of a new post. Now Outlook will do it, but I wanted something web-based. I tried Google Reader and have never looked back.

Step 2: I googled “Google reader”, signed up for an account and then all I had to do was copy and paste in the URLs for the blogs I wanted to follow. Easy.

Step 3: Now I just visit Google reader on a daily basis and read the latest posts on my favourite blogs.

Being in love with my iPhone, I also got the Google Reader app and now happily sit reading the latest posts anywhere I happen to be 🙂 Like yesterday at the Car wash cafe!

Don’t do what I did and “worry about that bit later” – start with it, with the very first blog you read, and life will be much simpler.  A small warning though, when you first do this it will add all the current posts that you have not read, which can be a large number, depending on the amount of blogs you subscribe to, and this may feel a bit overwhelming at first. My advice is to take your time to work through them as eventually you will only receive a manageable number per day and if you make a few minutes each day to check the reader and read the latest posts you will discover that it is very easy to keep up.

The other question that I get asked by many teachers just starting their technological journey is about who to follow. One thing that I discovered early on, is that you only need a few blogs to get you started, as inevitably, the blog owners will refer to other blogs that they follow and then the number of blogs you read and follow will expand rapidly.  Who do I recommend to follow? That’s a whole other blog post! For now though, start with the links on my blogroll.

May 14, 2010 Posted by | blogging | , , | 1 Comment

Out of the flow

In a small departure from my usual type of post, I am going to add a personal reflection on a recent difficult period in my life. I began 2009 fired up and with much gusto. New school, new city, new opportunities. I grabbed everything with both hands, had many ideas and did all that came my way. By the end of the year I was stressed beyond belief. Burnt out? Quite possibly. I stopped engaging with the world outside of my job as I hunkered down in an effort to survive. I stopped tweeting, stopped blogging, stopped emailing and even stopped calling my friends. I didn’t really know how to describe what was going on for me and every minute on the phone was another minute that I got further behind in my work so it was just easier to isolate myself. In the January 2010 school holidays I made a concerted effort to recover, spending three weeks resting and building up my resilience again, a week reconnecting with all my friends and a week preparing for the new school year. I was excited, energised and enthusiastic about teaching and learning in 2010.

The first week of school was awesome. I felt like my old self again and was really looking forward to the term. That weekend I fell down, put my arms out to break my fall, and broke my elbow. My left arm went into a cast from the knuckles of my fingers to just under my armpit and my right hand and wrist were bandaged up to immobilise them completely. The right hand and wrist were immobilsed for three weeks and it took five or so weeks after that for all the pain to leave that hand, the left arm was in the cast for the rest of the term (10 weeks). The cast came off in the holidays and here and now, five weeks after the cast came off, I can finally type with two hands again. I have physio twice a week, can almost straighten my elbow and can now turn my hand over palm up with only a little pain.

Why am I telling you all this? Because I would like to talk about the impact of it. I did not realise how much I relied on being a two-handed individual to do my life. Never mind all the practical aspects, which were tediously difficult, there were others just as frustrating. Only being able to type with one hand was crippling in every sense of the word. I could only really use a mouse with any degree of proficiency and had to even ask someone to open the lid of my laptop for me as I was not able to open it one-handed. My iPhone came into its own during this time. I typed with one hand but found it so time-consuming that I once again stopped really communicating via text with anyone. Lots of phone calls now but very little interaction with technology. Twitter became frustrating as I would see great things that I wanted to talk about and add to Delicious or email to my staff or blog about and yet it caused me too much physical pain to do so.  As a result, I once again took myself out of the flow.

Now that I am back on deck with two hands that almost work the way they used to, I am discovering that not only does the pace of technology move with unrelenting speed but so too does the Twitter stream.  I am out of touch, on the edge of the flow instead of within it, and I find that my PLN are now talking to other people who don’t even know who I am, nor that I used to be in the flow.

I am uncharacteristically hesitant to jump in, self-conscious about tweeting and feeling that perhaps I no longer have anything relevant to blog about. From this, however, I have GOOD NEWS.

It has reminded me of how it feels to be a newbie ( a noob!), how all those teachers that I am encouraging to join Twitter and to blog, etc must feel as they venture forth into the unknown. It has reminded me of why I started my blog in the first place. It was so that all those teachers new to technology integration had a place to go to find out the basic, starting information.

My experience has led me to a greater sense of purpose in my blogging, a greater understanding of those who deal with physical handicap, hardship and inconveniences on a daily basis, and a better balance in my work and home life. I have learned to take the time to nurture my health, both mental and physical. I have learned that it is ok to say “no”, to sometimes miss out on things and to be out of the flow occasionally.

May 14, 2010 Posted by | Social Networking, twitter | , , | 1 Comment