Information for New ITS

Posts Tagged ‘encouragement’

100th Final Post – Don’t Let the Grass Grow Under Your Feet

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Three years ago Friday Flash was created to inspire the new Instructional Technology Specialist in my district. This is the 100th and final post of Friday Flash at irewired. It is time to move on and explore new creative ways to share with others. Sharing has been a passion. From my beginning newsletter posts in 1999 and 2000, I began sharing resources for the educators in my school. Learning to post on the web was a passion but in the early days I am not sure the amount of time to learn and share made an impact on my small audience so I kept evolving. In 2002, Munch and Learn was created and professional development was supported with snacking and recipe sharing. The following years e-link shared information and was pushed out as html in Outlook. It was great to learn and make things pretty but time was limited and in the years that followed simple emails delivered information. After retirement and becoming rewired, Friday Flash grew from those push emails and passion to keep learning led me to Word Press. Now it is time to move on from these posts and share my passion in other formats. Remember to evolve and keep learning everyday to make a difference for all learners. Don’t let the grass grow under your feet! You can continue to follow my journey @kathyadkins.

Four for Friday – Ways to Share Your Passion

Simple Booklet provides a free online flip booklet maker. There is an educational version now available. Free version does contain ads as seen in this simple booklet, Twitter Resources.

Snapguide is a another easy approach to make guides for learning. There is a free IOS Snapguide app to view and share guides. Lisa Johnson shares iSnap 2 Learn: Snapguides 4 the Classroom on Pinterest.

Edcanvas is an online canvas where teachers and students can share knowledge. Richard Byrne recently shared Use Edcanvas to Organize and Share Classroom Materials at Free Technology For Teachers.

Flipsnack lets you take your pdf files and create a flash page flip digital publication. The books work great on mobile screens of different sizes.

Image credit: g215 / 123RF Stock Photo

Map Your Passionate Learning for 2013

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It is not too early to think about 2013 and how you want to grow and learn to move forward. Listing your thoughts and ideas are great but a better approach would be a graphic organizer. A graphic organizer lets you structure the information and arrange important aspects into a pattern. This allows you to view important ideas in isolation and see how some are related and connected. A graphic organizer helps you stay focused on the task and the visual representation makes it easier to remember once displayed front and center. Whatever method you use, map a plan with learning goals for the new year. Allow young learners an opportunity to brainstorm and share what they want to learn in the coming year. These visual representations may share patterns that can lead to group collaboration and increased ownership of their learning. Will you make choice a integral part of your learning map in 2013?

Five for Friday – Graphic Organizers

Popplet is an awesome online web graphic organizer that will allow five free maps with their free plan. The IOS app is a little pricey at $4.99. For more ideas visit their blog or check out 8+ Ways to use Popplet.

Exploratree is a free web resource where you can access a library of ready-made interactive thinking guides, print them, edit them or make your own. You can share them and work on them in groups too.

MindMeister is a great online brainstorming tool. You must register but once you register you can sync your maps from your iPad to your desktop with their free app.

Realtime Board is an online collaborative board that can be public or private. Find out more about Realtime Board from Richard Byrne at Free Technology for Teachers.

Idea Sketch(IOS app) is a graphic organizer, which converts your graphic organizer to a text outline or vice versa. Diagrams and outlines can easily be emailed or saved in photos.

Image above created from Kidspiration using Lettering Delights Pop School Alphabet  and saving as a .gif. Inspiration Lite (from the creators of Kidspiration) is a free IOS app.



Be Awesome – Be Inspiring

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Signs of inspiration are posted everywhere these days. From stenciled quotes on walls to decorated images and photographs, meaningful text is shared to provide encouragement and direction. On a recent walk through at one of our schools, you could not help to notice the artful displays created by the school’s art teacher to encourage young learners such as the “Be Awesome” at the water cooler. Many of us do not have the talent to paint on walls but there are many resources to draw from, no pun intended. Krissy Vensodale, shares free posters for the classroom on her blog Venspired and even provides how to directions on a previous post - Make Your Own Classroom Poster. What kind of inspiration can you share with your learners? Will you inspire them to be creative with their own artwork and meaningful text? What will you want them to be?

A Few For Friday – Creating with Meaningful Text

Quozio creates a beautiful image from meaningful words. No account, sign up or email address is needed to quickly create signs with different styles to promote the words.

Cool Text is a great logo generator. Text can be generated and downloaded to save. You can also copy and paste or drag the text into your word processor.

Visual Poetry is an IOS app from Image Chef that allows you to create collages using text, images and symbols to convey the message. The only draw back is the $.99 cost.

A Dozen Words for 2012, a previous post, shares more ways to use meaningful text. Be Creative!

Art work above provided by Julie Hubbard, Chestatee Elementary’s Art Educator. Frame created in Adobe Photoshop Express, a free IOS app.


