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Posts from the ‘social networks’ Category

Gooru: A search engine for learning

I’ve had the chance for some incredible learning opportunities lately, both formal and informal. Two conferences, the National Council for the Social Studies in Seattle and the Association of Educational Service Centers in Tampa, provided some great ideas and networking in a formal way.

But November was also a great month for informal learning through my PLN, with other ESSDACK folks, and with two marvelous people from New Zealand. Ali Hughes and Derek Wenmoth spent several weeks in the US and I had the opportunity to pick their brains last week.

What I learned from them would fill a month of blogs and together with everything else I’ve run across in the last four weeks, my head’s on emergency download mode. So lots to talk about!

Today? Something simple. What the creator calls

A search engine for learning.

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Tip of the Week: The Teacher’s Guide to the Library of Congress

The list of non-negiotable resources that every social studies teacher should be using is really not that long. But every time I edit my list, the Library of Congress always finds its way on.

It’s got great lessons, documents. social media, primary source teaching tools . . . basically the sort of stuff every teacher can use. And I’ve written tons about all of their goodies.

But sometimes it’s nice to have all of the goodies in one place. So if you’re looking for that sort of thing, head over to The Teacher’s Guide to the Library of Congress. You’ll find an handy infographic and tons of LOC links broken into tips, tricks, guides, useful tools, and resources.

It’s a nice collection that I probably should have put together years ago. But now I’m off the hook and you’ll find great stuff. Win, win!

5 Days of Helpful Tools: Day 4 – 440 Ways to Use Social Media

It’s Day Four. The question is easy to ask – with so many tools out there, what would best to share? No easy answer but today we’re going with social media tools.

I’m convinced that when used appropriately these sorts of tools can help improve teaching and learning. But a lot of us shy away from using them in education because we’re not sure what that use looks like. So here ya go. Lots of ideas on using social media in the classroom.

So go just a little bit crazy. Pick just one of these 440 ways and give it a try.

(I’m sure there’s more than 440. What have we missed?)

Tip of the Week – Pinterest

I’ve had the invite in the Inbox for several months and I just never seemed to get around to activating it.

And depending on who you talk to, 58 percent to 97 percent of Pinterest users are female. So I may not be the only guy who’s been sitting on the fence with the social bookmarking site. But I’m becoming convinced that Pinterest might be a handy thing to have available.

More and more teachers are using the tool to find, share, and integrate resources. The visual look of Pinterest can be a great hook for students. A very cool infographic shares 16 ways that educators can use Pinterest:

Doing a search, middle school social studies for example, will give you a ton of links. And there are more things out there that can help you begin to understand and use Pinterest. Just a few to get you started:

Social Pinboard – National History Education Clearinghouse’s nice article on Pinterest

Teaching History – an example of a history teacher’s channel

Teaching History / Social Studies – another example from the Teaching Channel

Middle Ages – another example

Six Pinners to Follow

Five More to Follow

Pinterest Resources for Teachers – CoolCatTeacher’s Pinterest stuff

Pinterest for Education – a Livebinder with lots of stuff


Update July 21

Great friend, tech guru, and K-State prof Cindy Danner-Kuhn has some sweet Pinterest boards including a generic Education board as well as Social Studies, iPads, and Pinterest in Ed boards.

Have fun!

10 best hashtags for social studies teachers

Twitter. It’s a good thing.

And I know many of you are already big social media fans. But for those who are still just a bit unsure about the whole Twitter / Facebook / Plurk thing, this is for you.

Two pieces of advice:

1. Start small. Use Twitter just for yourself. Don’t use it as part of your instruction yet – focus on using it to grow your Personal Learning Network. Follow and read other teachers and organizations Gather info. Ask questions.

Start here to find helpful users to follow.

2. Use hashtags. Hashtags are a way for you to follow a theme or topic rather than a person or organization. This allows you to cast a much wider net while also helping you find more people to add your Follow list.

The problem?

You can’t follow a hashtag directly through your Twitter account.

