Oh Twitter! I’ve had my Twitter (@jenniferLmelton) account for a couple of years now where is sat lonely and dormant. A friend and former colleague back home in the states uses it all the time and so I initially joined to see what the hype was about and occasionally check out his feed. Beyond that, I just didn’t have any use for it. Then a few months ago as my interest in positive psychology grew and I found more resources and publications, I became overwhelmed with checking their websites, etc. regularly and it dawned on me to check out their Twitter feeds to see if I could access information more easily there. So where Twitter first started as my following a few friends and a fe pop culture people, I added more and more professional organizations. A current colleague uses Twitter regularly for checking out his news. So indirect peer pressure won over and I started using it more actively. In the last month or two I started to tweet more (helpful that it is now unblocked at school), but the most beneficial part for me is scanning new articles each morning and looking at new places to visit or shop when I move soon to Bangkok. They say that one of the best ways to learn is to teach, so I’ve “coerced” one of my counseling colleagues to join in since he’ll be in charge of social media for our department next year. I’m still learning the whole #hashtag thing but read a few articles that gave me more insight. They seem a bit “trendy” to me as people post them all over Facebook too, so I can relate to this quote “Excessive overuse of hashtags can make you look like a twitter spammer”. 🙂 Joking aside, I think Twitter is such an easy tool to dispense quick snippets of information but it’s also much easier as a user to search through this than something with more text like a blog. In terms of college counseling, I think it can be great for posting upcoming college visits. A number of our students are on Twitter and now that it isn’t blocked at school anymore, I can see us as a department using it more.
I’ve see infographics before whether on Facebook or Twitter. The design can be eye catching and relay information in a new format. For now, it’s interesting and attention grabbing. How could I use these in my work? Since college dominates most of what I do, it might be a cool way to share information about universities either we visit or that come to ISM. They could be used to publicize upcoming college visits or other schools have a bulletin board with a “College of the Week” and this could be a Twitter or Facebook version of that. I can’t figure how to get my infographic into this post though….hmmmmm. Here is a link for now.
In an age of owning so many devices between home and school and needing to access information that I created, someone introduced me to Evernote and I’ve never looked at anything else. A colleague at a previous school actually used it as the head of department to keep an inventory and budget list. His entire department had access. I love that I can visit a college, take notes in Evernote and include photos, etc. on my iPad and then immediately email them to my colleagues. But even better, I just log onto my school computer and access the liver version of my Evernote account and continue to access everything. I now have Evernote on my iPhone, iPad, home computer, and school computer.
I’m eager to try out Pocket a bit more. In the morning I tend to do a quick scan of news and such online. But I don’t typically have the time right then to review and read full articles. Or I find something that I want to integrate into a website or resource for parents and students. What I’ve done before is just copy the link and paste it into an email to myself which then just filled up my email.
I’ve just discovered (well….actually making my own) screencasting in the last few weeks. I’ve seen versions my colleagues have made before but for whatever reason I thought it might be too complicated. My motivation came as a result of creating a Google Site for our college counseling combined with tracking Google Analytics of the site. I wanted to bring more traffic to what my department feels is a valuable resource. So I created a screencast to send parents to publicize and draw them to the site. Check it out here! Of all the “Things” from the course so far, I definitely think I’ll use this one the most, especially for parents who might need guidance in accessing various online resources.
I tried using Socrative with my department and a little “getting to know you” quiz. We learned some interesting and previously unknown facts about one another. I served as the “teacher” and they were the students. It was fun to learn about everyone and I could easily watch the results come in and assess the tougher vs. easier questions. The only hiccup I ran into was that I pasted the text of questions from an email and I think the coding of the email was transferred to the text in the quiz. The text that I had copy and pasted was hidden in the actual survey, whereas the text that I typed appeared. One of my colleagues realized she could drag her mouse over the question highlighting it and thus read the question. I think I prefer Socrative over Kahoot though.
It took me a while to get started with Kahoot. Maybe because of Spring Break but also because I found it a little more difficult to navigate on my own, partially because I don’t understand the need for two windows needing to be open. It didn’t seem incredibly obvious. With that said, I like the design and graphics combined with the music. The music definitely adds some excitement to it. Here is a quick one I designed: http://goo.gl/w7fOQg
This week’s task involved using a few different online tools (via website or Chrome) to create various maps and charts.
Task 1: MindMup
MindMup was pretty easy to use. Clearly I focused on something fun like which beach to visit in October for a holiday. Just like the Philippines, I’m overwhelmed with options and places to see. I was a bit more focused on how to make it look pretty than building up my map with new ideas, but for me at least, it was fun to try.