Thankful 4 Conferences

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Now is a great time to tell educators in your personal learning network how thankful you are for all they do to engage learners and make learning meaningful. Teachers as well as students are contributing to learning everyday and get very few kudos for all they do. Many of these educators and students are sharing incredible resources and knowledge at four November educational technology conferences. K12 Online, Georgia Educational Technology Conference, Global Education Conference and the upcoming Louisiana Association of Computer Using Educators online presence provides resources for educators for anytime, anywhere learning. How will we show our thanks? Visit, learn and share with your PLN.

Four for Friday – Online Conferences Resources

K12 10 Day Conference shares so many resources from innovative educators and students. Click directly on 2012 Schedule for overview and check out the links under the Schedule to view awesome presentations. From the Visioning New Curriculum to Students Voices presentation, Authentic Voices, the wealth of information can be discovered via the iPod videos, mp3 audios and supporting documents.

GaETC 2012 resources share presentations by name. You may want to first visit the concurrent session pages listed for Wednesday to Friday and then select presenters name on the resource page. GaETC offered a very helpful app for attendees.

The Global Education Conference culminates today but recordings of sessions can be viewed here. It is incredible to learn from global innovators.

LACUE, Louisiana Association of Computer Using Educators, will take place November 25-27. Currently there is a resource page and you will be able to follow on twitter using #lacue.

Image above created with Frame Magic - Frame Magic Lite

Ask…”What Can You Do For Your Wiki?”

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Choice and usage of multiple digital learning tools is growing in our district by all learners, educators and students. In a recent workshop on four of these tools, participants had the opportunity to select two sessions and grasp the potential of the tools for instructional design. Edmodo, Edublogs, Voicethread and Wikispaces were the tools for collaborative learning and choice was key in personal learning for the day. At the wiki session, many asked the question, what is the difference between wikis and blogs and when should each be used? Blogs vs. Wikis, a fictional debate between JFK and Nixon shared on you tube, is a great video to open discussion and provide answers. During this electoral time, what will you vote for, wikis or blogs? It is your personal choice to which tool addresses the instructional design needed for learning and sharing. Today’s vote is to be a warrior with wikispaces. As JFK stated in the video, “Ask not what your wiki can do for you, but what can you do for your wiki?” 

Four for Friday – Wikispaces Resources

Wikispaces Videos and Tours, is a collection of over 30 how to videos on you tube on various topics

Wikispaces Blog has incredible information on what you can do for your wiki. Check out Class Case Study: Room 14 Goes Mobile in Auckland and how students own and call their pages ebooks. Also note Wikispaces for iPad, which shares how to better view wikis on iPads since currently there is not an app.

Educational Wikis is another place of learning how to use wikis in education. Be sure to view the examples page.

Getting Tricky With Wikis provides advance directions using code to create text effects, layouts, to inserting a print-friendly feature and creating rollovers. Lenva Shearing, the curated for this wiki also created Cool Tools for Schools and Cool Apps for School.



Diversity of the Leaf and Learner

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Fall color is in all its splendid color in some regions and just beginning in other areas. The Miracle of Fall provides many links to follow leaf change with web cams and foliage updates. You can even watch leaf change in less than 30 seconds. This month’s National Geographic article, “The Glory of Leaves” by Rob Dunn takes a closer look at why leaves look the ways they do, from different shapes, colors, size, texture and taste just to name a few attributes. Leaves are very diversified in nature due to climate, competition and defense and as noted in this article, a work in progress. As we observe their majestic fall beauty let us be reminded of their diversity and beauty. Let us also remind ourselves of the diversity of all learners and what shapes their growth. Just like leaves, they are also a work in progress. Let’s do our best to provide the best climate, instill competitive spirit and model best practices in online safety as we guide them in learning. Take a closer look everyday.

Five Apps for Friday – Collage Creators

Photo Collage

Frame Magic

PolyFrame Lite

Photo Wall Lite

Diptic $.99

These collage creators are just tools but a choice for students to share learning.

Photo above created with Photo Collage

Collaboration – The Big C – Do Not Wait!


Collaboration is one of the 4C’s that propels our district’s 21st century vision of learning along with Creativity, Critical Thinking and Communication. Collaboration is the big C that embraces the others and makes them stronger. Learners love to connect and share their knowledge in the classroom with each other and their desire to experience and share beyond walls is obvious. As they think, communicate and create collaboratively, the learning becomes larger. I am reminded of one collaborative project with first grade students, Hands Around the World, and how we worked to squeeze this project into the end of the year. It was a huge learning process for all learners including myself. Why should we wait to the end of the year when we have many resources and digital learning tools such as Edmodo and Wikispaces? Connect with a project or begin your own and collaboratively share your learners’ knowledge with others. Do not wait!

Five for Friday – Global Collaborative Connections

A great place to start is The Global Classroom Project, where teachers and students share on the global stage. Their wikispace shares ways to follow via twitter and facebook. Be sure to check out the Craze Crazes, under What’s Happening?

