This month is Connected Educator Month and what makes being a connected educator so awesome is the ability to have access to top educators around the world and see what they’re reading, what they’re writing, who they’re following without having to fork out the big bucks to attend a conference. Connecting for me has been invaluable for my professional life and I wanted to share some of the ways I stay connected. I’ll have more in depth posts/tutorials on each of these tools coming soon.
Twitter – Twitter has changed my life, especially once I figured out how to use a hashtag! Top educators around the globe use twitter to SHARE resources. When I have an edtech question, I ask my tweeps on twitter and often get numerous responses. I usually browse twitter while I’m having my morning coffee to see what’s going on in the edtech world.
Diigo – Diigo is a social bookmarking site I use to bookmark resources. What I love about Diigo is my bookmarks are not housed on my computer, but I can access them from any computer as well as pretty much any mobile device. But what’s even better, is I can see other people’s resources…the people who are smarter than I am. In 2011-2012, our High School was in the planning year for a one-to-one project. Rather than spending hours and hours hunting for resources, I just found other educators who were on Diigo and used their bookmarks. Diigo also allows users to tag their bookmarks which makes locating that awesome resource you remember bookmarking a couple months ago really easy to find.
Facebook- I use facebook primarily for socializing and keeping up with my friends, but I also am part of some edtech groups and “like” many edtech pages. Like twitter, there are leaders in education who are sharing resources and talking about hot topics in todays education on Facebook.
Edmodo – Edmodo is secure social networking site that can be used as a course management system for students. Edmodo is an excellent source for Professional Development. There are multiple groups users can join and share resources as well as post questions and have discussions. Glogster has a group in Edmodo I have tapped into quite often. When I’ve asked questions to the group, not only have I had responses from other Glogster members, but from Glogster themselves.
iGoogle – I use iGoogle as my blog reader. I used to use Google Reader, but I like the way iGoogle displays the blogs better than reader. iGoogle is a great way to organize multiple email accounts, social networking accounts, aggregate blogs, and so much more.
Ning – Ning is another social networking resource where like minded educators get together to share resources, talk about common interests. My Favorites are Classroom 2.0, Flipped Learning Network, and The Educators PLN.
By the way, Classroom 2.0 is hosting a Social Learning Summit as I write this post. I’m heading over as soon as I publish.
Evernote – I love using Evernote to take notes on multiple devices, but what I like even better is when there’s someone else who takes notes and shares their notes with me! I can tag my notes so they’re easy to find. I can include pictures and weblinks in my notes which is great for a visual learning such as myself.
IFTTT – This tool I discovered this summer and wish I would have invented it! IFTTT stands for “If this, then that”. Basically, you can make a recipe to organize your online tools. For example, When I favorite a tweet in twitter, it bookmarks the url in my Diigo account. Jackpot! I usually browse twitter on my phone or iPad so I used to email myself the resources I wanted to bookmark and then bookmark them later once I got to my computer. Now, I just press the little star and voilà, it’s done for me!
I would like to mention, that there’s no right or wrong way to connect. The tools I use may be different than the tools someone else may use. Most of these tools I discovered because of my connections. I’m only as good as the people I surround myself with and with the Internet, I’m surrounded by some pretty amazing edtech people who are willing to share so we can all be better. That translates into helping kids and isn’t that why we’re educators?
How do you stay connected?