Monday, December 3, 2012

Signs that you are a Connected Educator

Yes, I know.  You have probably read an article with a like title before.  But I promise you I have not read any and this is a list I came up from my own personal experience and that of those other amazing educators that I take pride of being connected with.

So, you are a connected educator and let´s face it, something in you  has changed.  You don´t even speak the same way you did when your classroom had those wooden or brick walls that you have brought down.  I collected some symptoms that you may have been through since you decided to go international.  In no particular order, here they are:

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Uses for Posterous

If you have not heard about Posterous, I do invite you to click on the link and go check it out.  I promise you you´ll love it and will make your eyes glow and your head spin with ideas on how you can use it.  In fact, I believe there are blog posts filled with ways to use it.  Go check them out!

In short words, Posterous is a service that allows you to create several online spaces (sites).  It allows collaborative contributions by anyone you decide.  It is been used by several educators already due to it´s nice interface, customization, and ease of use.

Technology is not a Golden Coin

i hate digital [analog remix]
(Photo credit: the|G|™Ok
We have this quote in my country: "We are no golden coins to be loved by everyone."  I´ve found this is, of course, true for technology, in education.  

One of the things that I´ve always pointed out about the whole technology thing is not to expect everyone to be so delighted about it as we are.  

So, I was in this Parent School night and I was excited about sharing with parents how students were being engaged using Diigo and the tremendous learning taking place there.  I also mentioned that we were going to continue using our digital platform, Edmodo, to post homework, share important information, dates, etc.  I mentioned that students would be discussing in virtual forums through Collaborize Classrooom.  I presented them with Posterous, through which I was expecting to share  some thoughts with students and have students do the same.  Of course, I mentioned how we were going to be using social media to engage and learn.  I showed them our most recent Wallwisher about scientists who contributed to the development of Biology.  I informed that some evaluations would be made through Socrative or Google Forms.  I spoke to them about our brand new BYOT policy.  And, and, and...ok, you get the idea.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Let the Humor Begin!

“There is nothing in the world so irresistibly contagious as laughter and good humor.” -Charles Dickens

Innovative educators are always trying to make each and every class as meaningful and relevant to their students as possible.  They create, they collaborate, they ask, they solve....they innovate.  It is clear to most of them that it is what they model, what they represent as a teacher and as a human that will impact students´ lives other than the content they could possibly deliver.

One great tool innovative teachers should use in the classroom is:  humor.  Yes, the kind that comes out spontaneously and actually creates a delightful atmosphere in the classroom.  Doesn´t mean you can´t practice some comedic lines in front of the mirror and try to look like Jim Carrey...

Laughter is so relaxing, it is even said it´s medicine to the soul.  Your students stare at you as someone they can take hand of in difficult moments some times.  They need to see you as a caring human being, as one that went through or is going through some of the same things they are.  Use your best charisma to approach them.  Tell them a little joke from time to time.  Make fun of yourself; nothing makes you more human to students than when you make mistakes and actually learn from them.

Here´s a secret:  Students will laugh at your jokes even if they are really bad.  There are two main reasons for that:
  1. They will laugh out of respect.  But it still works, they are laughing after all.  Too worried about mockery? 
  2. They will laugh harder at the fact that it is you, their teacher, actually telling a joke. 
Share an anecdote of your own experience.  Tell them about that embarrassing moment you had at the bus station with this person once.  Talk to them about that time when you were in second grade and the teacher had you in detention after school time and you  peed on your pants. Wait, that actually happened to me...

Don´t overlook the power of humor within your classroom.  Humor humanizes, makes you approachable and reliable.  It allows you to connect to your students at a more personal level.  Be spontaneous, be surprising, be fun.  In the measure of the possible try not to be the teacher students groan about at the knowledge their next class is with you.   May God help you as you try to bring joy, jolly, and happiness into your classroom using humor.  

So, a teacher walks into a bar....
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photo credit: horizontal.integration via photo pin cc

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Enhance your Social Media presence

So you´ve got yourself into Twitter and have been building a succesful PLN right there.  You have built a nice community in which you get and give useful information.  As a connected educator you are, you have a blog in which you share your thoughts.

One of the best ways to get attention to your blog post is sharing through social media.  If you are using Twitter, you might want to include popular hashtags; this will share your content with other than only your followers.  Let me introduce you some tools that might help increase your social presence, driving more traffic to your content, and therefore increasing your audience.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Email still rules!

Despite the uprising of so many websites and applications that make our lives easier, the email still rules and is the boss! We still need it and will still be using it. Most of these innovative sites we sign up for require for us to provide an email address so, who's the boss?

In most cases we still rely on the email to communicate with parents, for instance. Newsletters are not going anywhere. When it comes to communication nothing yet is as effective and, very importantly, as targeted as the email, maybe except for FB messages... Will we see the death of email shortly? I dare to say that not likely.