Task #2: LucidChart
Ok, I had fun with LucidChart! There seem to be more possibilities with Venn Diagrams, Charts, etc. In our department, we’re pretty text heavy with the college process and the steps for students and parents. I figured this might be a good tool to create a visual of the process and that we could create and “publish” one for each country that could be posted in our office or on our new college counseling website.
For me, I see more possibilities with LucidChart. I’ve never used much beyond what Microsoft Word offers so anything additional is a plus. One of my colleagues used to tease me endlessly about my need to always make things look “pretty” and according to my VIA Strength of Appreciation of Beauty and Excellence, LucidChart can help me continue to use this in new ways.
This week’s goal has been to explore Chrome Apps and Extensions. Luckily, I’ve been using Chrome for a few months now and have the hang of it, but there is a whole world of Apps and Extensions and I’m beyond excited for this lesson. Anything that can make life more convenient and organized is a plus and from my initial perusing, extensions and apps are a plus.
PDF Mergy, PDF to Word Convert, Prezi, and Roomstyler 3D Planner are my new additions to Chrome. As I plan for a new apartment, furniture, etc. the Roomstyler has been exciting to use and also allows me to access my strength of planning and designing. I’ve also shared it with our Assistant Principal who is often looked to to plan new construction or spaces on campus. For college documents, we often have to merge documents to send or upload files. I know this is an option with Adobe, but it’s been interesting to explore the same tool within Chrome.
Since using Chrome, I’ve noticed these “little buttons” at the top of my screen but haven’t used them. Well now I’m a bit ashamed that I did explore them. It’s so much easier to access the extensions already in my browser than to search for bookmarks. In addition to the YouTube, Google Sites, and Calendar extensions installed, I’ve now added some of the apps that I run to my phone to use (thus saving me time).
Calculator for Chrome!, Chrome Notepad, Weather, Google Dictionary, Print Friendly & PDF, Currency Converter, and Clearly are all installed. Obviously, I got a little carried away “shopping” for more than 3. I’m most excited for the Print Friendly & PDF and have actually helped a colleague find it who wanted to print and article for students that was not print friendly. This will come in handy as I work more on our new College Counseling website.
The beauty of all these extensions and apps is that they’ll make any student or teacher’s life easier…again…the main goal in the ones I was searching for!
I’m a Voice Thread novice and this was the first time I’ve ever used or heard of this technology tool. Getting logged in and starting to upload photos was the easy part! Adding my voice was a bit more of a challenge. I was able to start adding my voice but thought as I did that I needed to click the images I uploaded. I lost my train of thought and recorded my voice 3 or 4 more times. I’m not completely sure how I might use this tool. On option would be to provide some audio to parent presentations for those unable to make it to coffees. The VoiceThread below is my 2nd and more successful take! Now I just need to figure out how to upload PowerPoints.
Currently in my 8th year as a high school counselor living and working abroad, I’ve been lucky to have so many opportunities to grow as a professional. Resources for educators in these last 8 years have been plentiful. This blog is born from one of those professional growth opportunities. I hope to share my journey of growth in technology, but also in other professional areas as well. Level Up! With 11 Things on a Jeepney is my chance to expand my technological skills. So here is assignment #1 with bit about my how I view technology in education and my favorite place to visit in the Philippines.
I remember in my second year of teaching the county Superintendent walked the halls of my school showing students a colorful Apple computer telling students they would get their own FREE Apple at school next year. The frenzy of excitement of students combined with shock, fear, and confusion with teachers is still vivid in my mind. The following August, teachers sat in a large theatre hall where Steve Jobs himself came and talked to us about his philosophy on technology in the classroom. It was the largest sale of portable computers for use in education. Here I am 14 years later where laptops in education are the rule working with students who’ve never known a school without them.
To me, technology is a tool, a resource, a window into another world for students. I love that it can create opportunities, but am sometimes frustrated on my own significant reliance on it. Working in “third” world countries where connections can be inconsistent and with normal adolescent forgetfulness, I’m not alone in my frustrations. But when connections are in our favor, I love how technology can make things more smooth and efficient and enable creativity to flourish.
Of course my favorite past time with technology is seeking out my next vacation, the nearest beach, and sharing my photo experiences with friends and family back home. I was drawn to the Philippines because of my need for Vitamin D, sunshine, beaches, and water! This past weekend we had a three day weekend due to a national holiday: Bonifacio Day. It was time for me to check off the famous Boracay on my travel list. Absolute heaven! I love long walks on beach, my feet in the sand, water brushing my ankles and indeed there was plenty of white, long beach for me to walk. My exploration of Philippine beaches isn’t extensive yet, but so far Boracay tops the list. My header photo on this blog is from a gorgeous sunset.