Input needed: tips to cultivating a thriving PLN

Jeff and I have a few upcoming presentations we’d love some input on! Please fill out the embedded Google form below…then check it out as the answers populate. Please feel free to use any of the information gathered for yourself!

At PEAK in a couple weeks (…10 days) I’ll be presenting an hour-long workshop on how social media can make educators lives easier.
Session title: Making the Web Work for You
Session description: Come learn how social media and other websites can save you time and energy while also enhancing your lessons. By the end of this session you will be on your way to creating a thriving Personal Learning Network with other educators around the world. It may be helpful to bring your own laptop or tablet.

In January, Jeff will be presenting a 4-hour workshop on getting involved on Twitter and blogging.
Session title: Becoming a Connected Educator
Session description: Thousands of educators all around the world share their thoughts, ideas and lesson plans with each other every day, and you’re only 140 characters away from joining them. In the first half, you’ll learn how to leverage Twitter and other forms of social media as a means of finding new ideas. In the second half, we’ll get you set up with your own blog so you can start sharing with the world.

Check out my Diigo library for some of the resources we’ve previously found.

Grade 5 Transition & Experimenting

Even though we are a school of only ~2000 students, we still have three separate divisions. Our middle and high school are (literally) on top of each other but our elementary school is a separate building. Our middle school counselor has created a Buddy Program to help the grade 5 students transition from elementary to middle school. Each Grade 5 student is paired with a grade 6 “Buddy.” I think this is a great idea so when she approached me to help her brainstorm ways for the students to be in touch over the summer, I was all-in!

Our middle and high schools started using Edmodo this year. We have our own school domain and many teachers have been effectively using it to communicate with their students. Since the grade 5 students will need an Edmodo account for next year, we decided that it would be better to use a platform that they will need next year instead of having them sign up for something they will only use once. The counselor set up an Edmodo group and gave the group code to the grade 6 students (who immediately started posting, welcoming their buddies). Over the summer, she will monitor the group to make sure that students are being kind and respectful to each other.

Edmodo buddy group

Getting the grade 5 students signed up with a slightly bigger challenge. Edmodo does not allow you to batch sign-up students. We wanted students to have the responsibility and experience of signing themselves up. Not all students have a device at school. SO…I downloaded the free 30-day trial of Camtasia and did a little messing around. I had never made a screen-cast before but it only took me two tries to get what I wanted (although I went incognito the first time, I forgot to remove the bookmarks bar). Camtasia was super easy to use and I really liked exploring! I just wish it wasn’t quite so expensive. 😉

Note: I did not receive any compensation for this review. Just my honest opinion & experience.