This is perhaps the most confusing point for people who are new to hashtags — but it’s important to understand. From your Twitter account you can only “follow” other Twitter users (accounts set up for an individual, organization, project, event, etc.). A hashtag is not a Twitter account that you can click a “follow” button for.

It’s a way to label or tag tweets so they can be easily pulled together. A hashtag is always a word preceded by the pound sign like “#sschat” which users insert into their tweets like this:

Since a hashtag is nothing more than a character string inserted into a tweet, it’s something that you can search Twitter for. So the most basic way to track hashtags through your web browser is:

  1. Go to Twitter Search.
  2. Search for a hashtag you want to track. Include the “#” in your search query. Here’s a search for #historyteacher
  3. Keep that page open in a browser tab, and refresh it periodically to see the latest results. Or subscribe to the feed for your search in your feed reader and check there occasionally for updates.

But what hashtags should you follow? Here are 10 great tags that are a great place to start.

#sschat – Social Studies chat (One of my favorites. Check out their Ning page too.)
#socialstudies – General social studies
#history – General history stuff
#apush – Advanced Placement history
#ushistory – United States history
#civics – Government and civics teaching
#apgov – Advanced Placement government
#historychatHistory chats
#historyteacher – History instruction
#geographyteacher – Geography instruction

Which tags am I missing?

Five great sites for finding web 2.0 tools

We all can sometimes get in a rut. Ruts can make us feel comfortable. We use the same book, the same video, the same lesson plan, the same activities, the same tools. I’m no different. I read the same sites, browse the same authors, use the same online tools. I’m a big fan of Flipboard and Zite. I spend time scanning the same RSS feeds every day.

And there’s not anything wrong with that . . . unless there is something better out there. It’s easy to get fat and happy with the way things are. And that’s not a good thing.

So today? Five great sites that you can use to spice up your technology tool library.

This one is new to me and I already love it. Created by a small group of educator/techie people, edshelf is designed to be an easy to use, easy to search directory of websites, mobile apps, and desktop software “rated and reviewed by educators, for educators.” It has a huge database of stuff that you can browse through or filter down by grade level, subject, platform, category, and price.

You can also save your favorite tools and create a “colleague” list of like-minded people to help you search and save more effectively. Plus the site looks good and is easy to use, so . . . what’s not to like?

EdSurge is a community resource for all things in edtech. Their goal is to help educators make informed decisions, and help developers make products that matter.

EdSurge is a user community and information resource for the emerging education technology ecosystem. Our goal is to help accelerate the adoption of innovation in education.

Sounds a bit pretentious but it’s really not. The basic idea is that you and others share ideas, resources, suggestions, new sites, new tools and together, everyone gets smarter and edtech products get better. You can also research and handy articles on EdSurge. If you’re looking for specific tools, click Products. You can filter your results in much the same way as edshelf. But your choices also include topics and organizations – all cross-referenced with one another. Pretty slick.

A relatively new site, ClassroomWindow “is on a mission to make teachers the new power brokers in K-12 education.” 

Built by a group of friends passionate about education, ClassroomWindow wants to help teachers make sense of the “chaotic” world of education technology, textbooks, and tools. It claims to be the first education directory of its kind and features trusted reviews by and for teachers around the globe.

In some ways, ClassroomWindow is a lot like Yelp or TripAdvisor. All sorts of people can add resources, web sites, web 2.0 tools, mobile apps and then review them. A nice way to find and evaluate a huge variety of edtech stuff. You can search by keyword or browse through small categories such as American History or large categories like Web Tools. Lots of ways to filter results.

And it’s teacher driven. I like that.

101 Web 2.0 Teaching Tools Every Teacher Should Know About
This is a much simpler site the first three. It’s a slideshow.

Yup. Just a slideshow. But it’s a good slideshow. And because it’s just a slideshow, you can quickly scan through the slides and find exactly what you’re looking for. No filters. No colleagues. No ratings. It’s just a slideshow.

The Go2Web20 directory has been around forever. And it’s been around forever because it lists hundreds of handy online tools while making it easy to find tools that you can actually use.

You can find quick descriptions, screenshots, and similar links.

So get out of your rut. Go find something new.

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