Projects by Jen, from Jen Wagner (creator of Wordle of the Day) provides projects for K-6 grades throughout the school year. OREO 2012 is a simple project for young learners and provides a wealth of resources to celebrate the 100th birthday of the OREO. Registration is now open with project lasting Sept. 17 – Oct. 12. Follow Jen Wagner on twitter @jenwagner.

Journey North offers collaborative sharing throughout the year. Currently Hummingbird Migration is being observed and reported weekly. Journey North now has an app to report sightings.

The Center for Innovation in Engineering and Science Education, CIESE, offers many ongoing and collaborative projects inspired by real time data.

Flat Stanley is a project that has truly embraced all ages. Be sure to check out current news and check the free IOS mobile app.


Push Like and Move Forward

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During the opening days of the new school year we are thankful for educational leaders and colleagues that share many items of educational importance via social media channels. The beginning of school can be hectic but we still need to embrace our visions and engage learners from the start. Two great articles, How to Turn Your Classroom into an Idea Factory, a recent post from Mind/Shift and 12 Most Important Things Children Want From Their Teacher, from Angela Mairs, were recently shared via a facebook page. We are thankful for many facets of social media and collaborative channels that remind us of what is most important during this busy time, our students. Remember to like educators and organizations on your facebook feed and follow in Twitter. It will push and move you forward.

A Few for Friday – Like and Follow

Edutopia - This site has shared great inspiration for years. Their team of bloggers provide a wealth of information.  Follow on Twitter @edutopia.

Tech4Learning – Since 1999, this company has created tools to support learning and provided many resources to support instruction using these tools. Follow on Twitter @Tech4Learning.

Mind/Shift – This site has been a leader in covering trends and moving forward to the future. Follow on Twitter @MindShiftKQED.







To the Top – Elevate Your Learning

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Recent summer travels have allowed me to view many magnificent mountain ranges in Colorado. One particular vista, Carbon Peak (12,079), was on my daily horizon and looked amazing from lower elevation but there was the strong desire to be at the top for a better view. For many summer months the desire to climb the peak and conquer the elevation was on the agenda but time constraints continually interfered. Fortunately this summer presented the time to climb. With tools to navigate as well as visual cairns (man-made pile of stones) along the way, the trek was mastered. What an incredible view from the top of near and far mountain peaks and the beautiful storybook valley below with its winding streams and meadows. The climb was invigorating and the sense of accomplishment rewarding. As we begin the new school year we need to take time to climb and elevate our learning. There are so many resources (cairns) along the way to propel our journey. We cannot wait for the perfect time because that time is now. Will you elevate your learning?

A Few for Friday – Bloggers to Follow that Elevate Learning

BYOT Network – Dr. Tim Clark recently shared First Five Days of School with BYOT. Clark’s blog provides a wealth of resources to support and elevate learning with mobile devices.

Mind/Shift – Tina BerBarseghian provides incredible resources to move you up the hill of learning. Check out 10 Ways to Boost your Game for Back-to-School.

Dangerously Irrelevant – Scott Meech shares his perspective on the intersection of education and technology. Be sure to check out his wiki Moving Forward, a vast collection of resources to elevate your learning.

Image Source – Courtesy of irewired
Image created using Frame Magic Lite
Tracking App – Endomondo (Multiple Devices)
Another Tracking App – EveryTrail (IOS)




15 Years – Slow Down and Reflect

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The end of the school year is near and it is time to slow down and reflect not only on the progress of learners we guide but also on our own growth. As I reflect, I not only think about this year but the 15 years I have been an Instructional Technology Specialist, ten years in the trenches at my favorite elementary school and 5 as lead mentor to guide others in the district. As a life long learner, I attribute most of my growth from self-learning. Fifteen years ago there were not as many places to turn for learning in my field but as the years progressed, opportunities flowed quicker and the current of information surged. With out my desire to self-learn and soak up the current, I would not be who I am today. Online Universities recently shared 15 Secrets of the Most Successful Self-Learners and how our passion for learning moves us beyond the boundaries of the traditional classroom. Many of these secrets, including “tone out negativity” have steered me along and kept me passionately learning. Which of these secrets guides you? Slow down the next few months on the information highway and take the time to self-learn. You have steered so many through the year, and now is the time to try some of these secrets to continue your life long learning.

A Few for Friday – Places to Learn

Technology Guides from Piano Independent School District contains a wealth of information for educators. Be sure to check the links that are tagged New!

Technology Tutorials from Internet4Classrooms is a great resource for all educators with tutorials and suggestions for classroom integration and learning.

Want to learn more about web design with Adobe products? Check out Katherine Shields’ Adobe Board on Pinterest. Try a few of these tutorials that interest you and spark your creativity.

Friday Flash will return in August after time to reflect and enjoy learning in new ways.

Photo Courtesy of my son, Brett Adkins – Crested Butte, Colorado