This last Wednesday I attended #toolschat, a Twitter chat that takes place weekly at 10 pm EDT (GMT-4:00). Topic this week was about emailing and tools to optimize email experience. Usually, this chat is attended by Social media experts and gurus, as well as marketeers. I got inspired into sharing with you fellow educators some amazing tools to optimize communication through email. Grab a grip!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Useful Web Applications for Virtual Teaching

It seems to be that blended learning has almost become an obligatory part of the teaching/learning process, at least in a 21st century settings. But you as a classroom teacher can easily blend your teaching if your particular context allows for it.

I'd like to suggest some sites that you could use for when virtual learning is required. I am talking about the days in which, for example, you have to be absent from school because you broke a toe (or a nail...) . Or maybe you would just like to give your students a brief after–school reinforcement of the content for a test (yes, you care about them enough).

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

On International Projects

English: blank world map
English: blank world map (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I obviously do not consider myself an international connections expert or a global projects "guru" or anything like it.  However, with my short experience on global collaborative international projects with students from other countries, I think I have picked up some ideas that I would like to share with you.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

I, teacher

I am a teacher and have the potential for saving lives.

I am a teacher but also have the potential to destroy lives.

I teach and I have the honor of having the next president in my classroom.  Have to teach him well.

Every day I wake up with my mind set on upsetting young minds into something positive.  With the hope that  students remember me for what I was and not necessarily for what I taught...or tried to.

Actions speak louder than words, right?

I teach, and I'm very proud of it.  I facilitate by paving the way through which others may walk.  I establish a base of knowledge as I am changing the world at it.

I teach.  I connect.  I live.  I see.  I correct.  I love.  I care.  I tweet.

I blog.

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Sunday, March 11, 2012

Wished, but I cannot

These past days have been somewhat hectic at school for me.  I have started to engage me and my students into a broader scope of international interaction and collaboration.  Suddenly, my Skype list is full with educators from the world willing to interact with my students.  It is just a bit strange for me to realize that members on my PLN, Skype, blog suscribers, etc., are devoted and amazing people that I will probably never meet in person.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

So, is it five, six, or seven continents?

It was approximately two months ago...  I live in a Latin American country which includes a bilingual system within its educational.  These are private schools which teach major subjects in English (mostly American English).  The only classes served in Spanish are the ones pertaining own´s country, e.g. "Español, Estudios Sociales".

Monday, January 23, 2012

10 Razones por Las que Pienso que Los Estudiantes Deberían "Bloggear"

Wordle: BlogNota del traductor:  Esta es un traducción del original "10 reasons I believe students Should Blog".  Entiendo que el término "bloggear" es un extranjerismo y una falla de dicción.  Lo más apropiado sería "bitacorear".  Sin embargo, he utilizado "bloggear" entre comillas ya que es el término que nos es más familiar a los hispano-parlantes. Pido disculpas de antemano si hubiese ofensa al respecto.

Recientemente, hasta este año escolar comencé a animar a mis estudiantes para que abrieran su bitácora (blog). La edad promedio de mis estudiantes es de 15 a 17 años;  los considero suficientemente maduros como para crear una huella digital positiva a través de sus blogs.  Cuando les introduje la idea por primera vez, les di algunas razones por las cuales yo pensaba deberían "bloggear".  Una de las cosas que les hice ver fue que pensaran en escribir artículos como un estado de Facebook excepto que con más de 420 caracteres. Al llevarse a cabo todo el proceso, comencé a descubrir nuevas ventajas y ahora me gustaría compartirlas con ustedes mis 10 razones por las cuales creo que sus estudiantes deberían estar "bloggeando".:

Sunday, January 15, 2012

10 reasons why I believe students should blog

Wordle: BloggingJust recently, this school year I started to encourage my students into blogging. My students' average age ranges 15-17; I do consider them mature enough to create a positive digital footprint through blogging. When I first introduced the idea to them I gave some reasons why I thought they should blog. One of the things I did tell them was to think about blogging as a Facebook post except that with more than 420 characters. As the whole process started to take place, new advantages started to unravel and now I would love to share with you my ten reasons why I believe your students should be blogging:

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Reasons why I hate School!

We all know about the tremendous value found on Twitter.  We are all aware of the growth this social network has been having lately and we educators have found so innovative ways to harness the power of this social network.  Twitter chats provide a discussion forum like no other and these take place at pretty much everyday. I am a testimony of how much learning takes place through them.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Tech Race

So, this is it, 2012 is upon us now. Last year was one of pretty much changes, socially, politically, and in my particular case, professionally.

This is because only last year on July I started what I like to call my "tech race". Yep, it was until mid last year that I began discovering all these amazing tools to integrate into my classroom. To this point, God has been good.  Now probably the term "race" suggests a competition and you might be wondering who am I competing against.  I like to use the term "race" in the sense of going really fast but with a focus and a purpose.

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