Tuesday, June 24, 2014

It's all about being a good digital citizen

As I've mentioned in previous posts, I'm working on a large project right now. A project that is awesome, but a time suck. Every aspect of it has me jumping online, looking for resources, ideas, tools, etc., and those just lead me down new rabbit holes that get me excited for all the new things I discover. Today, I'm investigating the topic of digital accountability. It's a BIG one. So important. So simple, yet so complex.

In my meandering through the interwebs, a Google search led me to a Pinterest board, which led me to a blog post that contained an infographic I liked. Of course, that led me to clicking on the link to the original source of the infographic, which just led me to another blog I want to follow. Phew. So much.

Sharing this infographic because I think it really simplifies all of the ways we can be responsible digital citizens. Thanks to Mia on An Ethical Island for sharing it... and all of her work. She has all of her infographics in a shared Dropbox account and licensed under Creative Commons under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License. (share for any non-commercial use - no editing). How generous! I'll be adding her blog to my reading list...

URL: http://anethicalisland.wordpress.com/2013/04/22/digital-citizenship/

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Edcamp Excitement

Just a quick post about my experience today at my first unconference, ConnectED Leaders sponsored by ConnectED Learning. It was a short, half-day conference, which was actually the perfect length for me today (middle of the summer). Three sessions at 45 minutes each were enough to get into some interesting conversations, share some of my own insights and projects, pick up some ideas, and leave energized for my summer projects and next school year.

The unconference layout had me a little nervous. I felt like I should put something up on the board, but two things held me back. One, my brain just wasn't working - I couldn't come up with anything to discuss. Sad, I know. Two, there were already great session topics up and I didn't want to miss any of them, especially when I saw the names of some of the facilitators, who I had seen present at METC and/or followed on Twitter.

One of the few rules of an unconference is the rule of two feet - if you don't like a session you are in, get up and leave. Well, I followed that rule today. Twice. It wasn't that I didn't like the sessions; they just weren't as relevant to me as I had hoped... and having my TweetDeck open showed me that a more beneficial conversation for me might be going on down the hall. It felt awkward, getting up and walking out of a discussion that only had a dozen or so people in it, but in both instances, I'm glad I did. Grateful that they put that rule out there from the get-go. I knew the facilitators wouldn't be offended.

And the networking! I left there with a bunch of new Twitter followers (@mfankopedia), even more names to look up and follow, and an anticipation of the next time I get to interact with these people in person again. I joined an entire new professional learning network that can last long past 11:30 this morning. One of my new Twitter friends got me excited for EdCampSEMO this fall - it's only an hour away, so I might actually swing it. Missouri Summit on Google Education is also on my calendar for the fall, and EdCampSTL and METC are definite for me next February. Until then, there's Twitter and #moedchat, #connectedleader, and various other hashtags to follow, along with the new Twitter handles I'm following.

Speaking of people I follow, remember Richard Byrne (@rmbyrne), my technology blogging guru at Free Tech for Teachers? Tonight he started following me on Twitter. The tech-nerd in me feels like I just made friends with a big celebrity. That notification in my inbox (and seeing "follows you" on his profile) was kind of like an "I made it" moment for me in ed tech.

And that's it, maybe. Today helped me dive into my new professional learning network/community. Much needed, since I'm the only person in my position at CJ. Thrilled to have this community and ready to get more active in it.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Tool Review: Popplet

I'm in the midst of setting up a technology professional development program for our school. Basically, I'm creating a Google Site full of information, tutorials, and tasks for our teachers to explore. When I wanted to start organizing the pages and content, I decided concept mapping was more my style than outlining for this project. And since online graphic organizers are a part of my site, I figured I'd try one. Enter Popplet.

Popplet is a free tool, but with a free account I can only make a limited number of popplets (charts). Fine by me. I can choose for my popplets to be private or public, and search through public ones.

The Popplet interface is just fun and welcoming, especially if I were introducing our students to it - I think they would like it. It's also easy to use. The map below took me just a minute or two:

When I add a "popple" (content box), I have the option to insert a picture or video, draw something in the box, or type text. I can also change the color of the box. A few examples below...
A few things I wish Popplet allowed are to insert hyperlinks in the popples (like a link to the library's summer reading club site or story time schedule) and to change the color of the text. I can change the size of the text and its justification, but changing the color of the text would allow another level of organization or differentiation. Maybe it's because I'm using my Popplet as a kind of checklist and want to highlight the completed popples, but that would really be helpful to me.

Popplets can also be collaborative. I have the option to share in various ways:
If I add a collaborator (colleague for me, classmate or teacher for students), he or she can add to or critique my concept map. See those little thought bubbles next to each popple/content box? Those allow me or others to comment on content. These comments become hidden popples that we see when we click on the comment icon (thought bubble):

The settings menu gives me quite a few options, too:

  • Edit gives me the options to Undo, Copy Popple, and Paste Popple.
  • Organize allows me to align popples, snap them to a grid, etc.
  • Add content links me to Flickr, YouTube, and Google Maps.
  • View takes me into Presentation Mode options - you can use this as a Prezi-like presentation!
  • Export gives me options to save as a JPG, PDF, etc.
  • Lab... is something I have yet to explore, actually.
  • Popplet linker allows me to insert a popplet into a popplet (well, isn't that fancy!).
  • Duplicate popplet creates a copy - great for keeping a template for yourself and sharing a copy of collaboration with students!
  • Print brings up the print dialogue for the browser.
  • Languages allows me to embed Japanese, Korean, or Hebrew text.
I highlighted my two favorite features from the settings menu above, since I think they really increase the ways we can use this tool.

My sample popplet here is nothing compared to the breadth of my popplet for the website project, for which I haven't really used all the multi-media options. I simply keep adding layer upon layer to the map to the point where I can't read any of it when I view the whole thing on screen. I'm beginning to think I need to start using the comments button more. Hmm...

Loving this tool so far. Create a free account and get started. Which reminds me of one minor downfall - make that account BEFORE you start creating a popplet. I had a decent chunk of mine made, clicked "create account", set up my account, and bam - my work was gone. Fresh start. Oh well. I had a college professor who always told us to rewrite instead of revise, because our ideas are always more organized the second time around, so I'll hope that's true with this...

Oh! Almost forgot - It has an iPhone and iPad app, too!